Look at the Sunlight on the Water – Adi Da Samraj – Chapter One

Chapter 1

Education, or My Way of Schooling
in the Seven Stages of Life

An essay with commentary by Da Free

March 1, 1983

essay I am about to read is called “Education, or My Way of
Schooling in the Seven Stages of Life.”

Each of the seven stages represents
a unique period of adaptation and transcendence, and each
subsequent stage is built upon fulfillment of the process of
adaptation and transcendence in all previous stages.
Therefore, we must clearly understand what special education
or schooling must be engaged in each stage.

The remainder of the essay describes
these requirements stage by stage. Before going on, however,
I want to emphasize the statement, “each subsequent stage is
built upon fulfillment of the process of adaptation and
transcendence in all previous stages.” If you do not fulfill
a stage before proceeding to the next one, then there will
be complications, and any attempt at future growth will in
effect be retarded. This is true both in the first three
stages, the adaptation to so-called ordinary life, and in
the later stages, which principally pertain to spiritual

The essay goes on to consider the
first stage:

Stage 1: This is the stage that
basically occupies us from conception to seven years of age
(or the beginning of

true socialization and complex
relatedness). It is the period in which we must adapt to our
physical individuality and basic physical capacity. Thus, it
is not only a period of physical adaptation, but of physical
individuation. That is, we must gradually adapt to fully
functional physical existence, but we must achieve physical
individuation, or physical (and thus mental, emotional,
psychic, and psychological) independence from the mother and
all others. When this stage is complete, we will not exist
in isolation but in a state of conscious relatedness to all
others and the world of Nature. Thus, the fulfillment of the
first stage of life is marked by the beginnings of the
movement toward more complex socialization, cooperation with
others, and sensitivity to the total world of

The first stage of life is basically
the period of physical adaptation to our functional
existence, though other forms of adaptation begin to occur
as physical adaptation matures. In addition to the obvious
process of physical adaptation, what must also occur at this
stage is physical individuation. This means that the child
in the first stage of life must realize that he or she is an
independent physical personality. In other words, he or she
must break the dependency connection to the mother. This is
a kind of unconscious connection to another being in which
nurturing occurs. The individual must achieve physical
independence and therefore mental and emotional independence
from the mother.

It is only on the basis of
individuation from this one-on-one bond-or more to the
point, this “two-who-are-one” bond-that the individual can
move out socially, into the whole field of relationships.
The first stage is complete when we can see the beginnings
of a movement toward a more complex socialization with
adults and peers, and toward cooperation with others and
sensitivity to the total world of Nature.

I should also indicate that the
stages of life overlap one another. There are seven stages
of life, but there is a period of time at the end of each of
the first six stages wherein some characteristics and
capabilities of the next stage begin to appear. Thus, toward
the end of the first stage of life we should expect to see
the signs of individuation, socialization, cooperation,
sensitivity to Nature, and so forth. When these signs show
themselves stably and significantly, then the schooling of
the second stage of life becomes appropriate and inevitable.
The essay goes on to talk about the second stage as

Stage 2: The second stage of life is
the early stage (particularly occupying us during the second
seven years of life) of adaptation to the etheric dimension
of our manifest existence. The etheric dimension may be
functionally described as the emotional-sexual dimension of
our being, but it is in essence the dimension of energy,
nerve-force, and direct feeling-sensitivity to the
conditions of existence. Since the second stage is the
primary stage of socialization, we can say that it is the
basic stage of moral or right relational development. But
the primary adaptation is to feeling, or sensitivity to the
energy inherent in one’s person, and which is in all others,
and which pervades all of Nature. Thus, this stage is not
merely the stage of conventional socialization, but it is
the stage in which feelingsensitivity is developed relative
to one’s own etheric dimension (or energy
field),1 that of others, and that which is
everywhere. When this feeling-sensitivity is exercised, one
learns that one is more than merely physical, but one is
also a field of energy that extends to others and
communicates emotional, mental, psychic, and physical states
to others as well as to the natural world. Therefore, one
must learn to be responsible for one’s emotional, mental,
psychic, and physical state by participating in or

1. “The etheric dimension
of force or manifest light pervades and surrounds our
universe and every physical body. It is the field of energy,
magnetism, and space in which the lower or grosser elements
function. Thus, your ‘etheric body’ is the specific
concentration of force associated with and
surrounding-permeating your physical body. It serves as a
conduit for the forces of universal light and energy to the
physical body.

“In practical terms of
daily experience, the etheric aspect of the being is our
emotionalsexual, feeling nature. The etheric body functions
through and corresponds to the nervous system. Functioning
as a medium between the conscious mind and the physical
being, it controls the distribution and use of energy and
emotion. It is the dimension of vitality or life-force. We
feel the etheric dimension of life not only as vital energy
and power and magnetic-gravitational forces, but also as the
endless play of emotional polarization, positive and
negative, to others, objects, the world itself, everything
that arises” (Da Free John, Conscious Exercise and the
Transcendental Sun, pp. 27-28). openly into the domains of
Life-Energy. By doing this, one’s social development and
one’s involvement in the natural world will develop as a
moral and feeling gesture, rather than an amoral (or
self-possessed and othermanipulative) form of conventional
socialization and worldliness.


The schooling of the second stage of
life is not directly sexual. Genital sexuality and social
patterns of a demon-stratively sexual nature should be
conserved, or by-passed through right understanding, until
the third stage of life is complete-in order that we may
first develop full human responsibility for what must become
the yoga of sexual communion.2 But the learning
in the second stage of life should provide the living
emotional base (and balance) for later sexual

The training in the second stage of
life should involve exercises that develop sensitivity to
the etheric or energy field of the body-mind. Practices such
as the laying on of hands3 and general physical
and emotional sensitivity to the livingness and feelings of
others should be developed. This stage is complete when the
individual has achieved a basic level of social
individuation-so that he or she no longer requires the
parent-child style of relationship, but can freely and
rightly and responsibly associate with the larger world of
adults and peers. Thus, a child’s movement into the third
stage of life should be formally acknowledged by the
parents, who must then relinquish any residual interest in
binding the child to the parent-child style of relationship.
Instead, the child should move into the third stage of life
as a socially individuated person, responsible to the

2. “Sexual communion” is
the technical term used by Master Da Free John to describe
the natural practice of human emotional and sexual intimacy
between lovers wherein body, mind, self-sense, the loved
one, and the sexual experience itself are surrendered in
direct Communion with the All-Pervading Divine. For a
detailed treatment of this aspect of spiritual practice, see
Love of the Two-Armed Form, by Da Free John.

3. The laying on of hands,
an aid to healing others through release of all conditions
to the Divine and radiation of the Power of Life, is
generally performed on an intimate’s behalf, often while
maintaining physical contact via the hands. See The Forting
Gorilla Comes in Peace, by Da Free John, pp. 462-70, for a
complete description. community of adults (including his or
her parents) as a non-child, or a socially responsible young
person. In that case, the third stage of life will not be
characterized by adolescent ambivalence, cycling back and
forth between the separate motives of dependence and
independence, but it will be characterized by the steady
growth of an individuated but relationally positive


Just as the first stage of life has
been fulfilled when the individual has realized a state of
physical individuation and therefore has become capable of
social existence and an expanded feeling association with
Nature and in all relationships, the second stage of life is
fulfilled when the individual has realized a state of social
individuation. In other words, the individual is free, not
merely of the unconscious bond to the mother, but free of
the parent-child style of relationship altogether. He or she
can function as a socially independent or free individual
responsible to the adult community. He or she is not yet an
adult, or a person who can go into the world and do what he
or she wants, but rather he or she is a physically and
socially individuated person who is responsible to and is to
be guided by the adult community.

