First Stage of Life
• Occupies us from conception to seven years of age.
• Period of physical adaptation to functional existence.
• Child must individuate from the mother and all others.
• At completion of first stage of life; child exists in a state of conscious relatedness to all others and the world of Nature.
• Signs of the end of the first stage of life: individuation, socialization, cooperation, sensitivity to Nature.
The first stage of life, occupying the years from conception and birth to age seven, is the stage of the human individual’s vital-physical adaptation to the world into which he or she is born. In this first stage the being learns “simple” skills like focusing with the eyes, grasping and manipulating objects, walking, talking, assimilating and converting food and breath into energy, and controlling bladder and bowels.
The first stage of life is the process of adapting to life as a separate individual, no longer bound to the mother. Most important for the first stage child is the process of eating, and learning to accept sustenance from outside the mother’s body. In fact, this whole stage of life could be described as an ordeal of weaning, or individuation.
Tremendous physical growth occurs in the first stage of life (the first seven or so years) as well as an enormous amount of learning; one begins to manage bodily energies and begins to explore the physical world. Acquiring basic motor skills is a key aspect of the first stage of life: learning to hold a spoon and eat with it, learning to walk and talk and be responsible for excretion. If the first stage of life unfolds as it should, the separation from the mother completes itself in basic terms. But there is a tendency in most human beings to struggle with this original individuation, or to not accept its necessity. The result of such resistance is that, by the age of seven or so, we are left with a chronic (usually lifelong) feeling of being separate from the source of life and support. (Note that this feeling of separation from the food source is an overlay on top of the original feeling and activity of separation that is the ego itself, the self-contraction.
Stage 1 represents individuation, the struggle to transcend infantile dependency on the mother (sustance) and to accept the reality of independent bodily existence.
Failure to adapt to this stage creates separation and a sense of disconnection from the sustaining source of life and doubt (beytral) of those (and the world) on whom one depends for love and support. The primary reactive emotion in the failure to adapt to this stage is fear.
Adi Da Samraj describes the signs of fulfillment of the first stage of life as:
“When this stage is complete, we will not exist in isolation but in a state of conscious relatedness to all others and the world of Nature. Thus, the fulfillment of the first stage of life is marked by the beginnings of the movement toward more complex socialization, cooperation with others, and sensitivity to the total world of Nature.”
The first stage of life is the process of psycho-physical individuation, based on identification with the separate and personal gross physical body in the waking state. The first stage of life is also associated with the oral function. At birth, the infant is separated from the situation of unity with the human mother, and this begins a struggle with the fact of individual existence. This struggle is displayed in the context of oral dependence on the mother as a separate body. Whatever occurs in the drama of breast-feeding and the transition to food sources apart from the mothers body, human beings tend to develop a fundamental reactive habit at this stage.
Un-happy individuation tends to be associated with a feeling of separation and, thus, only a partial willingness to relinquish the feeling of dependency on the mother. This feeling of separation ultimately involves the sense of disconnection from the ultimate source of support and love, and it also becomes a general doubt or anxiety about other human beings on whom one depends for love. Sex-differentiation begins even at this stage, but all relationships are experienced from the viewpoint of dependency and reluctance to accept the situation of individuated existence.
• Occupies us during second seven years of life.
• Early stage of adaptation to the etheric dimension of conditionally manifested existence, which is the emotional-sexual dimension of the being, and which is also the dimension of life-energy, nerve-force, and feeling-sensitivity to conditions of existence.
• Primary adaptation is to feeling, or sensitivity to the etheric energy inherent in one’s person, all others, and all of Nature.
• This is the primary stage of socialization, involving moral or right relational development. This socialization is based on feeling-sensitivity to the etheric dimension and one’s effect on all others, rather than conventional socialization or worldliness.
• Genital sexuality is bypassed, but learning in this stage provides the emotional base for later sexual activity.
• Stage is complete when a basic level of social individuation is achieved. Individual no longer requires parent-child style of relationship, but can associate with the larger community of adults as a socially responsible, relationally positive young person.
This phase, which occupies approximately the second seven years of life: “In the second stage there appears the potential of full relational feeling and the necessity for responsibility for the communication of life-force and sympathy with its vital processes. Thus, the individual develops an expanded bodily life through the extension of feeling, and he also becomes sexually aware, even very early in life. “
However, genital sexuality is not rightly engaged in the second stage of life. Instead, sexuality is developed as a matter of emotion and energy in relationship with others.
