The stages of spiritual development
A message from the ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels:
When you survey the behavior, the attitudes and the beliefs of human beings on this planet, it should not be difficult to conclude that people are in many different states of consciousness, they are at different stages of spiritual development. These stages correspond to different degrees of understanding of the spiritual side of life. To give people some sense of co-measurement, I would like to give you a survey of the different stages of spiritual development found on this planet.
The following stages cannot be put on a line and ranked from lowest to highest. A lifestream does not necessarily have to descend to the lowest stage before it turns around and starts climbing its way back to God. There are many lifestreams on Earth who never descended to the lowest stage of spiritual awareness. The numbering of the stages is therefore a practical matter of making it easier to reference the stages.
Stage 1. Lifestreams who rebel against God
Certain lifestreams are in a state of consciousness that causes them to deliberately, and in most cases knowingly, rebel against the laws and the will of God. In some of these lifestreams, the rebellion is obvious. Some promote atheism or agnosticism. Some advocate scientific materialism and vehemently deny the need for a creative being. Some are openly practicing satanism, and although they do not deny the existence of God, they defame, belittle and ridicule everything related to God, religion or spirituality.
In some of these lifestreams, the rebellion against God is hidden deep within the psyche, and it is often unrecognized by the person’s conscious mind. Therefore, this rebellion can often be camouflaged behind a facade of various beliefs, including religious beliefs. It might be surprising to many people, but some of the rebellious lifestreams have managed to attain high positions in various religious movements and churches. They claim to be highly religious and working for God’s cause, yet they have a deep anger against God and believe that they know better than God how the universe should be run or how people should be saved.
For all of these people it is common that they are actively seeking to run away from God, to reinforce the impression that God does not exist or that he does not exist here on planet Earth. Some of these lifestreams engage in an endless quest to prove that God does not exist or to prove that God is wrong and that they are right. They are literally seeking to prove that they can create a world in which God does not exist and in which they have no need for God.
You might ask how the people who work in religious movements can be said to work for this cause or to run away from God. The answer is that they use their power to cement the belief that God is somewhere “up there” in Heaven. These are also the people who cement the idolatrous belief that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and that no one can follow my example. These are often the first people to cry blasphemy, as they did when I made certain remarks that made it sound like I was equating myself with God or calling myself a Son of God.
Stage 2. Lifestreams who try to hide from God
Many people are openly angry at God. Many lifestreams on Earth have been hurt, and they believe that God has hurt them or treated them unfairly, unjustly or in a way that defies logical explanation. Many lifestreams are afraid of God and see him as an angry and judgmental being who is always ready to punish them for the slightest transgression of his laws. Common for these lifestreams is that they are running away from God, but not because they are rebelling against God. They simply want to get as far away as possible from what they see as an angry, punishing and unjust deity. They are trying to hide from God.
Running away from God is an act of self-defense. These are the people that I referred to in the saying that I wish people were hot or cold. The people at this stage are indeed cold. They are cold in the sense that they have come to accept a negative image of God, and therefore they are running away from that image. However, they have the potential to be turned around if they can come to accept that their feelings for God were caused by a false, imperfect or incomplete image of God.
Stage 3. Lifestreams who are indifferent toward God
A large number of lifestreams on planet Earth have become so indifferent toward God, religion and the spiritual side of life that they have become lukewarm. Some of these lifestreams are indeed in a spiritual coma that makes it almost impossible to reach them with any kind of spiritual truth. Many of these lifestreams have been so hurt or disappointed by organized religion that they have rejected religion, or given up on the idea that they could ever partake of a true sense of spirituality.
Many of these lifestreams have adopted a false, imperfect or incomplete image of God. Yet trying to help them see this and trying to help them accept a correct image of God is very difficult because they often will not respond to any kind of spiritual message. Many of these lifestreams use the imperfections, real or perceived, of orthodox or organized religion as an excuse for rejecting anything related to the spiritual side of life. If one approaches such lifestreams with a spiritual message, they will often become very suspicious and feel that one is out to convert them, to manipulate them, to take advantage of them or to get their money.
