The five Levels of Consciousness

In order for us to become realised beings of peace who are actively creating positive change in the world, each human being must pass through 5 levels, or stages, of consciousness.

This process is one that takes the human being from the state of metaphysical sleep to awakening and then on to the journey of becoming a Peacemaker. The 5 levels can be summarised into steps, enabling the seeker of Truth to better understand his or her evolution.

A brief overview of the 5 Levels of Consciousness, as laid out by Sheikh Aly N’Daw and his disciples through studying the lives of various Peacemakers, are as follows:

  1. Common Sense
  2. The Awakening Shock
  3. Seeing Reality in Consciousness
  4. Experiencing Reality in Consciousness
  5. Love in Consciousness
  • Common Sense

Our ‘common sense’ is our conditioning – as explained more in-depth in Part 1 of the Initiatory Way to Peace.

Our conditioning through the various aspects of the social order (relationships, heritage, culture, education…etc.) makes many of us place huge importance on this constructed identity. And in the society we live in today, much of this comes from what we have accumulated in terms of monetary wealth, belongings and social status. Therefore we place our identity on temporary things outside of ourselves, unconsciously putting the whole concept of the human being completely to one side.

Our common sense usually leads to our own internal torment and suffering, amplifying feelings that we are never enough, that we can’t keep up and that we can only be good enough with the accumulation of more and more things. Money, respect, physical beauty… the list goes on. 

The 5 Levels of Consciousness begin with this stage and explain that for most of us, we all begin at this level with our own common sense that is unique to us depending on the unique set of circumstances that constructed our personal conditioning. 

We usually become aware of our conditioning and evolve from our common sense through stage 2, which is the Awakening Shock.

  • The Awakening Shock

Sheikh Aly often speaks of the Awakening Shock – a moment in time or a series of separate yet interlinked occasions where a human being’s entire world, or how they perceive it to be (i.e. the common sense), is rocked so hard that they are literally shaken to the core. 

This is the shock needed to awaken the human being from his/her metaphysical sleep and help them to escape their common sense or social conditioning. 

The perfect examples of the Awakening Shock come from the extraordinary lives of the Peacemakers; seemingly ordinary people for whom the Awakening Shock completely changed their lives and led to the betterment of themselves and then, the betterment of our world. 

For Gandhi, an Awakening Shock came to him when he was thrown off a train at the Pietermaritzburg railway station in South Africa in 1893 after a white ticket inspector objected to him travelling in the first-class coach. And for Nelson Mandela, it could be argued that his awakening moments to overthrow apartheid in South Africa – but through non-violence rather than through force – came during his imprisonment. These are just two examples of how the Awakening Shock is a defining moment in a Peacemakers journey.

There are many Peacemakers throughout history and many who walk among us today, who all have this one thing in common: that they experienced an awakening shock that altered the course of their lives – and history – forever.

  • Seeing Reality in Consciousness

After the awakening shock, suddenly everything in the human beings current reality will begin to appear differently.

It will seem as if a veil has been lifted and the seeker of Truth is beginning to see with new eyes for the very first time; seeing through the illusion of this world, and the trappings of the social order and social conditionings. 

Again, all of the Peacemakers throughout history have experienced this and saw for themselves the reality of different problems affecting different groups of people around the world.

For example, Gandhi, while spending much of his life trying to adopt a British way of life, finally saw the ways in which British rule was imprisoning the people of his country rather than liberating them, after his awakening shock of being thrown off a train. He then started raising awareness among the Indians of their responsibility and called them to the path of non-violence, or Ahimsa, as the path of social, economic and political freedom.

Seeing reality in consciousness is a vital stage for the Peacemaker, as they finally become aware of their own conditioning and the conditioning of others, allowing them to identify and diagnose social dysfunctions.

This stage then leads on to Level 4, which is experiencing reality in consciousness.

  • Experiencing Reality in Consciousness

As Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” And this is the stage where the rise in consciousness helps to bring about change.

Now that the Peacemaker has awakened from their metaphysical sleep and has begun to see reality in consciousness, they will begin to experience reality in consciousness by experimenting with alternative methods to help solve the problems they have witnessed in society.

For Mother Teresa, this meant completely dedicating her life to helping the destitute and dying in Calcutta, India. Amongst other things, she set up soup kitchens, a leper colony, orphanages and a home for the dying; treating the lepers, educating the poor, caring for the sick and feeding the homeless. 

Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa and the Peacemaker who helped to bring an end to apartheid in the country, experimented in different ways to end racial segregation before understanding that only non-violence held the answer, through his 27-year imprisonment. 

And Wangari Maathai, best known for her efforts to develop the Green Belt Movement which has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya, has also helped bring about change in areas other than environmental conservation including democracy and human rights. She was a strong woman who after seeing reality in consciousness and identifying a multitude of problems, set out on a quest to play her part in bringing about change in them all. 

Experiencing reality in consciousness can look different for everyone; after all, our unique life experiences will lead us to identify the problems that stand out the most to us. 

Each and every one of the Peacemakers studied by the International Sufi School saw reality in consciousness in their own unique way and therefore experienced reality in consciousness in their own way, too, becoming the key to unlock the conflicts they saw within society. Thus they each brought about change from a place of action rather than reaction in a multitude of different ways, giving their lives to the service of humanity.

  • Love in Consciousness

The final stage of the 5 Levels of Consciousness is where the experiences of reality in consciousness are all made manifest through unconditional Love for all through service to humanity. 

God sent 124,000 Prophets to liberate humankind and to share the message of unconditional Love. Many other enlightened beings and Peacemakers have been on the same mission ever since, playing God’s representatives here on earth in order to benefit the whole of humanity.

Based on the Prophetic Model, those who experience Love in consciousness understand service to humanity is not about religion or race or cast or country – Love in consciousness embraces everyone regardless of any external differences.

A major part of Love in Consciousness is the understanding that change cannot be brought about through reaction and violence, but by creating alternatives through action, non-violence and Love. 

That is what the Prophets and Peacemakers all achieved during their human experiences, including all leaders of the International Sufi School thus far.

Sheikh Aly N’Daw is very fond of the prophetic saying, “Humanity is one family under the command of God. And the one most loved by God is the one who makes himself most useful to this family”, and this perfectly encapsulates what Love in Consciousness is: selfless service to all.

Discover the latest book release The five Levels of Consciousness, for an in depth guidance on the path of Consciousness. Note: english version available soon.