“The second phase of life is the time of the development of the etheric, or emotional sexual, life, of polarization to etheric life, of feeling alive and flowering, as the primitive physical sense, which once was the primary goad to living adaptation, begins to submit itself to awareness of the greater world of energy relations, the living world wherein solidity gives way to animation and rapid changes. It is the time of the development of sexual polarization (or sexual character) and sensitivity, and of emotional life based on the forces contained in sexual differentiation. Emotion and physical energy of every kind, including sexuality, are simultaneously awakened as parts of the same process.”
The development of sexual maturity depends on the ability to enter into a mature emotional relationship with others. Most people fail to make this transition into emotional-sexual maturity while in their youth. Consequently, unless they embark on a conscious course of self-transcendence later in life, their psychological-spiritual growth remains stunted.
Stage 2 represents the process of socialization, the development of social and emotional-sexual awareness and psychic or feeling sensitivity to others and to the natural world.
Failure to adapt to this stage shows itself as self-doubt, the feeling to being rejected (betrayed) and the need to reject, find fault (be superior) to others. The primary reactive emotion in the failure to adapt to this stage is sadness, sorrow.
The second stage of life is the process of socialization, based on the development of emotional sensitivity to the psycho-physical self to others, and to the natural world. The second stage of life is also associated with the anal function and the conflict between privacy and the search for social visibility.
The anal function begins to develop coincident with the oral function, but socialization itself truly begins only after the basic struggle with individuation has reached a workable settlement.
Character motivations that are rooted in the biology and psychology of sex-differentiation are, in the second stage of life, extended and developed in an expanded social context, and individuation, rather than ambiguously differentiated dependency, becomes a catalyst toward social exploration.
When individuation has become a workable egoic settlement, the individual begins to struggle, as an individual, with relationships. The second stage individual tends to continue to function in the context of dependency, but with a more fully developed sense of separate self, independence, and mobility. Likewise, there is a gradual discovery that there are many kinds of relationships, and all of them carry a test, a demand, and an obstacle that offends the want to be dependent. The anal phase of development represents an early stage of self-awareness, in which the individuals self-esteem is apparently at stake. Thus, doubt of the ego-self and doubt of the love in others appears. And so, the second stage of life tends to develop only to the degree of a tentative resolution of the relational and social character. Whereas the feeling of separation characterizes the first stage reaction, the feeling of being rejected characterizes the second stage reaction.
Between the ages of five and eight years, we begin to become aware of the emotional dimension of existence; how we feel and how others respond to us emotionally becomes of great importance. This is the beginning of the second stage of life, the stage of social adaptation and all that goes with it: a growing sense of sexual differentiation, awareness of the effects of one’s actions on others, a testing of whether one is loved. These are all the natural follow-ups to the individuation of the first stage of life. Avatar Adi Da Samraj points out that in the second stage of life, children naturally develop their psychic capacity and their sensitivity to etheric energy. For this reason, children should be encouraged to feel that they are “more than they look like” they are not just their physical bodies for the sake of their future Spiritual growth. The full process of growth in the second stage of life is frustrated if we become locked in patterns of feeling rejected by others and rejecting and punishing others in return.
Adi Da describes as an “awakened sensitivity to the etheric, or emotional-sexual forces of life.” He describes defines the etheric dimension of life as “the dimension of energy, nerve-force, and direct feeling-sensitivity to the conditions of existence.” Through growth in feeling-sensitivity to the surrounding world, the child lays the foundation for a benign and moral involvement in all social relations, as well as the capacity for entering into heart-felt relationship with the Living Divine Reality.
Third Stage of Life:
• Occupies us during the third seven years of life.
• Period of adaptation to the psychic dimension of existence.
• Involves development of the will, the thinking mind, and the
mind of the psyche.
• Stage is complete when the individual is frilly prepared (physically, emotionally, etherically, psychically, mentally and with a free or intelligent will) to enter into the social, personal, and spiritual responsibilities of adult life.