These lifestreams often reject all types of spirituality and thereby put themselves in a catch-22 in which they reject the very tools that could help them heal their wounds and get on the upward path. They are often unreachable for a spiritual teacher.
Stage 4. Lifestreams who are conflicted about God
Certain lifestreams have come to the realization that there is indeed some reality to the spiritual side of life and that there is a path they can follow toward a higher understanding of God and their relationship to God. These are lifestreams who have turned around and started the path that leads them back to God. However, many of these lifestreams have been so deeply hurt that they need spiritual and lifestream healing before they can earnestly engage in the spiritual path.
Some of these lifestreams have been hurt by physical trauma. Others have been hurt emotionally through their interactions with other people or the institutions of society. Still others have been hurt by the imperfections of organized religion or have been scarred by so-called infallible doctrines that could not answer their questions about life. These wounds often cause such lifestreams to feel conflicts in their conception of or relationship to God. They might feel that religion doesn’t make sense and presents a contradictory or inconsistent image of God (which is true). Or they might feel that a just and loving God shouldn’t have allowed them to have been hurt. They often feel like victims of forces beyond their control and see no way to personally change their situation.
These lifestreams have come to a realization that they want more from life than what can be attained by material means. They sense there must be a place to go to find spiritual understanding and healing. Yet they have been so deeply scarred and hurt that they are not yet able to start walking toward that understanding. They are like people who have broken a leg and therefore need to heal the fracture before they can start walking toward their goal. Therefore, such lifestreams would do well to recognize their wounds and to focus all of their energy and attention on healing the psychology (as understood by the world) and the lifestream.
Stage 5. Lifestreams who want to experience God’s creation
A certain group of lifestreams are young lifestreams who have not yet spent a long time (meaning many embodiments) in the material world. Some of these lifestreams still have a great desire to experience everything in the material world, and this can make them indifferent toward religion. They are simply so preoccupied with the things of this world that they have no attention left over for spiritual pursuits.
Other young lifestreams are very open to religion, yet often approach it in a somewhat unbalanced manner. This can cause them to take their religious pursuits to the extremes. They often use religion not as a way to transcend the world but as a way to enrich their experience of this world. For example, they might seek to gain a position in a religious movement because it increases their status among men. These lifestreams have not yet had enough experiences to achieve the balance of being wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
Unfortunately, given the current conditions on this planet, it is common that young lifestreams, in their innocence, will be hurt or taken advantage of by both material and non-material forces. This can often cause such lifestreams to lose their innocence and slide toward disappointment or anger. If such lifestreams are taken advantage of by organized religion, they might find it impossible to distinguish between God and the outer religion and thereby become angry at God.
Stage 6. Lifestreams who seek to understand God
These lifestreams have consciously realized that there is more to life than the material realm. They know there is more to understand about life than what they were taught in school and Sunday school, and they have made the decision to start looking for it. These lifestreams have also healed at least some of their deepest wounds so that they have attention left over to focus on studying the spiritual side of life.
To achieve maximum growth, these lifestreams need to focus most of their attention on studying spiritual teachings, practicing various spiritual techniques and seeking to internalize spiritual truth and principles.
These lifestreams are the “reason for being” of any true spiritual movement. It is their quest for understanding that gives the ascended masters great hope for the future of planet Earth.
Stage 7. Lifestreams who seek to help others understand God
After a lifestream has spent a sufficient amount of time studying spiritual teachings and practicing techniques for spiritual growth, that lifestream has internalized a critical amount of spiritual knowledge. The next logical step is that the lifestream begins to give out that knowledge by teaching others.
One can be a student only for so long. When one has reached a certain level, the lifestream cannot learn any more until the lifestream begins teaching what it has internalized. Only by teaching others can the lifestream ascend to the next level of learning because it is through giving that you truly receive and it is through teaching that you truly learn.
These lifestreams are the backbone of any true spiritual movement. Without these lifestreams acting as our partners on Earth, the ascended masters would have little hope for reaching other lifestreams with a spiritual message.