The other important point I want to
reiterate about the second stage of life relates to this
matter of etheric sensitivity. The second stage of life,
apart from the process of socialization, is the school in
which we develop our feeling-sensitivity. In other words, we
develop the capacity of the etheric being, or the being who
is not just a physical personality, but who is a force that
is manifested as a field of energy in contact with the
energies of Nature and the Universal Energy Field in which
Nature is arising. In order to allow this whole process of
feeling-sensitivity to mature, the individual must discover
that he or she is just such an etheric or energy-based

When we see a baby, it is obvious to
us that it is a physically independent personality, but the
baby is not consciously aware of precisely what this
physical individuation is about and how he or she is
different from the mother and others. This sense of physical
individuation develops through a learning process that
occurs during infancy and in the early years of childhood.
This learning process eventually results in a clear sense of
individuation, physical capacity, and a sense of relatedness
to others, including the parents, other adults, and the
world in general. It is not immediately obvious to an infant
that it is a physical individual or separate physical
personality. Likewise, it is not readily obvious to young
people, or even to many adults who have never really
undergone the true learning of the second stage of life,
that they are manifested as an energy field. This must be
learned through self-observation and self-exercise. Thus,
our initial guidance of a young child-and some of this
training can begin even in the first stage of life-must
include helping the child to become aware of his own energy

The process whereby we achieve
sensitivity to this energy field is through the primary
sense of touch, or through feeling contact. The other senses
may play a part in this sensitivity to or observation of the
energy field, but the primary organ of self-knowing in terms
of the energy field or etheric body is our feeling capacity.
And our feeling capacity is an extension of the sense of
touch. There are various ways in which we can become aware
of this energy field. One way is to have children frequently
use Eeman screens .4

I must emphasize at this point that
the education of children as well as adults in every stage
of life is not a one-shot matter. It is not a matter of
listening to a lecture or of reading a book, and then having
that be the end of it. The study of even the basic points of
this Teaching must be entered into again and again and
again, throughout one’s life. One must also enter into
exercises or forms of activity that relate to the kinds of
learning specific to each stage of life.

Thus, the individual in the second
stage of life must repeatedly consider this matter of the
energy field, or the feeling being. We contact or sense it
as energy, but it is manifested through the vehicle of our
feeling and emotion. Therefore, individuals in the second
stage of life should repeatedly perform exercises in which
they can become sensitive to this field.

Using Eeman screens is one effective
exercise. Another good method is the exercise that is
commonly used to train people in the laying on of hands.
This is a practice that children can easily do: Place your
hands, open-palmed, directly facing one another. Move the

4. Eeman screens, simple
metal screens about ten by fifteen inches in size with metal
handles, are used to realign and energize the etheric
circuitry (or natural energy field) of the body. See The
Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace, pp. 412-14, for a more
detailed explanation of their use. back and forth, bringing
the palms closer and closer together, but without letting
them touch each other. Eventually it feels as if some kind
of fluid is being pushed out from underneath your hands,
almost as if you were moving them back and forth in water.
As you move your hands closer and closer together, this
fluid sensation increases and a tingling feeling appears.
When this occurs, rotate each hand in a circle, with palms
still facing one another. You will feel little filaments of
energy coming from each hand being broken or moved around.
Children should be asked to do this exercise playfully, and
also to play with Eeman screens. In both cases, they should
report their sensations and feelings. These and other
techniques that you may creatively invent should be used to
develop sensitivity to the energy field.


Apart from the growing sensitivity
to the energy field, we want children to develop
feeling-sensitivity itself. In other words, we want children
to cultivate the capacity to use the etheric dimension of
the being in their contact with everything in the natural
world. Using touch and all the other senses, they should
develop a feeling sensitivity to the energy and the
emotional state of others and to the energies in Nature.
Children should also be taught to use all their senses in
the physical observation of the material world and other
beings. In other words, they should have a feeling-based and
not merely a materially based relationship to Nature.
However, they must be brought to exercise this feeling
dimension on the basis of self-knowledge, having observed
their own energy field.

Through the learning process of the
second stage of life, including the development of social
adaptation and sensitivity to Nature, children should come
to realize that their emotional state is registered in their
energy field, and that their emotional state communicates
itself to others not only through their actions and speech,
but also directly, via the interaction of this energy field
with the energy field of others. They must learn that one
need not even be in proximity to someone to experience the
effects of their energy field. The energy field registers
states of mind, body, and emotion, as well as psychic states
of all kinds, and we involuntarily communicate these states
to others. Thus, we affect others and even the natural world
via this energy field.

Because this direct communication of
our state to others has moral and spiritual implications, we
must become responsible for our energy state-responsible,
therefore, for our emotional state. We must keep our energy
field in balance by transcending reactive emotions, and we
must maintain a state of physical well-being and mental
openness, receptivity, and clarity. We must maintain a free
psychic state. In doing this, we not only change our outward
behavior, but we also affect our energy field and therefore
our energetic transmission to others.

Thus, in the second stage of life,
we learn about this energy field that is the dimension of
the personality next in subtlety after the gross physical
dimension. The child learns how to be responsible for it,
how to communicate through it, and how to be sensitive and
helpful to others in these terms. Thus, the child learns how
to do massage and laying on of hands, and how to have an
altogether healing, enlivening, and quickening effect on
others. This kind of learning involves both moral and
spiritual training. Thus, moral and spiritual training
should be a continuous part of the daily education of
children in the second stage of life and even of those
transitioning to this stage.

The object is not to merely
socialize children in conventional terms, but rather to
bring them to the capability to be socialized rationally or
in truly human and spiritual terms. Therefore, they should
learn how this etheric dimension works and how to use it
rightly in all relations from a spiritual and a truly moral
point of view.

Let us move on to the third

Stage 3: The third stage of life
involves forms of adaptation that should basically occupy us
during the third seven years of life. It is the period of
adaptation to the lower astral dimension of the manifest
personality. Thus, it involves development of the will, the
thinking mind, and the mind of the psyche. The individual
should already have developed as a physical, feeling, and
moral character, fully in touch with the Living Force of
existence. Thus, in the third stage, this personality must
develop the will to rightly and fruitfully use the
Life-Force in the context of psyche, mind, body, and
relations with others in the natural world.

This stage clearly involves
development of mental faculties in the form of reasoning
power and the capacity to observe and understand self,
others, and the world. It also involves extensive learning
in the form of conventional subject matter as well as in the
form of a fairly detailed study of the Teaching, the
disciplines, and the practices of our Way.

Taking into consideration the level
of sophistication of teenagers, “a fairly detailed study of
the Teaching” means a basic study of the Teaching and the
disciplines. This would entail the study of our practice of
diet, exercise, general health principles, service, social
life, and those disciplines of meditation that are
appropriate at this stage and age. It also includes the
study of various other technicalities and the philosophical
bases of the conception of the processes of
conductivity5 (or how to be associated with the
Life-Current) and real meditation, the structure of the
world, and so forth-all from a spiritual point of view.
These subjects would be on the curriculum for formal,
regular, and continuous study by third stagers, along with
the conventional subject matters that must be part of
everyone’s schooling.

Apart from this, the individual
should develop sensitivity to the deeper psyche, or the
spontaneous processes of mind that are deeper than ordinary
thinking and the social personality. Thus, appropriate
meditative exercises of a devotional type should develop in
this stage, and the exercise of imagination should, even as
earlier in life, be emphasized and rewarded. In addition,
the individual should be taught to be sensitive to dreams,
even to keep a regular diary that describes nightly dreams
and experiences in meditation. And the contents of dreams
and meditative experiences should be frequently discussed
with adult counselors.

