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The Four Degrees Of Spiritual Attainment

What Life Is Really All About


The Spiritual Path consists of basic stages or levels, referred to as degrees.  In this article we will cover the first four basic degrees of spiritual attainment, though an infinite number of degrees exists, as your spiritual potential is as infinite as existence itself.

Everyone on earth is treading the spiritual path, including outright materialists and atheists.  The soul enters the universe to awaken to its Divine Origin, Divine Nature, Divine Reality.  Think of the physical universe as the fertile soil in which the seed of a soul is planted, that it might bloom through the light of experience into the flowering of illumined spiritual being.


Every experience that you encounter comes to you to lift you up, wake you up, guide you up in the spiritual growth process, whether you believe it or not.  The universe is an infinite spiritual alchemical process for the soul, designed to guide and ripen awareness into higher and higher levels of infinite enlightenment, perfection, wisdom, love, peace, power and joy.


Nothing Goes Wrong


Every human being is living in a degree of spiritual awareness, enlightenment, mastery, development and we are all always going through the experiences necessary for awakening to our next higher level or degree.  In this sense, nothing ever goes wrong.  Whether someone is starving in Africa or gorging himself on lobster at a billionaire’s table, what the individual is going through now is exactly what he needs to go through for his next step toward absolute liberation.  All experiences are equal, in this regard, and no one is better off.


As long as we are living in the first 2 degrees of spiritual advancement this may not make sense, because one is still living in 3-dimensional awareness and relating to that as all there really is.  Viewed from three-dimensional awareness it seems like someone who sails a yacht is better off than someone chocking on his own vomit in a crack house. 


But if you continue looking you will eventually see that the three-dimensional plane is a dimension of constantly alternating opposites.  Pleasure is followed by pain, gain by loss, health by sickness, youth by age, birth by death.  Whatever goes up eventually comes down.  There is no stability you can rely upon in the third dimensional plane of consciousness.  Triumph alternates with defeat, greatness with meagerness, abundance with impoverishment, beauty with decrepitude.  Soon after you celebrate a win you go through a loss.  This is how the third dimension reflects, at a lower level, the perfection of balance that we find in the fourth dimension, which we shall explore shortly.


The First Degree


The first degree of the spiritual path is characterized by sheer materialism.  It may sound strange to call total materialism a degree of spiritual awareness, but materialism is actually a necessary stage through which the soul must pass to awaken to higher levels.  When enough experience at this level has been passed through, the consciousness of the soul ripens into the realization that total fulfillment is simply not possible at this level.  No matter how much you can buy, eat, wear, or pamper yourself in any physical, sensual way, it just is not enough to satisfy you. 


At the same time, you are gradually seeing that no matter what you gain, it is balanced out by some kind of loss.  There is no safety, protection or security at this level.  For every materialistic goal that you achieve, including the goal of having a particular human being for companionship, you soon see that you need more, that what you have attained is not enough, it is not lasting, it is not safe, and something occurs to bring you at least as much pain as the attainment brought you pleasure.  It becomes undeniable that every materialistic, physical, sensual or emotional pleasure in this physical world is superficial, essentially hollow and short-lived, and merely “softens you up” to make the unpleasant experiences that follow feel all the more unpleasant.


The Second Degree


After enough disappointment and distrust in materialism has been experienced, the soul begins to enter the Second Degree, as a spiritual stirring begins to inspire the soul.  There is a growing curiosity abpit, interest in, appetite for spirituality.  Spiritual books, spiritual teachings, spiritual people, spiritual practices grow more attractive.  Materialism still holds sway, but a real interest in spiritual matters, albeit quite small, is born and in the process of festering.  It is as if a new sense has been awakened, the sense that feels spiritually stimulated, inspired, attracted, fed.  As one continues to accumulate experience in the second degree, the spiritual urge, desire, quest, inspiration grows stronger and stronger, and the material world is gradually losing its luster, its promise, its appeal.


The Third Degree


Eventually, a shift takes place, heralding entry into the Third Degree.  The spiritual sense that has been strengthening is now gaining leverage over material desires and interests.  In the early stages of the third degree one can still be tempted to depart from spiritually centered living for the promise of a satisfaction of a materialistic desire.  Again and again one strays from the path until finally enough disappointment has been experienced that one is ready to cleave unto “the straight and narrow way.”  The promises of temptation become transparent to the actual disappointments and even disasters they inevitably lead to.


If someone at this stage is married to someone who is still on the first or second degree, the relationship is doomed.  What the third degree person requires is increasing freedom and space to explore her spiritual urges, while the first and second degree person is panicking over the idea of being less than totally absorbed in the pursuit of material sources of pleasure and security.  A parting of the ways is inevitable, no matter how emotionally attached the two might be with one another.  The reality is that emotional attachment is losing strength in the third degree.  What is taking precedence is attachment to the fulfillment of spiritual purpose, to doing what God Wills rather than being identified with personal will.


