The Fourth Stage of Life
First things First
“It has been given to me to Awaken from this terrible Script. And the Way of Life for Man has been clarified in my heart. This dreadful destiny of recoil and self-possession must be transcended. Every tradition of Narcissus must be overlooked. We must be reestablished in the native equanimity of fearless birth. This is the Secret: We are a Universal Divine Incarnation.”
“When it is seen directly, it has no cause. It did not begin in the past. It is presently arising. It is a spontaneous activity whose mystery is understandable only in the instant of re-cognition. Prior to that, nothing can be said about it that makes any difference. Because it has not begun in the past. It is always arising presently. At the subtlest level, it is a completely voluntary activity. That is why it is a simplicity. That is why understanding, Self-realization, whatever you want to call it, is a simplicity.”
Method of the Siddhas – Money, Food and Sex
“Relative to the reality itself, nothing at all can be said. On the other hand, that realization may be served and it is served by the guru appearing in the world…doing Teaching work…establishing a community…a discipline..it’s a way of serving something that is not itself gnosis. Something that may not be spoken. The realization of the Heart is a form of gnosis. The realization of the God-Light is a form of gnosis. The realization of the Life Principle, the fullness descending and ascending into Light is a form of gnosis. And they are all lesser forms of gnosis that are possible also. Knowing how to tie your shoelaces is a form of gnosis. There are all kinds of lesser gnosis and there are these three Great Principle Forms of Gnosis or Knowledge. However, perfect Knowledge, so called, knowledge of Truth or Radical Understanding is not the form of gnosis and does not itself have anything to do with any of the great principles of this great process that we’re always describing.”
Invisible Man – 1975
“The fourth stage of life and beyond really doesn’t have much significance in the common world. It’s not desirable. It has not use. And this is why it’s so subject to taboos. It’s why any of the stages of life higher than the third are so subject to taboos because they don’t have any use in this common world which depends on everybody’s participation to guarantee, in some kind of way guarantee, survival, you see.”
Adi Da Samraj – 1986
The Transition to the Fourth Stage
of Life (and the completion of the third stage of life)
Beezone Study Sheet on
The following are selections from essays and talks and from editorial publications of the Dawn Horse Press on the topic of The Fourth Stage of Life as taught by Adi Da Samraj.
These selections have been integrated, amalgamated, edited and adapted by Beezone for educational purposes and do not reflect the official teaching of Adi Da or Adidam.
The understanding of the Spiritual process in terms of the “seven stages of life”, the “Circle” of the body-mind, and the “Heart” (as the Ultimate Seat of “gross”, “subtle”, and “causal” states, or apparent modifications, of Consciousness), is itself not found, as a universally applied structure of understanding, in the “Great Tradition”. Indeed, the “Great Tradition” itself has only now, or since mankind has become a globally communicated and interdependent group-presence, actually become a tradition, or the complex but single history and tradition of mankind. Therefore, the “Great Tradition” itself, and as a whole, may now (and for the first time) be fully and rightly understood, if this structure of understanding (with all its fine distinctions) is universally applied (as a tool of study) to the total “Great Tradition” of mankind.
The first three stages of life are associated with the most basic physical, emotional, mental, and sexual functions to which you must be adapted to. The transition to the fourth stage of life requires a realistic confrontation with your limitations in the first three stages of life.
You must go through the inevitable and natural crisis of this transition, and that is a profound matter. If it were not profound, most difficult, and something that people in general are not prepared for, human beings all over the world would have entered the fourth stage of life by now. This crisis of transition is the most profound and unwelcome change that confronts humanity. That change has been unwelcome for thousands of years.
There are thousands of people all over the world, perhaps millions of them are imagining that they are involved with some sort of higher psychological, religious or spiritual practice but they have not fulfilled the condition of the fourth stage of life.
They don’t live the life of God-Communion, they don’t transcend the heart of narcissus, they indulge themselves childishly with all kinds of religious organizations, spiritual cults, and all kinds of people associated with them, and typically they are involved with forms of renunciation, mystical inversion, and external manipulation. None of that has anything to do with enlightenment nor does it produce the signs of evolution
The third stage of consideration, acculturation and humanization of the living being, is a necessary foundation in which to realize the moral and truly spiritual disposition of the heart. On that basis the whole body-being is set in motion and may grow again. If you do not pass through that transformation, it literally does not matter how much psychic experience you may acquire in the future, or how intellectually clear you may feel about everything. You still must undo the disposition of the ego before you can grow fully into the next or fourth stage of life.
If their realization was true you should be able to see it in their body, especially if they are old men and women. Because such bodies have been in the fire for a long time you see, a body submitted to God for 80 years looks a lot different you see than a body that’s just been indulged for 80 years. So the old should be a principle witness within the community.
But most people you see do not adapt beyond the third stage of life, do not even come to a point of maturity in the third stage of life. Very few people enter into the fourth stage of life in this society which is without culture. As a result we don’t see much of higher adapted personalities in this culture, this society. We see people more or less of the same kind everywhere. And not much gracefulness, not much serenity, not much bodily confession of the existence of God.
The first three stages of life are about the development of individuation, socialization, and mental development. One can’t “skip ahead” or take “short-cuts” to spiritual development without first having fully established the human foundation for it, one will tend to use the spiritual practices as a means for dramatizing one’s human shortcomings. yogis who becomes good at escaping from this world into other astral worlds because they are not capable of functioning or relating to others.
Most adults never pass beyond the complications of failed adaptation in the first three stages of life. Even those individuals regarded by society as ‘successful’ because they only represent a greater or lesser degree of the FULL development of the third stage of life. The third stage of life is not only about adaptation but about failure. This failure includes not only inherent ‘dissatisfaction’ with the elements of worldly happiness as a ‘way of life’, but the full understanding of the nature of narcissus.
Making the transition to the fourth stage of life is the best almost anyone on earth is at the present time. Most people are involved in lesser stages of complication or growth. Very few people on earth are entered into higher stages than the fourth. And the urge of the Teaching in the world is to draw people toward the fourth stage of life, which is the foundation of higher existence or human sacrifice.
The first three stages of human growth are ordinary stages of functional adaptation. They are stages of psycho-physical ego development. The ecstatic process developed in the fourth stage of life is the origin of true self-transcendence, and it provides the basis for the fifth, sixth, and seventh stages.
