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 dominates, controls, consumes people at this stage. This is also the stage of churches, denominations 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.
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?
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?