Everyone’s spiritual journey, whether in response to difficult challenges or uplifting opportunities, is unique. Despite this, many spiritual journeys will use similar tools or go down similar paths. Remember that, though advice from others can be helpful, nobody can tell you how your journey should be going, or what direction it should be going in. You have to take what only resonates with your soul and let the rest go. Because there are no right or wrong paths or ways on a journey.
and also keep in mind there was a difference between a spiritual journey and a religious experience. Someone who is religious may or may not be spiritually oriented. From my observation most religious people have the best of intentions to be “good” and follow the teachings of their church, temple, or mosque to worship God. Religions are based on a set of beliefs, usually written down, which have degrees of universal truth. They may have started out with universal truths of a spiritually evolved teacher. Many spiritual truths are lost, however, when people try to concretize the teachings when the original teacher dies. Religion becomes an interpretation of a spiritual teaching and many times becomes dogmatic to the point of believing there is only one “right” way to God. A religion that does not include all of humanity and have tolerance and love for people choosing different paths is not practicing high spiritual truths. As you observe different religions, notice the degree of inclusiveness and universal thinking.
Spirituality is inclusive and based on universal truths; for example, all paths lead to the same place, to the a God or a deity. There is not an agreed upon set of rules that must be adhered to in order to know God. It is not based on belief systems; however, many people start this way, until personal experience proves or disproves them. Spirituality is a personal unfolding of Truth, leading to a personal relationship with the Source with a progression of greater understanding and realization of Life, God, the Universe, and Creation. The spiritual journey is much bigger than being a religious person. Again, a spiritual person may or may not be religious. Religion impacts one from outside of oneself, whereas spirituality opens one through direct experience from within oneself.
How do people get started on the spiritual journey? Many times it begins with a personal crisis that starts an inner desire to look beneath the surface of what is happening to find richer meaning and purpose. One may be asking questions such as
“Who am I outside of my roles and conditioning? Why am I here? What would give my life more meaning and purpose? Why is this happening to me? How can I help myself? Why would God allow this to happen to me? If there were a God, this wouldn’t have happened. Is there a God? What do I think about the things that my parents, teachers, religion, and society taught me about life? How can I heal my dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? How can I change my life so that I like my life?”
These questions and others must be answered, so a search begins which moves a person onto a deeper quest. Life is always answering our inner questions by bringing us answers through new experiences. Teachers may be family members, or may come to us through books, television, or religious teachings. You may have heard that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. In actuality, the answers and teachers were always right in front of your nose. However, you have to be ready to see, feel, and hear the insights.
Sometimes it is not even a conscious thought that begins the journey. It could be that one has a problem or habit that one wants to change, or a relationship that is not working. At this point one might enter a 12-step group, counseling, or family therapy to improve the situation. Many times, the group or therapy opens the door for a deeper search. Some people respond when there is too much pain and suffering after a catastrophic event like an illness, divorce, loss of a job, or death of a family member. These experiences force people outside of their frame-of-reference. Many times when people are confused, hurt, or angry, they are open to new ideas.
Another way one moves on to the spiritual path is to be with a partner on this journey, who is constantly changing and growing, introducing new ideas, and catalyzing the relationship. When one stays in the relationship when their partner evolves, s/he is also on the path or s/he would not be attracted to stay in the relationship. People stay with partners in a similar range of consciousness. If one partner increases their vibration and the other partner is not ready to do so, then the two will probably not stay together for long.
For some, a mystical experience changes them forever. This is where an expansion of consciousness, greater than everyday life, is experienced. Here the veil is lifted and the individual understands in an instant the meaning of life, releases all fear, understands that Love is the underlying principal of the universe, and is changed forever. The same goes for those having a near-death experience. Most people, however, go through a longer process where insights and revelations about themselves and the Universe are experienced gradually.