The third stage of life is complete
when the individual is fully responsible for adult life-not
merely in the conventional social sense, or merely because
of chronological age, but in the sense that he or she is
fully prepared (physically, emotionally, etherically,
psychically, mentally, and with a free or intelligent will)
to enter into the social, personal, and spiritual
responsibilities of true Manhood.

5. “Conductivity” is, in
general, the capacity of the body-mind to conduct, or be
surrendered into, the All-Pervading Life-Current. Such
conductivity or surrender is realized through love, or
radiant whole-body feeling to Infinity, and such love
involves coordinated engagement of body, breath, and
attention in alignment with the Universal Current of

6. Real meditation, or
what Master Da calls the “conscious process,” is the senior
practice and responsibility of practitioners in each stage
of the Way. Founded upon true “hearing” of the Teaching, or
release of self into the Transcendental Condition of Divine
Ignorance, it is the discipline of conscious surrender of
attention in the Divine or Transcendental Being. awareness
and a free acceptance of his or her psychic self, with all
of its expansive contents, including the archetypes, subtle
or astral phenomena, and possibly even out-of-body
experiences, extrasensory perception, premonitory phenomena,
and so forth.


As I have indicated, the individual
in the first stage of life is primarily dealing with
physical adaptation, or realizing a state of physical
individuation and the capacity for social life. In other
words, the physical base has primary importance in the first
stage. In the second stage of life, physical adaptation of
course continues, but the primary base associated with the
learning process is the etheric body, the next dimension of
our manifest existence. Then, in the third stage of life,
the next subtler level of our manifest existence, the lower
astral or mental-psychic dimension, is the primary base of
education, though obviously the physical and etheric
dimensions still remain part of education. Every subsequent
stage builds upon the preceding developments. And each stage
is associated with a unique new form of study and a new kind
of growth.

As was the case in the preceding two
stages, in the third stage of life, when the lower astral
dimension is to be located and brought into operation, it is
not necessarily self-evident or clear to the individual that
this next subtler dimension exists. Hopefully, however, the
individual brought up in the context of this Way and in our
culture will not have received the usual cues given in the
world today which suppress our awareness of the etheric and
lower astral aspects of our personality, or at least such
cues will not have been effective. Prior to the third stage,
the individual will have had a continuous life of
familiarity with his or her psychic life, without
suppressing or discounting dreams or subtle phenomena.
However, it is in the third stage in particular that
adaptation to the lower astral dimension occurs.

Just as in the previous two stages,
what must occur first is education that will familiarize the
individual with this lower astral dimension. Various kinds
of meditative play will already have occurred in the first
and second stages of life-the instructions in What to
Remember to Be Happy would be part of the meditative
education of children from infancy-but in the third stage,
the individual should begin to adopt some of the devotional
and meditative practices that are taken on by adults in The
Free Communion Church.7 Initially they would
practice the Easy Prayer of Surrender8.
Eventually (probably in the late teens), the practice of the
Prayer of Remembrances9 and the Prayer of
Changes10 may be taken up if a youngster exhibits
the appropriate signs. Presumably, these signs will be
exhibited as an individual comes of age and thus
theoretically approaches the fourth stage of

To become familiar with this lower
astral dimension, a person in the third stage of life should
begin to employ these devotional and meditative practices
and also begin to pay special attention to dreams. We can
playfully ask children about dreams at an earlier age, but
in this stage children should take a rather systematic
approach to noticing their dreams. Therefore, I recommend
keeping a dream diary. Ideally, dreams should be recorded in
the diary each day, shortly after

7. The Free Communion
Church is one of four divisions of The Johannine Daist
Communion, the spiritual fellowship of practitioners of the
Way Taught by Master Da Free John (see p. 126). The Free
Communion Church is the educational and cultural
organization for maturing practitioners.

8. The Easy Prayer of
Surrender is the initial devotional exercise practiced by
beginners in the Way of Radical Understanding. Its practice
consists of vocal or silent mental invocation of and
affirmation of one’s surrender to the Radiant Transcendental
Being, combined with bodily relaxation into and reception of
the Spirit-Current of the Divine.

9. The Prayer of
Remembrance is the whole-bodily exercise of invoking and
surrendering body and mind into the Divine by means of the
Name “Da,” which denotes the “Giver” or the Divine Being in
its personal aspect. For Master Da’s instructions on this
practice, see his Bodily Worship of the Living God, pp.

10. In the practice of the
Prayer of Changes, one first exhales and releases all
negative or limited conditions of body, mind, and
experience, then inhales, receives, and affirms the most
positive desired changes in body, mind, and experience while
abiding in the disposition of intuitive Communion and tacit
identification with the Divine Self, and then changes his or
her action in life accordingly. See Bodily Worship of the
Living God, by Da Free John, pp. 92ff. waking, when dreams
are still fresh and vivid. In other words, children in this
stage would develop the habit of being aware of their dreams
and remembering them, instead of pressing them out of
consciousness into the unconscious when they awaken. Dreams,
as well as meditative experiences and any experiences of a
subtle, psychic kind, should regularly be discussed with
adult counselors. The dream diaries can then also be made
available to the counselors, or the children can write
periodic summaries of their diaries and submit these prior
to counseling. There can also be gatherings in which many
children get together with their counselors and discuss
their experiences openly.


In the conventional world, the
psyche and these lower astral experiences tend to be
de-legitimized, just as the energy or etheric dimension of
the human personality tends to be de-legitimized. Actually,
most people today do not even know that these two dimensions
exist, or they doubt their verity, even though they have
experiences which indicate the existence of these
dimensions. People are conventionally encouraged, even
engineered, to presume only a materially based view of
reality, and therefore they tend to discount such phenomena
and the organs or functional aspects of the being with which
these phenomena are associated. Consequently, most people
tend never to learn how to function in terms of the etheric
and lower astral dimensions of the personality. However,
children should be able to enjoy free, open contact with
these dimensions, so that they can rightly use this
equipment as part of their ordinary humanity. These
dimensions should not be suppressed, nor should they be the
subject of demonic fascination. Rather, they should be made
a matter of responsibility. This means that children must
become familiar with the etheric and lower astral
dimensions, and we must not fail to help them learn how to
relate to them rightly.

All kinds of contents of the lower
psyche will be communicated by young people in their diaries
and discussions. Many of their dreams will represent
ordinary life-stresses, and these should be discussed, and
help should be extended to those who obviously have
problems. But apart from these ordinary dreams, there are
other kinds of significant dreams, such as archetypal dreams
and astral experiences (astral dreaming, astral travel, and
so forth). Young people may also have out-of-body
experiences, various kinds of extrasensory perception,
premonitory dreams, or premonitions in the waking state.
These represent a real dimension of our personality which we
must permit to become active. So, we must notice this
subtle, psychic component of the lower astral dimension and
become responsible for it. This is the first aspect of
learning in the third stage of life.

The whole life of the thinking mind
is another component of the lower astral dimension of our
being. Individuals in the third stage of life should
therefore develop their capacity to reason, to observe and
understand. Naturally, they should study in a much more
sophisticated fashion than in the previous stages, and cover
a wide variety of subjects of a conventional nature as well
as material relating to this Way of life.

