To understand this remarkable book and its deeply mystical language and allusions, a little background may be helpful. He journeyed, on foot and dressed as a poor traveler, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and an alms-bowl called a kashkul, to the uninhabited mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening | The Chopra Center
He spent his time in seclusion, prayer, meditation and reflection for two years, suffering and struggling to unburden his soul and come to terms with the mission revealed to him two years before in the Black Pit of Tehran:. I roamed the wilderness of resignation, traveling in such wise that in My exile every eye wept sore over Me, and all created things shed tears of blood because of My anguish. The birds of the air were My companions and the beasts of the field My associates.
We betook Ourselves to the wilderness, and there, separated and alone, led for two years a life of complete solitude. From Our eyes there rained tears of anguish, and in Our bleeding heart there surged an ocean of agonizing pain. Many a night We had no food for sustenance, and many a day Our body found no rest.
By Him Who hath My being between His hands! Notwithstanding these showers of afflictions and unceasing calamities, Our soul was wrapt in blissful joy, and Our whole being evinced an ineffable gladness. For in Our solitude We were unaware of the harm or benefit, the health or ailment, of any soul. Alone, We communed with Our spirit, oblivious of the world and all that is therein.
The Sufis—Muslims who emphasize the mystical inner dimensions of spirituality—typically belong to different turuq, or orders, each organized around the teachings of a Sufi master. Like Zen masters, the leaders of various Sufi orders study and contemplate the mystical realities for their entire lives. For the Sufis, the madness that comes with the full moon symbolizes joyful, mystical intoxication with the love of the transcendent and the divine.
The Stages of Our Spiritual Journey [BOOK]
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith. This is the value of Hagberg and Guelich's model. According to them, "the productive life" is important, but it is not the goal. Indeed, on the map of the Christian journey, those at this stage are only half-way there!
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Stage 4 is "the journey inward" - "a deep and very personal inward journey" that "almost always comes as an unsettling experience yet results in healing for those who continue through it" In this stage, our former views of God are radically challenged. The disruption can be so great that we feel like we are losing our faith or betraying loyalties.
This newfound and often surprising uncertainty is usually precipitated by a crisis meaning that any move from stage 3 to 4 is often in the context of, or as a result of a crisis. A crisis of faith, a crisis where many of the former truths and answers now seem inadequate or inappropriate for the next phase in the journey, or a crisis over the corporate practices of the church or group we associated with that no longer seem as right as before. The crisis "shakes our strongly held beliefs or assumptions and we feel adrift on a restless sea, fending for ourselves.
Our sense of God is shaken and we can find no new direction, only more questions" The crisis shocks our system. We lose comfort and question our convictions as our previous faith-supports are no longer adequate. Why does advancing to this stage usually demand a crisis? The reason is simple: No one would choose this kind of experience on their own! Most of us are so comfortable and self-sufficient at the previous stage called the productive or fruitful life that we have no natural tendency to move at all. In fact, stage 4 does not even look like part of the journey for those of who are at home in stage 3.
It does not appear to be an extension of our faith and growth. Consequently, we are not drawn in this direction. Our aversion to stage 4 is increased because of the very real dangers that accompany this stage.
Ascending the Stages of Spiritual Search
Overwhelmed by pain or crises in our lives, we absolutely cut ourselves off from God" There is a very definite transition that has to be gone through to move from stage 3 to stage 4. There is an experience of 'the wall'. It is impossible to go over, around, or under the wall. One can only go through it.
Up to this point, one can be religious, spiritual, or fruitful and not be healed psychologically, or vice versa" At the Wall we are forced to "face the truth" in order to move forward. And that involves facing our own and others' demons. We must face that which we fear the most, and that is why it is so unsavory, and why so many people only enter the Wall under duress" Only through self-acceptance and surrender to God's will can one go "through" the Wall to deeper levels of spiritual growth. We must accept ourselves with all our wounds and imperfections.
We must experience God's love and acceptance of us as we are in all our weakness and humanness. And then we must fully and completely surrender to God's will, even though we remain in the dark. These motivations have unhealthy roots. They betray a sense of low self-esteem, a desire to control. These first three stages keep churches in business. It is what produces workers, people who sit in the pews and learn, tithers, and volunteers who pull the ministry off. In the wall, the transition to entering into stage 4, there is the scary place where it feels like everything is up for grabs.
There are far more questions than answers. It can be a most confusing stage but also a most glorious stage because it is where we begin to let go of some of the comforts that protected us so well, but also kept us from deeper and richer experience of God. The huge challenge is that it is possible to dance with the transition, use the language but never go through. To talk the talk but always to default back to stage 3. Stage 5 is "the journey outward" where our "focus is outward, but from a new, grounded centre of ourselves" We possess a new-found confidence that God loves us fully, just as we are.
At stage 5 we grow into the full awareness that God truly loves us even though we are never fully whole. God loves us in our humanness" With newfound inward resources, we "venture outside our self-interests to others" We are weak, but whole. Aware of our faults, we are confident that God will work through us. Wholeness looks a lot like weakness at this stage. Wholeness does not make us stronger; it allows God to work through our weaknesses.
Wholeness means being very aware of our faults but not letting them trip us God can use us most in our brokenness, a truth that was very hard to accept until the Wall experience. Frequently, we appear to be impractical and out of touch with reality. The way the world functions around us, people who are other directed, whole, selfless, and called by God are counterculture.
We just do not fit with the realistic expectations of a world that is out to be productive and to win. Even the productive Christians at earlier stages in the journey think we at stage 5 have lost our edge. At stage 5 we are not as oriented toward productivity with outward signs or products. Consequently, we appear less productive and slightly isolated. We are in fact quite active.
But we have a tendency to do things behind the scenes or on a one-to-one basis. We never realize that we are hardly noticed. This style can be very confusing and even frustrating for those who want us to be leaders in the more traditional way. Stage 6 is "the life of love" where God's love is demonstrated through us "to others in the world more clearly and consistently than we ever thought possible" By losing ourselves, we find ourselves.
God's presence is experienced in all relationships.
Interest in the Spiritual Journey and Stages of Development
Our times alone with God come during the quiet times away as well as in the everyday, unceasing conversations. We have little ambition for being well known, rich, successful, noteworthy, goal-oriented, or "spiritual" We are Spirit-filled but in a quiet, unassuming way. We love with great compassion modeled after God's love. We live with less and delight in doing menial tasks. At stage 6 we can reach far beyond our own capacity and love our fellow human beings with deep compassion, because we know that all come from and are loved by God.
As Jesus was compassionate even in Gethsemane, at his trial, and on the cross, so we are compassionate under extreme hardship. At stage 6 we become aware that the more of God we have, the less of everything else we need. We do not renounce material possession. We simply learn to need them less; we become detached from things and people as props or bolstering devices.
We are full of surprises because we are so free, so full of God, and so whole. We can say or do preposterous things because we are not afraid of death. We can deliberately give up our lives, materially, physically, mentally, and emotionally for the service of others without feeling afraid of the deep loss. Our expression of love is selfless rather than needy.
We love without the need to be loved in return. We passionately love others in a dispassionate disinterested, detached way. We are not egocentric self-centred , but theocentric God-centred , christocentric Christ-centred , and eccentric others-centred. We love others, not for our sake, but for their own sake; not with our goodness in mind, but with their goodness in mind. Having shed the false self - a self rooted in possessions, accomplishments, and human acceptance - we embrace our true self, that of being eternally and fully loved by God.
A few important notes about these stages: Stage model theory is descriptive rather than prescriptive.