• The third stage of life is the stage in which, based on true learning, your Manhood or Womanhood is established, and you go on from there to live as true human beings. The later stages of life lead us into what is beyond the human, what transcends human life and life in Nature.
he third stage of life, stretching approximately from the fifteenth to the twenty-first year, is the stage of the development of the thinking mind and the will and of the integration of the vital-physical, emotional-sexual, and mental-intentional functions. This stage marks the transition to truly human autonomy wherein the first two stages of life are adapted to a practical and analytical intelligence and an informed will or intention and the individual gains responsibility for and control over vital life.
“The third stage of life is mature when the individual enjoys integrated responsibility for the whole of the living being (physical, emotional-sexual, and mental). Thus, he is in that case able to be present as a clear will and as love under all the otherwise frustrating or pleasurable conditions of lower experience. Those who seek to begin spiritual life must be mature in this sense in order to move on to higher maturity.”
Stage 3 is the process of integration. Full development of the individual as a sexual and social character. It is also the development of mental faculties, discriminative intelligence, and the will, which then becomes the means of integrating the personality as a whole.
The failure to fully adapt to this stage shows it’s signs in a personality that is characteristically ‘adolescent’ – “don’t tell me what to do”. It also show’s itself in the vacillation between childish dependency and patterns of rebellious, destructive independence.
The primary reactive emotion in the failure to adapt to this stage is anger.
The third stage of life is the process of integration of the psycho-physical patterns of the frontal personality, by means of the development and application of the functions of mind, discriminative intelligence, and the will. And this process is also associated with the genital phase of human development. Genital development and sex-differentiation begin even in infancy, and the emotional trial of the second stage of life relates to the sexually defined character, but the great struggle of integration and self-presentation takes place only after puberty.
The third stage of life tends to be wasted by indulgence in patterns that may be called adolescent. That is to say, the third stage of life does not tend toward full resolution, because the first two stages of life tend to be unresolved. As a result, the third stage of life becomes a fruitless drama of conflict between two alternating and contrary impulses, the one toward infantile and childish dependence, and the other toward willful and rebellious independence. The life-process is disturbed by this un-happy and irresponsible drama, and the mental faculties and the integrating function of the will are thus impaired or retarded in their ability to develop the true adult character, which character is characterized by basic human equanimity, discriminative intelligence, responsive heart-feeling, and the active impulse to always continue to grow.
In the early to mid teens, the third stage of life establishes itself. The key development of this stage is the maturation of mental ability the capacity to use mind and speech in abstract, conceptual ways together with the power to use discrimination and to exercise the will. On the bodily level, puberty is continuing (having begun during the later years of the second stage of life) with all its attendant bodily and emotional changes.
The purpose of the third stage of life is the integration of the human character in body, emotion, and mind, so that the emerging adult is a fully differentiated (autonomous), sexual and social human character. If the process of growth in the first and second stages of life has proceeded unhindered, then this integration can take place in a natural manner. If, however, there have been failures of adaptation in the earlier stages a chronic feeling of being separate or unsustained, or chronic feelings of being rejected or unloved, and consequent difficulties in relating happily to others then the process of integration is disturbed. Unfortunately, this is the case for most individuals.
Thus, in most people, the process of the third stage of life becomes an adolescent struggle between the conflicting motives to be dependent on others and to be independent of them. This adolescent drama tends to continue throughout adult life. It is one of the signs that growth has stopped, that the work of the first three stages of life was never completed: the conflicted individual is not fully integrated. This is the case with most of us.
So how does one begin to grow again? One certainly can find all kinds of conventional help psychotherapeutic help, conventionally religious help, conventional education, etc. for one’s liabilities in individuation, socialization, and mental development. But this help is not provided with the “bigger picture” of the seven stages of life in mind. These forms of help tend to turn development in the first three stages of life into a lifelong effort, rather than merely the beginning of a life dedicated to realizing one’s fullest human potential.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj refers to the first three stages of life as the “foundation stages”, because the ordeal of growth into human maturity is mere preparation for something far greater: Spiritual Awakening, and ultimately, Divine Enlightenment. This greater process begins to flower in the fourth stage of life on the basis of a profound conversion to love, the natural human development after individuation, socialization, and mental development. If, as often occurs in this or that spiritual tradition, one tries to “skip ahead” to spiritual development without first having fully established the human foundation for it, one will tend to use the spiritual practices as a means for dramatizing one’s human shortcomings: yogis who becomes good at escaping from this world into other astral worlds because they are not capable of functioning or relating to others in this one; “holy men” or “holy women” who develop miraculous powers for the purpose of showing off and getting attention or “love”, to compensate for their unconscious feeling of not being loved; shamans who use their highly developed psychic and etheric capabilities for “black magic”; and so forth.
