At present, the frameworks most influencing my thinking on consciousness are:
- Richard Barrett’s 7 levels of consciousness framework
- Doctor David Hawkin’s Map of Consciousness which is contained in his book “Power v Force”.
- Spiral Dynamics, a model developed by Dr Don Beck and Chris Cowan in the 1990’s, based on the work of the late Professor Clare W Graves.
Richard Barrett’s 7 levels of consciousness framework
Richard Barrett (FRSA) is an author, speaker and social commentator on the evolution of human values in business and society. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Barrett Values Centre and an internationally recognized thought leader on values, culture, leadership and consciousness. Richard was a successful engineer for many years and studied Psychology, Spirituality, Physics, and Personal Transformation in his spare time. Only much later in his life did he become a consultant in organisational levels of consciousness and achieve international recognition for this work. He now does a lot of work on country’s levels of consciousness and global levels of consciousness.
Every human being on the planet evolves and grows in consciousness in seven well‐ defined stages. Each stage focuses on a particular existential need that is common to the human condition. These seven existential needs are the principal motivating forces in all human affairs. The level of growth and development of an individual depends on their ability to satisfy their needs.
The first three levels of consciousness focus on our personal self‐interest—satisfying our physiological need for security and safety, our emotional need for love and belonging, and our need to feel good about ourselves through the development of a sense of pride in who we are, and a positive sense of self‐esteem. Abraham Maslow referred to these as “deficiency” needs. We feel no sense of lasting satisfaction from being able to meet these needs, but we feel a sense of anxiety if these needs are not met. When these needs are paramount in our lives, we are conditioned by the expectations of those around us—by our social environment (the family and the culture we were brought up in). We align, and are loyal to the groups with which we identify.
The focus of the fourth level of consciousness is on transformation—learning how to manage, master or release the subconscious, fear‐based beliefs that keep us anchored in the lower levels of consciousness. During this stage of our development, we establish a sense of our own personal authority, and our own voice. We are able to let go of our need to identify with our social environment because we have learned how to master our deficiency needs. We now choose to live by the values and beliefs that resonate deeply with who we are. We begin the process of self‐actualisation by focusing on our individuation.
The upper three levels of consciousness focus on our need to find meaning and purpose in our existence; actualising that meaning by making a difference in the world, and leading a life of self‐less service. Abraham Maslow referred to these as “growth” needs. When these needs are fulfilled they do not go away. They engender deeper levels of motivation and commitment. During this stage of our development, we increasingly develop the capacity to stand back and reflect on the strengths and limitations of our own ideology. We learn how to become our own self witness, and develop an inner compass that intuitively guides us into making life affirming decisions. Individuals that focus exclusively on the satisfaction of the lower needs, tend to live self‐centred, shallow lives. They are significantly influenced by the anxieties and fears they hold about satisfying their deficiency needs. Individuals that focus exclusively on the satisfaction of the higher needs tend to lack the skills necessary to remain grounded and operate effectively in the physical world. They can be ineffectual and impractical when it comes to taking care of their basic needs.
The most successful individuals are those who balanced both their “deficiency” needs and their “growth” needs. They operate from Full Spectrum Consciousness. They are trusting of others, are able to manage complexity, and can respond or rapidly adapt to all situations.
Doctor David Hawkin’s Map of Consciousness
IMAGE REMOVED – (after receiving the most aggressive legal request of my life! However it does re-affirm the dire need for Conscious Contracts and all training in the humanizing the profession work which falls under Integrative Law. I have a dream that somehow I will be able to work with the Institute for Spiritual Research, Inc. dba Veritas Publishing, to create a new letter to send people in situations like this. Let us set this intention)
Hawkins is far more “alternative” than Richard Barrett and there is much controversy surrounding his work. He died recently (2012) having gained a cult-like following around the world. Though many people have attacked his credentials on a scientific basis, Hawkins did achieve considerable mainstream recognition as you can see on his publisher’s site which gives these biographical details:
Sir David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. is a nationally renowned psychiatrist, physician, researcher, spiritual teacher and lecturer. The uniqueness of his contribution to humanity comes from the advanced state of spiritual awareness known as ” Enlightenment,” “Self–Realization,” and “Unio Mystica.”Rarely, if ever, has this spiritual state occurred in the life of an accomplished scientist and physician. Therefore, Dr. Hawkins is uniquely qualified to present a spiritual path that is scientifically compelling to modern society.