The fourth stage, and all the later stages, cannot be conceived within fixed periods of time. The duration of the higher stages of life depends entirely upon the individual’s qualities and his or her spiritual practice of self-transcendence
I have tried to make clear that conductivity, the practice of equanimity, and all the life disciplines are basic practices. They are expressions of the point of view of understanding, and by application to these disciplines, energy and attention are released for the conscious process or the ultimate process of Realization. But this is not a Way of conductivity, not a conventional Spirit religion. It is not a fourth or a fifth stage practice. Thus, even the considerations of Ignorance and the propositions developed on its basis must be viewed in the context of the argument of understanding.
A self disciplined life – taking responsibility for money, work, food, sexuality and everything related to a happy functional life.
Disciplines are entirely life-positive-and entirely a matter of establishing the right (and necessary) equanimity of the whole body (or the total psycho-physical complex of the individual being) through disciplines of basic right life (understood not in moralistic, or puritanical, or merely behavioral terms, but understood in Spiritual, Transcendental, and Divine terms).
A life of conscious active service, rather than chronic self interest and random action.
The body (or the body-mind) is the point of view even of the first three stages of life, but in the early (or basic) phase of the fourth stage of life (or the practice of heart-reception and bodily reception of the descending Divine Spirit-Power), the body is conceived to exist in the mode of a servant. Therefore, in the basic phase of the fourth stage of life, the practitioner positively changes his or her character by adapting to the attitude of a servant, or an individual who, while nonetheless personally responsible as an individual in relation to other individuals, is fundamentally dependent upon the Divine for everything. And a basic characteristic of the attitude of the “servant of God” is freedom from reaction to whatever is not Given in any particular moment, and freedom from attachment in relation to whatever is in fact Given in any particular moment.
The Spiritual attitude of the “servant” is Good Wisdom, because it allows the Realization of equanimity in the “natural”, or bodily, circumstance, wherein change and limitation are never ended. (However, the metaphor or role of “servant” should not be interpreted to the degree of enslavement, for the idea of the “servant”, in the context of Good Wisdom, is inherently associated with mutual Love and the ultimate purpose, or indeed the inherent Reality, of Perfect Freedom in the case of the “servant of God”.)
The mind is the point of view of the advanced phase of the fourth stage of life and of the fifth stage of life as a whole. The process of Spiritual ascent is fulfilled in “Cosmic Consciousness” and conditional “nirvikalpa samadhi”. In this total process of Spiritual ascent, it becomes progressively obvious that the conditional mind is inherently limited but that it nonetheless always inheres in an Ultimate Unity That is itself always already inhering in the Ultimate Divine. Therefore, Yogis and Saints in the advanced context of the fourth stage of life and in the fifth stage of life typically affirm the experientially Realized attitude of unity with the Divine Being.
The fourth stage is associated in its beginning phase with religious ceremonialism and devotional worship by such means as prayer, sacramental service, and devotional meditative contemplation of the Divine Person. The mature phase of fourth stage practice is marked by meditative absorption into the Life Current. This is the domain of traditional Hatha Yoga which is essentially concerned with the arousal of the Life-Energy (kundalini) through psycho-physical exercises. In its more esoteric aspects, however, this form of yoga pertains to the fifth stage.
“In the fourth stage of life, this now complex psycho-physical being is surrendered beyond itself,’ to and into the Living Current of Being that pervades it and the total world. This is done to the point of generally harmonizing the body-mind in that Life Current and otherwise Realizing self transcending devotional Union with that Living Reality in occasions of Love-Bliss that involve and simultaneously transcend the body-mind.”
Devotional surrender (sacrifice) to the Living Reality is the essential feature of the fourth stage of life. The individual is obliged to persist beyond religious conventions and customs,by means of continuous and concentrated attention and devotion via heartfelt feeling-attention to the Ultimate Reality and Source Condition.
All of this is just conversation you see until you can stably enter into the practice of the fourth stage, until you can hear this Teaching and surrender into the Life Current of the Living God with feeling, whole bodily. Not only in your formal devotional practice but in all of the forms of activity you engage in every day. You must be morally transformed, you must be physically transformed, you must practice the principles of a moral and physically transformed life, as a daily regimen, without fail, that’s what the conditions of practice are about.
The Three Contractions – “There are three egos or modes of the “self-contraction”
The concept or idea of the self contraction is not just on the physical or brain level of existence. In the teachings of Adi Da there are three basic levels to the self-contraction and the mistake of many any of those who try to comprehend the concept of the self-contraction view it only on one level.
When Adi Da talks about the self-contraction he is referring to a ‘root’ self-contraction which is then magnified ‘out’ into the psyche, mind and body of the individual. According to Adi Da we don’t have one self-contraction we ARE three and all three are expressions of one fundamental contraction which is attention itself.
In the Aletheon Adi Da writes:
“The three modes of egoity are the lower “self”, the higher “self”, and the “root-self” – gross, subtle and causal”
The three modes of egoity or the self-contraction are of body (VISHVA), mind TAIJASA), and causal (PRAJNA). The three phases of the individual ego corresponding to the three planes of existence of the universal spirit which traditionally is identified as AUM.
These three modes of egoity or modes of the self contraction must be understood or else the individual will fall prey to what I call the ‘root delusion’.
The signs of contraction is a play of opposites. And if the play of opposites is associated with identifying with a mortal body, then you get very cagey about it, clever perhaps, strategic, fearful, anxious, full of stress, so that you accumulate desires and then seek to release it.
The first great crisis of human existence is the observation of the tentative, minimal, and always temporary association between life and Happiness—and how the mortal and limited nature of embodiment itself makes the search for Happiness both a necessary and a futile enterprise. I Argue that Lesson, so that you may become serious, understand your un-Happiness, and begin the Way of Happiness Itself.
The second great crisis of life is this process of serious understanding of un-Happiness and conversion to the Way of Happiness (rather than the futile search for Happiness). Such understanding is what I Call ‘hearing’, and such conversion is what I Call ‘seeing’. It is only when such hearing and seeing prevail that the practice of the Way can begin.