The third aspect of the lower astral
personality is the will. The will is not merely some sort of
hard-edged, effortful intention, but rather it should be
free intention, based on the openness of the personality.
The will is a guide to the Life-Force, and it should gently
direct the functions of the lower personality (the lower
astral, etheric, and physical dimensions of the being). It
embraces what we call psyche, mind, emotion, body, and their
whole interplay. The will is the connection between all of
those functions and is the medium whereby the Living Force
of existence is given form. Therefore, by understanding
ourselves in physical, etheric, and astral terms, the will
is able to release energy into the whole domain of psyche,
mind, emotion, body, and relationships. This kind of
learning, or capacity, is the secret of the fulfillment of
the third stage of life and of the early career of a human
being. The ability of the open, free personality to direct
the lower personality by means of the will (or free
intention) is basically what makes us human

Thus, at the end of the third stage
of life, the young adult should be fully responsible for
bringing the Living Force of existence into the domain of
the lower personality and its relationships. The individual
should be a balanced, socially positive, and spiritually
awakened character-a benign personality capable of assuming
responsibility in the context of relationships. Such a
person should know how to maintain health and how to live a
wholesome life. He should also understand a wide variety of
things about life, and should have a basic grasp of the
spiritual Teaching. The third stage of life, then, is the
summary or the crown of the early life of the individual who
has achieved competence and responsibility for everything
that we ordinarily call human.

The later stages of life lead us
into what is beyond the human, what transcends human life
and life in Nature. They transform human existence into
something more, or more highly evolved than the human. The
third stage of life is the stage in which, based on true
learning, our Manhood (and this applies to both men and
women) is established, and we go on from there to live as
true human beings. But we also go on from there to develop
our spiritual life, to go beyond human limitations as well
as to magnify our human capabilities through the intrusion
of the Living Spirit into life.

Now we come to the next

Stage 4: The fourth stage of life,
like all the stages that follow, is best conceived without
reference to specific chronological age-except that it may
generally be said to begin at approximately the age of
twenty-one years, or perhaps slightly earlier. It is the
stage in which all of the characteristic activities of
adulthood begin with full responsibility, but the primary
significance of the fourth stage of life, like all stages
that follow, is spiritual rather than social or merely
functional. The fourth stage of life is the true beginning
of the exercise of self-transcendence.

In the fourth stage of life the
individual must command all the mechanisms to which he or
she has adapted in the first three stages of life. This
command should take the form of voluntary alignment and
surrender of the physical, etheric, and lower astral
dimensions of the manifest personality to the Self-Radiant
Transcendental or Divine Condition of Being. This takes the
form of an exercise (founded on self-understanding and the
life-practice of self-economizing functional and relational
disciplines) in which the central or feeling-dimension of
the manifest being is made the base for the surrender and
transcendence of the physical, etheric, emotional, psychic,
and mental personality in the Life-Current, Love-Bliss, and
Consciousness of Transcendental Being.

The practice of the fourth stage of
life in our Way develops either via the Way of
Faith11, the Way of Insight, or the first stage
of the Perfect Practice,” until energy and attention begin
to relax from the bondage of the lower personality and more
mature spiritual evidence begins to appear.

My discussion of the fourth and
following stages will not be as extensive as my discussion
of the earlier stages, because so much of our literature is
already devoted to the fourth stage and beyond.” However, I
would like to briefly point out the significance of the
fourth stage.

The fourth stage of life is
demonstrated traditionally in various kinds of cultural
efforts, based on different philosophies. In our Way of
life, however, we do not merely practice in the context of
the fourth stage of life, but we transcend the dualism that
typically characterizes the fourth stage of life in that
very process. It is the stage of the true beginning of
self-transcendence as a fully responsible exercise in which
the lower astral, etheric, and physical dimensions of the
personality are surrendered into the Transcendental
Condition. The vehicle or base on which this is done is the
feeling being. Through the feeling dimension of being, and
on the basis of self-understanding, the lower personality is
commanded or willed to surrender into the Transcendental

11. The Way of Faith is
the approach to self-transcending practice recommended to
the person who is naturally inclined to a devotional
disposition or attitude of feeling-surrender.


The Way of Insight is specifically
intended for the practitioner who is especially gifted with
the capacity to mature by applying his natural
discriminative intelligence in the observation,
understanding, and transcendence of the

The Perfect Practice is the epitome
of the Way of Radical Understanding or Divine Ignorance. It
is the foundation of the Way, though few individuals are
mature enough to engage it directly, without having to move
through the preparatory stages. The Perfect Practice
consists of three phases.

In the first phase the discipline is
to identify with consciousness in daily life and meditation,
until the body-mind accepts the discipline of equanimity.
Attention is thus freed for the second phase wherein
attention (or self-consciousness itself) is yielded into the
Source Condition from which it is always arising. This
practice gradually becomes profound Identification with
Being or Consciousness Itself. The third phase of the
Perfect Practice begins when this Identification becomes
complete and the individual simply Abides as Transcendental
Divine Consciousness, recognizing all phenomena.

For a complete description of the
Perfect Practice, see The Liberator (Eleutherios), by Da
Free John.12

12. See “The Books of Master Da
Free John” at the back of this volume.

This brings us to:

Stage 5: The fifth stage of life
follows naturally from the fourth. The same practices that
finally developed in the fourth stage are continued, but the
experiential evidence that develops in this stage goes
beyond the phenomena of the lower coil into the domain of
the upper Coil,13 or the domain of cosmic or
transpersonal existence. Thus, phe-nomena associated with
higher meditation appear, including higher astral signs,
such as experiences of higher subtle worlds, views of the
Cosmic Mandala,14 and even nirvikalpa
samadhi.15 The sixth stage may begin when all of
this has been observed and really transcended to the degree
that energy and attention are no longer bound to seeking via
either the lower or the upper coil of the manifest self.
This readiness is shown by the signs of true spiritual
maturity, including stable equanimity and the tendency of
the Life-Current to magnify Itself in the right side of the

The natural evidence that the fourth
stage of life is complete, apart from all the other basic
qualifications that pertain to the fourth stage and all
previous stages, is that relaxation of energy and attention
from bondage to the lower personality has begun to take
place. Then the more mature spiritual evidence of the fifth
stage begins to appear. In other words, at some point there
will be the natural appearance of upper coil experiences,
particularly of that aspect of the upper coil which
represents the higher astral dimension of existence. The
fourth stage of life is a transitional stage that is
basically about developing this capacity for

13. The “lower coil”
refers to the gross physical dimension of the body-mind or
the complex of functions below the heart, epitomized at the
navel. The “upper coil” is the range of higher human
functions above the heart, including the subtler dimensions
of the psyche.

14. The Cosmic Mandala is
a visionary manifestation of the Universal Energy of the
Cosmos. It appears as concentric circles of light
progressing from red on the perimeter through goldenyellow,
silvery-white, dark blue or black, and brilliant blue to the
Ultimate White Brightness in the center of the Mandala. In
the seventh stage of life, the Conscious being stands beyond
the whole cosmic configuration and the mechanics of Nature
which it represents. For a full discussion of the Cosmic
Mandala, see Easy Death, by Da Free John, especially part 4,
“Transcending the Cosmic Mandala,” pp. 223-88.

15. The Sanskrit term
“nirvikalpa samadhi” means literally “formless ecstasy.”
This elevated mystical experience is aspired to by many
traditional yogis. In Master Da Free John’s view, however,
this state is simply the crowning achievement of yogic
practice corresponding to the fifth stage of life. It
represents a merely temporary absorption of attention in the
Transcendental Consciousness, whereas in the seventh stage
of life there is perpetual recognition of all phenomena as
non-binding modifications of Radiant Transcendental

16. Master Da Free John
has described the area of the heart on the right side of the
chest as the center, or root, of the Transcendental
Consciousness or Self in the body-mind. This area
corresponds to the sinoatrial node (or pacemaker) in the
right atrium. For a detailed description of this
psycho-physical center and its relationship to
Enlightenment, see The Enlightenment of the Whole Body,
chapter 7.


