Should We Accept Hierarchy? - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

Should We Accept Hierarchy?

At this point in history, hierarchy is a concept that has been thrown into the bin of ‘bad things’ because of how much abuse it can and has open the door for.  But as you know, if we throw something in the ‘bad thing’ category, we resist it and refuse to look at it, swing to the opposite extreme and thus cannot gain awareness.  For this reason, I am asking that you consider what I will share here and use the triggers that will arise in order to notice and face the wounds around hierarchy and authority.  Should any of these wounds become triggered during this conversation, I highly suggest that you use The Completion Process on any painful emotions and sensations that arise.

I am going to use some “dirty words” in this episode.  Words like superiority and authority. These are words that have been thrown into the ‘bad’ category by many spiritual traditions and philosophies.  But just because we may see them as bad does not mean they are bad and what’s more than that, just because we may see them as bad does not mean they aren’t the reality.      

Hierarchy is a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to superiority or authority.  Hierarchy is a way of viewing and categorizing the world in terms of things being above, below or at the same level.  Given this definition, power and also authority are an obvious element of hierarchy.         

I personally get a front row seat to how deep this wound within people actually is because I cannot go to a workshop and greet people without people offering to give me healings or telling me they want to be my friend because they think they’d be great at pointing out my shadows, both of which they do so they can feel equal or superior to me.  Not a day goes by without someone telling me that they are not a fan, but that they love my work in order to let me know they do not want me to consider myself above them. Not a day goes by that I don’t get an e-mail or message that says, “you’re not my god, I see you are a person just like the rest of us” so as to pull me off my pedestal. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t show up late or leave early in order to send the message that they have higher priorities than me, so I get the message that they do not regard me as a bigger deal than they are.  And these comments and actions are all from people that like me, not even from people who dislike me. If you are in the position that I am in, you get to see this wound in people every day because not a day goes by that someone isn’t carrying out an unconscious power struggle with you.  

We all already know the dangers of ‘out of alignment’ hierarchy and authority, things like Hitler’s Reich, abusive parents, a law enforcement officer threatening to arrest a woman if she wont have sex with him or a catholic priest holding so much authority that he performs repetitive exorcisms on a child that is actually poisoned as opposed to giving the child an antidote.  But there are also times where hierarchy needs to be acknowledged or it’s dangerous for everyone. Imagine an operating room where the nurses refuse to acknowledge the superiority of the surgeon. Or imagine a tour guide is taking a group of people on a path through dangerous terrain and they don’t listen to the authority of the guide’s warnings. Or imagine a child who defies the parents by feeding the family dog chocolate.  Or imagine a person who does not respect the authority of shamans, learning a lot about spirituality from the Internet and then buying and administering shamanic medicines. There are dangers in hierarchy. But there are also dangers currently in no hierarchy. People are often conscious of the first and unconscious of the second.           

Because power is an obvious element of hierarchy, superiority and authority, almost nothing gets people more upset that hierarchy.  Why do people hate the idea of hierarchy and refuse to respect authority? Because they have been so hurt by it. The abuse of hierarchy and authority has destroyed lives.  Take a serious look at your own childhood. What happened to you when someone was in a superior position? What happened when someone had more power than you? What happened when they had more authority?  Chances are that two things happened. The first is, you were not taken into consideration.  Because your thoughts, feelings, needs, desires, perspectives and best interests were not taken into consideration; you felt the extreme pain of insignificance and powerlessness.  And the second is that because of this, you felt you lost your free will.  

Because of the pain you endured relative to hierarchy and superiority and authority, freedom and free will has become an obsession.  So has demanding equality. You have decided that you will not be “beneath” anyone ever again. But what you don’t see is that even if you are doing this on a subconscious level, this creates a serious problem for you and for the people around you.  

First, it means that you are subconsciously in a constant power struggle with people who you perceive to be above yourself in any way.  Many people with this pattern cannot keep a job where they have a boss and can only maintain friendships with people who need their help for example.  So the first thing to realize here is that the people who are the most resistant to hierarchy and authority are the ones that are subconsciously the most obsessed with it.  They are the ones subconsciously playing the most competitive power games and they are doing it for power’s sake, specifically in order to try to stay safe.  

The second, problem is that you refuse to accept hierarchy and authority to the degree that you often don’t even see superiority it when it is right in front of your face.  In many situations, this makes you look like an idiot to everyone but yourself. It can also put you in serious danger. On earth, it is very dangerous to refuse to recognize superiority and authority.  This is something that male animals vying for mates have to learn the hard way every day. Imagine that a fish swimming in a pond with a shark refuses to accept that it is inferior to anything. Therefore, this fish refuses to see that it is a fish and the shark is a shark.  This fish is going to get itself killed. In the human world, there are many painful consequences that will come as a result of refusing to see and acknowledge hierarchy. These consequences must be consciously chosen, not unconsciously chosen simply because of one’s resistance to anyone or anything being ‘above them’.  

