In spiritual circles you will often hear the phrase ‘going up a level’ bandied around, but rarely does anyone stop to explain what they mean by this. Here is my understanding and experience of the spiritual maturation process.
My view is that ‘going up a level’ can happen in a dramatic and noticeable way, or quietly and almost imperceptibly over time. It is much easier when the changes happen peacefully over time. One day you may look back and realise that you think and feel quite differently compared to the way you used to, that your spiritual perspective has in fact evolved and is more enlightened.
As the energy on the Planet changes more and more people are having dramatic transformatory experiences. Quite often these are challenging and plunge one into a place where you are tested to your core. Once you have worked through the personal ‘stuff’ that such an experience inevitably dredges up from the shadowy depths you will come out the other side and realise that it was all a process and you are clearer and hopefully wiser than before. This doesn’t make ‘going up a level’ easy or pleasant, but it seems it is necessary for some of us to shift more quickly like this! If you are finding it too tough to go through this by yourself find a spiritual teacher to advise you. Nobody can do your spiritual growth for you, but it helps knowing there are those of us who have been put through similar tests and have come out the other side.
Spiritual development rarely follows an even trajectory. It isn’t like taking an examination class or piano grades. You cannot say, “I have reached level X in my spiritual development this year, therefore next year I aim to achieve level Y.” When you choose a path of spiritual development you may find there are times of rapid growth and transformation followed by fallow times where nothing much seems to be happening and you wonder whether that’s the end of it all. Actually when ‘nothing’ is happening you are probably consolidating the last phase of spiritual growth and being given the opportunity to rest. Be patient with the process, you would create internal and external havoc in your life if you tried to do everything all at once. You will get the signal when it is time to move forwards again.
Spiritual ‘levels’ are not really identifiable by names or numbers, it is a human compulsion to label and classify everything in the world, but as your spiritual development doesn’t happen in the world of form, attempts to label or quantify can be pretty meaningless. Some people even use the term level as a form of spiritual snobbery, “I’m on a higher level than you,” revealing their true level of understanding isn’t quite as enlightened as they would like to think! Hubris is a trap for the ego.
The closest anyone has come to describing the levels of spiritual development in my eyes is Michael Bernard Beckwith in his excellent audio programme Life Visioning where he calls them ‘stages of awakening’ and agrees that one fluctuates between levels in different areas of your life and the process is anything but smooth and even. Stick with it, work through your stuff as it comes up and be reassured that many have walked the spiritual path before you and many will walk it after you.
You can read my own spiritual development story, complete with challenges, in Light behind the Angels which is also available now on Kindle.