11 Phases of Spiritual Growth

I find that among circles of spiritual seekers, we all tend to recognize and agree that there are certain phases of awareness that we’ve all traversed through on our journeys. I’ve written a bit here about each of those common phases in the particular order that they tend to happen.

Pre-awakening: Life was just normal and you thought you knew it all. Just a regular ole’ muggle. Nothing to see here.

The Awareness Phase: Suddenly you come across information that you’ve never really considered before, but it really resonates with you. It makes you stop and think and it piques your curiosity. This is your catalyst – the moment that your world will change forever.

The Information Seeking Phase: You can’t get ENOUGH of this new information… it’s addicting. You’re reading everything you can get your hands on and you’re learning about things that you never knew existed. The weirder, the better. Things you would have laughed off yesterday suddenly seem possible – the whole world is teeming with new possibility. It’s EXCITING.

The Processing Phase: The information you come across only creates more questions, and some of it is conflicting, and you’re a little confused. What does it all mean? Why does this person say one thing and this other person say another thing? You also still haven’t quite let go of old doubt and dogma. You’re wavering back and forth between “This is right!” and “Am I crazy?” It’s a fragile moment. Fear still has a grip on you.

The Discovery Phase: You’re starting to wake up to social issues and systems in the world that you never really gave much thought to before, and you’re PISSED. I also call this the “conspiracy” phase… you lose trust in government, in religion, in capitalism, the economy.

If you’re not careful, you can become very bitter, and you start to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. Such big problems and little ole’ you has no ability to solve them. But it’s just a natural part of the process – it’s the destruction of your old way of thinking.

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.” -Chuck Palahniuk

The Evangelism Phase: I also call this the ‘Outrage’ phase, because it’s two-fold – you take up social causes left and right and feel it’s your duty to wake up the rest of the world to this atrocity we call Earth. You may also be shouting to the world about the exciting information you’ve recently learned only to discover that it’s not as well-received by the rest of the world.

People may laugh at you. They’ll ask you if you need them to call an ambulance. They’ll treat you like you’re stupid. It’s a fragile moment… fear is still there. You may begin to doubt yourself. You waver back and forth between excitement and shame.. but that shame is fear’s attempt of keeping hold of you. Remember – that which you resist, persists…

The Realization Phase: You begin to see how emotionally draining the outrage and the evangelism can be and you start to take a step back and perhaps reassess your situation. But this is important, because it opens a door for you – things start to make a lot more sense. This is the beginning of acceptance. Acceptance for the world around you and acceptance for your new beliefs and acceptance for yourself. That which you accept disappears.

The Disciple Phase: Once you’ve begun acceptance, a floodgate of new understanding opens. You re-read things that you saw before and you find new meaning in it. You understand it more thoroughly and more deeply. Fear finally loses its grip on you and you let it go. It feels like a ton of bricks has been lifted from your shoulders.

You’ve waded through the waters of gurus, swamis, channeled messages and psychics and aliens and beings from other dimensions and you’ve settled on one or two that really resonate with you and you follow their messages more closely. When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.

The Work Phase: Now it’s time to put all of those things you’ve learned to work. You spend much time looking inward. You might start meditating. You may start developing intuitive abilities of your own. You connect with your guides, you start learning about yourself on a soul level.

You now base your learning on your own experience rather than on someone else’s word and you’re able to look back at your life and see how all of your experiences shaped you and led you to this moment. You feel at ease and self-assured. You know this is your path.

The Guide Phase: You’ve learned enough on your path to begin helping others – and not in an egoic, “I think this is fun and I don’t really know what I’m doing but it feels really good to pretend I do,” sort of way or the excited feeling of converting all of your friends over to your new way of thinking that you experienced during your Evangelism phase, but out of genuine compassion for your fellow man because you were once where they were.

But all the while, you grow and you change and you understand that you’re never finished. You are always growing and changing and evolving. You’re perfectly comfortable with who you are and that allows you to be a better teacher because you don’t need to argue to be right, and you don’t fear rejection.

You simply offer contrast – another option, another view. You understand and respect other people’s paths and you know that their view is as likely to change at any moment as yours did all along the way, so you leave a bread crumb if they choose to follow it.

The Advanced Phase: You have really weird experiences and are doing things that you never imagined were possible when you were just a muggle. You start talking about shit that no one behind you can even understand and spend half your time throwing things out there and then saying, “Anybody? Anybody? Beuhler?” But you’re ok with that, because it’s just the next step in your own process.