Founding Director of the Institute for Spiritual Research, Inc. (1983) and Founder of the Path of Devotional Nonduality (2003), Dr. Hawkins has lectured widely at such places as Westminster Abbey; Oxford Forum; Universities of Notre Dame, Michigan, Argentina, Fordham and Harvard; University of California (SF) Medical School; Institute of Noetic Sciences; and Agape Spiritual Center (Los Angeles). In addition, he has been an advisor to Catholic, Protestant, and Buddhist monasteries. He has conferred with foreign governments on international diplomacy and has been instrumental in resolving long–standing conflicts that were major threats to world peace.
Dr. Hawkins entered the field of medicine to alleviate human pain and distress, and his work as a physician was pioneering. As Medical Director of the North Nassau Mental Health Center (1956–1980) and Director of Research at Brunswick Hospital (1968–1979) on Long Island, his clinic was the largest practice in the United States, including a suite of twenty–five offices, two thousand outpatients, and several research laboratories. In 1973, he co–authored the ground–breaking work, Orthomolecular Psychiatry with Nobel Laureate chemist Linus Pauling,initiating a new field within psychiatry.
Despite the fact that Hawkins’ work has attracted much criticism (eg: “Power Vs. Force is filled with attempts to be scientific that wind up worthy of ridicule rather than respect”) I believe, along with thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, that he made a significant contribution to the study of human consciousness.
According to Hawkins all people live at vastly different levels of consciousness, which he has mapped on a logarithmic scale of 1-1000. Any person, concept, thought or object that calibrates at 200 (The level of Integrity) or above is positive (“power”); anything below 200 is negative (“force”).
Hawkins map can be used in a variety of ways, some of them are more esoteric than others (I recently did basic training in how to use these methods to test for allergies and for underlying beliefs that people hold which hold them back in life. Fascinating! But I’ll stick to basics here. )
Because I plan to work with Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness in the legal profession and for the purposes of personal development, I am going to stick to its use as a tool for raising one’s own consciousness.
I found a good basic explanation of Hawkin’s map on Steve Pavlina’s blog:
Here is what Steve Pavlina says:
In the book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, there’s a hierarchy of levels of human consciousness. It’s an interesting paradigm. If you read the book, it’s also fairly easy to figure out where you fall on this hierarchy based on your current life situation.
From low to high, the levels of consciousness are: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, enlightenment.
While we can pop in and out of different levels at various times, usually there’s a predominant “normal” state for us. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re at least at the level of courage because if you were at a lower level, you’d likely have no conscious interest in personal growth.
I think you’ll find this model worthy of reflection. Not only people but also objects, events, and whole societies can be ranked at these levels. Within your own life, you’ll see that some parts of your life are at different levels than others, but you should be able to identify your current overall level. You might be at the level of neutrality overall but still be addicted to smoking (level of desire). The lower levels you find within yourself will serve as a drag that holds the rest of you back. But you’ll also find higher levels in your life. You may be at the level of acceptance and read a book at the level of reason and feel really inspired. Think about the strongest influences in your life right now. Which ones raise your consciousness? Which ones lower it?
Spiral Dynamics, a model developed by Dr Don Beck
Spiral Dynamics is often presented in a very complex way. I found a wonderfully simple and eloquent explanation by Aubyn Howard on her website which I hope to use in the future!