Stage 8. Lifestreams who seek union with God
As a lifestream climbs the spiritual path, it gradually becomes less attached to outer manifestations, such as a particular religion or spiritual teaching. It begins to see that there is a transcendent reality behind the many different expressions of spiritual teachings. It begins to see the universal path behind all of the outer religions, organizations, teachings and teachers.
During the previous two stages, a lifestream might follow one particular religion or philosophy and use it as its springboard for growth. This is quite acceptable, as long as the lifestream does not become stuck in thinking that its particular religion is the only true religion or the only valid road to understanding God. If a lifestream does become attached, it will remain stuck at a certain stage of spiritual growth until it begins to acknowledge the universal path.
When the lifestream does begin to see the universal path, it ascends to the level of becoming a mystic. It now realizes that the ultimate goal of the spiritual path is not to understand God but to know God, to experience God and to attain union with God. This is what I demonstrated in my life, and it is reflected most clearly in my statement, “I and my Father are one.”
Some mystics might indeed withdraw from worldly activities and focus all of their attention on attaining the mystical union with God. However, in this day and age, many have the opportunity to choose to remain active in the world, and this is indeed highly needed. Such lifestreams can then demonstrate the universal path by example, and some of them can teach this path openly.
Stage 9. Lifestreams who have attained union with God
As lifestreams rise on the path and begin to teach spiritual truth, they will gradually begin to internalize more and more truth and more and more light. They will then gradually become what one might call Masters in embodiment.
These are lifestreams who have understood some of the deeper mysteries, especially the difference between “doing” and “being.” You will recall my statement that, “I of my own self can do nothing, it is the Father within me who is doing the work.” When the lifestream attains mastery, it is no longer trying to DO anything in this world. It is simply BEING who it is and therefore allowing the spiritual self, and possibly spiritual beings, to act through it.
The lifestream has become the open door that no human can shut. The lifestream might serve to bring fourth spiritual truths directly from a higher realm, thereby delivering the Living Word in its highest form. Or such lifestreams might serve in other capacities to further and demonstrate the cause of the ascended masters. These lifestreams can literally be our hands and feet on Earth.
However, there is no exact standard for how a lifestream with spiritual mastery should act, or rather BE. Some lifestreams might become world teachers. Some might live a seemingly ordinary life and can hardly be distinguished from the average person. Some might have severe handicaps or diseases. Some might sit in a cave in the Himalayas, or elsewhere, and meditate day and night to hold the spiritual balance for the Earth. Others might even exhibit behavior that is not associated with spiritual mastery.
Do not misuse this teaching
Let me issue a word of warning. There is an inherent danger in giving any kind of teaching that allows people to compare themselves to others. Many people are still caught in the spirit of vain competition, and they will use my stages of spiritual development to judge themselves and their progress compared to others. They will then attempt to set themselves up on a pedestal and judge themselves as being better or more important than others because they have reached a certain level of development.
Let me make it clear that as long as people are caught in this state of consciousness, they have not reached a high level of spiritual development because when you reach such a level there are no value judgments and there is no sense of competition.
I am giving this teaching because it is valuable and important for a lifestream to realize its current level of spiritual development and thereby take appropriate measures to quickly rise to a higher level. It is especially important for lifestreams at lower stages of spiritual development to realize that there is a path that leads them home to God. It is essential for such lifestreams to discover that path and to lock themselves firmly upon that path.
Likewise, it is essential for lifestreams at higher stages to discover the universal, inner path to God. Such lifestreams need to transcend their attachments to a particular outer religion and thereby realize the goal of manifesting their full potential as sons and daughters of God.
Let me also say that the stages I have outlined here are not meant to be seen as the only possible way to categorize spiritual development. One can take different criteria and come up with other stages. One can also divide the stages I have outlined and gain a more detailed picture. Indeed several of the stages overlap, and a lifestream might be working on two or three stages simultaneously. In future teachings, I will expand upon the stages I have outlined here. Yet I desire to give a picture that is not too complex and thereby causes people to focus on details and lose the overall view.
When you do step back and look at the big picture, you will see that the common denominator for each of the stages I described above is that they all represent a different way for the lifestream to relate to God. The importance of this realization is that no matter where a lifestream is in its spiritual development, that lifestream is always facing the challenge of working out its relationship to God.
