The Seven Levels of Personal Consciousness

By become self-aware, you gain ownership of reality; in becoming real, you become the master of both inner and outer life.
Deepak Chopra


The seven levels of personal consciousness model is at the heart of the whole-system approach to personal transformation. Seven well-defined stages can be distinguished in the development of personal consciousness. Each stage focuses on a particular existential need that is inherent to the human condition. The seven existential needs are the principal motivating forces in all human affairs. Individuals grow in consciousness by learning to master the satisfaction of these needs. Individuals who learn how to master all seven requirements without harming or hurting others operate from full-spectrum consciousness. They can respond appropriately to all life’s challenges.

“I created the Seven Levels Model to provide a clear understanding of human motivations. The model is based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It was apparent to me that Maslow’s research and thinking was ahead of his time. Abraham Maslow died in 1970 at age 62, well before the consciousness movement had taken root. I saw that, with some minor changes, his hierarchy of needs could be transposed into a framework of consciousness. In 1996, I set about making these changes.” Richard Barrett

The Seven Levels Model was developed in 1996–1997. There are two aspects to the model—the Seven Levels of Consciousness Model and the Seven Stages of Psychological Development Model. We operate at levels of consciousness, and we grow in stages (of psychological development).

The Importance of The 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 levels of consciousness an individual operate from depends on their ability to satisfy their needs.

Specific values and behaviors can be associated with each level of consciousness. Consequently, you can determine the values of an individual or group, and you can identify what level of consciousness they are operating from.

Under normal circumstances, the level of consciousness you are operating from will be the same as the stage of psychological development (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) you have reached. However, no matter what stage of psychological development you are at, when you are faced with what you consider to be a potentially negative change in your circumstances or a situation that you believe could threaten your internal stability or external equilibrium—anything that brings up fear—you may temporarily shift to one of the three lower levels of consciousness.

Alternatively, if you have a “peak” experience—an experience of euphoria, harmony, or connectedness of a mystical or spiritual nature—you may temporarily “jump” to a higher level of consciousness.

When the threat or peak experience has passed, you will return to the level of consciousness that corresponds to the stage of psychological development you were at before the encounter occurred. In rare situations, a peak experience may have a lasting impact, causing you to shift to a higher stage of psychological development and operate from a higher level of consciousness.

Similarly, a “negative” experience, if it is traumatic enough, and particularly if it occurs in your childhood and teenage years, can impede your future psychological development by causing you to be anchored, through the frequent triggering of the traumatic memory, into in one of the three lower levels of consciousness.

You can go here to measure your current level (it’s free of charge 😊):
To understand the model, and what you have just done (if you have obtained your assessment), I would like to describe the seven levels of consciousness briefly.


The first level of personal consciousness is concerned with your body’s physiological survival and your ego’s self-preservation. We need clean air, food, and water to keep our bodies alive and healthy. We also need to keep ourselves safe from harm and injury and defend ourselves from physical or verbal attacks. Whenever you feel threatened or insecure, physically, or financially, you shift into survival consciousness.

The second level of personal consciousness is concerned with establishing and preserving relationships that produce a sense of emotional belonging. As young children, we learn very quickly that, if we don’t belong, we cannot survive. We also learn that to belong, we need to be loved.

When you are loved unconditionally, you develop a healthy sense of relationship consciousness. You feel secure in yourself because you grew up feeling loved for who you are.


The third level of personal consciousness is concerned with establishing and maintaining your sense of self-worth. To feel good about ourselves, we need to feel recognized and acknowledged by others, not just our immediate family, but also by our peers and the authority figures in our lives.

You build a healthy sense of self-worth when you are young by spending quality time with your parents, being praised for your accomplishments no matter what they are, and encouraged to keep trying even when things go wrong.


The fourth level of human consciousness is concerned with the search for your real identity. At this stage of development, the questions you are asking yourself are “Who am I?”, “Who is the ‘I’ that lies beyond my parental and cultural conditioning?” and “Who is the ‘I’ that wants to break out and be seen in the world?” Only when you answer these questions, can you discover your authentic self.

The prize that comes with the pursuit of self-knowledge is freedom: The freedom to express yourself with honesty and integrity. When you discover and express who you are, you no longer have to hide behind the façade constructed by your ego. You will be able to march to your tune, not the tune others have imposed on you.

To find out who you are, you will want to embrace adventure; you will want to discover and hone your skills and talents: you will want to become all you can become. You will want to embrace your soul self.


The fifth level of human consciousness is concerned with finding meaning in your life—what you came into the world to do. At this level of consciousness, the question is no longer “Who am I?” but “Why am I here in this body and this situation?”

For some, those who do not feel any sense of purpose, this is a daunting inquiry. For others, who are gifted with a particular talent, your purpose may seem more obvious. If you are not sure of your purpose, focus on what you love to do, and pay attention to what is immediately in front of you. Do it to the best of your ability. Alternatively, just follow your joy, develop your talents, and pursue your passion. This will lead you eventually to where you need to be to fulfill your soul’s destiny.


The sixth level of human consciousness is to make a difference in the world—in the immediate world that surrounds you, in your community or nation, or the global society. Once you have found a purpose that gives your life meaning, you quickly learn that the difference you can make is much more significant if you collaborate with others who share a similar purpose or are aligned with your cause. This is where all the work you have done in learning how to manage, master, or release the emotions associated with your subconscious fears pays off.

The more efficiently you can connect and empathize with others, the easier it is to collaborate and thereby leverage your impact in the world.


The seventh level of human consciousness is selfless service to the cause that is the object of your soul purpose. You reach this level when making a difference becomes a way of life. You are now thoroughly imbued with your soul purpose and living the life of a soul-infused personality. You are at ease with uncertainty and embrace whatever comes your way, without judgment. You are always looking for opportunities to grow and develop.

Full Spectrum Consciousness
It is essential to recognize that higher is not necessarily better. Ideally, it would help if you learned how to master all levels of consciousness. Individuals who can do this are said to be operating from full-spectrum consciousness. They display all the positive attributes of the seven levels of personal consciousness:
• They master their survival needs by staying healthy, assuring their physiological survival and their financial security, and keeping safe from harm and injury.
• They master their relationship needs by building friendships and family connections that create a sense of emotional belonging based on unconditional love.
• They master their self-esteem needs by building a sense of pride in themselves and their performance and acting responsibly and reliably in everything they do.
• They master their transformation needs by having the courage to embrace their authentic selves and letting go of the fears that keep them focused on their deficiency needs.
• They master their internal cohesion needs by uncovering their soul’s purpose and aligning the beliefs of their ego with the values of their soul.
• They master their ‘making a difference needs’ by actualizing their sense of purpose and leveraging their actions, and by collaborating with others who have a similar purpose or are aligned with the same cause.
• They master their service needs by leading a life of selfless service for the good of humanity and the planet.

What the Seven Levels Model enables us to do is make the evolution of consciousness, conscious: If you can measure something, you can manage it.