Dark Night Of The Soul


As one nears the end of the third degree, what feels like a catastrophe takes place.  A huge loss descends like a personal crucifixion, shattering whatever is left of the ego that has been attached to worldly matters.  A tremendous state of depression overcomes one.  It wipes out all interest in the material world.  The third degree individual at this time feels the sense of, “I have lost too much to want anymore.” 


A dark, excruciating period ensues, when life seems just about pointless.  But if one perseveres through this dark night of the soul, a new awakening takes place.  One awakens to the outer limits of the fourth dimension.  This is a spiritual experience that dawns deep within consciousness.  The fourth dimension is what has been called, The Kingdom of Heaven.  This is a direct experience of the harmony of the Divine.  Interest in the spiritual dimension is now becoming the exclusive interest of the soul.  All one wants is to feed the soul on fourth dimensional contact.  The material world is becoming merely a show, a chimera, an illusory context in which the soul pursues its real spiritual fulfillment.


The Fourth Dimension


After a long period of intense dedication and commitment to and concentration upon the higher awareness of fourth dimensional consciousness, also known as Heavenly Consciousness and God Consciousness, a portal to full entry into the fourth dimension opens up through which one enters the fourth degree.  This is indeed being born into another world, and it is fraught with feelings of fright in the early stages of moving fully into another reality, because it feels disorienting and dangerous at first, even though absolutely no trouble exists here.


In time, those fears melt away and one steps across the threshold.  Those who awaken to the Fourth Dimension and enter it fully as the only reality have attained the Fourth Degree.  In the fourth dimension one lives in God, in the Perfect Symmetry of God’s Infinite Harmony, Love, Balance, Order, Power, Truth and Goodness as the only reality.  One directly experiences and dwells in the Spirit of God, which we can define simply as Perfect Inner Balance.  There is no more thought of the material world as having any power, any reality.  All that is experienced is God’s Perfect Being.  Entering the fourth degree, living in fourth dimensional consciousness, is literally the solution to all problems.


The Disappearance Of Difficulties


Debt is an unbalanced condition.  More money going out than is coming in is an imbalanced condition.  Illness, loneliness, lack, discord and dis-ease are imbalanced conditions.  Since God is Perfect Symmetrical Order, Beauty, Balance, Harmony, Goodness, Love and Truth imbalanced conditions are illusions.  All that makes them seem real is our perspective, or our beliefs about appearances.


To worry about an imbalanced, discordant, imperfect condition is to perpetuate it, because worry is imbalanced and discordant.  The solution to what appears to be a problem, an imbalance, is to live in the truth of balance.  This means, for instance, instead of struggling against a situation of lack, live in the consciousness of perfect balance that is abundance.  The solution to any problem is to leave the world of illusion and live in the world of Truth; to live in God instead of in the world.


God is infinite, so there can be no real lack.  To live in God is always your choice.


You can wallow in worry about your imaginary problems or revel in the revelation of the Divine, Infinite One.


The Process Is Natural


Everyone living in the earlier degrees is seeking nothing more than fourth degree consciousness, because it is only this level of consciousness that provides the true state of inner fulfillment that every soul desires.


In the first and second degrees you still believe that he can find happiness, peace, love, true joy and security through conquest of material conditions.  She pursues happiness along the materialistic course for a long, long time before the soul, like a seed that has been ripened, is ready to open up to a higher reality.


You cannot successfully push your spiritual progress.  As long as you feel that you can find fulfillment through conquest of the material plane you must continue to pursue that conquest until the urge burns itself out.  When your spiritual urge begins to stir, you begin moving more quickly through the materialistic stage.  Experiences come swiftly and they come hard, giving you a condensed experience of the truth of materialism, the truth that it can never satisfy, that it offers no protection, that every pleasure you derive from it must turn into pain, every gain must turn into loss, and every victory must alternate with a defeat.


The spiritual awakening or advancement process is entirely natural.  It is what the universe is doing to you all the time.  It is what everyone in your life is doing to you.  However people behave toward you is exactly what your soul needs to pass through to advance in its awakening.  Whether someone adores or rejects you, the same basic thing is happening.  No situation is better than another.  It’s all equal: everything happens because that is exactly what you need to grow through to advance along the spiritual path.


“To Thine Own Self Be True”


There is no point in trying to discipline yourself to study spiritual literature or to engage in spiritual practice.  When your soul is ripened, that is all you will want to do, and that is the time to do it all the time.  Engage in spiritual practice, learning, experience as much as you want to, but no more.  “To thine own self be true”, at every stage, is the best way to progress from level to level.  Fulfill your level, live authentically, be self-honest and true to yourself no matter what happens, no matter how people react to it.  This is how to make the swiftest, natural progress along the spiritual path.


When all you want is to live in the Perfect Spiritual Reality that is God, you will do it.


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