In these times of political gridlock, heightened social and racial tensions, and the seemingly endless stream of random violence and terrorism, remaining neutral is a genuine act of courage. More than that, Dr. David Hawkins advocated that expressing the energy of neutrality holds the key to the next stage of our collective evolution.
It takes a great deal of courage to be neutral.
In a world as polarized as this one currently appears to be, it takes a great deal of courage to be neutral. When so many are choosing sides, while vilifying those who choose the other side, choosing neutrality seems counter intuitive. Traditional thinking dictates that we must choose sides and take a stand, to resist that which seems detrimental or dangerous to ourselves, our families or the collective soul at large. In his Night Trilogy, Elie Wiesel wrote:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”
Given Mr. Wiesel’s experience as a Holocaust survivor, he makes a compelling case. It can be challenging to resist. Before we know it, we could easily find ourselves taking a side and fighting against the opposition, whoever or whatever that may be. However, as Dr. David R. Hawkins points out in his essential book, Power Vs. Force, choosing sides and defending positions “creates polarization, which in turn creates opposition and division.”
When we choose sides, peace becomes impossible.
Generally agreed upon physics laws hold true that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Stated another way, when we choose sides, someone else chooses the other side. Choosing sides sets the stage for inevitable opposition, resistance and conflict. Choosing sides makes peace impossible.
As more people choose our side, other people choose the other side. As we observe the opposition growing, we become more rigidly entrenched into the positions of the side we have chosen. We stop listening to the opposition and become intractable, which only increases the resistance of the opposition. The more the opposition grows, the more rigidly attached we become to our positions, which leads to an inevitable escalation of force to defend our positions. At some point, we become committed to being right, rather than being happy, or at peace. Of course, the other side is doing the same thing, and the resistance continues to grow from both sides. Conflict is inevitable. Peace becomes impossible.
Courage is the first expression of true creative power.
In Power Vs. Force, Dr. Hawkins offers a helpful tool for evaluating the relative energies humans are capable of expressing. Hawkins’ scale is vertical in orientation to acknowledge the elevating ascension of power from 0 at the bottom end (complete absence of power) to 1000 at the top end of the scale (pure enlightened power).
Ascending from 0, we begin demonstrating the energy of shame at about 20 on the scale. Energetically speaking, shame is just above expressing no power at all. Shame is perhaps the lowest form of energy we are capable of expressing. It is a destructive force. Shame is not capable of true creative power. It is negative force of energy, destructive, rather than creative.
As power ascends on Hawkins’ scale, humans express a progression of energetic traits. We move from shame to guilt. Then, on to apathy and grief. At 100 on Hawkins’ scale, we express the energy of fear. Then, at 125 we reach desire. After desire, we ascend to the energies of anger and pride, before finally arriving at courage.
Courage, which calibrates at 200 on Hawkins’ scale is the threshold where we begin to first have access to creative power. Energetically speaking, courage is the point where the destructive force of the energies calibrating below 200 first begin to be transformed to energies capable of expressing creative power. Courage is where the energy of force begins to wane, and the energy of true creative power begins to first express itself.
It takes courage to overcome pride.
On Hawkins’ scale, the energy of courage first registers at 200, just above pride, which calibrates from 175-199. Hawkins maintains that, for centuries, the world collectively and predominantly expressed the energy of pride, at around the level of 190, until crossing the threshold of courage at 200 sometime in the late 1800s. At the time Power Vs. Force was written, Hawkins calibrated the collective energy of the planet at about 204, just above the level where courage first expresses.
Compared to shame, which calibrates at 20 on Hawkins’ scale, pride is an exponentially greater demonstration of creative energies. Even if ultimately destructive, expressing the energy of pride is essential, if we are ever to access the creative power that courage first makes available. Still, pride is an energy of force rather than power. One of the main characteristics of pride is a rigid attachment to positions that we will fight to defend. Pride gets us into conflicts and wars, which keeps us stuck in a self-perpetuating, ceaseless cycle of conflict where peace is impossible.
