The 4 ways of being in the world are “To Me”, “By Me”, “Through Me” and “As Me.” We are grateful to Michael Beckwith for originally introducing us to this model. These represent four states of consciousness from which anything can be done. You can wash the dishes, buy a company, make love or get stoned from any of the four.
You can also set new year’s resolutions from all four. It is not the content of the resolution that determines the outcome, but rather the consciousness from which it comes. I’ll use the example “I’m going to eat healthy and exercise” to illustrate below.
TO ME Resolutions
TO ME consciousness is victim consciousness. From here I see my world as happening TO ME. I am at the effect of people, circumstances and conditions. The cause of my experience is something or someone out there. The traffic makes me angry, the weather makes me happy, my boss doesn’t get me, the deal going south upset me. From TO ME, I can be happy or sad, but the cause of my experience is always outside of me.
TO ME resolutions are “try hards.” I’m going to try hard to eat healthy and exercise. Trying is wanting credit for something you never really intend to do. It comes from believing that life is hard and it takes effort. Ninety-five percent of all resolutions are made from TO ME, and they consequently they don’t stick.
Resolution from TO ME “I’m going to eat healthy and exercise” comes from believing that I’m fat, lazy and out of shape. I believe I’m not attractive the way I am, and that there’s something wrong living the way I’m living.
BY ME Resolutions
BY ME consciousness is taking responsibility for being the creator of my life. From BY ME, I let go of all blame and criticism, including and especially blaming and criticizing myself. From BY ME, before I make a resolution to do or be something different, I own that up until this moment I have been committed to living and being just the way I am. Further, I acknowledge that there are payoffs to being the way I’ve been. I need to embrace these payoffs before I can make another choice.
Once I take responsibility for having created the life I’m currently living, it’s time to face if I’m willing to shift and create something different. About 80% of the time the answer is “no”. When this is the case, I accept myself for being unwilling to shift my pattern. If I’m genuinely willing, I take a specific and measurable action step to begin to realize my resolution. When I come from BY ME, I locate myself as a subject with agency.
Resolution from BY ME I explore my unconscious commitment to eating just the way I’ve been eating, and exercising just the way I’ve been exercising. I become curious about the payoffs I’m getting from this lifestyle, including what I’m avoiding by living this way. I might discover that I eat and exercise the way I do because I haven’t faced my addiction to workaholism, and I’m using food and alcohol as a way to reward myself and to avoid uncomfortable feelings. Once I see and accept myself for being just the way I’m being, I consider whether I have a real YES to changing and facing what I’m not facing. If I decide to face my workaholism, part of my shift will include changing my relationship with food and exercise.
THROUGH ME Resolutions
THROUGH ME consciousness follows the choice to surrender. Once you’ve mastered the ability to create the life you want (BY ME), you can open to surrendering and being lived by something greater than yourself. Many of the ancient traditions talk about this as a possibility. THROUGH ME resolutions are not declared; they’re discovered.
THROUGH ME leaders listen from a quiet place for what wants to happen. This way of being in the world requires an unshakable experience (not just a belief) that the universe is fundamentally friendly, and that it is FOR YOU. Life becomes a co-creative, serendipitous adventure where you live in a fairly constant state of wonder, appreciation and delight.
Resolution from THROUGH ME I sit in quiet meditation and reflection and ask the question, “What does love (or God or life) want to do through me today?” I don’t try to figure this out. I listen. One of the arising impulses might be to eat a bowl of berries for breakfast, and go for a long walk. As I check in throughout the day I might notice that I’m actually not hungry, and what love is inviting me to do is write a creative article when I would normally eat lunch. One of the realities of THROUGH ME is that I learn to follow impulse, spirit, my muse or intuition in any given moment. It is a dance in which I am surrendering and following.
AS ME Resolutions
AS Me consciousness is the consciousness of oneness or nonduality. Again most of the spiritual teachers have pointed to an experience of oneness, freedom from separation or the dissolution of an egoic self as the greatest possibility. From this state there is nowhere to go to get what you already have, and nothing to do to become who you already are. There is no striving or seeking. Nothing is lacking or missing.
Resolution from AS ME AS ME is a merged state, so there is no resolution. I am what is, and what is, is me. No body, no problem! If that sounds like crazy talk, just trust me that if you do these explorations long enough with zeal and dedication, you’ll get it. And you’ll laugh. Then perhaps eat a bowl of berries and go for a long walk with that no body of yours.
Remember that these are all states of consciousness and not stages.
Most of us will cycle in and out of all these states of consciousness. We will make choices, act, set goals and resolutions from all states of consciousness. The fun is to notice. And once you do notice, you can decide if you want to shift where you’re making the resolution from. Or not.
So, TO ME, BY ME, THROUGH ME OR AS ME, what’s it going to be? It’s your choice, and they’re all valid.