On the one hand, the fifth stage,
like the first three stages, is a matter of adaptation to a
particular functional level of our existence. On the other
hand, it is a matter of transcendence of this specific level
of existence as well. That dimension of existence to which
we adapt and which we transcend in the fifth stage is the
higher astral dimension, the higher aspects of the upper
coil of the being. The higher astral dimension of our
personality reaches beyond personal aspects of the human
being (which include the lower astral, etheric, and physical
dimensions) into that dimension or domain that we might call
transpersonal or cosmic. These signs or experiences of the
fifth stage of life naturally and gradually emerge as the
fourth stage matures, and through continued practice of the
same self-transcending disciplines that are first cultivated
in the fourth stage, we transcend our bondage to the
possibilities represented by this cosmic or transpersonal
aspect of the being.

Even though we transcend the
possibilities of the higher astral dimension, we still
experience them in meditation and in other moments of
waking, dreaming, and sleeping. These experiences may
include all the phenomena of higher meditation I have
mentioned in this essay-visions of higher subtle worlds,
views of the Cosmic Mandala, unusual lights and sounds, and
so forth. Even nirvikalpa samadhi may appear. However, the
fifth stage of life has completed itself not when one or
more of these experiences have occurred, but when the signs
are present that the individual is no longer bound to the
purposes of either the lower or upper coil, and that he is
not seeking these phenomena for their own sake, but is
rather in a state of natural equanimity in which energy and
attention are free of the binding efforts associated with
the lower and upper coils. In other words, nirvikalpa
samadhi is not a necessary precondition for entrance into
the sixth stage. Obviously, some forms of subtle phenomena
will have occurred if real meditation is active, but the
qualifications for the sixth stage of life are simply those
just described as spiritual maturity in the fifth stage of

Another sign that may also appear in
the fulfillment phase of the fifth stage of life is evidence
that the Life-Current is magnifying Itself in the right side
of the heart, rather than in the brain core, or in the crown
of the head, or in some other bodily center.

Next I would like to characterize
the sixth stage of life:

Stage 6: In our Way, the sixth stage
of life is encountered and transcended via the second stage
of the Perfect Practice. I will not discuss this or the
seventh stage at length here since it is all fully
elaborated in the existing literature. Suffice it to say
that this stage is complete when the Transcendental Self,
the Root-Source of attention and all phenomenal conditions,
is fully Realized and the “eyes open,” or tacit recognition
of self, others, and world is firm and true.

Now we come to the ultimate

Stage 7: In this, the fully
Enlightened stage of life, there is simply Self-Abiding
recognition of phenomenal existence as a transparent, or
merely apparent, unnecessary, and nonbinding modification of
Self-Radiant Transcendental Being. This Process shows the
evidence of Transfiguration, Transformation, and
Indifference, until Perfect Translation17 from
conditional phenomenal existence and into the Transcendental
Domain of Being.

17. “Transfiguration,”
“Transformation,” and “Translation” are technical terms that
describe the unfolding process of God-Realization in the
seventh stage of life. Transfiguration is the pervasion of
body and mind by Transcendental Radiance or Light. Bodily
and mental Transformation involves the arising of
supernormal signs or abilities, such as healing power,
longevity, and psychic capabilities. Divine Translation is
the ultimate evidence of GodRealization, wherein the limited
psycho-physical body, mind, and world are no longer
noticed-not because the consciousness has withdrawn from all
such phenomena, but because it has entered into such
profound absorptive Realization of the Divine Condition that
all phenomena are, as Master Da says, “Outshined” by that


That completes the essay. As you
will appreciate, it is a summary of the education or the way
of schooling associated with the seven stages of life in
this Way. It pays particularly detailed attention to the
first three or perhaps four stages of life, although there
are some details specified for the fifth stage as well.
Obviously then, this essay concentrates on the aspects of
education in the earlier stages of life that make it
possible for people to transition into the spiritual
practice of life. The later stages are more elaborately
described in our basic literature.

Does anyone have any questions, or
is there some aspect on which I should further

DEVOTEE: Could you say something
more about assuming responsibility for one’s sexuality in
the third stage of life?

mentioned in the description of the second stage of life
that the schooling in that stage is not directly sexual,
although it should provide the living emotional base for
later sexual activity. I also stated that genital sexuality
and social patterns of a demonstrably sexual nature should
be conserved or by-passed through right understanding until
the third stage of life is complete, so that we may first
develop full human responsibility for what must become the
yoga of sexual communion. Thus, individuals in the third
stage of life should not have to deal with all the problems
and concerns associated with an active sexual

Among the things that third stagers
should study, however, is the whole matter of sexuality and
sexual reproduction. They should particularly study the
practical matters associated with sex when they get a little
older, but they do not have to be too far into their teens
to begin some basic study of sexuality. In any case, from
very early childhood, our children should be helped to
understand their sexual interest.

In this Way of life, sexuality is
not taboo, and it is not to be sup-pressed. The message to
be communicated to children or to young people is not that
it is ideally better not to be sexual. Rather, what should
be communicated to them is an understanding of sexuality
that is spiritually based, and we want to help them to
prepare for sexuality in that form. We want to guide them to
rightly by-pass overt sexual activity until they are fully
prepared for sexual practice in the form of a spiritual

Sexual activity should begin after
the third stage of life, and no earlier than the very late
teen years, if it is to be founded on full maturity in the
first three stages of life as they are described in the
essay. When young people become sexually active, they must
at first learn about and adapt to sex itself, but they
should do this based on their fully developed character as
someone who was properly guided through the first three
stages of life. As fourth stagers, they should be helped
within the context of our community to develop their sexual
activity as the yoga of sexual communion, and not merely to
indulge sex as a conventional means of relieving stress or
merely as a reproductive act. What should be communicated to
our children is how to be sexual, not how to avoid sexuality
or suppress it, but they should also understand its proper
development in the first three stages of life.

In these first three stages,
children will experience certain kinds of sexual feelings,
and they will develop different kinds of sexual
character-girls learn how to be girls, and boys how to be
boys. There are also various kinds of play which are
associated with sexual role modeling. Adults simply have to
stay in real time with children and young people, and have a
fully open, communicative relationship with them, so that
when any evidence of sexual activity appears, one can be
instructive in terms of their present moment of interest or
involvement with it.

For the first seven years of life,
sexual activity is rarely a significant feature of
children’s lives. Parents should not slap their wrists or
threaten and yell at them for sexual play and mutual
exploration. They should perhaps find some artful way to
divert them, as we do not want them to become obsessed with
sexual play, but basically children should just be allowed
to explore this matter, feel into it, and play with it.
There is nothing very important about it, as they are not
really in a position to understand much about sexuality in
the first seven years, particularly the first four or five
years. It is only after the age of five or six, when they
start to develop perhaps a little more interest in it and
move out socially more, that you can begin to discuss
sexuality with them. Then you can introduce them to the
whole matter of feeling-sensitivity, right social life, and
the right enjoyment of life in general.

Adults should help them to
understand and not merely suppress their interest in
sexuality. They should help them understand what it may have
to do with reproduction, and what it may have to do with
their life later on. Diverting them from any fascination
with it in a very natural, artful way helps them to simply
feel this energy whole bodily, and develop an expanded
emotional and feeling life, an energetic life, without
indulging this bodily based, self-based interest. Because if
they indulge it, they will become Narcissistic and sexually
retarded, and it will be very difficult for them to develop
a yogic sexual life later on.

Adults need to advance young
people’s understanding of sexuality, particularly as they
enter their teens. As they enter their teens or pass into
puberty, their sexual interest is likely to become
intensified because of the hormonal changes that are
occurring in the body. We need to assist them at that point
by explaining to them that these hormonal changes are for
the purpose of growth, preparing their bodies for adult
life. Even though sexual feelings may be associated with the
glandular stimulation accompanying this growth, they should
not be indulged. Young people should simply understand what
it is they are passing through and release their
concentration on these feelings. They should open and devote
themselves to the larger learning and discipline of the
brahmacharyat18 stage of life.