Pride makes us inflexible, unwilling to bend, which means we inevitably break.
As the martial arts teach, a rigid position or stance is a point of vulnerability. If one does not bend, one tends to break. Pride makes us inflexible, unwilling to change. If we are inflexible and unwilling to change, at some point we will inevitably break. As the proverb goes, pride always comes before the fall.
It takes great courage to grow beyond the energy of pride. It takes even more courage to accomplish neutrality. Neutrality, which first calibrates at 250 on Hawkins’ scale is the threshold where we first begin expressing true creative power. It becomes available at the level of courage, but becomes a true creative power when we first express the energy of neutrality.
Neutrality is essential to the expression of universal, unconditional love.
For comparisons’ sake, it is interesting to note that, on Hawkins’ scale, neutrality is halfway up the scale to the energy of love, which first calibrates at 500. It should be apparent that neutrality is absolutely essential to expressing the energy of unconditional, universal agape love. You cannot hold someone under the prideful thumb of expectation and conditions, and still express unconditional love.
As we ascend Hawkins’ scale from neutrality to love, we demonstrate capacities of willingness, acceptance and reason. Reason is indeed a high expression of creative power, and falls just before love on Hawkins’ scale. Beyond love, which first calibrates at 500, we move through joy (540) to peace, which begins at 600. Beyond peace is enlightenment, calibrating from 700 to 1000. At the very top end of Hawkins’ scale would be ascended masters like Jesus and Buddha, among others.
How exactly is being neutral greater than courage?
So, what does this all have to do with our individual and collective evolution? What are we to think about Elie Weisel’s persuasive imperative that we must choose sides and oppose oppressors? How exactly is being neutral greater than courage?
The first thing to know is that the neutrality Hakwins is speaking to is far from being passive. As Hawkins sees it, neutrality is a quite active creative power. In no way is neutrality the same as passivity. Expressing neutrality fosters flexibility and nonresistance, which are powerful energies. Neutrality is certainly not the same as silence, it simply refrains from adding energy to the forces of conflict and opposition.
As Hawkins points out, maintaining neutrality allows for a “non-judgmental, realistic appraisal of problems.” Those who express neutrality maintain a relaxed attachment to outcomes, and are therefore open to new options. Neutrality creates a sense of buoyancy and confidence in one’s inner consciousness. Neutrality expresses a sense of general well-being; a “confident capability to live in the world.”
Experientially speaking, neutrality creates a sense of inner safety, an inviolable space in one’s consciousness beyond the appeals of fear, guilt and shame. Neutral people are not interested in conflict, competition or playing the guilt card. They are amiable, emotionally stable and have no need to control the behavior of others. Neutral people value freedom, including the freedom to decide for themselves, and are therefore impervious to persuasive appeals founded in fear and guilt.
In unity and oneness, there are no sides.
If we are to evolve, we must move beyond the energy of pride and the need to be right. We must become willing to not choose sides, remembering that in oneness, there are no sides. In unity, there are no lines of division. It is fear that creates separation and division. Love unites. It is inclusive and harmonizes all resistance into an experience of acceptance and peace.
In its finest expression, the courage to be neutral is the willingness to not be persuaded by appeals that use fear, guilt and shame as motivators for compliance. Regardless of the stakes involved, any appeal grounded in these qualities encourages separation, judgment, criticism, divisiveness and sustained conflict. Such expressions are limitations on the full range of true creative power available to us.
We can either stay stuck individually and collectively in energies of pride, insisting on our right to be right, and foregoing happiness and peace. Or, we can become willing to express neutrality, withdrawing our rigid attachments to positions we have to ceaselessly defend. Being defensive is reactionary and never leads to peace. It should be readily apparent to the spiritual warrior that we cannot fight for peace. Having the courage and, more importantly, the willingness to express neutrality sets us on a course to expressing more of our true creative power, which inevitably leads to peace.