The Consciousness Revolution

October 30th, 2006 by Steve Pavlina

Lately I’ve been thinking we may be on the verge of some kind of mass awakening.  It seems that more and more of us are experiencing an expansion of consciousness followed by a radical shift in our priorities.  Maybe I’m just meeting more people like this due to the nature of my work, but I strongly suspect something’s happening behind the scenes.

The awakening process

One day you’re tooling along, working your normal job, living your normal life, and everything seems OK.  But something happens that triggers a sudden expansion of your awareness, and for that brief moment of perfect clarity, you know what it’s like to be fully awake.  You’re struck by the terrifying realization that your life has gotten way off course, and that you’re really meant to be doing something entirely different.  You notice the various problems of the world, and you get the strong impression that you’re supposed to do something about these problems personally.  But as you look around,  you can’t help but notice that no one else sees what you see, at least not with the same degree of responsibility, so you don’t know what else to do except go back to sleep and hope everything will be OK.  And maybe you do manage to go back to sleep for a while, but it’s really too late because you no longer find fulfillment in your old life no matter how hard you try.  The whole experience may even lead to post-awakening depression.  Unfortunately, you don’t yet know how to find fulfillment in your new level of consciousness.  So you do your best to quietly cooperate with the status quo while being stuck with the awareness that something is definitely not right.  The more you resist your new level of awareness, the more it haunts you.

This experience of awakening has been happening to people for a long time, but what’s different now is that when you have such an experience, you’re more likely to find someone who’s already been through it without having to retreat to a monastery.  You no longer have to go it alone.  That makes a huge difference because you can save years of trial and error by finding someone who can show you the ropes of your newfound sentience.

One of the things Erin and I love most about our work is that we encounter many people who are in the midst of these amazing transitions.  Some are excited, some depressed, and some downright scared, but it’s not hard to recognize such people because they communicate as people who are awake.  They know they can no longer go back to their old lives because all they see there is a hollow shell, a life without meaning or purpose, but they haven’t yet found their footing in their new purpose-centered lives.  Many of these people stumble upon our web sites at just the right time, and they often tell us the most important thing they gain from reading our sites is to realize they aren’t alone.  Erin and I are lucky to be going through this expansion process together, and we recognize what a tremendous challenge it is for those who are going it alone.

While Erin and I don’t claim to be the penultimate of conscious living, we have been able to solve some of the practical problems people encounter on this path.  For starters we’ve found a sustainable way to stay focused on our purpose while generating plenty of income, so we can do this full-time without needing outside jobs.  Secondly, we’ve centered our own marriage and family around our purpose, so we minimize work-relationship conflicts.  And thirdly, we’ve been building a support network of like-minded people who encourage and inspire us.  This was by no means easy, but it makes purpose-centered living very practical and functional under real-world conditions.  Erin and I know what a difficult challenge this transition process can be.  We had to undergo a lot of upheaval in our lives to make this work, including significant career changes for both of us, but the results have been well worth the effort.  I think our greatest success as a couple is that we’ve found a practical, sustainable, enjoyable way to devote our lives to helping people.  There are plenty of obstacles that make such a life difficult or impractical for most people, but one by one those obstacles can be overcome.

Finding your tribe

When you realize there’s a lot more to life than work, family, entertainment, and retirement, you aren’t automatically given all the answers.  God doesn’t show up at your doorstep and say, “Hey, Terry.  I heard you just reached a new level of awareness.  Gratz!  By the way, here’s the login and password for consciousness level 2.  You can use them to download your new life manual, and be sure to read up on your new purpose in chapter 1.”  It would be nice if it worked that way, but unless you’re St. Paul, you’re out of luck.  You’ll just have to muddle through and figure out your purpose on your own.

Meditation, journaling, and other introspective practices can definitely help, and there are some articles on this site that can help you clarify your purpose here and here.  But what I didn’t mention in those articles is that it’s immensely helpful to seek out people who’ve already gone through this transition and ask them for guidance.  That isn’t always easy, but the best place to begin is by putting out the intention for such a person to come into your life, thereby activating the law of attraction.  It isn’t necessary to establish a coaching relationship; all you really need is a person you can model to keep reminding yourself that your transition to a practical, purpose-centered life is in fact possible because someone else has already done it.

As you experience such a transition, you’ll probably find yourself naturally drawn to spend more time with others who are very conscious and aware.  Some of your old relationships may weaken because they’ll no longer be compatible with you.  You may feel sad about that at first, but do your best to let go with love when you sense it’s the best choice for everyone.  Don’t remain fearfully attached to relationships that no longer serve you, since you’ll be robbing yourself and others of the new relationships that await you.