In Hearing from that point, you can, in Communion with Me, pass directly from the self-contraction, the act itself, and you can do this, then, under all circumstances, in every context of experience, no matter how the stages evolve from then. The same hearing gesture is your capability and your responsibility. And immediately, or very quickly, prepares you to do the Yoga of seeing Me, such that the hearing process is taking place in the full dimension of Spiritual existence. Then the purification is more profound and final.
But with that knowledge, because you’re standing in that place, you get the knowledge, the capability, to directly feel beyond it into Communion with Me, not through relaxing this and that or working on this and that but in place. That’s where you have the capability, as well as the knot. And that’s when sadhana is made profound, you see. When you have that hearing capability, you can enter into this Samadhi of Communion with Me directly, constantly.
Of course, that’s, then, the primal readiness for seeing Me. And in must be true. Or all you get is Spiritual effects. And you won’t see Me.
You must constantly be dealing directly with this self-contraction. And if you are in touch with it, then you don’t like it. You want only this Communion with Me. You don’t want this self-contraction, but you’re having to feel it every moment. And its your doing, you see. It’s kind of in a spasm. You’ve got to do the sadhana to relax it and be full of Me, so that My “Brightness” Radiates through it and releases it quickly.
So if you have heard Me, you don’t want to spend a lot of time getting beyond that knot, because its not comfortable at all. You become profoundly sensitized to it if you’ve heard Me, and likewise profoundly sensitized to Me. That’s why seeing is next.
But the knot is there, and its unavoidable, and you don’t like it. It is pain. It is fear. This is what makes a renunciate out of people, the discovery of Me and the self-contraction at the same time. In full hearing and seeing, that’s what makes people renunciates, because it is pain. It’s extraordinary pain, at the same time extraordinary bliss but the pain is where you sit, and you are moved to feel out of it, and be relieved of that enclosure, that divorce from the Divine, that sinfulness. You dislike it so much, you dislike that knot so much, that you become utterly concentrated in going beyond it. It’s not that you have to just sit in a room all the time, but you’re just all the time feeling beyond it, practicing the exercise of going beyond self-contraction into the state of Radiance, Love-Bliss, Energy, Light. And you would not be distracted from It, because you do not want to be simply sitting in that pain of self-contraction.
If there is true hearing in this Way, then the individual, always, in every moment, has the capability-because he or she is dealing with the root contraction, the basis of all other contractions or signs of contraction-has the ability to demonstrate the capability of moving beyond the self-knot and the contracted state, in any moment. And must demonstrate that, you see. Whereas previous to hearing there can be authentic practice, but you’re dealing with all of the different forms of contraction. So in some moments you may go beyond something, but then when something else comes up it is a further test, and so forth. And then it is all piecemeal. There can be improvements and all that, but the fundamental capability is not there yet. It’s only when all contraction is understood, most fundamentally, as your own activity, and as just that, self-contraction, that there is a unique capability that can be exercised in every moment.
Hearing is not the case until there is this most fundamental capability, universal to the character, such that movement beyond the self-knot can be demonstrated every moment. And if that is done, of course, then it deals with whatever associations there may be in any moment, you see. Whatever the circumstances, whatever the qualities otherwise of the body-mind, in any moment there still is this fundamental root-capability. That’s the profound nature of hearing.
Hearing is not merely meditating on the self-contraction or the signs of dissatisfaction. Hearing is not just noticing the self-contraction and not liking it, you see. These are changes that any devotee goes through in the listening process, you see, that do give you a feeling that you’re responsible for something about what you feel is self-contraction, you see, reactivity, all the rest. But they don’t indicate hearing.
Hearing is the capability to transcend the self-contraction, because you’re in the root position, which is the equivalent of the closed fist, in your own nature. You are right in that position, you’re noticing that you are clenching your fist and that’s why your hand hurts, and you open your hand up. You see? Or another simile I’ve Given is that you’re pinching yourself, and you’re suffering the pain, and you’re thinking and emoting, trying to do all kinds of things to be relieved of this, and you never figure it out, and the pain is constant. Then, maybe somebody points it out to you, or you somehow notice that you’re pinching yourself, and you take your hand away and all of a sudden the pain is gone. Well, hearing is this discovery of your own fundamental action that is the root and cause and nature of your own disturbance and your search. So its not meditating on the self-contraction and regretting it. It’s enjoying the capability of going beyond it.
Adi Da described Hearing (editorial Crazy Wisdom, Vol 6., No. 4, 1987) as a profound Samadhi, whose significance is greater than any of the conditional samadhis that may be experienced in the course of human evolution. Hearing is the penetration of the first three stages of life by Radical Understanding. It is the breakthrough into life of unqualified Consciousness. The conscious process Awakened in hearing continues as the same unqualified force of understanding that penetrates and transcends the fourth, fifth, and sixth stages of life, until that same Consciousness is fully Realized in the seventh stage of life.
When the ego is understood and transcended, then conditional Nature is seen in the Light of Reality Itself. And, in that case, the egoic struggle in conditional Nature or against conditional Nature is also understood and transcended. Then life ceases to be founded on the need to defeat the dynamic of conditional Nature via conventional “knowledge”, power, immortality, or mystical escape. The “world” is no longer conceived as a drama of warfare between “Good” and “Evil”. The righteousness of the search for the “Good” as a means of “self”-preservation disappears along with the “self”-indulgent and “self”- destructive negativity of possession by “Evil”.
In place of this dilemma of opposites, an ego-transcending and “world”-transcending equanimity appears. In that equanimity, there is an Inherent Self-Radiance That Transcends the egoic dualities of “Good” and “Evil”. That Self-Radiance Is the Free Radiance of egoless Love. In That Free Radiance, energy and attention are inherently free of the ego-bond, or the “self”- contraction, or the “gravitational effect” of phenomenal “self”-awareness. Therefore, dynamic equanimity, or the free disposition of egoless Love, is the “window” through which Real (Acausal) God may be “seen”-not in the conventional mode of “Creator”, the “Good”, the “Other”, or the “Heavenly Place”, but as the Real, the Self- Evidently Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State of all-and-All.
The ultimate moment in the “play” of conditional Nature is not the moment of egoic success. The ultimate moment is beyond contradiction. It is the moment of equanimity, the still point in the midst of the wheel of Nature’s motions and all the motivations of the born “self”. The Truth-and the Real Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State-of “self” and cosmic Nature is Revealed only in that equanimity, beyond all stress and bondage of energy and attention.
