Five stages of personal growth

Abraham Maslow created a widely referenced hierarchy of needs.  There is little doubt that satisfying our basic physical and security needs are a precondition to awareness and growth of higher levels.  I’m assuming people who read this have already passed through most levels of Maslow’s hierarchy.

You now seek to grow beyond your emotions, inhibitions, and mindsets, upgrading a few personality traits and behaviors along the way.  You’d like to achieve a perfect ‘gestalt’ in your internal and material life – such as open, flowing, evolving, compassionate, spiritual presence, and outwardly successful in areas you choose.

Our society has evolved a background of materialism, reductionism, voyeurism, and a host of other facets that work against the realization of these growth goals. I refer to the full expression of this spectrum of goals and traits as an “emergent” person, in the sense that they have emerged from the background noise of their brain and the world.  In a different sense, many people are “emergent manifestations” of our world, rather than full actors that have emerged in the first sense. I refer to emergent only in the positive sense, as none of us want to be just an emergent property of the universe.

I characterize growth into four practical stages, plus one:

  • Sleeping – embroiled in life, unaware of growth in the terms described here
  • Awakening – aware of the possibility, engages a process toward emergence
  • Transforming – experiencing obvious shifts and changes in their evolution
  • Emergence – Significant ongoing experiences of openness, flow, and so on
  • Enlightenment / Divine Consciousness – A fully emergent being and beyond

As with the martial arts, where each “belt” has several degrees, there are of course gradations and variation within these categories.  What I’ve learned can help move through the first four of these stages, both for you and for others.

That last leap, enlightenment or divine consciousness, is out my hands or knowledge.  Seeking enlightenment or divine consciousness presents very long odds, most would say impossible odds.

I recommend committing to and striving for a life of increasing degrees of emergence.  This is very achievable within almost any lifestyle.  Obviously, your spiritual or religious views will define aspects your particular road and its manifestations.  As long as your beliefs are genuine and held with integrity, such as Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and even atheism, the methods I present will aid your growth.  If you’ve accepted any of these purely by default of upbringing, societal pressure, or without serious reflection, revisiting your spiritual and religious perspective should be on your roadmap.

See the various programs and sessions covered on this site.  This general sense of evolution informs my general worldview.  The programs on this site aren’t intended to t track directly to these stages, but will help in your growth and emergence in general.

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