Most adults never pass beyond the complications of failed adaptation in the first three stages of life. Even those individuals regarded by society as ‘successful’ because they only represent a greater or lesser degree of the FULL development of the third stage of life. The third stage of life is not only about adaptation but about failure. This failure includes the ‘inherent ‘dissatisfaction’ with the elements of worldly happiness as a ‘way of life’.
Maturity in the third stage of life is fully prepared (physically, emotionally, etherically, psychically, mentally, and with a free or intelligent will) to enter into the social, personal, and Spiritual responsibilities of true Man or Womanhood. Then he or she is able to be present as a clear will and as love under all the otherwise frustrating or pleasurable conditions of lower experience. Those who seek to begin Spiritual life must be mature in this sense in order to move on to higher maturity.
Fourth Stage of Life:
“The first three [stages] may generally be associated with the first twenty-one years of life (three periods of seven years), but the last four (which grow beyond the limits of the grosser elements and functions) may, not truly be considered in terms of limits of time, whether brief or long. “‘
“The duration of the higher stages of life depends entirely upon the individuals qualities and his or her spiritual practice of self transcendence.”
The individual’s entrance into the fourth stage of life begins with the awakening of the “psychic heart,” which is marked by a clear sensitivity to the Life-Current. In this stage, the Divine Presence or Life-Force is felt to exist independent of, or senior to, the bodymind. By cultivating a conscious relationship to this Presence, the spiritual practitioner begins to demonstrate and enjoy the spiritual qualities of faith, love, and surrender.
“In the fourth stage of life, this now complex psycho-physical being is surrendered beyond itself,’ to and into the Living Current of Being that pervades it and the total world. This is done to the point of generally harmonizing the body-mind in that Life Current and otherwise Realizing self transcending devotional Union with that Living Reality in occasions of Love-Bliss that involve and simultaneously transcend the body-mind.”
Devotional surrender (sacrifice) to the Living Reality is the essential feature of the fourth stage of life. The individual is obliged to persist beyond religious conventions and customs,by means of continuous and concentrated attention and devotion via heartfelt feeling-attention to the Ultimate Reality and Source Condition.
Even while still maturing in the first three stages of life, many people devote themselves to religious practices, submitting to an ordered life of discipline and devotion. This is the beginning of establishing the disposition of the fourth stage of life, but it is only the beginning. The real leap involved in transitioning to the fourth stage of life is one that very few ever make. It is the transition we associate with saints: nothing less the breakthrough to a Spiritually-illumined life of Divine contemplation and selfless service. How does such a life become possible? Only on the basis of a heart-awakening to the Divine that is so profound that the common human goals to be fulfilled through bodily and mental pleasures lose their force. The longer we’ve lived a life given over to bodily and mental self-indulgence, the more difficult the task of transcending the force of habit later on the necessary prereqisite for the transition to the fourth stage of life.
The fourth stage of life is a Spiritually-illumined life of Divine contemplation and selfless service. Both elements are necessary. We often point to people who have devoted their lives to helping others and call them “saints”. They are good people, no doubt. But they are only saints that is, in the fourth stage of life if their selfless service is, first of all, to God, and only then to others; and that on the basis of awareness of and communion with God. True saints are Spiritual Realizers, not merely moral human beings.
In the fourth stage development of human life, the will is adapted to aspiration, or intuitive self-transcendence.
The purpose of existence for one established in the fourth stage of life is devotion, a moment-to-moment heart-intimacy with the Spiritual Reality. That intimacy is tangible and ecstatic, and it changes one’s sense of reality. Everything that appears, everything that occurs, is now realized to be a process full of Spirit-Presence. This new vision of existence is given through Spirit-Baptism, an infilling of Spirit-Power described in many different religious and Spiritual traditions. The source of Spirit-Baptism is almost always a Spiritually Awakened Master (either in this life or a past life).
