- What is Spirituality?
- What is Spiritual Development?
- The Rise of Spiritual Development
- About Reverand Michael Bernard Beckwith
- Stages of Spiritual Growth at a Glance
- Beginning the Spiritual Journey
- Questions to Ask Yourself About Spiritual Growth
As humans, we are always on a quest to find our true selves or our better selves (many times, when we've hit rock bottom). And often, quests like these lead us down the path of religion or spiritual awakening. Both paths are equally effective and even overlap for those who are spiritually religious.
Let's start with the basics. What does spirituality even mean and what happens if you achieve spiritual growth? The definition of spirituality varies widely, and it's a concept that has been around for millennia.
Spirituality is the concept of believing in something that is greater than you and finding peace, contentment, grace, and life meaning in that awareness and knowledge. In many ways, this is also a way of defining reality, discovering ourselves as a person, and recognize the power of something bigger than ourselves. It can be practiced in a number of different ways, including meditation, prayer, and chanting.
It can also be about connecting with nature and other people, or even finding your place in life. So, spirituality isn't necessarily tied to religion or God—it's more about what you believe deep down in your soul.
For some people, spirituality is tied to their religious beliefs, which usually involve following a certain set of rules or principles set out by their faith. But for others, it's more about finding a deeper purpose in life through personal growth and self-love.
It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life, but spiritual development helps you take a step back and look at the bigger picture: what are you doing with your life? What do you want out of it? How can you make sure that what you're doing aligns with your values—and maybe even helps other people along the way?
Before going into how to develop spiritually, let's see what it means to be spiritually developed. Spiritual development or spiritual awakening is a practice or the journey of finding that deep connection with the universe (God, a holy spirit, or something bigger than us) and seeking the truth about our life. It is often an ongoing process.
Spiritual development is a practice of self-reflection, awareness, and growth. It's about learning to understand your own needs, wants, and desires. It's about recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. It is the process of becoming more self-aware and then learning how to use that knowledge for positive change in yourself and others. It is about understanding different spiritual states and trying to achieve those.
Spiritual development can take many forms: it can be as simple as writing down your thoughts at the end of each day or keeping a gratitude journal; it can be as complex as meditating for an hour every morning or going on a silent retreat for a week; it can be as individualized as exploring what spirituality means to you or finding new ways to pray every day. The only thing that matters is that it helps you feel better about yourself and gives you an opportunity to grow!
There is a lot of work done in the field of spirituality. Much of it has existed for years, but we are only learning of it now. There are two main reasons why much of the work is only just getting the recognition that it deserves.
First is the advent of the internet. The internet certainly helped in discovering new ideas across subjects. As people started posting more information online, and as the search engines got better, more and more materials were discovered from the past.
The second reason is that people have started to get more comfortable with spirituality. More celebrities are expressing their spiritualities. And as the emotional tumult of our stressful lives is intensified, humanity is turning to spirituality as a source of calm. There is a growing interest in the spiritual awakening process.
Four stages of consciousness and spiritual growth were developed by Reverend Michael Beckwith in 1984. Decades ago, when no one was even talking about it. The structure that he described is so relevant and simple that suddenly a path seems to emerge for our spiritual journey. Michael Bernard Beckwith is the founder of the Agape Institute in Beverly Hills California. He preaches in the church there and guides people on their spiritual journey.
Michael Beckwith led the movement of positivity and spirituality. He was part of the movie, The Secret and thereafter, appeared in many shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live.
He talked a lot about the spiritual awakening process over the years. He is also a popular teacher at Mindvalley and leads the “Life Visioning” Masterclass. His teaching and ideas on Spirituality resonate with many people and yet are very simple to understand. They can be used as beginners guide for spiritual awakening.
Without much ado, let's dive into the four stages of Spirituality or Consciousness. Here they are:
- The Victim: Things are happening to me.
- The Manifester: Things are happening by me.
- The channeler: Things are happening through me.
- Being Consciousness: Things are happening as me.
These four stages give us the map to consciousness. Through introspection of our lives, we need to map which stage of consciousness are we in right now. As you are doing this exercise, it is important to remember that these stages are all non-linear, which means that we may be in different stages in different areas of our lives. The process of spiritual growth is hardly linear and clear.
However, for the sake of clarity, below are the four stages of the spiritual growth process. It is quite helpful if you are beginning your spiritual journey to assess your levels of spirituality.
|Stage||Stage 1||Stage 2||Stage 3||Stage 4|
|Life Experience||To me||By me||Through me||As me|
|Consciousness Level||Victim Consciousness.||Manifestor Consciousness.||Channel Consciousness||Being Consciousness.|
|Level of Spiritual Practice||Little to no spiritual practice.||The practice of affirmations and visualizations.||The practice of mediation and visualizations.||The practice of meditations and other transformative practices.|
|Belief Systems||Life is controlled by external factors.||Uses the law of attraction and feels in control of life.||Lives the life of surrender to the universe.||Loses the sense of ego and lives in oneness with the universe.|
|Thought Processes||Why is this happening to me?||I can attract everything I want in my life.||God expresses the divine plan through me.||I am one with God and everyone else.|
|Areas of Opportunity||Giving up blaming.||Giving up the sense of control.||Giving up the ego and sense of separation.||Experience limitless awareness.|
For instance, I may be in the victim stage in the area of my health, but the channeler stage in the area of my work. Being honest with ourselves is key as we decide what stage we are in. Let’s dive a little deeper into each so you can understand them a little better.
