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The Stages of Spiritual Growth

The Stages of Spiritual Growth

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by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
January 7, 2020

In the mid-1980s, author and founder of Agape International Spiritual Center Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith introduced a simple model for understanding the Four Stages of Spiritual Growth and Development. While it is not the only guide, it is an enlightening perspective on the journey from victimhood to empowerment. The four stages are to me, by me, through me, and as me.

The process is ongoing, moving through each stage as you grow spiritually.

The first stage is the victim stage. In this stage, you move through the world believing that some external force or power is controlling your life. You may catch yourself saying something to the effect of, “Why does this always happen to me?” In this stage, you are unable to see that you have access to a power for good in the universe that is greater than you are, which you can use. It is a disempowering context through which to live your life. You move to the second stage upon the realization that you are not a victim, and that the world is not happening to you, but for you.

The second stage is all about manifestation. You recognize that you have access to the power within you to create. Maybe you watched the film, The Secret, spent some time in Science of Mind classes, or did some other reading that propelled you to understand the law of attraction, and you began successfully practicing it in your own life. With your new understanding, you’ve learned to manifest great parking spaces, mutually nourishing relationships, and the right and perfect job, for example.  You start to feel that there must be something more than this game of manifesting. There may be a sense of emptiness with a desire to deepen your connection with the Divine.

In the third stage, you let go of control and the illusion of power. Now that you have strong life structures in place, you’re no longer reactive and have surrendered the need to control every aspect of your life. You move into the flow of life, becoming an instrument of the Divine as you continuously surrender to the Indwelling Presence of God. You may receive nudges from the Divine to move in a specific direction, or you may get shoved if necessary. You have the consciousness of, “I surrender, I am an instrument, I am a vehicle through which Spirit speaks and acts.” Life is happening through me.

In your evolution into the fourth stage, ideas of separation lose their power. Through your consistent yielding to Source Energy, the Divine takes the driver’s seat in your life. The last vestiges of ego and separation dissolve. You realize that you are the presence of God, Spirit is expressing as you. The fourth stage is that of unity. At this point, you experience Spirit as you. In the flow, you are called to trust and be.

In which stage are you?

And so it is.

Rev. Elizabeth Rowley

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