Three Levels of Awareness

The way I see it right now is that you can live your life on three different levels.

On the first level, you identify yourself with your thoughts. You consider every thought that crosses your mind as “you,” that they all come from “you.” On this level, you believe every thought that comes to your head and you are, for that reason, very affected by them. For instance, if the thought “I’m worthless” crosses your mind, you believe it and allow it to affect how you relate with the world from that moment onward. Most people live on this level.

On the second level, you realize that you are not your thoughts. That just because they show up in your head doesn’t mean that you have to believe them. You can decide how to relate to them: do you want to believe them? Do you want to do what they’re saying? You feel free to follow them or let them go, so they don’t affect you as much as they would if you were living on the first level. Your thoughts are not “you.” You are one who is aware of those thoughts; you can even treat them as though they are not your thoughts and instead treat them as being something that just shows up in your head.

The second level is where I am right now… sometimes. Because I’m still used to thinking that I’m my thoughts, it’s so easy to fall back onto the first level by habit.

But the other day, I was talking with a colleague and I asked her: “What’s beyond that? What’s beyond being aware that you are not your thoughts?”

She started to respond, and one of the words she used stuck with me: peace.

I then understood that peace is what is beyond thought. Peace is what remains when you’re able to distance yourself from the swarm of thoughts that are always crossing our minds. I could clearly see that. I could clearly feel that.

A few days later, I was attending a webinar and a different answer came to my head: what remains beyond thought is the unknown.

That made sense. But which answer is right? Is it peace or the unknown that exists beyond thought?

I started debating with myself about which one was correct, and then another question arose: what if it’s the same? What if we are describing with different words different aspects of the same concept?

That would explain why we’re so afraid to go beyond thought: because we’ll enter the unknown.

And that would also explain why we’re still attracted to going beyond thought: because it feels peaceful.

Of course, I’m just speculating here because I’ve never reached that level. But I like the idea of peace and the unknown being the same. If kind of makes sense. And I love the fact that it integrates something that attracts me with something that scares me.

I’ll keep exploring… and I’ll keep you posted.