18. “Brahmachara” is a
Sanskrit word meaning literally “conduct in consonance with
Brahman or the Truth.” In the Hindu spiritual traditions, it
has widely been equated with the lifelong practice of
intentional or motivated celibacy by spiritual aspirants.
But this Sanskrit term originally referred to the student
stage of life, generally conceived to occupy the first
twenty-five years of life. During those years, the growing
individual (or brahmacharin) was formally trained in the Way
and Truth of existence. This period generally involved
strict celibacy until marriage, or entrance into the
householder’s stage of life. Over time, the term
“brahmacharya” has become synonymous with celibacy itself,
even though the ancient practice of brahmacharya encompassed
all of the common areas of life, including academic studies,
music, art, diet, work, the Scriptures.

Thus, during the third stage of
life, parents should help young people to by-pass overt
sexual interest through reasonable, artful

The point to be emphasized is that
we should not suppress our children’s sexual interest. No
one should horrify or threaten them, or create sex-negative
views in them. Rather, they should be educated to a
sex-positive view or a view that ultimately can become
freely sexual, if they will choose it. They should be able
to devote the first three stages of life to the development
of the whole human personality on a spiritual base, and the
by-passing of sexual indulgence is a form of learning that
strengthens them, and permits the process of full human
growth to occur. It keeps them from becoming aberrated
through sexual stimulation.

Without the understanding of the
first three stages of life, sexual self-indulgence is just
as aberrating as sexual repression. Neither should rightly
be part of the life of children and young people. You all
know from having lived in a rather chaotic fashion, without
a real program of cultural and human adaptation and growth,
how you have suffered in your sexuality as a child, a
teenager, and an adult. You know how much of an impediment
this arbitrary and false sexual learning has been to your
later life and to your spiritual life. The conception of
sexual education that I am communicating to you should help
people to avoid the difficulty of that dilemma. It is a
simple matter of right learning and artful communication. If
it is approached in this fashion, and all the kinds of
learning I have described here are developed, then those who
grow up in this community and come into their late teens and
early twenties should be stable, balanced, and spiritually
awake people, with full human capability, who can naturally
practice sexual communion, as well as all the other forms of
practice in this Way of life. In other words, they should
not have to go through any neurotic sexual

Obviously, the success of this
approach depends on counseling, on good relations between
children and adults, and it requires sensitivity on the part
of the adults to the situation of our children and
youngsters. They will have some difficulties, but the
difficulties should not be taken seriously. Adults should
simply provide them a way out of their difficulties, and
this way is the positive spiritual and human process
altogether. That is the secret. In every case, draw them
into the spiritual process. Do not let them become involved
in all kinds of deep, heavy, obsessive considerations of
their sexual and other problems. All such problems arise
only because children or young people have been diverted
from the process of life, as it presents itself in terms of
the first three stages. If they are led back into that
process, any problem will naturally fall away, and a state
of balance will be achieved. Thus, rather than keying in on
problems, one should notice and discuss them, and draw their
attention into the right process of living.

Nothing is denied to teenagers by
their not being sexually active. On the contrary, they will
be greatly helped if they can retain the Living Force and
avoid self-possessed involvement in sex until they have
fully developed as human beings, with all the capabilities I
have described here. Then they can choose to be sexually
active and create whatever pattern they will, based on a
balanced and strong life background. They will be able to
practice sexuality freely rather than neurotically, as all
of you did and are doing even now. Instead of moving into
the process of sexual communion, all of you are spending
years working out sex-based emotional neuroses!

Where did you get all of those
neuroses? You created them by one or another kind of failure
in each of the first three stages of life. You are still
childish, or rather, infantile; you have not fully
individuated physically; you still tend to lapse into
dependency modes in which you, in effect, want to meld with
your mother again. You have great difficulty achieving a
state of self-responsible, physical individuation and
balance, because of some emotional impediment associated
with your childhood or infancy. You suffer sexual
aberrations, emotional problems, and reactive tendencies
which dominate your lives. The primary reason for this,
apart from all the kinds of negative adaptation and
unfortunate life circumstances, is that you did not achieve
a state of direct sensitivity to your etheric life, your
energy life, and how that affects other people. You never
developed a sense of yourself as being greater than the
physical, and you never exercised yourself as energy, as a
spirit. You never became responsible for the energy
mechanism that is primarily an emotional mechanism. Thus,
you tend to be reactive rather than clear, balanced, and

The etheric dimension, you see, is
controlled by emotion and sex. Sex is the physical
expression or counterpart of emotion. To become obsessively
self-involved with sex, therefore, is to collapse the
etheric dimension of the personality, and to eliminate the
emotional force and therefore the Life-Force from the sex
act. Instead of being an emotionally free expression of the
living being, the sex act becomes merely a means for
discharging the body of its life-feeling. When there is a
lot of Life-Energy in the body and you are emotionally or
otherwise contracted, then you feel uptight. The body is
like a circuit or a hose conducting the Life-Current. If you
have a knot in it, you get uptight. The more water there is
in the pipe or the more energy there is in the circuit, the
more intense the pain. And you use sex to rid yourself of
this pain. Instead of removing the contraction, you displace
the energy, leaving the contraction in place.

Thus, if you do not have the virtues
of true growth in the third stage of life, you cannot
practice right sex. It just cannot be done. This is the
reason why merely functional sexual activity should not
occur in the third stage of life. The virtues of celibacy in
this stage should be rightly understood as not merely the
prevention of sex, but as the releasing of all tension
associated with sexual interest. This is done so that one
can learn to live a spiritual or whole life, maintain a
balance of energy and a free psyche, and develop the whole
personality in spiritual terms in preparation for, among
other things, right sexual activity. Thus, it is the
fulfillment of the process of the third stage of life, based
on the fulfillment of the processes in the second and first
stages, that makes right sexual activity possible.
Therefore, sexual activity is basically to be by-passed,
although learned about and prepared for, until the fourth
stage of life. To me, sexual sanity basically depends on the
effective occurrence of this process.

Are there any other

DEVOTEE: Master, I would like to
know how to use the dreams of children in the second stage
of life. I have noticed that the content of most of their
dreams is more emotional than of the nature of the psychic
or astral phenomena you just described. They want to relate
their dreams and talk about them a lot, and I do not know
how to consider their dreams with them most

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: In all stages
of life, including the first, children, and then later young
people, should have an open, communicative counseling
relationship with one or more adults. This should not merely
be a formal, abstract relationship, but a friendship, a
right relationship with one or more adults. We should be
talking to children about their dreams and any other kinds
of unusual experiences not only in the second stage but in
the first and third stages as well. We should be rather
imaginative in our discussions with them and artfully
question them even from earliest life, not merely to find
out whether or not they are having any unusual experiences,
but also to let them know that it is alright to have such
experiences. If they have such experiences, we should let
them know that it is right and good to talk about them with
adults with whom they are intimate.