Even though the fourth stage of life represents a profound and auspicious advance beyond the foundation stages, in the “big picture” of the seven stages of life, it is only the beginning of truly Spiritual growth. Avatar Adi Da Samraj points out that the primary presumption of (and primary error made by) someone in the fourth stage of life is that God and the individual personality are inherently separate from one another. God is the Sublime “Other” with Whom one Communes and in Whom one may become ecstatically absorbed at times, even to the point of apparent union. Nevertheless, such raptures pass, and one is left with the continuing urge for union with the Divine Beloved. The individual being is still a separate ego, still searching, even though the goal of seeking is Spiritual in nature.
Fifth Stage of Life:
The fifth stage is associated with the mystical aspect of spirituality. The individual’s awareness shifts from the perception of the physical dimension to the experience of the “subtle physiology” of the brain-mind. The mystical ascent through the psychic centers of the body-mind is conditioned by the nervous system. Experience in this stage reaches its peak in the condition of “nirvikalpa samadhi,” or formless ecstasy. At the apex of the fifth stage, the individual has transcended his or her fascination with mental forms and images.
Adi Da Samraj comments further:
“In the fifth stage of life, yogic mysticism raises attention into the extremities of subtle experience-or the heavens of ascended knowledge. But liberation in God is not Realized at that stage or by such means. In order for the Life-Current to cross the Divide between the ‘third eve’ and the ‘sahasrar,’ or between the body-mind and Infinity, the gesture of attention and the illusion of an independent conscious self must be utterly Dissolved in the true Self.
“The highest extreme of the ascent of attention is called ‘nirvikalpa samadhi,’ or total Absorption of self-consciousness in Radiant Transcendental Consciousness. But, in fact, the seed q/ differentiated self remains in such ascended Absorption of’ attention. Attention is yet extended outside the heart, or the root of self-consciousness, as a gesture toward an independent Object, and, therefore, such ‘samadhi’ is not only temporary, but it remains a form of subject-object Contemplation. “
Higher Spiritual Evolution
All Yogic, and religious (or mystical) practices associated with the process of Spiritual ascent (via the spinal line and the brain core, to and through the subtle levels of mind, and to and through the crown of the head, and, ultimately, to the “Highest” Realization, above the body, the brain, the mind, all conditional knowledge, all conditional experience, and all conditional worlds) may, in some general sense, be described as “fifth stage” practices.
However, that ascent is made in two distinct phases (or steps). The first step is associated with ascent to the “ajna door” (or brain core) [in the fourth stage of life], and the second step is associated with ascent above the “ajna door” [in the fifth stage of life]. The first step is associated with bodily exercises (of posture, breath, and so on) as well as exercises of feeling (or intentional emotion) and attention (and mind in general), whereas the second step is almost exclusively associated with the exercise of attention alone.
The fifth stage of life could be described as the domain of accomplished yogis or saints individuals involved in the pursuit of Enlightenment through mystical experience (such as the vision of the “blue pearl”, the vision of Jesus Christ), or the attainment of psychic powers. But it is important to note that, just as exceedingly few religious practitioners fully Awaken to the Spiritual Reality in the fourth stage of life, even fewer would-be yogis or saints become fifth-stage Realizers.
The important difference between the fifth stage of life and all the stages of life that precede it is that awareness on the gross physical plane is no longer the normal mode of existence. Rather, attention is steadily engaged in subtle realms, that is, dreamlike or visionary regions of mind.
The phenomena of the fifth stage of life arise as a result of the further movement of the Spirit-Current, now in the higher regions of the brain. In the fifth stage of life, the Spirit-Current moves from the ajna chakra through and beyond the crown of the head, and attention moves with it. At its point of highest ascent, the Spirit-Current triggers the yogic meditative state traditionally called “nirvikalpa samadhi” (“formless ecstasy”), in which all awareness of body and mind is temporarily dissolved in the Divine Self-Condition. Even though it is temporary, such an experience marks an enduring change in one’s being. It is now clear that the individuated self in any limited form whatsoever physical body or “spirit” or “soul” – has no eternal existence or significance. Only the Divine Condition of absolute Freedom and Perfect Happiness truly exists. Once the Divine Condition has been glimpsed in the state of “formless ecstasy”, one’s relationship to embodied existence is entirely different. One begins to see the body as a rather arbitrary, even humorous phenomenon.