Commitment and emotional conversion necessary to begin the fourth stage, while also documenting the trial of rigorous adaptation to the Awakened heart which makes this transition the “most difficult stage.”
The most difficult stage is the one of transition from Lawless, subhuman existence to the responsible beginning of spiritual life. After that, the whole affair is more creative and freely voluntary. Thus, in the earliest stages of life, where personal, moral, and religious preparation is developed, much attention still remains in reactive and self-indulgent physical, emotional, and mental patterns. But as the stages of true practice of the Way develop, there is less and less of the mechanical and self-conscious attachment to the structures of the body-mind.
The subtle dimension, which is senior to and pervades the gross dimension, consists of the etheric (or personal life-energy) functions, the lower mental functions (including the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind) and higher mental functions (of discriminative mind, mentally presumed egoity, and will), and is associated with experience in the dreaming state. In the human psycho-physical structure, the subtle dimension is primarily associated with the middle station of the heart (or the heart chakra), the spinal line, the brain core, and the subtle centers of mind in the higher brain.
Therefore, as one matures in the fourth stage and beyond, the quality of self-transcendence becomes effective and ultimately prevails. This manifests as a growing sense of inherent freedom and growth of the qualities of equanimity and inherent desirelessness.
The process that leads through the stages begins with listening and hearing. You practice in the sphere of relations and experiences, and you realize fundamental equanimity and relatedness. You progressively observe, understand, and feel beyond the limitations of the stages of life.
This process culminates in the sixth stage process or in the transition to the seventh stage of life in the event of transcendence of the feeling of relatedness itself. In that event, the process is made single.
In the earlier stages the process is associated with the feeling of relatedness and therefore with a variety of objects, according to the stage of life. Thus, the agent of the process leading to the seventh stage of life is the feeling of relatedness, which is a natural realization developed on the basis of listening and hearing. In the equanimity prior to self contraction, the feeling of relatedness is wholly felt, wholly allowed, and in any moment in which the self-contraction intervenes, it is observed, understood, and felt beyond, or felt prior to. Instead of self-contraction generating your experience, the feeling of relatedness, simple being, feeling toward, feeling through, and feeling beyond, is awakened in every moment of true self-enquiry or True Prayer.
The fourth stage of life and beyond really doesn’t have much significance in the common world. It’s not desirable. It has not use. And this is why it’s so subject to taboos. It’s why any of the stages of life higher than the third are so subject to taboos because they don’t have any use in this common world which depends on everybody’s participation to guarantee, in some kind of way guarantee, survival, you see. Everybody’s got to get down there and be politically, socially active, productive, intentionally a part of this movement of humanity to fulfill various goals that are associated with survival.
Well, the fourth stage of life and so forth beyond, you see, do not add to that survival ability. In fact it’s commonly felt that they distract you from that survival intention. So they don’t want people to get too rapturous, you see. Governments don’t want people to get too rapturous, too ecstatic. If you’re going to be religious, they want to check and find out what kind of your religion you belong to. They want to make sure that all you’re getting out of that religion basically are moral imperatives that improve your life as a socially productive personality, you see. They don’t want you going to a church, typically over the world, it’s frowned upon for you to go to a church or involve yourself in religious practices that are about getting ecstatic or mystical.
When you move into the higher stages (of mind) then you move beyond the circuitry of ordinary, mind or lower mind where things like will, free will, or not-so-free will, are important, or dominant factors in consciousness. You still associate with mind in the higher stages, but it’s a different kind of domain of mind.
What is commonly called the will is an intention directed toward the bodily personality, toward bodily purposes, social purposes, survival purposes, you see. What kind of will is involved in rapture? It is still in the domain of mind, but can it be called will any longer? Is it anything like free will? It seems not so much that because it’s directed at the only that that is and is not spinning in its independent fashion. So a different kind of mind begins to be explored even in the fourth stage of life.
The fourth stage of life must eventually appear, in which the limitations of the first three stages are transcended. The fourth stage of life is a bridge between the gross and the subtle. It involves an opening of the body-mind to the dimension of Spiritual Energy, which transforms the beliefs and observances of merely exoteric religion into a real heart-practice and potential mystical experience.
With the entrance into the fourth stage, genuine spiritual practice begins, and life becomes “more creative and freely voluntary.” Here the person becomes capable and expressive of the quality of authentic devotion to the Divine Reality.
When you begin to adapt the Life Current will begin to move in the vital being and in the Heart. When it does so, the thinking mind you see gives way and the higher mind begins to show its signs in Consciousness. And that is how the fourth and fifth stages begin to develope.
All Yogic, and religious (or mystical) practices associated with the process of Spiritual ascent (via the spinal line and the brain core, to and through the subtle levels of mind, and to and through the crown of the head, and, ultimately, to the “Highest” Realization, above the body, the brain, the mind, all conditional knowledge, all conditional experience, and all conditional worlds) may, in some general sense, be described as “fifth stage” practices. However, that ascent is made in two distinct phases (or steps). The first step is associated with ascent to the “ajna door” (or brain core) [in the fourth stage of life], and the second step is associated with ascent above the “ajna door” [in the fifth stage of life]. The first step is associated with bodily exercises (of posture, breath, and so on) as well as exercises of feeling (or intentional emotion) and attention (and mind in general), whereas the second step is almost exclusively associated with the exercise of attention alone.
In the fourth stage of life, this now complex psycho physical being is surrendered beyond itself, to and into the Living Current of Being that pervades it and the total world. This is done to the point of generally harmonizing the body mind in that Life-Current and otherwise Realizing self transcending devotional Union with that Living Reality in occasions of Love-Bliss that involve and simultaneously transcend the body-mind.
Love is the principle of human functioning. It is the principle of relationship. Love is what is to be Realized and expressed. You must overcome all limits upon it. Spiritual life is many things, but at the level of human relations, its essence is love.
In the fourth stage of life, the purpose of adaptation is to gain positive control over the unconscious and lower subconscious motivations that create the conventional patterns and phases of gross physical and mental (or psychological) behavior, desire, emotion, thought, and will. Thus, the processes in the fourth stage of life purify, harmonize, and positively transform the fixed, self-possessed, and self-divided behavioral patterns of the unconscious and lower subconscious dimensions of the body-mind.