The question you are asking really
relates not just to the second stage, but to the first and
all other stages as well. As the first principle, one should
have a good, communicative relationship that is not
suppressive and that does not suggest to children that there
are only certain kinds of experiences which are acceptable.
You said, for instance, that second stagers tend primarily
to communicate dreams with an emotional content, or a
content perhaps suggesting emotional conflicts in daily
life. The fact that they are having dreams only of this
kind, or at least are only reporting dreams of this kind,
could have much to do with what has been suggested to them
throughout their lives. They may somehow have the impression
that this is the only kind of dream they should have or talk
about. Perhaps their learning altogether has not been
rightly supervised, so that they have basically been led to
become concentrated in emotionally aberrated, self-concerned
states, and not to be more open and expansive in their

Adults should, of course, discuss
dreams with children, no matter what their content. They
should not sit and analyze them like a psychiatrist, but
rather should simply get children to be communicative about
their dreams, listen to what they tell us about their
problems, and then deal with those problems in practical and
appropriate ways. It is our responsibility to draw them away
from any concern with problems or aberrations and into the
principles of real practice, into social relationship
wherein these aberrations will be balanced out and released.
This is always the essence of the right approach.

In addition to discussing whatever
dreams our children may want to relate to us, or tend to
have, we should help them to have better and more
interesting dreams. The book What to Remember to Be Happy is
rather aphoristic and is intended to suggest something to
children, but also something to the adults who are educating
them. It suggests to the children that they are more than
what they look like, and it also suggests a way of exploring
the other dimensions of their existence. In other words, it
suggests an approach to educating children that helps them
to be sensitive to what they are that is more than their
physical existence. Therefore, children can become more
profoundly involved with the meditation exercises in What to
Remember to Be Happy which will help to change the quality
of their dreams and other experiences. So, in accordance
with my instructions in What to Remember to Be Happy,
children should spend a reasonable amount of time in
meditation, and truly relax beforehand. They should
sometimes meditate alone, not in the room with other
children, and they should meditate more

We should not suggest to children
that there are only certain things that may occur during
meditation, so that they just prattle back to us images that
have been suggested to them. If this meditative exercise is
ever going to show any evidence of higher psychic activity
or be reflective of the deep psyche in the lower astral
dimension, children must learn to relax deeply. Likewise, if
dream phenomena are ever to have a higher quality, children
must be able to rest deeply, and be free of stress and
emotional conflict before going to bed. In other words, they
must be in an essentially healthy state, sensitive to their
feeling life and their connectedness to existence through
the energy vehicle.

This connection, you see, replaces
the mother-child connection, and the mother-child connection
is an unconscious one in which the child does not experience
himself or herself separately, or as an individual separate
from the mother. Spiritual Communion, Communion with the
Living Force, is based on individuation, on your knowing
that you are there participating in and surrendering into
It. When children are instructed in the right practice of
the exercises in What to Remember to Be Happy, the quality
of their dreams will change and more unusual phenomena will
occur in their meditation.

For younger children in the first
two stages of life, all this should be communicated as a
kind of play, a free kind of Happy activity, but one that
requires relaxation, and so forth. Therefore, among the
things we want to help them realize is a way to be relaxed
and balanced, and not just stressfully vital. If they are
stressfully vital, they will tend to have emotional and
social problems, be reactive, and have bad dreams and no
meditation. The same is true of adults. You must be capable
of relaxation and balance, contact with the Living Force and
with the psyche, in order for meditation to be fruitful and

We should always expand, rather than
limit, the possibilities of children. Sometimes, the
questions they are asked seem to elicit only a reaction from
them. In other words, their response tends to be limited,
for whatever reason, by our suggestions or by their
tendencies. Therefore, we should ask the questions
differently, introduce the possibility of

being more expanded and
imaginative-but not merely imaginative, as we also do not
want them to create meditative experiences and dreams.
Rather, they should be free to allow the psyche to show its
signs. One of the ways whereby we ourselves become free to
do that is to expand our own capacity, and that means we
must become a little more imaginative. Ask children
different kinds of questions, ask yourself different kinds
of questions, give yourself more possibilities! Do whatever
you have to do to break out of your rigid program, and do
everything you can to keep children from becoming rigidly
pro-grammed. If you have children that already show the
signs of such programming, then you must help them break out
of it, to become more at ease, more balanced, open, and

Clearly, one of the major aspects in
the development of children is socialization. It tends to be
the purpose of life in common society, whereas from our
point of view, it is simply part of the evidence of rightly
developing human life. Our children are taught how to
cooperate, how to relate to one another in a feeling way,
and so forth, but they must learn to do all of that on the
basis of our practice. Therefore, in keeping with their age
and level of sophistication, they should always be
practicing some form of self-understanding and therefore
self-release or self-transcendence. Even from a very early
age, they should all be practicing some form of spiritual
exercise, some way of getting in touch with energy and
psyche and what is beyond self.

I have communicated forms of
spiritual exercise appropriate for every stage of life. What
to Remember to Be Happy is a basic guide for the first two
stages. Then, in the third stage, devotional and
conductivity exercises and rudimentary meditation are
introduced, first in the form of the Easy Prayer, and then
later on, in the mid-teens or so, when the young person is
prepared, in the form of the Prayer of Remembrance and the
Prayer of Changes.

If you consider all these elements
of practice, you can see that each day in the life of a
third stager would be very full, and that is as it should
be. It would be a program of life that is very full and very
interesting. It would include everything from meditation in
the morning, keeping a diary, exercising, and group
discussions, to all the different kinds of study, perhaps
even computer learning, speed-reading, study of the
Teaching, detailed study of all our disciplines,
considerations about sexuality and the purposes of the
brahmacharya stage, devotional gatherings, and sacramental
occasions. There is no end to the possibilities. Each day’s
program should also include time for socializing. Serving
together is, in fact, a form of socializing. Serving
together should be fun, should have a human quality to it,
and not just be a form of rote discipline that everyone
resists. There should also be time for sports and play, but
it should all be done in the context of real practice based
on moment to moment self-understanding, selftranscendence,
and spiritual exercise. Participation in everything should
be from that point of view.

All these activities need to be
rightly guided by adults, and young people should know they
are not the equivalent of little adults. They are not
children any more, but neither are they adults. They are
individuated physical, emotional, and social personalities
in the third stage of life. They should not live like the
children of parents, but rather should live as third stage
individuals responsible to the adult community that is there
to maintain and counsel their daily culture of practice and
to instruct them and help them pass through the period of
learning that is specific to the third stage of life. Then,
when they leave the brahmacharya school in their late teens
or so, they would live in the larger community and assume
not just the adult responsibilities of work and sex and so
forth, but all the forms of our adult spiritual exercises.
That is what we should be preparing them for, and not just
keeping them in some kind of a “boarding school” until they
come of legal age and can run out into the world and blow
their minds. That whole urge, in fact, should be transcended
in them if they really participate in the culture of this
Way in the brahmacharya school.

All of our life, then, is a school,
with seven different stages. Whatever our age, we are always
going to school, and there is a specific school for each age
or time of life, depending on our previous preparation. The
third stage of life is not the end of school. It is the end
of one school and a passage to another. It is the time of
preparation for living an adult life without having to be a
lunatic, without having to be an ordinary, worldly person.
Thus, having gone through that process, young people should
value and appreciate all the things associated with a true
spiritual community. Then they would not be thinking about
leaving the community. Rather, they would have learned to
value it because of its uniqueness in comparison with the
rest of the world. They should be capable of functioning in
the world while living in our community, but they should
fully value what it means to be able to live in such a
community and be free of the destiny of a merely aberrated

Are there any other

DEVOTEE: I have been considering
your description of the first stage of life, in which
children develop awareness of their physical individuation.
Could you elaborate on the art of developing that awareness
without closing off their sensitivity to what they feel even
as an infant, prior to becoming a physically individuated

should not be any tendency to close them off from anything.
It simply should be understood that a basic principle of the
first stage of life is that a child becomes organized around
a physically individuated existence. But you should not
otherwise suppress anything psychically, mentally, or
emotionally. Children in the first stage will not
demonstrate much sophistication in these terms, but all of
their emotional, mental, and psychic experience should
simply be allowed to be whatever it is, and you should ask
them about it or let them be communicative about

Children, you see, are not merely
physical individuals. They have all the other dimensions as
well. It is just that as the stages of life progress, we
learn to be responsible for those dimensions, whereas at an
earlier stage, we are less responsible and perhaps to some
degree less sensitive to those dimensions.

