Stages of spiritual growth and development.
The spiritual process is not at all arbitrary. It's not necessarily sensible, from a structured point of view. But it's not at all arbitrary. A lot of people in self-discovery have this sense that they're involved in some process that they don't understand. That one can't understand. They feel that they're climbing a mountain that never ends. That self-realization and liberation is something that will never occur to them, it's some mysterious process. They don't know quite what to do.
This is not a helpful way to think or see. Because really, quite the contrary is true. Self-discovery to a certain point is very understandable. Beyond that point it's not understandable, it's knowable. And beyond that point it's something that you become, to the point of dissolution and back again.
In the beginning, in the early incarnations of spiritual development, a person is usually drawn to a very codified spiritual structure. They need instruction in how to live. Basic commandments and rules. As a person evolves through countless lifetimes of self-discovery they begin to get a sense of spiritual refinement. It's not necessary to be told what to do anymore, one does it naturally. The inclination is towards light. Yet even among those innocent souls who have put aside hate and anger and jealousy, even those souls, when they reincarnate in a given lifetime - even though in a previous lifetime they may have made a great deal of spiritual progress - when they come into a new lifetime they get tainted by the world. Their outer being is something that's directed by others. But eventually an evolved soul will always come forward.
Now, there are stages in the progression. And my talk tonight is not so much regarding the structure of reincarnation and one's evolution through the incarnations - that's another topic for another time, perhaps - but tonight my interest specifically is the crossroads that we come to once one has reached the point where there is no other alternative but self-discovery. There is nothing else but the roadway, the path. There's no possible alternative.
People like to have a sense that they're going someplace, but actually the whole road was truth.
Until a person has reached that point, they'll go through many trials, tribulations, good times, bad times - experiences - in life after life. But one reaches a certain point after many incarnations of self-discovery where there's a great purity in one's being. While the aspirant still may lack a certain volition and awareness of who and what they are, the right tools are there, the right quantities are there in the right proportion. It is then the task of the spiritual teacher to ignite the fire, you might say, that will burn up the final composites of self. This is a very complex process. The most beautiful process that I know of, in which two beings become aware that they're one. Initially, one knows that. But then the other eventually sees that.
Now, as I've suggested, there are different types of spiritual seekers. Traditionally there are thought to be three types. Those who are very heavy, very dross. Those who are more worldly in their aspirations, and those who are extremely refined. And the pathway to enlightenment works for all of them. Life embraces and accepts all of us. When we're wonderful, when we're horrible, life embraces and accepts all of us. Because life isn't so picky. Because life gave us birth, life sustains us, life transforms us, because we are life itself.
But at the same time, life discriminates. While life will accept all, even the worst of human beings is still god, still at the same time life selects. And this is what we call the lila, the divine play. Countless forms and radiances. Spheres of being, levels of attention. Existences beyond time, beyond space, within time, space and dimension.
So, then, it's necessary to understand which type of spiritual seeker you are. It will help you tremendously in your journey. The most evolved type of spiritual seeker has a very, very refined heart. Their life speaks of nothing but gentleness and purity. They want nothing but the welfare of others. And while certainly in their initial stages of evolution in a given lifetime, once they've reached this point, while they will have a number of qualities that they'll sort of pick up along the way, and some baggage that's kind of tattered in that lifetime, as soon as they encounter their teacher it will fall away. The teacher is there to remind you that you are wisdom, and you are light. And their response is humility. Needless to say there are not too many of these seekers in the world. And when they graduate they leave this world. And they move on - to other places. Other planes of being, or to dissolution itself.