The means of this evolutionary procedure are spiritual. That is, the extended body-mind (controlled by the autonomic nervous system and the unconscious and lower subconscious tendencies of the bodily being) is consciously submitted to the Transcendental Reality and made to be obedient to the Law of sacrifice, or love, in the pattern of all relationships.
The submission of the body-mind to the Transcendental Reality, or the Divine Person, is a matter of aligning the gross body-mind (or active feeling-attention) to the All-Pervading Life-Current, which is directly communicated to the central or cerebrospinal nervous system. Thus, in the fourth stage of life, the fixed association of the Radiant Transcendental Consciousness with the extended body-mind, the unconscious and lower subconscious mind, the superficial conscious mind, and the dual or dynamic patterns of the autonomic nervous system is transcended. The Radiant Transcendental Consciousness, communicated via the cerebrospinal nervous system, is permitted to Master, purify, harmonize, and positively transform the gross dimension or lower coil of the human body-mind.
It’s a recapitulation in that sense. All of the structures of the body-mind and the world are, as if in repetition of all of the previous stages of life, apparently arising and Recognized. In other words, “Brightened”.
Spirit-Baptism is first felt as a Current of energy descending from above the head, down through the front of the body to the perineum, or bodily base. This descent is forceful, sublime, and very effective in purifying and Spiritualizing the human personality, bringing forth the signs of radiance, peace, and universal love that characterize a Spiritually Awakened being.
When you come to the point of having become purified in this extended nervous system, this lower life, purified in your mind and your vital, so so that that it is harmonious, stable, the two sides, the sympathetic and parasympathetic mechanisms are harmonious, balanced, the left and right are balanced. So that this body-mind can rest in the life current. Then the higher evolutionary stage of the spiritual process may begin.
The fourth stage of life is the true and critical beginning of fully human and spiritual life. It is the beginning of literal functional and psychic submission of the extended body-mind to its own root-processes and its Transcendental Source or Divine Condition. In the fourth stage of life the gross patterns of the body-mind are realigned to their roots in the central nervous system (expressed via the higher brain and the spinal line as well as the whole bodily disposition of love, or self-surrender) and to the Radiant Transcendental Consciousness, which is the Matrix of the central nervous system, and thus of the entire body-mind. Therefore, in the processes of the fourth stage of life, the central nervous system is released from fixed and irresponsible or grossly controlled association with the functions of the autonomic nervous system and the gross body-mind. In this manner, the gross behavior and status of the lower body-mind is purified, harmonized, and positively transformed.
Even though the fourth stage of life represents a profound and auspicious advance beyond the foundation stages, in the “big picture” of the seven stages of life, it is only the beginning of truly Spiritual growth.
The Spiritualizing makes the patternings obsolete by not using them, by moving the faculties into Communion. Radiant, benign human qualities body-mind is “Brightened” consistently in the course. Unqualified Radiance, Unqualified Love-Bliss. That’s not something you can put on with the faculties of the body-mind, this play of opposites adapted to suffering. That can be manifested, truly and consistently, only if there is true Enlightenment. its not a matter of the disposition, in the egoic sense at any rate, moving into a Lightless moment at any time. It is always Enlightened.
The truly human being appears only in the fourth stage of life, wherein the vital, elemental, emotional-sexual, and lower mental functions come into the summary and unifying dominion of the heart, the psyche of the whole bodily being. Such is the awakened moral and spiritual disposition, in which Truth becomes the Principle in consciousness, and higher structural growth becomes the benign, non problematic possibility. Thus, the Law in the truly human realm is sacrifice as the individual, whole, and entire human body-mind, through love, founded in prior intuition of the Divine Reality. The human sacrifice is the spiritual practice of love and intuition of the Real under all conditions of experience and higher growth.
The passage into the fourth stage of life signifies the mastery of body, emotions, sexuality, will, and the thinking mind by the psychic, feeling heart. It does not imply the annihilation of the ego. The functional ego, or independent self-sense, is never annihilated in this Way of Life. It is a necessary function of the whole body, like a muscle or a thought. We cannot mature without having acquired the sense of autonomous functional existence, and we can never act without that function.
When you are fundamentally responsible for the egoic disposition you may enter fully, consciously, morally, and spiritually into the true incident that is the foundation of spiritual life, the foundation of the fourth stage of life, or the real beginning of this Way of Divine Ignorance. In the fourth stage, when one enters the stream of spiritual life, all of the dimensions of the being that lie below the heart are already adapted to its true disposition, which is love, and the heart is freed of its egoic presumption, its contraction. Only then can you truly enter into spiritual realization of higher dimensions of human development, the dimensions that exist above the heart.
As maturity in the fourth stage develops, the quality of ones existence becomes more and more self-surrendered and ecstatic, and the process of ones existence becomes less and less oriented to the development or fulfillment of the self-based programs and lower or exclusively vital level conceptions of life.
As one matures beyond the fourth stage of life, the conditions of existence as defined and limited by the vital or merely physical self and its possibilities and relations become more and more obviously unnecessary, trivial, even vulgar, burdensome, and fruitless. And the sense of unqualified Existence, fullness of inherent Being, and spiritual Reality or unconditional Radiance becomes more and more profound and transformative.
The free, feeling disposition of free energy and attention, the natural state of equanimity, is realized. The second aspect of the same realization is that you are restored to relatedness. In the context of the first three stages of life, then, this self-understanding restores you to the variety of relations that pertain to the grosser dimension of the body mind.
The fourth stage of life is founded upon equanimity, or prior transcendence of any and all conceptions of a dilemma or inherent problem of existence. And expresses itself and is founded on the conservative equanimity of the body-mind.
The principal evidence is a profound availability of free energy and attention. Thus, when the Way has been practiced to the point of true spiritual maturity, energy and attention are free to Realize their Source, Identity, and Condition.
The fourth stage of life is founded upon transcendence of the mood of recoil from bodily existence, or preference for confinement to the mental, psychic, or non-bodily illusion of self.
It is only at the end of the third stage of this Way that attention itself is translated into the Divine. Even at that stage the feeling dimension is yet to be translated into the Divine. That translation is the business of the fourth stage of spiritual practice, the true, spiritual stage of life. Then you are free of all subjective changes and all the tendencies and commitments of this and all other worlds. You are no longer the independent ego. You are in Communion, one with the absolute Consciousness. Spiritual practice truly begins then. The ultimate sacrifice or translation into the Divine occurs then, and not before.
