The Great Transition

We do not truly realize our humanity until…

Vol 7, No 2

The Temptation of St. Anthony


“Even though people have been suggesting to me for years that they are motivated to practice the Great Way, I have observed that their motivation is caused mainly by the distresses of their failure to fulfill the calling of the third stage of life. The third stage, not the great process of Spiritual life, is basically what all of you have been gradually, and not altogether successfully, working out in my Company. Whereas the process that I consider with you, which finishes up that business rather directly, is really about moving into the context of the fourth stage of life and beyond.”
Killing the Tiger



The Great Transition introduces the spiritual vision that is the foundation of practice not only in the Way of the Heart, but in the spiritual traditions generally. In this excerpt from a talk Heart Master Da speaks in the context of a process of spiritual unfolding realized through seven stages of life. Within this schema he locates the “great transition” between the third and fourth stages, or the movement from full human maturity into a spiritual perception of Reality no longer based on the point of view of the body-mind.


The Great Transition

An excerpt from a talk by Heart-Master Da

April 22, 1987


HEART-MASTER DA: The conversion that marks the transition from the third stage of life to the fourth is perhaps the most profound. Enlightenment itself, in the ultimate sense, is very profound, but in terms of transitions, the great event in human transformation is the transformation that occurs in a human being with the discovery of the Reality of the Divine, or That which transcends conditions. Afterwards, your whole life is based on that discovery and becomes more and more profound. That transition is the most profound and, therefore, the most difficult. Humanity as a whole is moving toward that transition, but most of humanity is not even coming close.

You cannot merely believe in the Spiritual Reality. Great self-inspection, a profound awareness of yourself, of life, and of the world is required. This process results in a great release of attention and gives you the capacity to “see”1 the Spiritual Reality and to know, if we can use that word, the Truth. The Vision of the Spiritual Reality is a unique Vision, a new Vision, that sets you free. It is different from the vision of bodily or human birth. It is the Vision of Reality Itself, That in which human birth occurred as long as you are doubting that, still struggling with the possibility, you have each foot in a different domain.

Truth is not a thing, not an idea, not something else, not an Other. The necessity of the human individual is not an encounter with something else but the Realization of equanimity, no contradiction, no problem, no stress, the Realization of the native State, which is prior to what you impose on Reality through your struggle, your stress, your reaction. When the reaction is overcome, you do not gain an idea, an Other, but you realize equanimity and, therefore, the capacity to Commune with That which is where you stand, as you are ultimately. This is the most profound conversion, and all the stages of life from the fourth stage on are merely the working out of that.

The ultimate growth principle is direct Realization of and Communion with That which Is. Therefore, this transition is what must be realized. This is the Great Affair.


1. “Seeing” is a technical term in the Way of the Heart. In The Dawn Horse Testament Heart-Master Da has described it as follows:

“Seeing Is Spontaneous (or Heart-Moved) Devotional Sacrifice Of the self-Contraction. Seeing Is The self-Transcending Reorientation Of conditional Existence To The Transcendental and Divine Spiritual Condition In Whom conditional self and conditional worlds arise and Always Already Inhere.” Chapter 20 (p. 314)


Also see:

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.

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.

Low, Middle and Higher Self


In the popular egalitarian “culture” of the first three stages of life, the Guru and the developmental culture of the Spiritual Way are taboo, because every individual limited by the motives of the first three stages of life is at war with personal vulnerability and need. However, the real Spiritual process does not even begin until the egoic point of view of the first three stages of life is understood and the ego-surrendering and ego-transcending Motive of the fourth stage of life begins to move and change the body-mind.
The Psychological Limitation of the First Three Stages of Life


Until now you have adapted in complicated ways to the three lowest stages of the development of the whole body – the physical, the emotional-sexual, and the mental. But the structural destiny of mankind is to move into the fourth stage of life, wherein the heart, the psychic core of the being, truly awakens.
Chapter 9 – The Way That I Teach


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. If God exists, you should be able to see it in the body of 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.

Exercise and Wisdom