At the fourth stage of spirituality there is a coming together of the spiritual soul (Monad) and personality. This direct connection defines the fourth stage. Prior to this stage, the personality’s contact with this level has been through the mediation of the egoic vehicle, but in the language of esotericism, this now ‘burns up’ as it is no longer required because the personality has developed sufficient mental strength to deal directly with the Monad.
This is not Enlightenment; indeed it is a long way from Enlightenment, because the personality is still in place and still strong, but it is in service to the Monadic level, working in the worlds of the personality on behalf of spirit. The individual at the fourth stage understands that he or she has certain aptitudes that must be deployed to hold the spiritual space for those who come on behind. This is planetary service.
The loss of self-centredness is a great liberation, and on a lower level it reflects what occurs at Enlightenment, when personality consciousness is replaced by that of the Monad.
The sooner we get working the sooner we get rid of the self-centredness, which at the first, second and third stages, the spiritual process encourages before it can move the personality away from it. We can be doing groundwork for the fourth stage whilst we are still in earlier stage of awareness. Many unacknowledged, underpaid nurses, care workers, teachers, environmentalists, animal and human welfare workers are doing this. From the angle of spirit, the point is not in their sacrifice and stoicism, but in their working to realise, at whatever cost, something in which they believe. This positive motivation does the work of spirit in our world. This is spiritual will.
For Westerners this is increasingly the most practical route for spiritual advancement, although we will consider alternatives in the final article in this series.
Other things come together at the fourth stage as well. For those who incarnate as second-degree initiates in personality vehicles that are designed to take them through the second, third and fourth stages of spirituality in one lifetime, which in the West is increasingly common now, the fourth stage may be the first time they truly become part of the human family. Prior to this they may have stood apart from it through a perception of specialness and being different, which so often accompanies these stages. At the fourth stage we know that we are both unique and have a function, but also have faults and weaknesses.
Self-examination now takes place on the hoof because there is rarely time for development circles and the like, and it is not possible to fool yourself when you live daily with the consequences of your actions. Those who feel spiritually special have not yet tested themselves by offering themselves to the world through their chosen frame.
The great gift of the fourth stage is that it strips us of glamour and delusion, but also self dislike because we will have got over the perfection hang-up. We are what we are and that is simply a useful member of the human family working with what we have, on behalf of that family, which we love, and the planet that supports us, which we also love. This place, down amongst the six billion strong human family, is a long way away from the giddy heights of the third stage, and it is the difference between an idealised view and the reality of sharing what we have and understand, and being pushed to the limit as we do so. Our learning is in this experience. Aware of our faults and weaknesses, we are always working at how to make ourselves more effective, because at the fourth stage, we must deliver what we say is important. We are the grounding agents for spirit. This is our function.
Our perception of spirituality changes at the fourth stage. There is no duality; no spiritual and material; no good or bad. There is only life and all its myriad forms and the ways and means which enable life to continue and support higher forms of consciousness.
This perspective is often confusing to those at the first, second and even third stages, who need the trappings which help them identify spirituality, and are full of dualistic notions and judgement. They may not be able to recognise someone at the fourth stage, who may not wear the uniform or talk the talk. Some at the fourth stage spend their lives in business, politics, the arts and entertainment, or like Nelson Mandela, in prison. But those on this level recognise the intent of others, no matter what concepts or words are used, or in what circumstances, culture and spiritual path they operate. Those on the occult path and path of devotion meet up again at the fourth stage.
There is nothing theoretical about the fourth stage of spirituality. It is hands-on work with the aim of making happen what we say is important to hold this precious space on this precious Earth. At the fourth stage we will do this even if its costs us our lives. In any case, if we reach the fourth stage, our physical resources will be used up by the time we reach old age; and this is as it needs to be: a vehicle, which has taken a personality through the stages of development where, through feminine qualities, it has learnt harmlessness and consideration, both of which make a person wary of power, is not the kind of vehicle that is going to be suitable for the fifth stage of spirituality, which requires masculine qualities. A new vehicle is required for this, although it may not be the case for those in a monastic environment, who have reached this stage with a teacher, who can recondition and repair the physical vehicle.