In the fourth stage of life, this now complex psycho-physical being is surrendered beyond itself, to and into the Living Current of Being that pervades it and the total world. This is done to the point of generally harmonizing the body-mind in that Life-Current and otherwise Realizing self-transcending devotional Union with that Living Reality in occasions of Love Bliss that involve and simultaneously transcend the body-mind.
The first three stages of human life are the stages of lower functional (physical, emotional, and mental) adaptation to the universal Life-Energy.
The fourth stage of human life is the stage of whole bodily surrender and adaptation to the universal Life via Love-Communion (the disposition of the heart or deep psyche of pure energy).
My first Teaching Sign to everyone was this Gesture of My hand, clenching the fist versus opening the hand. Well, its presuming darkness versus being Radiant. And the fundamental process, then, in sadhana-I just outlined it to you in terms of all kinds of matters, and there are many ways I could Describe the fundamental process as well-but one way to describe it is that, in every moment where there is the dark tendency to identify with self-contraction and all the things that come with it, or to identify with the body-mind, just in and of itself, and all that comes with that, in every moment as that comes Up, the process is about being Radiant instead. But you cant do that just by willing to be Radiant, or merely doing that. You have to visit the root of every kind of contraction, and the self-contraction itself, ultimately, and feel beyond that.
And the sign, then, in somebody who’s My devotee, who’s advancing in the practice, is that you are feeling beyond the knots consistently. It’s noticeable by those who know you over time that previously you showed certain kinds of signs in certain situations, had a certain disposition, or whatever your egoic personality showed itself in some way and now ten years later, somebody who’s known you all along can notice for you how those things have changed, they’ve disappeared, even, you see. You may feel you’re still dealing with a lot of it on some subtler level, but others notice all kinds of signs in your physical, emotional, and mental qualities, your relational qualities and so on as well, and all your behavior, that it’s become-one good word for it is benign, relatively En-Lightened, so to speak. In other words, Light has been brought there. You released it in Communion with Me and found the State of Light. It is Radiant, Love-Bliss, not contracted, not negative. And so It shows itself in everything about you.
Samadhi won’t lapse from it so that you get busied with doing other things to satisfy the broken impulses of egoity.” – Fundamentally, you are dealing with the beginnings of the fourth stage of life and all of the first three stages of life. That is the sphere of your observation. The contraction is the same, in any case. It is the same self-contraction that is present in the fifth stage of life, or the sixth. It is the same act.
Sensitive to his own process of existence sees that equanimity, or union, is his condition always and already. Equanimity is not the condition realized upon release or the fulfillment of a desire. Rather, it is the prior condition of all relationship. It is the quality of enjoyment or happiness itself.
Therefore, samadhi, equanimity, or union is not attained. It is not grasped by manipulation of any functional energy or process, high or low. Rather, it is realized to be always, already, radically, and thus presently the case. Relationship itself is the union. Existence itself is enjoyment or conscious and unqualified happiness. Such is the knowledge of one who understands, and in this understanding he is free of dilemma, vital shock, seeking, the whole force of dramatized desire, and the distractions of every kind of goal, high or low.
Basic and growing understanding of the futility of a stimulated or distracted life altogether, even a despair of it, and the consequent willingness to persist in or be restored to Samadhi, no matter what is arising, and to move on in practice as quickly as possible.
Samadhi in the sense of a “natural” state of ecstasy or state of Realization is continuous even during moments of ordinary occupation.
“The ‘point of view’ toward Reality is based on either the memory or the residual effects or something of the perpetuation of conditionally attained fourth stage or fifth stage ecstasy . . .” and that “philosophical presumptions and expressions arise that resemble, but do not otherwise achieve higher expressions or Realizations”.
Adi Da Samraj – The Dawn Horse Testament
Chapter 45 – I Am Perfectly Certain Of All Of This
In the fourth stage the Divine Presence or Life-Force is felt to exist independent of, or senior to, the body mind. By cultivating a conscious relationship to this Presence, the spiritual practitioner begins to demonstrate and enjoy the spiritual qualities of faith, love, and surrender.
In place of this dilemma of opposites, an ego-transcending and “world”-transcending (or cosmic-Nature-transcending) equanimity appears. In that equanimity, there is an Inherent Self-Radiance That Transcends the egoic dualities of “Good” and “Evil” (or the conventional polarities of the separate “self” in conditional Nature). That Self-Radiance Is the Free Radiance of egoless Love. In That Free Radiance, energy and attention are inherently free of the ego-bond, or the “self”-contraction, or the “gravitational effect” of phenomenal “self”-awareness. Therefore, dynamic equanimity, or the free disposition of egoless Love (rather than the egoic disposition in the modes of “Good” or “Evil”), is the “window” through which Real (Acausal) God may be “seen” (or intuited)-not in the conventional mode of “Creator”, the “Good”, the “Other”, or the “Heavenly Place”, but as the Real (or Reality Itself), the Self-Evidently Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State of all-and-All.
The ultimate moment in the “play” of conditional Nature is not the moment of egoic success (or the temporary achievement of the apparently positive, or “Good”, “effect”). The ultimate moment is beyond contradiction (or the dynamics of polarized opposites). It is the moment of equanimity, the still point (or “eye”) in the midst of the wheel of Nature’s motions and all the motivations of the born “self”. The Truth-and the Real Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State-of “self” and cosmic Nature is Revealed only in that equanimity, beyond all stress and bondage of energy and attention.
This disposition of equanimity (or free energy and attention) is basic to the sixth and seventh stages of life. In the sixth stage of life, the disposition of equanimity provides the functional base for the ultimate and final investigation of the ego and the dynamics of conditional Nature. However, it is only in the only-by-Me Revealed and Given seventh stage of life that Fundamental (and Intrinsically egoless) Equanimity Is Inherent and Constant, expressing Prior (and Permanent) Divine Self-Realization.