Even so, a limit on one’s Realization remains. Nirvikalpa samadhi, the culminating achievement of the fifth stage of life, is not a permanent Realization. It is, rather, a fleeting experience. At some point, bodily consciousness returns, and so does the ache to restore that boundless, Bliss, free of the limitations of embodiment. What goes up must come down. For all its profundity, fifth stage nirvikalpa samadhi is held in place (while it lasts) by a subtle stress, performed by the ego. It is the ultimate fruit of the yogic strategy to escape the body by directing one’s awareness upward into infinite Light.
In the mature phase of the fifth stage of life one is no longer susceptible to the fascinations of visionary experience, even when such experiences arise. Neither is one moved to direct one’s attention up and out of the body into the infinitely ascended state of “formless ecstasy”. Rather, the “tour” of mystical experience has been revealed to be simply more of the futile search to be Perfectly Happy via egoic fulfillment. The pursuit of mystical satisfaction relaxes, and the individual is then easily drawn beyond all habits of identification with bodily states and even beyond identification with the subtle mind states of the fifth stage of life, into the pristine sixth-stage understanding of Reality as Consciousness Itself.
Sixth Stage of Life
Through further spiritual growth, by means of the transcendence of the ego that has been disclosed in the experiences of the first five stages of life, the spiritual practitioner no longer presumes any illusion of independent psycho-physical existence, though still not freed from the primary ego-contraction (as the exclusive self-essence). The sixth stage of life, wherein self and attention are sacrificed in Truth, leads not to the annihilation of the self, but rather to awakening as the Self.
“The sixth stage of life is the last of the progressive stages previous to Transcendental Awakening. It is the basic stage in which the transition is made from terrestrial and cosmic conceptions of the Divine or Real Being to conceptions of the Ultimate as the Transcendental Reality and Condition and Identity of all apparent beings and conditions. And the process of self sacrifice is thus transformed from an effort that serves the development of knowledge and experience in the planes of the psycho-physical personality to a direct effort of utter self-transcendence.”
“In the sixth stage of life, the body-mind is simply relaxed into the Life-Current, and attention (the root or base of the mind) is inverted, away from gross and subtle states and objects of the body-mind and toward its own Root, the ultimate Root of the ego-self, which is the ‘Witness’ Consciousness (when attention is active) and also simple Consciousness (prior to objects and self-definition). The final result of this is conditional Self Realization or the intuition of Radiant Transcendental Being via the exclusive self-essence (inverted away from all objects). “
Awakening to the Transcendental Self
In the sixth stage of life, one is no longer perceiving and interpreting everything from the point of view of the individuated body-mind with its desires and goals. One stands in the Transcendental Position, Awake as the Very Consciousness that is the Ground of all that exists. In that position, one stands as the “Witness” of all that arises, even while continuing to participate in the play of life. While life goes on like a movie on a screen, one sees the greater import of Existence and the non-necessity of all that arises. This is the beginning of what Avatar Adi Da Samraj calls “the ultimate stages of life”, that is, the stages of Identification with Consciousness Itself.
The sixth stage of life may include the experience of jnana samadhi, which, like fifth stage nirvikapla samadhi, is a form of temporary Realization of the Divine Self. However, fifth stage nirvikapla samadhi comes about through the strategy of ascent, the urge to move attention up and beyond the body-mind; in jnana samadhi, awareness of gross and subtle states is excluded by concentration in Transcendental Self-Consciousness. Nirvikapla samadhi occurs via absorption in the Divine, whereas jnana samadhi occurs via exclusive identification with the Divine.
Historically, the most prominent among the great sixth stage Realizers have been the Hindu and the Buddhist sages, and in some cases, the Taoist sages, who eschewed the fascinations of experience physical or subtle from the beginning. These great Realizers turned away from the enticements of “money, food, and sex” in the first three stages of life, as well as from the attractions of devotional (fourth stage) rapture and yogic (fifth stage) mysticism.
Instead, the sages of the sixth stage of life have traditionally contemplated the freedom and purity of Consciousness to the degree of Realizing that Consciousness Itself, eternal and prior to any mortal form or temporary experience, is our True Condition, our True Self.
