An Overview of the Seven Stages of Life

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Stage Four—Spiritualization: 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 the fourth stage of life is a transition that very few ever make. It is nothing less than 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 so profound that the common human goals—to be fulfilled through bodily and mental pleasures—lose their force.

The purpose of existence for one established in the fourth stage of life is devotion—moment to moment intimacy with the Spiritual Reality, an intimacy that is real and ecstatic, and which changes one’s vision of the world. Everything that appears, everything that occurs is now seen as a process full of Spirit-Presence. This new vision of existence is given through Spirit-Baptism, an infilling of Spirit-Power (usually granted by a Spiritually Awakened Master), which is described in many different religious and Spiritual traditions.

For the devotee in the Way of Adidam who has completed the listening-hearing process and entered the seeing stages of practice, Avatar Adi Da’s Spirit-Baptism is first felt as a Current of energy descending from above the head, down through the front of the body to the perineum, or bodily base. This descent is forceful, sublime, and very effective in purifying and Spiritualizing the human personality, bringing forth the signs of radiance, peace, and universal love that characterize a Spiritually Awakened being. This descending Spirit-Baptism is one of the uniquely characteristic signs of Avatar Adi Da’s Grace in the life of His Spiritually activated devotee. By the time the fourth stage of life is complete, not only has the Spirit-Current descended fully down the front of the body but It has turned about at the bodily base and ascended up the spine to a place deep behind the eyes (called the “ajna chakra”, or sometimes the “third eye”), where It is felt to rest.

The full-hearted and Spiritually Awakened devotion characteristic of the fourth stage of life is generally the summit of Realization achieved in the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and much of Hinduism, and even then, it is most uncommon.

The fourth stage of life, though it represents a profound and auspicious advance beyond the foundation stages, is only the beginning of truly Spiritual growth. Adi Da points out that the primary error of one in the fourth stage of life is to presume that Real God and the individual personality are inherently separate from one another. Real 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.