The 5 Steps of the Seeker Into Mastery
Wisdom is acquired in stages, learned by leaving behind the old and risking a venture into unknown territory.
When you begin to journey into new territory, a map or a sketch of the road ahead gives you comfort and confidence to tackle the terrain and obstacles that await you. It also records your journey to aid others who will have the same adventure. A seasoned traveler knows that any such map, no matter how accurate or elaborate, is never exactly the same as the territory it describes. The rich sensory, aesthetic, personal, and social dimensions of the actual experience cannot be abstracted and symbolized in a simple two- or three-dimensional picture. When you walk into the actual territory, you will form your own vision. No map can tell you all the ways that the experience will change you, enrich you, and mature you; a map only captures what is at the surface. Still, maps are essential for opening the doorway to the deeper knowledge that comes with experience and wisdom.
The most important map to have and understand is the map that codifies the territory of the Self and the stages of self-mastery. This map is a guide to your growth in every area of knowledge: interpersonal, spiritual, mercantile, managerial, physical, or psychological. The mind always uses maps, consciously or unconsciously, to organize its understanding of reality. In the spiritual world, those sages and saints who successfully walked the path left many maps, gifts, sutras, scriptures, techniques, and inspirations to help us complete the journey and avoid its hazards. Experience does not become knowledge (nor does knowledge become wisdom) in one step, one flash, or one moment. It is a cumulative effort toward Essence.
1. Recognizing the Flame
The first stage of the seeker is to recognize the fire within that deeply requests to know the truth of who you are. Usually, if that fire is strong, the seeker will see this as the only meaningful destination in their life — this is the predisposition to go all the way, to abandon what seems important, and to explore. The seeker naturally has a certain insensitivity, stubbornness, and personal will to penetrate social and cultural standards.
That flame may get them into trouble, of course; however, that flame is the call for a spiritual teacher or spiritual teachings that will set the seeker on a sacred journey of knowing the Self.
2. The Test of Commitment
The spiritual teacher may give the seeker the fundamental teachings of their legacy for the student to practice. The tools given by the spiritual teacher require that the seeker direct their inner fire inwardly. The seeker is required to use these foundational tools over and over, in different circumstances, environments, and irrespectively of the different moods/opinions of the seeker. This stage challenges the seeker’s commitment, invites them to go within, and begins a phase in which concepts and mind constructions are purified.
3. The Test of Pride
After a period of time, the seeker has a better understanding of the spiritual teachings. They know the rules of the inner world and feel confident navigating this terrain on their own. The seeker can then expand, confirm, and contribute to the teachings in their own ways and in their own time. The seeker has developed attention, concentration, and sensibility; they have resources and have developed a certain number of skills. The seeker is calm and rich in possibility and respond-ability. At this stage, the teacher gives space to the seeker to explore their own expression and contributions.
This stage puts the seeker into a very dangerous and crucial test in the path of self-realization; the seeker feels power, the ego, and the challenges of the path.
At this point, the seeker may drift away from the teacher and the teachings and create another conceptualization about spirituality and self-realization, producing a certain spiritual psychosis.
4. The Test of Sincerity
If the seeker has conquered their own pride and has recognized that the practices given by the teacher are simply tools for stabilization and purification — and not a solution to realize one’s Self — then the seeker can move into the realm of the subtle. The teacher becomes a transmitter to you rather than a technician, teaching through demonstration and association.
The seeker fortifies this association by cooperating more sincerely and steadily with the legacy of the teacher. For the seeker, this is phase of great depth, meaning, sophistication, and ease. The seeker recognizes the power of the divine order and cooperates with it 100 percent. The seeker develops the ability to serve and gains great joy in serving. This stage marks the beginning of the dissolution of the personal “I,” as the true Self becomes more tangible and more established.
5. The Test of Mastery
In this phase, the seeker completely establishes himself in what he knows and has offered their identity to the emptiness of the divine. A great trust, vitality, and definition of the Self emerges. Paradoxes are deepened and the personal expression of the seeker is more defined and active. The merging of the finite with the infinite gives the seeker completion and a global perspective of truth and self-realization.
This stage of immense privilege brings for some seekers illumination, solidification, and emanation of the divine order in each moment. A humanitarian model of existence inspires the master to serve, to help, and to elevate others with their own style and character. The teacher at this stage confirms the arrival of the seeker and encourages the solidification of legacy and lineage.
In each step, the seeker’s humility is tested and the right perception is expanded into a fearlessness way of existing.
Recognize that these stages do not exist in a linear way; they happen simultaneously in different planes of your existence, in different levels of time, and in different levels of evolution. The most import part is that the seeker is able to respond lucidly to each phase and to use the correct tools and shelter. Patience, innocence, and friendliness toward these stages reassures a steady and solid flourishment of the Self.
Header photo: chabybucko/Getty Images