Components of the Stages

 NOTE: This blog is a spiritual practice in writing --- the author makes no claims of any 'spiritual attainments'.  

 These 'stages' are not experienced in serial order, obviously, but parallel to varying degrees at any given time... and the personal work goes on always to some degree as long as there is a personal expression, although it hopefully will become less problematic as time goes on and require less and less attention as attention shifts to the impersonal being.

In a sense there is only one final 'attainment' and that is when inner attention is permanently absorbed and the individual will is permanently surrendered to the Universal will.   So all 'stages' in this context, outside the final 'stage', are really levels of commitment... not static 'attainments' and as such are subject to the fluctuation's of our personal situations, motivations and commitments.

Stage 1:  Personal Work - (complex work on 'problems')

 Composed of:  Letting go, responsibility, emotional work, diminished willfulness, growing up, habits modified, greater awareness of diet and health, subconscious work, inter-personal work, developing discernment and intellect, attitude adjustments, inspiration & hope, study, learning to turn a negative into a positive, balancing outer life.

 Purpose:   Personal balance minimizes distracting personal resistance by putting the person in it's place and minimizing unnecessary karma and dramas.   Learning to deal with the inevitable dramas and karmas.  Personal balance is an ally to being and the community.   It's a form of paying forward to ones being and the community.   It's learning to 'mind ones own business'... by keeping the focus on the potentially disruptive 'person'... as best as we can... until we can understand.   Personal work is the beginning of the process of learning to focus attention inward by minimizing inner and outer distractions.

Stage 2:  Spiritual Practice - (hard work through use of will... coming up with solutions)

 Composed of:  Meditation, Contemplation, bodily practices, developing will & discipline, individuality, delaying gratification, developing awareness independent of consciousness, working with inner attention, underconscious work, appreciation for paradox and knowing understanding, study, developing deeper discernment, developing impersonal power, energy work and energy awareness, incorporating health as a component of spiritual progress, learning to transmute negative energy into the energy of awareness, learning to balance the inner and outer.

Purpose:  Training inner attention so it can focus on and 'see' awareness or being.   Training the body/mind to help facilitate that.   Brings being into play to keep an 'eye' on the personal expression... so the person is now "informed".   Being "informed" is being guided by intuition that knows instead of only by limited personal beliefs  (intuition is the silent 'voice' of Being that informs us).   Inner attention develops this '3rd eye'.   You could think of being here as 'adult supervision' of the person... because it simply 'knows better'... because the person is only capable of belief.   The recognition of this 'help'... is a relief.

Stage 2A:  Self Mastery  (the reward for hard work but still requires work on all levels)

 Composed of:   The reward for personal work and spiritual practice.   The 'reward' is a personal expression that serves impersonal being instead of obscuring it with distractions... it can be 'trusted'... to some degree.   These individuals are more comfortable with being undefined and less attached to the personal... and they know exactly what they came here to do.  Self Mastery requires a sustained and developed individual will and balance.

 Purpose:  For a seeker it's a means to an end.  The personal 'self' is now at the service of the individual being (it's proper place) rather than being the source of obscuring it.   And this being is serving it's 'Self' and the community by what they do... as well as by what they don't do.    When we are able to consistently 'supervise' our selves with awareness and being we are 'stand alone connected'... and 'good to go'.   You're a stand alone spiritual practitioner and are self regulating to some degree... so that translates into a degree of 'independence'.  


NOTE:  If Self Mastery were a TV show it might be called... 'Being Knows Best'.    It might appear boring to many people but to some it would be an instant 'cult classic'... must 'see' TV.   It might star an enigmatic and paradoxical individual - possibly a practicing yogi - who confounds those around him (or her) with 'understanding' while going about his (or her) life, seemingly detached from any overt personal concerns... practicing his (or her) 'trade', so to speak, in the midst of ordinary life.
  He (or she) would be a source of endless speculation (and unconscious inspiration) to those he (or she) deals with on a regular basis and a total mystery to others who come into contact with him (or her) on a weekly basis... as a plot line, so to speak.   In other words, he (or she) would be alot like someone you might possibly know as such individuals do exist and are becoming more common than the world is ready to recognize yet.   So it would be a show that's a little bit ahead of its time... but a timely one at that.


Stage 3:  Detachment - (still requires efforting on all levels)

 Composed of:   Detachment from the 'personal' by bringing the detached, impersonal witnessing awareness into play... shifting of identification away from the person to the undefined being, knowing understanding, increasing value of the inner, inner independence, inner freedom felt as uncaused happiness or joy, empowerment of the individual being, balanced expression of inner and outer.    NOTE:  Uncaused happiness or joy does not necessarily put a smile on your face but it is felt and appreciated inside... because it's a product of inner attention... so there doesn't need to be an impulse to express it externally... so others would not necessarily know about it just by looking at you.

Purpose:  We can't prepare for the universal until we detach from the personal.   It's seen as a 'good first step'

Stage 4:  Self Realization - Identification shifts to undefined awareness or being.

Stage 5:  Enlightenment - (effortless)

 Composed of:   Universal awareness through a 'Depth of field' of awareness which extends outward through inner attention... that's a paradox... as inner attention eventually widens the focal plane of outer awareness through the 3rd eye.  Thus the outer is seen as 'in'.  Inner absorption of inner attention, universal consciousness (Crown Chakra??), universal being. Unity beyond conflicts, Loving Understanding.   Overwhelming value of the inner.

Purpose:  You'll have to ask someone who's enlightened.

Inner Attention changes what we value...

 We value that which we place our inner attention on.   So if inner attention is solely on outer things, we'll overwhelmingly value the outer.   When inner attention shifts to the inner, values shift to the inner.   When inner attention is trained to focus on the inner for sustained periods, sooner or later it will be 'absorbed' by that which is the source of the 'inner'.   And then... and only then, will the inner be overwhelmingly valued.

 Everything hinges on this inner attention... all spiritual practice, in the end, is about first distinguishing and then training this inner attention so that it can be focused in the proper direction.

 All distractions are distractions from recognizing this inner direction of inner attention... and the power and potential that it has.

Endless...   (from "Where is Time?")
Time... endless time...
no excuse.
Long train running... no caboose!
Thought not the problem... attention the key.
Un-trained attention... running over me!
Retraction of attention from report card on I
produces space... endless space...
for train of whole new dimension!


 Traditionally, when all else failed, the individual could drop out of society and isolate ones self in order to minimize distractions and maximize the ability to focus on the solution.   But in the west, in particular, this option is a difficult one to say the least as society is less forgiving of such individuals.   As such there has been an adaptation in the west to this lack of options and that has manifested its self as a re-invigoration of Hatha type yoga and other bodily practices as a means to accelerate inner focus in the midst of busy western lives.   So this re-invigoration has been a major contribution of the west to the path although their origins were obviously in the east.   And in addition they have been integrated - on an individual basis - into all types of traditions... so it's been a typical western melting pot, so to speak.

 At times this 'experiment' has been criticised as a 'lack of focus' on the part of seekers or a watering down or 'corruption' of traditions in that it appeared that seekers were jumping all over the place without going 'deep' by sticking to one path.  In hindsight this criticism was predictable but in the end it failed to take into account the evolutionary value of experiment... which happens in every culture when confronted with new ideas and traditions.   And there is no shortage of traditional paths for those so inclined.  So all are being served.  

 But in the west in particular, there is a new breed of independent seeker that's being developed... one that is a unique product of a unique system... and one that is going to be appreciated more and more as the pace of outer change accelerates... and with it the need to adapt... as adpatability will be an inevitable evolutionary attribute of those independent seekers that have benefited from the knowledge of traditions yet are free from attachment to them.

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