11 Phases of Spiritual Growth
Pre-awakening: Life was just normal and you thought you knew it all. Just a regular ole’ muggle. Nothing to see here. Then suddenly, one day 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. You begin a search for answers that change you irrevocably.
The Information Seeking Phase: You can’t get enough of this new information… it’s addicting. Your mind is suddenly open and 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 starts to create more questions, and some of it is conflicting, and you become 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 waiver 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 teachers that really resonate with you and you follow their messages more closely. When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear.
THIS IS YOUR WARNING
You have to be careful with these phases in the middle of your spiritual journey. There are many pitfalls involved. You’re in an incredibly vulnerable state at the beginning of your spiritual journey, and it makes you ripe for psychic predators in the spiritual community, of which there are many. Narcissists and dilettantes masquerade as coaches, spiritual teachers, psychics, and healers, often inflicting harm on vulnerable people who put their trust in them.
Be diligently discerning about who you trust. I cannot emphasize this enough.
Just because someone claims to be a psychic or channeler does not mean that they have done the ego work required to pass on those messages without twisting them through their own fear-based belief system.
Just because someone has a pretty instagram wall with thousands of followers (or even hundreds of thousands) does not mean that they have actually done their own shadow work or fully grasp the concepts they are alleging to teach. Much of the time, they’re just feeding their ego instead of taming it.
Just because someone claims to be a healer does not mean they’ve healed themselves.
Additionally, for the women reading this, PLEASE BEWARE OF SEXUAL PREDATORS IN THE HEALING BUSINESS. I have encountered MANY. They will offer you free healing and slowly begin to make sexual advances. They look for women who are emotionally vulnerable with weak boundaries. Also BEWARE OF EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL PREDATORS, AS WELL AS CULT LEADERS. If you have a history of trauma or abuse, you are especially vulnerable to these people. Uphold your boundaries, and by all means, work with only women if that makes you more comfortable. If you are unsure about someone and would like a second opinion, contact me.
And finally, you, yourself, have to be careful not to become one of these people. Don’t get stuck in one of these previous phases through spiritual bypassing.
Need help discerning who is and isn’t a credible spiritual teacher? Here’s some posts that will help.
The Shadow Work Phase: Now it’s time to put all of those things you’ve learned to work. You spend much more time looking inward for answers than from someone else. 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, and you begin your healing journey. The hard work of facing your shadow, getting really honest with yourself,
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. It’s the most important work you will ever do. And then you meet your dark night of the soul: when the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear. All of the wisdom you’ve gained throughout your journey is put to the test. Are you truly ready to break free from your self-imposed chains?
The Rebirth Phase: You emerge from your shadow work like a phoenix from the ashes of your former self. You have really weird experiences and are doing things that you never imagined were possible when you were just a muggle. You may have understandings about things that no one behind you can comprehend, because they haven’t yet faced their shadow. In many ways, you begin the process all over again, because we’re never finished 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.
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. You may even feel called to do so with a sense of greater purpose to help heal the world around you.
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.
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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Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.