The phenomenal Signs That Are Significant In The Practice Of Either Technically “Elaborate” self-Enquiry Or Technically “Elaborate” Mahamantra Meditation Or Technically “Simpler”, or Even “Simplest”, “Lay Congregationist” Meditation In The Context Of The Fifth Stage Of Life In The Way Of The Heart Are Not Those I Have Described In Terms Of The Frontal and Spinal Lines Of the gross and subtle personality In and Previous To The “Advanced” Fourth Stage Of Life In The Way Of The Heart. Such (Earlier and Preliminary) Signs May Yet Appear At times, but The Dominant Characteristics Of Right Meditation (By Grace) At This (Fifth) Stage Are Total (and Deep) bodily Equanimity (In The Spirit-Current), Easy Steadiness Of The Spirit-Current and attention At The Ajna Door, and Deep Meditation (Even With The Spirit-Current and Feeling-attention Yielded, Up and Back, Up and Back, Far Above The Ajna Door and the Total brain, To the upper rear of the top of the head, or Even Above The Total General Surface Of the head). Therefore, The Significant phenomenal Signs At This Stage Are Those Associated With The Immediate Transcendence Of gross bodily Awareness (and conceptual mental activity) and Progressive (or, Perhaps, Immediate) Transcendence Of subtle mental (or psychic, and, Most Basically, perceptual) Awareness.
Among All Of These Signs There Should Appear Progressive Evidence Of What I Have, Since Childhood, Called “The Thumbs”. Beginning In The “Basic” Context Of The Fourth Stage Of Life In The Way Of The Heart, There Should Be At Least Occasional experience Of An Intense Invasion Of The Frontal Line By The Grace-Given Spirit-Force, Beginning At the top of the head and Descending Into The lower vital Region To the bodily base.’
In the fourth stage the dimension of the heart or psychic being as love, rather than as the contraction of independence, or Narcissus, awakens, making possible the integration of the whole body-being, above and below the heart. In the fourth and fifth stages the kundalini-shakti,2 or lower psychic dimension, awakens, and then the dimension of the mid brain, the higher psyche, awakens and projects itself upward toward the limits of the body-being. Individuals tend to view this development as a movement toward cosmic dimensions of experience beyond the head, beyond the crown, beyond the sahasrar. But this movement is primarily the development of the potentials of the brain itself and its human ability to contact the more and more subtle ranges of its own conditional and psycho-physical existence. Then in the sixth stage the contraction of even such exalted mystical and transcendental awareness is penetrated, and attention comes to rest in the Heart, as Self-realization or Jnana Samadhi.
Also, the senior tradition of the Kundalini Shakti is associated with a process in the total Circle of the body mind (including both the frontal line and the spinal line). This is because the descending and circulating Spirit Power moves in the total natural circuit of the body mind. Thus, the descending and circulating Spirit Power first enters the frontal line, where the foundation work of opening and purifying the physical, the etheric, the emotional, and the mental (or general psychic) personality must he accomplished. Then, potentially, once the frontal line is sufficiently purified (or, at least, sufficiently surrendered and opened) to allow the descending Kundalini Shakti to turn about at the bodily base, the Kundalini Shakti spontaneously begins the upward Yogic course. Thus, because the true process Generated by Kundalini Shaktipat Works first in the frontal line and then (potentially) in the spinal line, the Kundalini Shaktipat tradition actually begins in the Event of the truly Spiritual Initiation of the “basic” fourth stage of life (and, potentially, to some possible degree, even in the rudimentary Spiritual context of the “original” stage, or foundation stage, of the fourth stage of life), and, thereafter (in due course), it continues (potentially) in the “advanced” fourth stage of life and the fifth stage of life. But the lesser tradition of the Kundalini Shakti is based on a system of Yogic philosophy that idealizes Yogic ascent (not descent), and, therefore, the lesser tradition of the Kundalini Shakti (and the derivative traditions of “ascending Yoga” in general) is associated with systems and techniques of practice that are intended to strategically develop the ascending Yogic process in the context of the ‘advanced” fourth stage of life and the fifth stage of life, thus (in general) bypassing (or, at least, minimizing) the foundation Yogic Ordeal associated with the ‘original” and the ‘basic” fourth stage of life. (And, as a result of this bypass, the lesser tradition of the Kundalini Shakti, and the various, and variant, traditions of ‘ascending Yoga”, such as “Kriya Yoga” and ‘Shabd Yoga”,20 that are derived from the generalized tradition of Kundalini Shakti Yoga, are often associated with a point of view that would achieve extreme detachment, or strategic dissociation from the body mind and the conditional world, and, otherwise, in general, with programs of practice that do not pay sufficient practice, time to preparing the right and effective foundation that must precede Yogic activities in the context of the “advanced” fourth stage of life and the fifth stage of life, if the potential ascending Yogic process is itself to develop truly, rightly, and fully)
EXPERIENCE – Gross, Subtle or Causal
“We arise within the Spirit Being, Who is entirely Awake as this moment, Who is the consciousness and energy in which we are arising. That One is being all of us right now. Everything we seem to be is an expression of the qualities of that One. The more aligned we become to this understanding, the more spiritual we become, and the more wisdom we represent. This is the fundamental discovery, you see. No experience is senior to this realization. It is the Truth of experience.”
The stage of psychic adaptation, corresponding to the awakening of the feeling dimension of the heart, and the subtle mechanisms in the throat and the lower rear of the brain. The centers above the heart are awakened via the spontaneous placing of attention in the internal Life-Current of the body-mind, and the repolarization of the Life-Current and attention itself toe to crown, rather than crown to toe (which is the polarization of the Life-Current previous to the fourth stage of life).
Higher Evolutionary Mechanism – The Yoga of Enlightenment
This evolutionary mechanism of the cerebro-spinal nervous system is your future. The Fourth stage of life is the beginning of an association with this evolutionary mechanism and it is fulfilled in the fifth stage. This higher evolutionary mechanism in man is just another part of you you see, it is just an expression of this atom, this ego, this narcissus also, and it must be transcended in the sixth and seventh stages of life. But it cannot be bypassed. You must become responsible for the whole body-mind. So you can’t merely think you are enlightened you see, you can’t really quiet the mind and be enlightened. The life current must be awakened in you bodily, in your feeling, in your psyche, in your brain you see, this mechanism must be awakened and then transcended. There is no enlightenment without that.