Here is what Aubyn says about Spiral Dynamics:
The theory argues that it is possible to identity a series of worldviews that together describe the essentially different ways in which people see and engage with the world. The emergence of these codes or worldviews in the development of an individual, the maturation of a organisation or the evolution of a society can be seen to follow a clear sequential pattern, although the way in which this takes place in practice is unique to each person, group or society. This approach suggest that these worldviews are activated within us according to our history, core personality and the life conditions and challenges we are facing. It does not say that we go through stages of development in a discreet, linear fashion, progressing neatly from one stage to another, but that each of these worldviews can be more or less activated in each of us at any one time. Therefore each of us has a unique value systems profile that tells our unique story.
The general principles of the evolution of these value systems include:
- a progression from less complex to more complex and sophisticated expressions
- a spiral alternation between individualistic and collectivist worldviews, between expressing self and sacrificing self
- that each value system needs to become activated within an individual at some basic level (even if not very apparent) before subsequent more complex systems are able to emerge
Understanding these different value systems, the sequence and pattern in which they emerge, is key to a number of challenges and issues including:
- facilitating the development of individuals, groups, organisations and communities
- understanding and resolving conflict (within a personality, a group, a society or globally)
- knowing what motivates people and what language to use to engage them
- changing deeply embedded mindsets, attitudes and behaviours
An understanding of these different worldviews or value systems and how they work, gives you an essential insight into the underlying patterns that shape the way the world is changing today. Personally, it helps me make sense of almost everything that I see going on, not just with individuals and groups within organisations, but also at a societal, global and historical level. In organisational work it complements the use of horizontal systems for profiling personality (such as Myers-Briggs, Belbin, Strengthsfinder, Insights, etc).
Unfortunately the way in which the Spiral Dynamics approach has been packaged and presented doesn’t always make it easily understood and accepted by organisational leaders and practitioners, so I have been working away over the years at making it more accessible and developing relevant diagnostic tools for use in organisational work, which I present in my courses or workshops.
Below is another Spiral Dynamics map which shows organisational culture. Have a look at it and try and determine at which level your law firm is operating?
Why is any of this stuff useful to lawyers?
Many lawyers globally are sensing greater and greater levels of dissatisfaction with their profession. Developing an understanding of your personal values using Richard Barrett’s 7 Levels of Personal Consciousness can help you start to look at what is important to you and how to align who you are with the work you do.
I believe lawyers are drawn to the profession for a reason and that it is tragic when so many lawyers with so much to give leave law as a result of feeling utter disconnection between their personal and professional lives. My intention is to help lawyers find a way to practise law, an organisation in which to practise law and/ or a niche area of law that allows them to live an authentic and fulfilling life.
If you use the Spiral Dynamics model and determine you are probably at the “Green” level where relationships are prioritized and building a community is very important to you, you will struggle if you’re in a law firm at the “Blue” level which is focused on the task and not the person and conformity is the name of the game. Should you find yourself in a “Red” level law firm where there are high levels of internal competition, you may well find yourself suffering burn out. As I recently discovered, one large South African law firm has an arrangement with a local mental health facility so that their lawyers can regularly be accommodated there when they suffer breakdowns.
Discussions with women lawyers have shown me that those who choose to have children often find that they change with motherhood. This makes sense – one’s values and priorities should change when you bring a new life into the world. Many of these mothers find they are unable to practise law in the way they did before not because they are sleep deprived or have lost brain cells (as their male colleagues may try to argue!) but because they no longer view the world in the same way. Relationships often become more important than achievement at this stage which is a natural progression. Such a lawyer may find themselves drawn to the field of mediation rather than litigation or wanting to have fewer but more meaningful relationships with clients. Law firms operating at higher levels of consciousness can make space for these developments which can actually hugely enhance the firm’s potential if they can harness the new skills on offer.
Lawyers who deepen their understanding of worldviews will also find it helps all their interactions with clients. Using Barrett’s model, some lawyers actually ask their clients to list their values so that the lawyer has a deeper understanding of what it is the client really seeks through litigation or through a business contract. Using Spiral Dynamics may help a lawyer understand why his/ her client sees the world in the way he does. Where there is a major difference in levels of consciousness between one side to a contract and the other, it could explain why negotiation is not possible.
Why is this useful to law firms?
