4 Stages of Spiritual Evolution
This life is a journey of our consciousness. Our bodies and minds are merely a vehicle through which our consciousness is traveling, acquiring experience and learning for the sake of evolving. Our soul had a choice among many cosmic planes for incarnation; we chose Earth because a certain type of evolution is possible here, one that is made unique by our human make-up. This is a world of duality, a place where extreme phenomena manifests, a place where a myriad of creatures meet, a place where a plethora of realities converge, a place where the drama is unending and maya (illusion) is everywhere. Within this place, we share the collective task of awakening. There are four distinct phases that outline our spiritual journey from oneness to separation, back to oneness again.
I. Unconscious Oneness is the first stage of life. We experience a state of oneness from the moment of conception in the womb until about eighteen months of age. A babe experiences awe, wonder and non-separation between oneself, others and the world. The observer and the observed are one and the same. Merged with every object in sight: the trees, birds, sky, wind, rain, mother, father; everything is a part of the babes personal sense of self. In this state, the world is the self, and the self is the world. Since the babe does not know the uniqueness of this experience, or even know itself to be an experiencer of it, this is an unconscious state of oneness.
II. Unconscious Separation is the next stage. Here, the babe begins to develop a separate sense of self, but does not know it. The babe enters duality and begins to distinguish between what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’. The world is now understood as being separate from oneself. Since the young babe is not yet conscious of its departure from oneness, this stage can be understood as unconscious separation. In this phase, the babe moves from experiencing the world as being inside oneself, to now being outside oneself. Human life is experienced as a set of relationships, wherein everything is now reorganized into a subject object dynamic. This phase generally continues into adult life.
III. Conscious Separation follows this. This person begins to recognize they have in fact departed a state of oneness and now exist as a separate being. A faint remembrance of the oneness that once was begins to awaken. The person becomes aware that something is indeed missing, and the sense of being separate from others and the world increases. The quest for individuality, uniqueness and significance that has characterized one’s growth into adulthood begins to lose meaning. Either the ‘pain of separation’ or the ‘yearning for oneness’ inspire the next phase to begin.
IV. Conscious Oneness is the final stage of our spiritual evolution. Here, one seeks to once again discover the oneness of life. One begins to ask questions about ones existence, life’s meaning and yearns to dissolve illusions of separation, particularly those that perpetuate suffering. People arrive here generally when their life comes to a point of culmination where something needs to change. Some do not know there is a way out of separation, some may not embark on this quest at all, or until their life nearly passes. In this final stage, the human begins its spiritual quest towards deeper truth and higher reality. They step on the spiritual path and make conscious steps from separation towards oneness, contraction towards expansion. This phase is initiated through awareness and decisiveness, and can be therefore understood as the return to conscious oneness.
What phase do you abide in?
Have you awoken to the journey, to the quest to return home?