But even deep resting in the freedom of Transcendental Consciousness is not Most Perfect Enlightenment. An egoic stress is holding this Realization in place, as was the case with the fifth stage Realization of nirvikalpa samadhi. Sixth stage practice and Realization is expressed by turning within, away from all conditional objects and experiences (including the energies and the movements of attention of one’s own body-mind), and concentrating upon what is felt to be the Source of individual consciousness. Thus, the root of egoity is still alive. The search still remains, in its most primitive form. The sixth stage of life is the search to identify with Pure Consciousness prior to and exclusive of phenomena.
The philosophical point of view of the sixth stage of life, particularly evident in the traditions of Hinayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, bears some likenesses to this seventh stage point of view. Both sixth and seventh stage schools speak of or point toward Transcendental Being (as opposed to conventional ideas or ideals of God, mystical objects, conventional meditative experiences, and so forth). But the primary difference between sixth and seventh stage schools is that sixth stage schools generally conceive of the phenomenal world as a problem to be escaped, and they likewise conceive of the Transcendental Self or Reality or Enlightenment to be inherently and logically different from the phenomenal self and world. Thus, sixth stage “Realization” tends toward the viewpoint of ascetical inversion, or ascetical dissociation from phenomena, and the reduction of the dynamic paradoxes of existence to a conventional monistic equation.
During the first six stages of life, the various aspects of human potential are awakened and tested to the point of real maturity. But the complete sacrifice of the whole body-being into the Radiant Transcendental Being is realized in the seventh stage of life. The transcendental Self which was realized in the sixth stage is no longer pitted against the phenomenal world. The Self no longer seeks to remain concentrated in the heart-root, exclusive of all objects. The “eyes” of the heart open. The liberated “individual” now Realizes everything to he a modification of’ the Radiant Transcendental Being. ‘the world is recognized as continuously arising in the Ultimate Being, which is coessential with the Self.
“In the seventh stage of life there is native or radical intuitive identification with Radiant Transcendental Being, the Identity of all beings (or subjects) and the Condition of all conditions (or objects). This intuitive identification (or Radical Self-Abiding) is directly Realized, entirely apart from any dissociative act of inversion. And, while so Abiding, if any conditions arise, or if any states of body-mind arise, they are simply recognized in the Radiant Transcendental Being (as transparent or nonbinding.modifications of Itself). Such is Sahaj Samadhi, and it is inherently free of any apparent implications, limitations, or binding power of phenomenal conditions. If no conditions arise to the notice, there is simply Radiant Transcendental Being. Such is Bhava Samadhi, about Which nothing sufficient can be said, and there is not Anyone, Anything, or Anywhere beyond It to be Realized. “
The seventh stage of life is release from all the egoic limitations of the previous stages of life. Remarkably, the seventh stage Awakening is not an experience at all. The true Nature of everything is simply obvious. Now the Understanding arises that every apparent “thing” is Eternally, Perfectly the same as Reality, Consciousness, Happiness, Truth, or God. And that Understanding is Supreme Love-Bliss.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj calls this Divine Awareness “Open Eyes”. No longer is there any need to seek meditative seclusion in order to Realize Identification with the One Divine Reality. The Ecstatic and world-embracing Confession, “There Is Only God”, is native (and therefore effortlessly perpetual) to one who enjoys the State of “Open Eyes”. Consciousness is no longer felt to be divorced from the world of forms, but Consciousness Itself is directly understood to be the very Nature, Source, and Substance of that world. And so the life of the seventh stage Realizer becomes the Love-Blissful process of Divinely Recognizing, or intuitively acknowledging, whatever arises to be only a modification of Consciousness Itself.
The Divinely Self-Realized Being is literally “Enlightened”. The Light of Divine Being Flows in him or her in a continuous circuitry of Love-Bliss, that rises in an S-shaped curve from the right side of the heart to a Matrix of Light above and Beyond the crown of the head. This is Amrita Nadi, the “Nerve of Immortal Bliss”, mentioned in the esoteric Hindu Spiritual tradition.
It is easy to fall into the pattern of conventional thinking that belongs to the fourth, fifth, and sixth stage schools of the traditions and to feel, therefore, that the radical considerations of the seventh stage are more or less restatements of the point of view inherent in the fourth, fifth, and sixth stages of life.
In the seventh stage of life, or the context of Divine Enlightenment, the evolutionary process continues. Avatar Adi Da Samraj describes the seventh stage of life as having four phases: Divine Transfiguration, Divine Transformation, Divine Indifference, and Divine Translation.
–All quotes from Adi Da Samraj