As I explain throughout this website, every lifestream truly is a son or daughter of God, an individualization of God. The lifestream is meant to come to a full awareness and acceptance of its divine potential and thereby act as a co-creator with God in the material universe. Therefore, the most important task for any lifestream is to resolve any imperfections in its conception of or relationship with God. That is truly what life in the material universe is all about.
Therefore, the goal of life is to resolve and heal all imperfections in the lifestream’s attitude toward God. Such imperfections stand in the way of the lifestream’s union with God and its acceptance of its potential to be a co-creator with God.
Why lifestreams descended to Earth
I will use the stages of spiritual development for future teachings. However, I would like for now to give a brief teaching on the different categories of lifestreams that have descended to planet Earth. When the Earth was first created, it expressed the purity and perfection of the seven Elohim, the seven spiritual beings, who created this planet. In the beginning, most of the lifestreams that descended to planet Earth fit into the category of young lifestreams.
These lifestreams were indeed innocent and had no negativity towards God. Yet some of them did have a great desire for the things that can be experienced in the material universe, and therefore they focused most of their attention on enjoying this world. They had little thought left over for the spiritual side of life. Other lifestreams were more spiritually inclined but had not yet firmly anchored themselves on the spiritual path and had not attained a permanent awareness of their spiritual identity and potential.
Along with the young lifestreams were a group of lifestreams who had attained a degree of mastery. These lifestreams served as the spiritual teachers for younger lifestreams.
For a very long time, the young lifestreams kept descending to planet Earth without becoming trapped in the consciousness of the material universe. Many of these lifestreams did indeed ascend back to God after just one lifetime, although that lifetime was far longer than a normal life span today.
At some point a shift started to occur on this planet. A number of lifestreams started becoming attached to or trapped in the consciousness of the material universe, and they started descending further and further into that state of consciousness. One might say that these lifestreams started walking the path that leads them away from God, causing them to lose the awareness that they are spiritual beings.
As the consciousness of humankind was gradually lowered, it eventually reached a critical level. At this critical level it now became possible for certain rebellious lifestreams to start embodying on Earth. These were lifestreams who had rebelled against God in the spiritual realm or on other systems of worlds. These lifestreams are indeed the rebellious lifestreams, and for thousands of years a number of them have continued to embody on this planet. They have attempted to pull as many lifestreams as possible down to their level of consciousness and accept, even justify, their rebellion against God.
These lifestreams are very aggressive and very ambitious in trying to prove their point that they can create a world in which God does not exist. They have literally influenced every aspect of life on this planet, including the field of religion.
The influence of these rebellious lifestreams has created a perilous condition on this planet. There are still young lifestreams who descend to this Earth for the first time, yet there is a great risk that such lifestreams will be hurt by the conditions found on this planet. This can cause a lifestream to gradually slide down to the stage of being a wounded lifestream. It can then slide even further down and seek to hide from God, either from anger or fear. It is even possible that the lifestream can descend to the stage of deliberately rebelling against God’s will and God’s law.
After the fall, a number of lifestreams have embodied on this planet that are at higher stages of spiritual development, from being teachers to being Masters. These lifestreams have descended on a rescue mission in an attempt to help the lifestreams who have fallen find the true spiritual path, anchor themselves on that path and walk the path until they have regained their spiritual identity and can start the higher levels of the path that lead to the mystical union with God.
Some of these lifestreams have indeed become hurt by the conditions on this planet and have descended into lower stages of consciousness. A few of them have even become rebellious against God because they could not maintain the connection to their higher selves.
My purpose of giving this teaching is to show you that the Earth today presents a very complex picture and a very complex challenge for a spiritual teacher. It simply is not possible to give one spiritual teaching or one religion that will appeal to people at every stage of spiritual development. That is why there needs to be more than one religion, indeed more than one true religion, in order for the ascended masters to reach out to as many people as possible.
Where are you headed?