Everyones journey is unique and different in their own way. So here’s another kind of spiritual.. We begin the first two stages of this journey with our feet with our feet firmly planted on the physical plane, viewing ourselves primarily as limited physical beings. Our consciousness is ruled largely by fear, which makes us easy targets for being controlled by others. Many people in these early stages view themselves as victims of circumstances that are beyond their control.As we evolve, our “world” expands, and we glimpse beyond the material world into the realms of the human soul. Fear recedes and love blooms. The transformation, then, is a redefinition of ourselves from limited physical beings who are victims of external forces to magnificent spiritual beings who are creators of the lives we were born to live.
Holistic Life Coaching and the Spiritual Journey
Coaching clients to progress with greater ease on the spiritual journey is powerful. If you are a life coach, imagine the tremendous benefits you can offer to clients. When you understand precisely where clients are on the journey, you can pinpoint the challenges and opportunities that are inevitably playing out in their daily lives. This helps them to progress more quickly and receive exponentially better results.
Knowledge of the seven stages of spiritual development and their impact on your life may be your most practical tool on the spiritual path. Once you understand the sequence, you can track your development step-by-step and bring deeper meaning to the events of your life, along with those you serve. You can also avoid the pitfalls that prevent people from evolving, and manifest the life you deeply desire.
The Seven Stages of Spiritual Development
As we evolve, our minds develop and our souls become more and more present in our lives. In the first two stages of spiritual development, people function largely on auto pilot, based on programming in the unconscious mind. This state is characterized by a lack of self-awareness, along with a high degree of fear and a narrow range of thinking. The result is a tendency to follow the crowd and play it safe.
An Overview of the Seven Stages
1. Recognition: From a place of lack of self awareness, something wakes up and we recognize that we have some choices. We are going with the crowd, but we are starting to awaken. The mind is becoming more active and new possibilities are emerging.
2. Breaking Loose (Renunciation): Now we recognize the opportunity to free ourselves from the herd and jump over the fence to freedom. This takes courage. We have to sacrifice the perceived safety of the crowd to open to more individual opportunities. As we prepare to take charge, fear starts to lose its hold.
3. Claiming Our Power: This is where it starts to get interesting. Now we get our first taste of freedom as we claim our right to live the lives we were born to live. The mind is expanding further now as we explore new possibilities. At this point, we enjoy the benefits of independence. Free from the herd, people often do uncharacteristically different things at this stage. They may start to dress differently, travel, change jobs, develop new interests, and change behaviors.
4. Embracing Our Greatness: Exploring freedom leads to a deeper exploration of who we are. This is when people begin to experience soul searching and recognition that the truth lies within, in the power of our hearts and souls. It’s the time when we bridge the gap between the restrictions of the physical plane and expansiveness of the spiritual plane. We are preparing to make the ultimate paradigm shift into a new way of being in the world, but don’t know where we are going.
5. Expressing Our Uniqueness (Sovereignty): As we embrace ourselves as spiritual beings, we rise a new level now, onto the spiritual plane. Now we are guided by the truth in our hearts. This stimulates a desire to express our deeper purpose and share our greatness with the world.
6. Integrating Our Roles as Creators: Our integration of this creative reality includes mastering our thinking and ways of being on the spiritual plane. Becoming more aware of the big picture now, we recognize how our actions can have a positive impact on larger numbers of people.
7. Transcendence: Now we complete the process of becoming fully functional as creators of the lives we were born to live. We are highly aware now that we create from the inside out with our minds and our hearts. We know how manifestation works and how our thoughts and feelings are responsible for the results we are getting in our lives. We are learning to live in harmony with the laws of the universe and reaping the rewards of our efforts on the journey.
More Notes on the Stages of our Spiritual Development
The first two stages of our spiritual development (Recognition and Breaking Loose) could be viewed as preliminary. Our personal transformation really begins when we free of the hold of the herd with the completion of the second activation. At this stage, we recognize the need to think for ourselves and release the grips of those who seek to control our lives. Having the courage to free ourselves from these ties provides us with the momentum we need to make the ultimate paradigm shift. Then we can move forward and become creators of the lives we were born to live.