On top of this, if you have decided that you will not be “beneath” anyone ever again and so you refuse to see and acknowledge superiority and authority, you will challenge people who you perceive to be above you and whom you don’t believe should be above you in very manipulative, covert and unfair ways.  If you are being conscious about challenging someone’s position of superiority and authority in this world, there are very clear ways to do it. This could be considered direct and fair play.        

The third problem is that it is impossible to be successful, conscious or find your own purpose if you do not recognize hierarchy, including superiority and authority.  People have the tendency to swing the pendulum whenever they are hurt. For example, when we are so hurt by people not being there for us, we adopt the belief that everything we need, must come from within.  Or when we are punished for our vulnerability, we develop rough and armored personalities. The dictatorships of the past that have done so much damage to people have made a great many people swing the pendulum and desire and believe in anarchy and unconditional equality.  The human being is not conscious enough for this type of social structure. Consciousness itself must be increased greatly before the idea of doing away with a power system can come into play. Swinging the pendulum is a reaction that gives rise to rebellion. Rebellion is not empowerment and it is not free will.  When people have been hurt badly by hierarchy, their dream of a world of equality is a pendulum swing.      

In the spiritual field especially, we want to transcend all that is animal, instinctual and temporal about ourselves.  Part of what is animal, instinctual and temporal about ourselves is power structures… Things like hierarchy. But the goal of awakening is not transcendence.  It is integration. And don’t be fooled by spiritual teachers or practitioners who say otherwise. I have never met someone who has actually escaped from power structures like hierarchy and superiority.  Instead, they have found their superiority in ‘not being concerned with superiority’. They have been consumed with the ego of being egoless. They have become a dictator by demanding equality.

When it comes to your refusal to recognize or accept hierarchy, superiority and authority, ask yourself why?  Are you refusing to recognize or accept it because doing so makes you feel inferior and powerless and unsafe?  Are you in reality that you are equal or superior to someone in the way that you are thinking you are? Are you demanding to be seen as equal or to be seen as superior for power’s sake?  Keep in mind that to say “no one has any authority or power over me!” is by definition, a power struggle. When it comes to your desire to challenge hierarchy and authority, ask yourself why?  Are you challenging it in order to simply not be on the bottom?  Are you challenging it to avoid the pain of feeling powerless, inferior and unsafe?  Or are you challenging it because you are in reality that you belong in that superior position?  Are you challenging it because you have a good reason to be in that superior position… A better reason than simply not wanting anyone else to be above you?    

Once you see and acknowledge hierarchy, including authority and superiority, it puts you squarely in reality and therefore it changes the rules of the game.  Seeing hierarchy, including superiority and authority doesn’t mean you will never challenge it. It means that if for some (hopefully conscious and very good) reason you do decide to challenge it, you will pick the correct strategy for doing so.  It means you are only going to challenge someone’s hierarchy or authority or superiority in conscious ways. To challenge it consciously, means you will challenge it in very specific situations and in very specific ways. Your communication and actions will change.  And perhaps most importantly, you will no longer fight to be on equal ground with everyone simply to avoid the terror of being beneath anyone. 

What you do not see is that if you do not want anyone else to be on a pedestal, you are the one who is the most concerned with power and hierarchy.  In resisting it, you are playing the game of who is above, below or equal. What you do not see is that everyone on earth has a pedestal waiting for them.  Everyone’s pedestal looks different. For example, I may be on the highest pedestal in the consciousness field, but if I walked into the world of motor sports, I have no pedestal; someone else is on a pedestal there.  The pedestals themselves are not the problem. Nor do you actually want to do away with them. All people actually want one! You just don’t want anyone else to be on one because you blamed people being higher or above you for why you got hurt or lost freedom and were treated as insignificant in the first place.  The pedestal is not the problem. People’s degree of consciousness or lack there of on those pedestals and therefore what they do with their position on those pedestals is the problem.    

With superiority and authority comes power. You can change your life today if you will just accept that there is nothing wrong with power.  Power simply needs to be in service of something. The problem within human consciousness is the need for power for power’s sake. The problem isn’t hierarchy, it is that people in positions of authority or superiority did and do not take you as a part of themselves and thus did and do not consider you and thus did and do not capitalize on your best interests.   

You need to recognize and accept authority and superiority in order to decide what to do with it. Seeing and acknowledging and accepting hierarchy does something very interesting.  Not only does it make you aware, it shows you your place in the world and your purpose along with it. People, who refuse to see superiority in others, cannot actually consciously see their own superiority.  Your purpose will be something where you are superior to others. With a more clear vision about what your areas of superiority are, you will no longer vie for power for the sake of power in and of itself. Because your purpose will naturally be something where you are superior, if you refuse to accept superiority in the world, you run the very real risk of never finding your life purpose.      