DEVOTEE: Can a young child’s
inability to communicate about a particular dimension affect
his or her awareness of it?

MASTER DA FREE JOHN: Some children
naturally have a kind of psychic life and a highly developed
etheric life, and they will show you the evidence of that if
you do not suppress it. Others simply do not have it. It may
develop later on, but it is just not particularly evident at
the time. However, the etheric and astral dimensions of the
personality do exist for everyone, and young children in the
first stage should of course be drawn into a feeling life
and sensitivity to others.

After the age of two or so, they
should be allowed and encouraged to discuss dreams, play
imaginative games, and playfully do the practices described
in What to Remember to Be Happy. Whatever evidence there is
of the development of their etheric and psychic life, they
should be encouraged to communicate about it. If there is no
evidence, they should not be made to feel that there is
something wrong with them. It may develop later on as they
begin to achieve a more conscious involvement with these

Most people may not have much
significant experience of a higher or a lower astral kind,
even of an etheric kind, until they are educated relative to
those dimensions. People must be brought concretely into
conjunction with these dimensions, and brought to observe
them and participate in appropriate spiritual exercises to
the point that energies begin to be released in these
dimensions. Then the evidence of these dimensions, which was
previously unconscious or never even developed as
experience, will begin to appear.

We want to make it possible for the
living energy in individuals to be fully present in every
dimension of their being and thus to ultimately permit them
to transcend phenomenal entanglement. The problem with
conventional learning is that the Life-Force tends to get
limited primarily to the physical dimension and our
emotional reaction to that, and our exercise of mind is
merely the activity of thinking. We want to make it possible
for people not only to use their energies in those terms,
but to allow their energies to expand, to be fully present
in the etheric dimension so that their aura is strong and
full of life pleasure, and so that their psyche will flower.
We want to help people to know about themselves beyond the
stark waking personality and the social personality. We want
them to know about themselves and fully, legitimately exist
in terms that go beyond the social personality. Thus, people
should have a full psychic existence, even though
ultimately, psychic contents must be transcended or released
into a pure radiance of the being. In the course of
development, however, just as much energy should be going
into the free psyche as into thinking, so that just as much
energy is going into free feeling as is going into at least
the potential for ordinary emotional activity. If that
occurs, then the whole program of emotional reactivity will
begin to break up, and the individual will become more and
more characterized by free feeling rather than by negative,
reactive emotions.

We want the Life-Force to be fully
available in the body-made available through a science of
functional life which teaches the individual how to treat
the body, how to exercise, eat, be sexual, and so on. His or
her physical existence would be a Transfigured expression of
the Living Reality and not just an aberrated, confined,
Narcissistic existence limited primarily to the physical
base, the thinking mind, and reactive emotion.

Unfortunately, most people are just
the physical body, reactive emotion, and the thinking mind.
Very little else enters into the context of their existence.
They do not know That which transcends self and Nature, That
which is the true Divine. They do not even know the subtler
aspects of their own phenomenal existence. They are not
familiar with the etheric or astral dimensions or with the
psyche. They are not alive in free terms. They are confined
beings, selfpossessed, Narcissistic egos, not in touch with
their expanded or subtler self, and not in touch with That
which transcends self and Nature. And that is why people are
as they are, and the world is as it is. It is the way it is
not because we are inherently bound or living in a hell, but
because we are not Enlightened. And even that would not be
an impediment if we had the service of Enlightened beings,
and people lived in a culture of progressive training in
true and higher human terms, and also in ultimate terms.
Bereft of such service and culture, however, people are
limited to the usual egoic and reactive life. And they are
aberrated and un-Happy.

Therefore, we must become educated
in truly human terms. Even from conception there are
responsibilities of mothers that directly affect every
aspect of the child-physically, emotionally, mentally,
psychically, and spiritually. Thus, we want to educate
everyone from conception on to live in freedom, to live in
Truth, and to adapt rightly, stage by stage, to every
function of their being and to the Ultimate Condition. That
is what this description is all about, then. It is an
unconventional school of learning, but it is the right
convention for learning. In other words, if we understand
life and have truly observed it and entered into it and are
living it in Truth, we know that this unconventional school
of learning is the right process, and we know therefore how
we should live with and educate children, young people, and
everyone else.

We already know what the result is
when we do not do what we should do and when they do not do
what they should do. It is the usual ego, the troubled
person who causes unlimited problems for himself and others.
As egos, we not only create problems for one another by what
we are doing and communicating both verbally and emotionally
in outward physical terms, but we also transmit it
throughout the universe, like super-powered transmitter
stations, particularly directing it to those individuals,
groups, places, and processes on which our attention is
fixed. We are always broadcasting our states to one another,
and we even bring about changes in Nature through our
individual and collective habits at the level of energy, in
the subtler dimension of personality and in the psyche.
Thus, if our individual lives and our relationships are
meant to change and if human life is going to change
altogether, we must become responsible for these habits. If
we do not, then we will continue to physically act in ways
by which we trouble and aberrate one another, and we will
also directly broadcast our aberration to one another
through the medium of our energy and psychic

All of us are continually receiving
these aberrated messages, and if we are not responsible for
ourselves, we are affected by them in various ways. We
involuntarily move into states of contraction, reactivity,
loss of well-being, mental obsession, and all the rest of
it. Very often these actions have nothing whatever to do
with anything that is going on directly in our lives. They
simply come over us, because of the mechanical clicking of
our reactive Narcissism and its automaticities, but also
through the reception of tendencies in the field of energy.
We receive these tendencies from people to whom we are
related, and from all kinds of gross and subtle entities,
both incarnate and discarnate. These other persons or
entities may not have a particular intention relative to us,
but they are in a certain state, and for some reason or
other, we become subject to them, come into contact with
them, experience their influence, and then we ourselves
start undergoing changes. But, no matter what changes we
tend to go through by these means, we must become
responsible for them. This means we must be spiritually
awake and practice self-understanding, self-transcendence,
and spiritual exercise, and on that basis engage life. Then
we will always be repairing and balancing out our auras and
our psyches, no matter what effects are tending to impinge
on us. We will not become the persona who is characterized
by these reactions, by these signs. We should always be able
to purify our state and rebalance ourselves, no matter what
the circumstance.

Among the things you must learn is
how to identify what has to do with you and what has to do
with someone else. You do not have to work out every
apparent problem. A lot of the time you simply must realize
that it is someone else’s problem, someone else’s state! You
do not have to investigate it at all. All you have to do is
take a couple of breaths and surrender. Let it

There are also things that are part
of your own mechanics and part of some of your relationships
with which you need to deal. But this wisdom, this Teaching,
and this process of life give you all the arms that a human
being needs for dealing with this manifest condition of
existence, for growing in the midst of it regardless of the
circumstances, and for ultimately transcending it. It is up
to you to practice or not, and you will tend not to practice
if you are weak and unlearned. Therefore, you must learn and
become strong first. Then, by practice, you will grow in
wisdom and strength. That is what is said about Jesus, is it
not? First he had to learn and become strong, and then he
grew in Wisdom and stature. First understand yourself and
become strong with the Living Presence, the Living Baptism.
Then practice. And, if you practice that which you have
learned or realized, and That which you have received or
entered into, it will magnify Itself in your own person and
in all your relationships.

For further reading:

Seven Stages of Life