We’re never done, on this path, and being further ahead on the path is no better than being further behind because there’s always someone ahead of you and behind you no matter where you are.

Did any of these descriptions resonate with you? Which phase do you think you’re in right now? Do you think there’s a phase I missed?



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  1. I seem to be mixing Evangelism and beyond all together. But I know why. It’s cuz I am both Right and Crazy at the same time. I am on a riiiide…

    • A love roller coaster.

    • Congratulations, Me. I have advanced to The Guide Phase, but I think I’ve accidentally been in The Advanced Phase all along.

  2. The last bit made me think of those annoying chain songs where a person starts singing and in the middle another joins in and so on and so forth. It is constantly a cycle and someone is always starting a round of the song.

    I hit a hopeless stage after my truther stage. I just started feeling like it was all shit and we were all going to die, so with that in mind, what was there left to do? What did I actually have control over? I surmised that the only thing left to do was figure out what I believed was after we fucked ourselves and self destructed. That was 3.5 years ago.

    I have had my primary people I learn from….Erik, Bashar and now, my new “go to” person, Dolores Cannon. I can’t stop saying “Well in Dolores Cannon’s book…” lol That woman has put out some amazing information I am devouring all that I can. I am reading 3 of her books currently and have a 4th on hold at the library.

    I would say I am at the advanced stage. I am at the stage where the psychics and mediums are just confirming information I already know. They aren’t actually telling me anything new because I get that information on my own from my guides. Sometimes I find myself confident enough to point out filters they have…which isn’t always received very well. hahahaha The advanced stage is also when you go to classes and you end up talking about stuff that the instructor seems to have no knowledge of and they look at you blankly. lol It is at moments like that in which I realized how I have grown exponentially in a short amount of time. It is easy to feel like I still need to learn, learn, learn because there is still so much I don’t know, but when you are faced with a situation that shows you how much you have actually absorbed and you didn’t even realize, it is pretty eye opening.

  3. muggle that made me smile

  4. A very insight filled blog Ashley. Maybe a 12th Phase would have something to do with Acceptance and Harmony.

    I see that our Spiritual journey here will lead us to a state of total acceptance and harmony; acceptance of who we are, acceptance of what we are, and acceptance of why we came here. Some might call this the I AM view.

    To me a big challenge is the total acceptance that I made a free-will choice on the other side to journey to this land-behind-the-veil and that I actually made the decision because of the veil. It is on this side of the veil that allows us to sense a separation that does not exist in ¨reality¨…where All Is One.

    It is here that I can experience the extremes of emotions, the polarity of emotions, with all my human bodily senses. It is here where I can learn the value of love, the extension of love, and service to others. It is here I can work with and confirm the power of such virtues as forgiveness, gratitude and humility. Learning opportunities abound in this land-behind-the-veil, unlike any other realm.

    Only when I accept that I am a spark from a Powerful Spiritual Being who has taken on this human body to play a role, am I then able to accept that I came here to experience all that is presented to me. I can then accept that all is happening perfectly to plan and I can be in total harmony with that.

  5. At first I thought there would be something missing from this if I read it. Only because I’m in the phase between withdrawing and comfort. Thank you for this article.

    • You’re welcome 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  6. What does God say about all the needless human suffering? “oh sorry I’m an egotist-masochist who can’t get enough pain-through-growth”?

    It’s all going according to plan…. Including the billions of people eating garbage and drinking polluted water. Including the horror-show conditioning 99% of 1st-world children receive from birth via media, school, etc. God is awesome, except when He/She/It isn’t (except when We’re not).

    “What you resist, persists” is a trite and shallow New Age saying… As is the one on acceptance. Be clear or stop muddying the water w/ false “wisdom”. Subtleties are more accurate than generalizations.

    If tomorrow nearly everyone stopped paying their taxes, started growing their own food and started to love their neighbors as much as themselves… The old system would still have to be brought down. It’s going nowhere willingly, power never gives up w/o being forced to.

    I guess I’m “stuck in evangelism”. From here, your “higher consciousness” looks solipsistic and completely dependent on material comfort within consumer “democracy”.

    • It won’t matter what I say to you right now, because you probably won’t listen to me anyway…but I’ll talk anyway because it’s 7am on a Sunday, I haven’t had my coffee yet, and I’m clearly delusional (and cranky) until that happens.