Over time you’ll be able to attract and build a support group of like-minded people.  It’s a lot easier to live a purpose-centered life when you’re surrounded by friends doing the same thing.  When you first awaken and try talking about your experiences to your friends, they may just poke fun at you or think you’re weird.  This may lead you to doubt yourself.  But I’ll tell you there are people who don’t consider this weird at all.  They’d welcome you with open arms and would be delighted to discuss your experiences openly, intelligently, and compassionately.  The more you embrace your new level of consciousness, the more you’ll attract such people to you.

In some ways the community of lightworkers is almost like a secret society.  These people often blend into the background, but when they sense someone in the process of waking up, they come out of the woodwork to greet that person.  It’s like there’s this underground purpose-centered club, and whenever someone shows signs of being a potential member, the existing members all step forward to introduce themselves.  But usually you have to make the first move to let them know you’re awake.  Some of my friends call that “outing yourself.”  For example, if you start a blog and begin writing about topics like purpose, consciousness, and higher awareness, you’ve outed yourself.  If you tell everyone you know about your new blog, many people will make fun of you, but a few people will think, “Ah… s/he’s one of us,” and they’ll privately contact you to reveal their own long-term interest in these topics.  Life can take an amazing turn when one of these contacts is someone you already knew but never suspected was of a like mind.

Mass awakenings

I suspect these increasingly frequent awakenings could be a kind of evolutionary response to what’s been happening on earth.  I’m not referring to Darwinian biological evolution here, so don’t get hung up on the choice of words.  Rather I’m suggesting there’s a collective consciousness which is generating these mass awakenings as a reaction to the current state of our physical reality.  Thanks to our technological advancements, human beings have become extremely powerful in recent decades, but many would agree our wisdom lags behind our power, creating an unstable situation.

The level of consciousness that produced today’s nuclear weapons, political divisions, environmental consequences, and other global challenges is no longer a proper custodian as we move forward.  Many of us do not trust the world leaders we have in place today, and I think the reason is that most of them haven’t reached the level of consciousness required to do what’s truly necessary.  No matter how much our leaders talk, deep down we know that the necessary solutions require more courage and compassion than they’re able to muster.  We really want to believe they’ll succeed, but our intuition is blaring at us, “Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!”

I don’t blame our leaders for this situation.  I honestly think they’re doing the best they can.  I think our corporate leaders are in the same boat.  The real problem is that there are still too many people living in fear, and this creates a global consciousness of fear that runs afoul of our best intentions.  For example, democracy is a great system, and I certainly wouldn’t want to live under a dictatorship, but a democracy is only as good as the level of consciousness of its constituents.  Fear-based people elect fear-based leaders.

As more and more people awaken, however, I think we’re going to see some real changes in the types of people we’re willing to put in charge.  I’ve never even registered to vote because in my adult lifetime, I’ve never been inspired by any of the political candidates who have a serious chance of winning.  But as soon as I recognize a highly conscious person on the ballot who I genuinely believe will serve the greater good of the entire planet, I’ll be first in line at the ballot box.  And I don’t think I’ll be alone.

The reason consciousness is such a powerful factor is that it empowers people to circumvent systems that get in the way of serving the greater good.  For example, consciousness empowers you to run a business where generating a profit is NOT the highest priority, even though the market economy is geared to reward you for putting profit first.  Many of our existing systems need to be refactored in light of their long-term consequences, but that refactoring must be done at a higher level of consciousness than that which originally spawned those systems.  This challenge must ultimately fall on the shoulders of the lightworkers.  When enough people awaken, the old systems will no longer be needed, but it will take a while to transition to better systems.

The lightworker council

How will our future earth continue to evolve?  There are some who suggest we’re headed in the direction of a one-world government.  British author David Icke purports this would be the ultimate in “Big Brother” tyranny and must be opposed at all costs.  But such a system depends on the level of consciousness of its leaders.  If a one-world government is run by tyrannical people, the system will be oppressive in the extreme.  But if it’s run by highly conscious people, it would be one step closer to paradise.

I’m hugely optimistic about this ongoing consciousness revolution, since I think it means that in the years ahead, we’ll see emerging leaders who are truly dedicated to serving the greater good, people who have mastered the courage-compassion balance.  I often have visions that our future world will eventually be lead by a council of highly conscious individuals — a lightworker council if you will.  This option isn’t practical today because such people don’t have enough public support, and the current systems are geared to keep them out of leadership roles.  It will, however, become practical once enough of us recognize that an expansion of our consciousness is the only thing that can save us in the long run.  We need leaders who speak only the truth, inspiring us by example to do the same, and we need to become the kind of global society that willingly puts highly conscious people in positions of genuine authority.

Ultimately I think the consciousness revolution will succeed.  Once a critical mass of people awaken and accept personal responsibility for the future of this planet, the status quo of low-awareness living will be history.


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