How much do you absorb compared to how much you create?
How much silence do you get to balance all of the noise in life?
What are the quality of your interactions like?
These are some questions that shine light on potential imbalances in your life, and help to cultivate an empowering sense of self-awareness.
And these questions have led me to develop a template for creating balance in life, the 4 States of Waking Consciousness:
Each of these represents four general classifications of states we’re in throughout the day.
The key, like everything in life, is to find your own unique healthy balance. And having a template like this greatly helps in cultivating the awareness necessary to create balance and achieve goals.
The 4 States of Waking Consciousness
Absorption is, as you probably guessed, whenever you’re absorbing. Yes it’s true that we’re always absorbing through the subconscious mind, but here I’m referring more to absorption through the conscious mind.
The state of absorption is basically whenever you’re watching, reading or consuming anything. For example, watching tv, reading a book, even looking at architecture is absorption.
There are also scales of absorption. For example, watching tv is almost pure absorption, while reading is absorption that is less passive because the faculties of imagination and visualization are involved. And then something like sitting quietly and observing nature is absorption bordering on silence.
Most people in today’s society are extremely imbalanced, being so absorption dominant that all of the other states become suffocated, leading to mental, emotional, physical and spiritual disharmonies.
Prescription for the average person: Absorb less. Be aware of everything you absorb throughout the day. Only absorb what is in alignment with you highest good.
Creation is, obviously, whenever you’re creating.
Creating comes in many different forms, through self-expression and anything related to art.
Some examples of creation are writing, painting, drawing, dancing, singing, chanting, designing, building something…etc.
Creation is the active, the outflow, compare to the receptive, inflow of absorption.
Most people in today’s society are severely deficient in creation. Because most people create so little, they’re blocking their flow of energy, which leads to stifled emotions, depression and anxiety (among other dis-eases).
I discuss this topic in more depth here: Release Into Love
Prescription for the average person: Create more. Express yourself more. Do something creative today, no matter how small.
Silence is the state of stillness, or pure consciousness.
Silence is epitomized by the practice of meditation. It is a state of no-thought, no noise and no distraction. It is the infinite possibility from which everything else emerges.
As I just mentioned, meditation is a means of dipping into silence. Think of it as a cleanse, or a reset for your entire being.
Like with creation, most people today are severely deficient in silence. We expose ourselves to constant noise and distraction, both externally and internally. This never gives us the space to truly rest and dip into the essence of being, which rejuvenates and allows us to then live with increased peace and clarity.
Prescription for the average person: An Introduction to Meditation
Interaction is characterized by the exchanges between individuals. Any time a connection with another individual is being made, that’s interaction.
Interaction is unique in that it can underlie absorption or creation. For example, when listening to someone else speak, you’re both interacting and absorbing. When you’re talking to someone, you’re both interacting and creating. When you’re simply in the presence of someone, or making eye contact with them, that’s pure interaction.
Though interaction is not as stifled as creation or silence, those deficiencies have devalued the quality of most interactions. For example, most people opt to watch tv together instead of just being with the other person. That’s two people merely absorbing in the same room instead of actually connecting.
Prescription for the average person: Enhance the quality of your interactions. Truly get to know people. Be present, make eye contact, listen intently and embody compassion.
Applying 4 States of Waking Consciousness
Keep in mind that each individual has to find his/her own unique balance. But even with individual differences, it’s important to not become so imbalanced that it creates unwanted problems.
As stated before, most people are severely deficient in creation and silence. This affects the quality of interaction, along with creating many other problems.
And funnily enough, too much absorption affects the quality of absorption as well. Someone who spends all day on their Facebook newsfeed would not have the attention span or focus to read a book.
A simple way to diagnose yourself is to think about how many hours per day you spend in each of the four states. Additionally, be aware of the quality of each. Then you can come up with a ratio that is a general estimate.
For example, on an average day, my ratio (totaling 100%) might look like this:
Absorption – 30%
Creation – 35%
Silence – 10%
Interaction – 20%
If you live in modern western culture, silence is going to be very low no matter what. But it’s important to get at least some silence each day. If you think about it, most people get absolutely no silence ever! We’re constantly distracted by smartphones, social media, tv, checking email, to-do lists and even other people.
The benefits of silence are seemingly endless. This is why it’s crucial to get at least some silence every day.
The other point about applying the 4 States of Waking Consciousness relates to working towards goals.
If you have a goal, you may have to shift your proportions in order to achieve it.
For example, if you want to write a novel, you have to be in creation mode more often. You may also need more silence in order to support that creativity. This means that interaction and absorption may have to take a back seat while you’re writing the novel.
Expanding Your Circle
Here’s a really cool phenomenon…
When you engage in personal growth of any kind, you actually EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE.
What I mean by this is you increase your capacity regarding each of the four states. It’s not necessarily that you have more time in the day, but the quality and intensity are increased.
Any of these states can be deepened through practice. For example, by reading books you can learn to absorb and synthesize information more effectively. You can practice writing, thus being able to write better and produce more quality words per hour. You can practice meditation to deepen your state of silence. You can practice compassion to increase the quality of interactions.
Whenever you increase your capacity, you expand your circle.
So where do you stand?
Here are some questions that will create more awareness for you:
- Which of these states are you deficient in?
- Which states are you overly immersed in?
- How can you create more balance and harmony?
- Do your proportions of these states reflect your highest interest?
- How can you shift these proportions to create more peace and happiness?
- How can you shift these proportions to solve a problem you have?
- What goals do you have and how can you shift your proportions to achieve them?
- What are your favorite ways to create?
- What are ways to absorb that benefit you?
- How can you get more silence?
- How can you increase the quality of your interactions?
Take a minute to ponder those questions. Let them sink in and create some awareness.
I hope you found value in this template.
– Stevie P!