Most law firms are stuck in the Blue to Orange levels and only those at the cutting edge are moving towards Yellow where they are embracing personal development. Lawyers tend to be very Orange – it’s all about achievement, success and results.
But the world is changing and law firms which are still operating on the same levels of awareness as law firms of 100 years ago are losing market share. Increasingly there are more women studying law, at least South African statistics back this up. Therefore law firms that are not adapting their structures and worldviews are finding it difficult to attract and retain women lawyers. Law firms have high staff turnover rates and high levels of employee disengagement which cost them millions without many of them being aware of this. Firms operating at higher levels of consciousness are surveying their employee needs and adapting work policies, structures, billing policies and working hours accordingly. They realise that by meeting their employees’ needs, the firm will do better. The industrial age model where you work people as hard as you, in return for undying loyalty, a greater share of firm profits and a gold pen upon retirement simply doesn’t hold sway anymore. The world has changed. People are motivated by things other than financial gain as books like Daniel Pink’s “Drive” show.
Focusing only on power – growing a firm as big as possible so that the firm website can claim it is the biggest firm in the country or the world with offices in places no one has heard of – this is a very “Red” world view. As the collapse of the massive Dewey-Leboeuf law firm showed us in 2012, bigger is not necessarily better. Reports show that senior partners of this firm in the US and the UK were not even on speaking terms as the firm headed to its demise.
The work of Richard Barrett, David Hawkins and Don Beck all point towards a changing world order. In business there is the rise of a new movement called “Conscious Capitalism” which is underpinned by all these frameworks mentioned here. (People thinking and working at this level collaborate frequently and share materials – they are not obsessed with copyright and ownership. Don Beck has worked alongside Richard Barrett. The founder of Conscious Capitalism, Raj Sisodia, author of “Firms of Endearment” was a guest speaker at the Barrett Values Centre conference in Cape Town 2012. Gita Bellin, who spoke at this conference too, also referenced Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness. )
Law firms who wish to survive the global changes need to become more conscious of their lawyer’s worldviews and values, their clients’ worldviews and values and the firm’s own worldview and values.
Why is this useful to the legal profession in general?
Increasingly there is evidence that shows clients who win their cases are not actually any happier afterwards. In depth studies of thousands of cases are showing that what most clients want from their day in court is two fold:
- a chance to tell their story to be heard
- to be respected and have their feelings validated
And yet the system is not designed with this in mind and in fact actively thwarts the fulfilment of these goals. Firstly, by giving the lawyers all the power (a friend recounts how her lawyer actually said to her “this is MY case now, not yours”) and secondly by actively discouraging any emotional responses to proceedings, by clients, lawyers, judges or juries. This negates the basic understanding that the reason most people end up needing lawyers is emotional rather than factual. Even where disputes are largely factual, they are always muddled up with the parties’ stories about the events, their interpretation of the events and their particular worldviews which determine the extent to which believe it necessary to get retribution or ensure punishment for the guilty or receive compensation for their loss, whether financial or emotional.
“Consciousness has changed in the past, and it can change again in the future. A positive change is urgent and crucial. How could people shift their values, perceptions, and behaviours unless they evolve their consciousness? How could they come up with the will to pull together to confront the threats they face in common and elect political leaders who support projects on cooperation and solidarity? Without a more evolved consciousness the motivation for change would have to await the coming of crises and catastrophes – and if these have already reached the point of no return, it will be too late. ” Worldshift 2012, Ervin Laszlo
When I look around I see so many incredible tools available at the tips of our fingers thanks to the internet. Yet we are so focused and consumed by what is immediately in front of us – the need to do more, faster, that we are not using these tools to advance ourselves and find solutions to global problems.
It is my intention to share some of these tools with those to whom they may be of use, for the greater good of the legal profession globally, and ultimately humanity. For better or for worse, we have created a legal system to help us co-exist peacefully but the systems are broken. They need to evolve, (including all those who work in these systems) so that these systems can efficiently and effectively serve humanity’s needs to live in greater harmony. This is only possible through gaining greater consciousness of ourselves and our world.