August 8, 2020


Jasper Wetlands 09/26/2009 02 Panorama — Jasper National Park, Alberta, September 26, 2009

The Stages of Spiritual Development

The Old Yogis/Hindus/Buddhists 
held there to be seven stages of spiritual development.

Stage 1 is Living Without Being Alive.

Jesus advised leaving the dead to bury the dead.
The people at this stage are dragons (Joseph Campbell),
Dragging themselves around.
They are just hanging out,
barely making it through each day,
breathing but with no zeal for life.

Stage 2 is Coming To Life Through Sexual Desire.

The Dirty Old Men we know
have been at Stage 2 all their lives long.
Stage 2 is the stage of clueless delight,
but with a faint-just-beyond-awareness-sense
of the godliness present within The Magical Other.
At this stage, 
everything revolves around sex
and the sexual orientation.

Stage 3 is the Buy/Spend/Amass-and-Consume stage.

Money, privilege, power and control
are the driving forces here.
The will to dominate, 
to have dominion,
to be the richest person in the world.
Money for the sheer joy of money
consumes people at this stage.

This is also the stage of churches,
and non-denominations.
High-steeple churches
and mega churches.
Debates about whose God is the Real God,
Bible studies
and doctrinal standards.
The flexing of spiritual muscles
and showing off for the flock.

Stage 4 is the Awakening of the Heart.

Carl Jung said, "There is within each of us,
another whom we do not know."
We tune into The Ten Million Year Old Self within
at Stage 4.
We become aware
of "The sound not heard
beyond the range of reason
and causality."
We sense there is more to us,
and to everything,
than meets the eye.

Stage 5 is Getting To The Bottom Of Things.

We take up the Quest to see what we look at,
to ask the questions that beg to be asked,
and to say the things that cry out to be said,
and seek the Source of our own nature and being.
We look past appearances to their origin,
and say, "Oh wow!" a lot.

Stage 6 is The Realization of the Inner Eye and Ear 

We behold the ineffable radiance 
of the divine in all things.
and are regularly being "arrested"
by the experience of oneness with 
life and beauty on all levels,
take up the practice of hearing what is being said
beyond words,
and grasp the meaning of:
"The path that can be designated 'The Path,'
is not a reliable path."

Stage 7 is where we "Leave God for God" (Meister Eckhart).

Here we move beyond theology/doctrine/dogma/beliefs/creeds,
past ideas of God,
and into the realized presence of more than words can say.
We move beyond duality into oneness with 
That Which Has Always Been Called God.
We live "transparent to transcendence" (Joseph Campbell),
in a "Thou Art That And Nothing More Needs To Be Said" kind of way.

As we consider these stages,
it becomes apparent that meaning changes
through each stage.
What is important varies from stage to stage.
How we think changes.
We become a different person.
The symbols that work on us are different
at each stage.
How we perceive God evolves through the stages.
Life becomes deeper, richer.
The adventure of being alive sweeps us up
and carries us along paths different 
from the ones we thought we would be traveling.
And each day has its own joy
just as each stage has its own place in our life.



Green River Canyon 09/23/2007 — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah, September 23, 2007
How truthfully do you live?
How truthfully are you allowed to live?
How are you required to distort yourself
to fit where you live?

What do you do that isn't "you"?
What do you say that isn't so?
Where are you mostly "not you" in your life?

When and where do you get to be
exactly who you are?
How often are you there?
How long do you stay?

How do you manage the contradiction?
The dichotomy?
The disharmony?
The discordance?
The dissonance?
The discrepancy?
The lie?

Do you bear consciously the pain?
Do you act out the anguish?
Do you escape in addiction?
Do you encase yourself in denial?
What becomes of the you
you aren't permitted to be?

What symptoms do you carry
that give voice to the imbalance within?

How do you see healing happening?

What are the forces of integration
and integrity
at work in your life?

If you were to take up the tasks
of becoming whole,
where would you begin?



Lotus Blossoms 09 D
What do you know to be so
because you have lived it
and it has been verified again and again
in your experience,
and nothing or no one can knock you off of it?

These things ground us
at the center of ourselves,
to the center of ourselves,
and form our grounding principles,
our core values/identity,
our guiding force.

They still stand
when all else has fallen away.

What do you trust?

What do you turn to
when you have nowhere to turn?

Upon what do you rely?

What is your sense 
of the pulsating line
that connects you
with the heart of life itself?

I know that if I am quiet,
things will occur to me
as realizations
that I could never think of
on my own.

I trust the source
of the things that just occur to me,
or just occur in my life,
that just happen,
out of nowhere
for no reason,
and allow myself
to be shown the way
without knowing there will be a way,
or where it is going,
or why.

I don't know what the Source is,
or what it is up to,
or what the point is,
or if there is one.

Just here, just now, what?
I wait,
and know what.
The blue one.
That's all I need to know for now.

How does it work with you?

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: