power vs. force



Lately, I have been thinking a lot about motivation as it relates to intentions in our lives.

The book Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins has introduced me to a very interesting concept regarding motive, paradigms, and power. Though I am skeptical of many of the scientific elements he brings to the table, I have been fascinated by the spiritual ideas.

In the book, Mr. Hawkins suggests that the way we view and interact with the world relates to a specific level of consciousness. He believes we often stay within the same consciousness level most of our lives, but I personally believe that we may jump between these levels depending on our mood, experiences, and spiritual growth.

Mr. Hawkins describes the following levels.




The levels in coral depict those which use power. Operating from one of these levels creates an effortless pull of good things, situations, and opportunities to you.

Meanwhile, the levels in gray demonstrate the levels of force, according to Mr. Hawkins. Force levels require you to go out there and ‘take’ the good things, situations, and opportunities that you’d like.

It all boils down to a “push” vs. “pull” way of living and being.

At first glance, this may either seem amazing or a little too woo-woo.

Regardless of the concept’s abstract nature, I’ve found some tangible, “spiritually practical” ways to implement these ideas with great results in my own life.

Lately, whenever I’m faced with a difficult personal conflict, business decision, or other mental quandary, I now try to determine which level I’m currently operating from.

Chances are, if I’m having a conflict, I’m looking at the circumstances from a gray, forceful level. Coming up with a solution for the problem on the same, or nearby gray level, will still leave me frustrated and at a standstill.

However, when I pause and ask myself:

“At what level would I need to look at this situation in order to find peace and a new solution?”

… A new way of being, thinking, and feeling emerges.

Is it always easy to remove the emotions tying me to the gray level I was previously operating in?

Honestly, no.


In fact, funny story… I just had “a situation” occur in the middle of writing this post.

Yep, about one minute ago I spilled my coffee out of the blue onto my new MacBook Pro (which means I’m now typing this portion of the post on Mr. Lively’s super old laptop).

I easily could have felt angry about the unforeseen setback, guilty about my clumsiness, and afraid that it might do some real damage.

But thanks to writing this post, I immediately was reminded of the power levels. Heck, I just needed to look at my screen rather than the coffee puddles to find that I needed to rise to the level of acceptance in order to find the peace about the situation.

I can accept that I will spend the rest of the day doing work from this different computer and be thankful that I have a computer to work on at all. I can also accept that I will find out if any serious damage has been done when Mr. Lively gets home to investigate.

So there you go. Though the idea of consciousness levels might be a bit “out there” for some, but it can really be useful.

Especially if you spill coffee on your laptop.

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  1. This is great!! I love this because I’m really all about switching up the way you’re emotionally responding to situations. Especially since our emotional responses tend to be predicated on mental narratives we’ve crafted when the same situation happened in the past (or how people tell us to respond when something happens).

    I’ll definitely be working to vibrate at the level of the emotions of the pink (one of my fave colors anyway). And this is also timely as I try to figure out ways to be more mindful in how I want to approach certain situations and questions I have in my own life.

    Thanks for this post!

    1. Jess Lively

      Exactly! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. JillGG

    this is a great visual, I’ve often heard authors, etc say that in order to change your negative thoughts you have to re-frame your thinking, this gives a visual on exactly how to do it! Simply choose the coral instead of the grey!

  3. Oh My you are delightful, what a lovely post ! hope the computer isn’t to too damaged – Mac support told me to take off all the keys and dry any visible water , then put in the hot water closet to dry out – worked for me ….

    1. Jess Lively

      Nice! Mine works for short periods of time and then gets wonky… hoping it all gets sorted out soon.

  4. Lindsey Little

    This post is extremely helpful! As JillGG was saying, we all know we’re supposed to turn our negative thoughts into positive ones. Ok…that can be easier said than done. Now I can pinpoint exactly where I’m at on the negative (force) spectrum and work toward thinking in terms of one of the power levels. I will literally print out this graphic and keep it at my desk. I’m a visual person, so seeing the levels and colors will be much more effective than “just trying to think positively.” Thanks Jess!