Stage One: The Victim Stage (Things are happening to me): This is the first stage of spiritual awakening and the start of the spiritual rebirth process. As the title suggests, in this stage of our lives, we are playing the role of victim. We believe that situations outside our control are guiding the fate of our lives. We also believe that we have no control over what is happening to us and that we cannot do anything to change our circumstances. For instance, we believe that our heredity, our skin color, or the place we were born drives our lives. If we were not born a certain way, we will not be successful, and we can't do anything about it. In this stage, we are often lost and miserable, unsure about where our life is going and how things are going to turn out. We often feel lost and anxious when we believe we are victims.
Stage Two: The Manifester Stage (Things are happening by me): This is the next stage on the spiritual path. As we graduate from the being a victim, we enter the stage of the manifester. We start to see the spiritual rebirth symptoms. We begin to believe that we can direct the course of our experiences and that we are not limited by our circumstances. We actively begin to think positively to manifest experiences in our lives. This is the stage that the famous movie The Secret describes as well. We start to understand the laws of the universe and begin to use them to change the course of our lives.
Stage Three: The Channeler Stage (Things are happening through me): In this stage of consciousness, we let go of the idea that we need to make things happen. We understand that we can make them happen, but we realize that there is a larger purpose to the life we’ve been given. We begin to trust the universe and we start the work we were meant to do in our lifetime. We realize that we are not here to just do the things we want to, we are here so things can happen through us. We become the vehicle of consciousness itself. It is the place of ultimate surrender to the universe or God. In this phase, you may also experience some physical symptoms of spiritual awakening like feeling unencumbered and free, lightness in your being, etc.
Stage Four: Being Consciousness Stage (Things happening as me): This is the last stage of consciousness in the spiritual path. According to Michael Beckwith, there are very few words to describe this state of consciousness and its true nature. Or there are too many words to describe what largely remains indescribable. In this stage, we become aware that we are the universe and that is the representation of our true self. We are eternal beings that are not tied to this lifetime. We realize that we were never really born, and we never truly die, either. We come into coherence with who we are. As we enter this final stage of consciousness, more is demanded of us, and we truly start living as eternal beings. We see less of a separation between ourselves and the outside world and others. We understand that we are all part of the same fabric of the universal consciousness. Our ego takes a back seat as we come to terms with this idea, and we start feeling more connected to everyone and everything around us.
So how should we use these stages of consciousness? There are many ways to get started on the spiritual awakening process, but let's start with something simple. Let's start with being honest with ourselves and writing down in our journals where we are in our journey.
Once we’ve identified where we are, let's start mapping out where we want to be. If you were at your highest self, what would that look like? What does spiritual awakening mean to you? What will you not be doing when you attain spiritual maturity? Who would you be? What would you be doing? Who do you truly want to become? What would your spiritual life look like?
Making a note of these thoughts in each area of life can help in understanding where we are and where we want to go. And then mapping out the path there.
If you feel resistance and feel that you are unable to accept these ideas outlined here know that it is completely normal to feel that way. As we start changing the way we think and perceive the outside world, we tend to hold on to our beliefs. We experience that our body does not want to change, and that is normal. Continue your quest anyway.
Share the progress of your spiritual journey with us in the comments below. Let us know which stage of consciousness are you in and in which area of life? As always, we’d love to hear from you.
Share the progress of your spiritual journey with us in the comments below. Let us know:
- Which stage of consciousness are you in and in which area of life?
- How is this process helping you in the spiritual awakening process?
- Did you feel connected with a particular stage or feel disconnected from one?
- What does your highest level of spiritual awakening look like?
- Have you experienced any spiritual awakenings?
- Did practicing meditation help with a new sense of who you are?
- Have you tried journaling? How does it make you feel over a period of time?
- Have you begin creating the life you always wanted?
- What has been the one thing stopping you today?
- What small steps can you take to make progress toward that one thing that's stopping you?
- What have been your "aha" moments lately?
- Why do you believe in spiritual awakenings?
- What childhood experiences have shaped you?
As always, we’d love to hear from you.
very insightful article
Spirituality is an important part living a life, very thoughtful article
Well formulated article, I loved the way you've separated the stages
I am entering into the awareness stage as far as I am not the thing, but the awareness of the thing. I am on day 7 of my 21 day reiki meditation challenge. It's getting interesting some of the things I am becoming aware of. It takes the judgement off and allows me to get curious knowing that I am not my feelings, but the awareness of those feelings.
Very intriguing concept