      You’ve obviously not spent much time reading my stuff, otherwise you’d understand my position on such things. I feel like I have this conversation constantly with people of a similar mentality. Every single one of them has the same response. The same outrage. And by now I should know better than to even remotely attempt to have logical discourse with people who aren’t interested in it, but oh well. Old habits die hard.

      “What does God say about all the needless human suffering?”

      Well, you are God. So what do you say about it? All the humans who are needlessly suffering are also God. What do they say about their own suffering?

      Of course, if you do not believe that you are a manifestation of God, imbued with all the same creative power – whether metaphorically or quite literally, then that question is null and void and I’d have to ask, “Then what the hell are you doing on my blog?”

      All of the conflict that exists in the world is merely a reflection of the conflict that exists within. That’s why I always think it’s interesting when people attempt to solve the problems of the world from the outside in, only. They’re completely ignoring the cause of the problem. And it will end up like that goddamned mint infestation in my garden… no matter how many times I rip that shit out, unless I get the root, it comes back. IT ALWAYS COMES BACK.

      Now, another thing I tend to notice – and this IS a GENERALITY rather than a subtlety – is that many people in your position, not all, but many, seem incapable of becoming aware of the victim mentality that exists within their current belief system. They see the world as this place that happens to them, full of people exerting control over them – the suffering in the world is not their fault, no, it’s the fault of governments and corporations and secret clubs of devil-worshipping elitists. I see that you at least acknowledge that our participation in said systems is what keeps them afloat (at least I hope you do, because if you don’t, well, then you’re just as delusional as I am at this point).

      But that is an effect of duality, isn’t it? We have to create an adversary which is pure evil so that we can feel better about ourselves and tell ourselves that we, humanity, collectively, is not responsible for all of the horrors that we see around us on a daily basis. A scapegoat. How convenient!

      Lol you should see the response I gave to some girl once who asked a question about the Illuminati – she wanted to know why “they” – whoever this magical “they” is that snaps their fingers and fixes the world – Jesus, perhaps? – don’t do something about all of this suffering.

      I gave her my very best George Carlin impression and more or less told her to get off her lazy ass and do something about it herself. And by “doing something about it” I did not mean go and sign a fucking petition or hold a sign at some protest. I meant put your money where your mouth is, because let’s face it, it’s dollar signs that makes this world go round. And yet again – I don’t mean donate to some sleezeball politician who promises hope and change and sells you downriver the minute he/she gets a corporate donation, either.

      That’s the easy way out (and ironically, it’s kind of the egoic way out – look at me! I’m here, supporting this cause. Aren’t I such a good person? And then I’m going to go home and not change a fucking thing about myself or my behavior because I can’t possibly be the cause of any of this). It’s far more difficult to have to take a good, long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and see how your own emotional shit has been feeding into all of this all along, but even worse, how you’ve been inflicting emotional pain and suffering on the people you love the most your entire life because you refuse to acknowledge that some aspect of you is, indeed, an asshole. [Cue Dennis Leary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrgpZ0fUixs%5D

      The only thing anybody really CAN do is change themselves.

      But I understand why people mistakenly believe that the problems in the world are caused by these huge faceless enemies, because the problems of the world are also seemingly huge and looming and can’t possibly be result of little ole’ me. Well, no, it’s not little ole’ you, it’s all of is little ole’ mes, collectively, over thousands of years, with the help of a handful of shrewdly self-interested people. And without doing the internal work to change yourself and fix your OWN shit, then all the world will ever be is utter shit, and misery does love company, doesn’t it?

      Now, I didn’t even touch on the idea that pain and suffering are two entirely separate things and that while pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional, but that would be a whole other diatribe which can be found in bits here and there throughout this blog. I invite you to read it. You might find it enlightening.

      • I like Cranky You.

      • Thank you so much for that…….luv

      • <3

  7. Fantastic post, and oh, so right on the money with my own experiences. The Discovery/Evangelism phase just about did me in. Cusping on the Guide Phase with a few nods to really weird experiences. Every blessing, I’m subscribing!

    • Thanks 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. This is really good and I can recognise myself going through those phases one by one and it’s so helpful to have it laid down like this and understand why I’m feeling so different from people around me but I’m getting so I don’t care quite so much!


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