I would also like to mention that there is a clear division in the stages. The center of the scale are the lifestreams who are young and who are simply experimenting with life on this planet. A lifestream is not meant to maintain this neutral stage for very long. Given the current conditions on this planet, most lifestreams will quickly be forced to go in one of two directions.
One such direction is the lifestreams who have been trapped by doubt or have been hurt in various ways. These lifestreams now start moving away from God. The other direction is represented by the lifestreams who have realized that there is more to life than the material world. These lifestreams have discovered the path and are moving toward union with God.
So the two basic divisions you have on planet Earth are lifestreams who are moving away from God and lifestreams who are moving toward union with God. I am aware that some lifestreams were already moving away from God before they descended and some were already moving toward God before they came into embodiment. Nevertheless, the important consideration here is whether a lifestream is moving away from God of moving toward God.
Lifestreams who are moving away from God are facing a perilous situation. Although there is a final limit to how far a lifestream can move away from God, there is indeed a very great distance that the lifestream can descend. The problem is that everything in the material universe is characterized by limitations. This means that the lifestream does not have an infinite amount of time to make it back to God. If the lifestream keeps moving away from God until its time is up, it will face the final judgment, If it does not respond positively, it can be erased in the ritual of the second death. So it is indeed possible that lifestreams can be lost.
To avoid this scenario, a lifestream must come to a turning point. The lifestream must literally decide that it will stop running away from God and start the path that leads it back to God. It must come to the realization that, “I can’t do this any longer!” What does it take for a lifestream to turn around? That depends on the lifestream’s stage of development.
It is very difficult for a rebellious lifestream to turn around. Such lifestreams are often caught in spiritual pride, and some of them would rather die than admit that they are wrong. However, some lifestreams can eventually come to the realization that their attempts to create a world without God are futile. This can especially happen when they are confronted with a person who has attained Christhood and therefore refuses to be changed by anything in this world. This did indeed happen to a few lifestreams who saw me during my embodiment 2,000 years ago. They realized that even though they could kill my physical body, they could not change my spirit, and this caused them to realize that God will eventually be victorious regardless of the appearances of this world.
A lifestream who is seeking to hide from God out of fear or anger finds it a bit easier to turn around because it does not have to prove that it is right. It is possible for such lifestreams to come to the realization that they have an incorrect or incomplete image of God. Therefore, it was this image that caused them to be hurt, to become angry or to fear God.
Lifestreams who are indifferent toward God can be very difficult to reach for a spiritual teacher. However, these lifestreams have enrolled themselves in the school of hard knocks and in many cases they can be turned around by a severe outer crises. These people will procrastinate the acknowledgement of the spiritual side of life until some outer crisis forces them to realize that something is missing from their lives.
Lifestreams who are conflicted about God or have been deeply hurt can be turned around when they realize, that God did not hurt them and God did not create the doctrines that gave them the conflicts about God. When these lifestreams realize what is truly happening on this planet as a result of the misuse of free will, they can often go through an instantaneous turnaround in which they realize that God has never hurt them. Instead, they have been hurt by forces and people who rebel against God or who are angry at God. Therefore, such lifestreams will often realize that they have no desire to run away from God, and this will enable them to engage in the path that leads to their healing.
Once a lifestream has discovered the spiritual path and anchored itself on the path, the lifestream has already turned around. However, this does not mean that the lifestream is home free. The essential point for a lifestream who is moving toward God is that it realizes the absolute need to keep moving, to keep transcending its understanding of God. It is absolutely essential that the lifestream does not become attached to a particular outer expression of spiritual truth because such an attachment will cause the lifestream’s growth to come to a halt.
If the lifestream does not see the need for constant self-transcendence, it can become stuck at a particular level of the path. If it remains stuck for a long time, it will inevitably start sliding backward. There are indeed many lifestreams on planet Earth today who have discovered the spiritual path and who are walking the path. Yet they have not yet come to the full realization that the path is ongoing. These lifestreams have not yet discovered the inner, universal path, and therefore they have not yet become mystics. It is very important for these lifestreams to recognize the ongoing nature of the path and the ultimate goal of union with God.
Copyright © 2009 by Kim Michaels