The left side of the heart is associated with the first three stages of life, and the “general” and “basic” contexts of the fourth stage of life, and thus the descending or frontal line of the body-mind. The left side of the heart is associated with the physical heart itself.
The middle station of the heart is associated with what is often known as the heart “chakra” (or “wheel”), a center of energy in the subtle dimension. The middle station of the heart is linked with the ascending fourth stage of life, and the fifth stage of life, in the spinal line.
The culture of the Way of Divine Ignorance may also be related to the traditional scheme of seven stages of growth. But it is founded on the Awakening of the heart, from self-possession to free feeling-attention, via all functions, in all relations, under all conditions. Indeed, the whole Way is the Way of the heart. The first three stages purify and readapt the whole bodily being via the lowest dimension of the heart, the gross physical epitome. Thus, they involve the foundation growth of the vital-physical, the emotional-sexual, and the lower mental dimensions including the will, or integrated responsibility for the whole of the common human foundation. The fourth and fifth stages purify and readapt the whole bodily being via the middle heart, the subtle epitome. Thus, they involve the higher growth of the conceptual mind, the psyche, the subtle intuitive gnosis of the elemental world, and the higher or cosmic gnosis of the planes and “heavens” of the Great Process of manifest experience. The sixth stage purifies and readapts the whole bodily being via the upper or right heart, the epitome of the independent conscious entity and the Place of self-transcendence. Thus, it is in this stage that the presumption of independent, separate, and separative conscious existence is dissolved in the true Heart, the “Ignorance” or Unqualified Consciousness that is our Condition in Truth. The individual bodily being is not “snuffed out” at this stage. It simply persists free of the irreducible illusion of separate existence, and exists in utter Identity, or radical Love-Communion, with the Condition of all beings and conditions. Thus, in the seventh stage, the whole bodily being exists in a fully responsible alignment with its Source, “Food,” and Condition, and continues to grow at Infinity. This leads into more and more perfect identification, even bodily, with the Light, Love, and Consciousness that is the Absolute God and Self of Man. Thus, this final stage, which goes on into Eternity, shows the Divine Signs of Transfiguration and Regeneration while alive, and ultimate Ascension or Translation of the individual into the Divine Plane, the Heaven above all heavens, which is God and Truth.
The seven stages of life is what Avatar Adi Da Samraj has called the “vertical” dimension of the body-mind. The vertical pathways contain both the descending and then ascending energy, associated with the fourth and fifth stages of life, which, in the sixth stage of life, finally falls into its source in the heart. This description is corroborated by many traditional descriptions, which speak of the chakras rising from the base of the perineum, and reaching the apex at the top of the head.
The three aspects of the heart all appear in the great heart region, or the chest area of the body. Avatar Adi Da calls the three aspects: the left side (or station) of the heart, the middle depth (or station) of the heart, and the right side (or station) of the heart. Consciousness has traditionally been understood to have three basic states, called the “avasthas” in Sanskrit. These are the states of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep that everyone knows.
The Left Side Of The Heart Is The Base Of the waking state, bodily experience, The Descending or Frontal Line Of the body-mind, and The First Four Stages Of Life.
The Middle Station Of The Heart Is The Base Of the dreaming state, all that is the deeper psyche, or subtle mind, The Ascending or Spinal Line Of the body-mind, The Deeper Purpose Of The Fourth Stage Of Life, and The Total Purpose Of The Fifth Stage Of Life.
The gross brain animates the subtle functions of intelligence and mind altogether, but also limits them. Not everything in the domain of the subtle body gets through into the gross physical. The brain cuts it off or limits what can be experienced. It is only when there is higher development, Spiritual development, psychic developmentand so on, that the subtle body is able to appear more fully, through the physical brain and into the domain of the gross body-mind. Such developments can occur, through total psycho-physical purification and Yogic practice and Yogic Transmission. But apart from that kind of growth, the gross body-being a kind of lump, without intelligence-limits the faculties. But scientists do not know about this, because they are concerned only with the gross body and want to deny everything else. Well, that is an example of how the gross brain and body limit the exercise of intelligence.
DEVOTEE: Is the experience of going beyond the doorway in the brain more likely to occur in the fifth stage of life or at an earlier point in practice?
ADI DA SAMRAJ: It is a specific part of the process in the fifth stage of life. Experiences of it, in one form or another, could occur at any time, depending upon the characteristics of the individual, and so on. Full penetration of the Ajna Door leads to fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Less than full penetration can lead beyond the gross domain and into forms within the subtle planes. So it is the phenomena of ascent-and that is specific to the fifth stage of life. But as I said, experiences of a subtle nature, even going beyond the physical, could, in principle, occur at any time.
The evolution of the body-mind is the the end result of spiritual practice. It is simply that the mechanism native to man, which is an urge in human beings toward evolution within the cosmic scheme must be awakened in you. It is part of your body-mind.
The purpose of existence for one established in the fourth stage of life is devotion, a moment-to-moment heart-intimacy with the Spiritual Reality. That intimacy is tangible and ecstatic, and it changes one’s sense of reality. Everything that appears, everything that occurs, is now realized to be a process full of Spirit-Presence. This new vision of existence is given through Spirit-Baptism, an infilling of Spirit-Power described in many different religious and Spiritual traditions. The source of Spirit-Baptism is almost always a Spiritually Awakened Master (either in this life or a past life).
The Fourth Stage Error Is The Tendency To Prolong The First Three Stages Of Life (and The Patterns Of Un-Happiness That Are egoically Associated With The First Three Stages Of Life) and To Make The Fourth Stage Of Life An End In Itself (Rather Than A Transition, or A Transitional Means, For The Realization Of The Stages Of Life Beyond The Fourth). This Tendency Takes The Form Of A Fixed Idea Of The Divine (As An Ultimate Entity Eternally Separate From the conditional self-entity) and A Fixed Idea Of the personal self (As Either a mortal Or an Immortal entity that Is Eternally Separate From and Dependent Upon The Divine). On The Basis Of This Tendency, The Fourth Stage Of Life Is Made Into A Never-Ending Search For The Divine and A Never-Ending Appeal To The Divine For Intimacy, Relief, and self-Satisfaction.
The Dawn Horse Testament – Sutra 47
The Dawn Horse Testament – The Fourth Stage of Life – Sutra 44 (Beezone Study Sheet)