People, who cannot clearly see their own areas of superiority and who fight hierarchy and authority simply so as to never have anyone be higher than them, never make the right life choices for themselves.  For example, if a person accepted that they think they are superior at running things and making executive decisions, they would never get themselves into a position where they ever had a boss in the first place.  Thus, they would never get into the constant conflicts at the office that lead them to getting fired.  

On that note, people with more authority and who are in a superior position, will only trust you when they clearly see that you see and recognize superiority and authority both upward and downward from yourself.  The first reason for this is that it means you are in reality. The second is, a person who does not recognize superiority and authority does not see you if you are in that position.  They are in a relationship only with what they want to see.  The third is that it is very, very dangerous for a person who has authority and who is in a superior position to have someone not recognize and accept their superiority and authority.  It means that they will end up hurt. Again, in the animal world, animals have to endure this every day. If a rival male does not recognize the superiority or authority of a superior male, he will challenge it and this leads to both of them getting injured, regardless of who wins that fight.                        

I’ll give you a hint when it comes to your desire to be the best or to be in the top position of a power structure.  If your reason for wanting to be in the top position is to stay safe from the potential pain of anyone else being above you in that position, that is simply a power struggle for power struggle’s sake and indicates that you actually do not belong in that position.         

 One of the hardest things about being a spiritual teacher is that teaching about the universe entails teaching contradictory truths.  This is because we live in a multidimensional universe. At the highest dimensional level of existence, a table and a person and a plant and a dog are all made up of the same energy and the same consciousness.  All is one and all is imbued with both consciousness and free will. This is a kind of ultimate equality. But as this consciousness becomes a part of the physical dimension, this consciousness chooses to become separated and defined and polarized.  Because of this, as much as our ego does not like it, the reality of physical life is that we are not all equal. To learn more about this, I encourage you to watch my equally triggering video titled: People Are Not All Equal.  

Many people believe the universal perspective to be opposed to hierarchy.  This is not the case. The way the universal consciousness sees hierarchy is that it can be a tool for progression.  It is a system that is not bad in and of itself any more than organization or prioritization is. The way the universal consciousness sees it is that this organization should happen according to love.  To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: What Is Love. If you take something as a part of yourself, you would put it somewhere in a system where it was best suited based on its areas of excellence or superiority.  

The best way to see how the universal consciousness sees hierarchy is to imagine a car engine.  All beings are a part of the engine. People who do not accept hierarchy or who set up an ‘out of alignment hierarchy’ are those who either refuse to be a part of the engine even though they are, or those who wish to be the best at being all parts of the engine.  The problem with mankind is that because of human values and societal beliefs, a fuel pump wants to beat the piston at being a superior piston. And the reality is that no matter how hard a fuel pump tries, it will always be inferior at being a piston to the actual piston.  Authority is constantly in flux. It changes according to needs. If an engine needs fuel, the fuel pump may be in the top position on the totem pole in that moment. If the car needs to turn, the steering wheel is instead. Therefore, what is most in alignment is to own your authentic place within each system and within the greater system. 

Notice the word authentic?  This is where everything goes awry.  We live in a society where the socialization that takes place makes it very hard to preserve our authenticity.  Using the previous analogy, if you are a fuel pump and society seems to value pistons more, you will turn against your own nature and authentic truth.  To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic. Do not confuse the universe telling you to find your authentic place within the greater system for a parent trying to fit you into a box you don’t want to be in.  Ultimately, if you get beyond your inauthenticity and ingrained patterns of self-rejection, your ‘place’ will be doing something that comes naturally to you and that you love.

There is such a thing as out of alignment hierarchy and there is such a thing as in alignment hierarchy.  To be in a superior position in a power structure, implies great pressure as well as the requirement for great levels of both consciousness and awareness.  It means that your shadows are the most dangerous shadows in the room. Equality is not a reality in the realm of physicality. We do not need to be fighting against hierarchy and authority in general.  Instead, we need to be focused on developing three things: 

  1. Love.  To love is to take something as part of yourself.  For example, if whites took blacks to be a part of themselves, they could not have enslaved them without feeling the negative impact of doing so themselves.  Slavery would not have happened. When we love something, we root FOR that thing to get what it wants instead of prevent it from getting what it wants. Knowing this, hierarchy does not inherently mean that you will not be considered. 
  2. Awareness.  Question everything and consider every perspective so as to become aware of everything and arrive at a higher truth.  If we could do this, we would transcend our unconsciousness, prejudices and ignorance.
  3. For each individual to start to recognize his/her unique intrinsic value that for the sake of this conversation we could call superiorities.

If you resist hierarchy in general, it means that you are laboring under the illusion that everyone is equal or you see yourself as above it all and this mentality implies hierarchy in and of itself.  


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