  5. Lynn

    Thanks for sharing this graphic Jess. It’s very similar to another concept I just learned about at a company meeting. We went through a corporate culture reshaping workshop by Senn Delaney and they shared a tool with us called the Mood Elevator. Basically it’s the same principal with the idea that when faced with a situation your reaction is a direct result of where you sit on the elevator and that moving your mood up from anxious or irritated for example to at least curious or optimistic will have a direct positive impact on how the situation can unfold. ( I uploaded an image in you’re interested).

    And on an unrelated note may I suggest a clear keyboard cover for your macbook? Best $25 I’ve spent for mine…it’s so thin you don’t feel it and since the motherboard for the macbooks lives under the keys it’s essential for warding away liquid spills…saved me twice thus far! (You can find one made by Moshi sold at the Apple store).

    Thanks as always for the incredible insight and sage advice. I really look forward to your posts each day!

    1. Jess Lively

      Awesome graphic, thank you for sharing! And yes, the two concepts seem very similar!

      I’ll have to look into that. I wonder if they make them for the new MacBook Pros… will need to find out!

  6. Amy

    Hi Jess! This post really intrigues me, and I agree that this color gradation chart would be a great reminder to help reframe our thinking when faced with a setback. I hope your computer is okay btw!

    From an abstract perspective, I get how this would work in the big picture too, but I’m curious about how you can navigate the chart on more than a case-by-case basis. For example, what if you felt you’ve lived most of your life in the coral section but suddenly find yourself in the gray because of a number of changed life circumstances and you’re not quite sure how to change your circumstances for the better? Acceptance doesn’t necessarily seem like the right state to strive for…because that might mean accepting mediocrity. Is it courage to fight your way back and make/”take” positive changes?

    Another question is how to handle the negativity/gray state of others when these people are permanent fixtures in our lives and we’re facing the same problems together? You can accept that the other person will always see the situation differently than you do, but It sometimes can be hard not to let some of those gray feelings rub off on you too.

    Just curious to hear your thoughts or to see if David Hawkins shed some light on this in his book. Thanks!

    1. Jess Lively

      Hey Amy!!

      Great questions. I’m not sure I have all the answers but here’s my take.

      On the acceptance part- I think what you might be confusing acceptance with in coral is apathy in grey. If you feel apathetic about your situation you would not strive to change anything and stay in a rut in the grey area.

      Acceptance, in coral, I think is a bit different. Acceptance would choose to appreciate that this moment in time is not perfect, but that it has happened, and it can change going forward. It’s not so much about staying put as it is not beating yourself up about being in the grey in the first place. Which could then release a lot of guilt (grey) and frustration (anger) about being in the grey — causing you to rise up to something more positive like courage — and taking a bold step to get out of the grey zone. I’d be careful not to “force” things though. Be “willing” to do what is necessary without using any grey motives to get there… I know that might seem abstract, but it’s the best I can share.

      Totally agree about your second though about others in grey zones. I think acceptance is going to be the key there. You cannot change them, they can only change themselves. But you are a proactive individual and (no matter how hard it can be) they cannot control your mood unless you choose to let them affect you. Viktor Farnkl is a great example of this if you want to check out some inspiration.

      The book itself might also be an interesting read for you. But I warn: if you are someone who likes to agree or disagree completely with a book or idea you might not feel that way about all of his ideas. For myself, I take the useful parts and disregard the parts I don’t resonate with.

  7. Erika

    Jess–I love this post. First off–I can completely relate to this mostly this whole list….as I have been there at some point in my life. I am a visual person, so seeing this really resonates with me instead of only talking about it. This is such a great reminder of the perspective shift I often need.

    Thank you! And hope your computer survived.

    1. Jess Lively

      Thanks, Erika! Yes, the computer thankfully survived!!

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