The Seven Stages of Life
A Unique "Map" of Human Potential
Humanity has been presented with many theoretical descriptions of human potential, expressed in terms of stages.
Amid these many voices and views, Avatar Adi Da Samraj's "map" of the seven stages of life is a bold new Revelation. Unprecedented in scope and authority, it is nothing less than a definitive description of the potential in all human developmental structures, and the Ultimate Divine "Outshining" of human limitation altogether.
With this schema, Avatar Adi Da accomplishes a fundamental ordering and rightening of every potential category of human experience, making sense of the entire history of human endeavor, and making it possible to reach a new understanding of both human maturity and Divine Enlightenment.
The Structures of the Human Being
Define the First Six Stages of Life
Just as the structures within an acorn suggest all of its potential stages of growth, from seedling to sapling to mighty tree, there are structures intrinsic to the human being that determine the first six potential stages of human growth.
Avatar Adi Da teaches that these structures are defined in terms of three fundamental dimensions of life: gross, subtle, and causal. (The seventh stage of life goes entirely beyond these conditional human possibilities.)
The gross aspect is simply the elemental physical body.
Senior to the gross is the subtle, which includes both the personal life-energy that pervades the physical and the dimensions of the psyche and mind.
Senior to both the gross and the subtle, the causal aspect is the deepest root-structure of the conditional human being and of attention itself. It is the core sense of existence as a separate "self".
The First Three Stages of Life
The first three stages of life are primarily associated with the gross dimension of existence. They are the only stages in the schema with a chronological framework.
Each of the first three stages takes approximately seven years to be established. Hence, by roughly the age of twenty-one, an individual should have completed basic adaptation in these first three stages of growth.
These stages are the domain of basic foundational human maturity, including, respectively:
- development of the physical body
- development of the emotional-sexual functions, and
- development of mental functions and the function of the will.
Successful completion of these first three stages should include psychological individuation, full development of the will, and a strong moral character, oriented naturally toward the disposition of service. In short, to fully complete the first three stages of life is to be a true adult, an emotionally mature human being.
Regrettably, very few adults today have successfully handled the business of the first three stages of life. But maturity in the first three stages of life is only the foundation for true Spiritual practice.
Once you transcend the illusion of your dark separate selves and enter into the Divine Process, you see clearly that the existence and destiny of the world and every being is the Fullness of Love-Bliss in a perfectly Transformed State That has become One with the Person and the Domain of the Transcendental Spiritual Divine.
— Avatar Adi Da Samraj
The Seven Stages of Life
The Fourth Stage of Life
Avatar Adi Da describes the fourth stage of life as characterized by a deep impulse to Commune with the Divine. Individuals in the fourth stage of life typically tend to feel that the Divine is a great "Other", in Whom they yearn to become absorbed through devotional love and service.
The Fifth Stage of Life
The fifth stage of life is associated with the process of Spiritual ascent toward absorption in the Divine Light Infinitely Above, Realizing the Divine as Light (or Energy) Itself.
The fifth stage of life is the ultimate process within the boundaries of the subtle dimension of the being. It is often characterized by profound Spiritual and psychic experiences, mysticism, ecstatic visions, and other extraordinary phenomena such as Cosmic Consciousness and experiencing the world as "Divine Play."
The Sixth Stage of Life
The sixth stage of life is marked by abiding in Transcendental Consciousness Itself, via subjective dissociation from phenomena and changes in the conditionally arising "outside" world.
The sixth stage of life is the process associated with the causal dimension of existence, and has been traditionally demonstrated by the great sages of the traditions of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta.
Next: The Seventh Stage — A New Possibility for Humankind
The Seventh Way
New Essays from The Aletheon
These readings are among Avatar Adi Da's most sublime and profound Utterances.
They were originally Spoken as spontaneous and ecstatic discourse to His devotees during the final decade (from mid-1995 to mid-2005) of His immense outpouring of Teaching-Instruction.