Here is a simple classification of basic stages, devised by this mote, to simplify the matters in his own mind. Not all the sub stages are mentioned:
Stage 1. Hunger of the soul. Searching
Stage 2 a. practical steps, (such as, meditation, mental chanting of God’s name) to realize God are started. May hear sounds like running water. Bliss, during meditation that does not rise to the level of ecstasy. Waves of kundalini, throbbing at lower forehead.
Stage 2b. During meditation person becomes oblivious to time and space (or may even be to the person)
Stage 3a. God responds. First touch. Glimpses of Divine , first Samadhi ( or trance-like state )
Stage 3b. After first touch, during meditation person experiences any of the following
c., Out of body experiences
d. Waves of ecstasy
Stage 4. Person is connected with God all the time, or most of the time
Here are the details:
Stage 1. “The hunger of soul is the first necessity. All else will follow”
By William Law, the British mystic.
Except for preselected persons, this stage may last for a long time. I know of two persons, whose first stage lasted for over fifty-five years. Something is missing in one‘s life. One keeps on asking questions, such as, “What is the purpose of life?”, “is this all there is to life?”
And then there are the eternal questions, which mankind has been asking since time immemorial. “Who created this universe?” “If God created everything, then, who created God, or from where did He come?” “Do we have free will or is everything preordained?” ?” " Why should we be blamed for our actions, when we are merely doing what He makes us do. (Bible: St Paul in Romans
“ We are merely a product of nature( genes inherited from our parents ) and nurture ( our upbringing )), we had no say in choosing these two processes. Whatever happens, happens, because of interaction between us, environment and sheer chance. How much independence do we really have?”
“Why is there so much suffering in this world?” “Granted, that God is not responsible for the evil and suffering, but why does God allow it to happen?” "Why does God not reveal Himself? Why is He hidden from everybody?” " Why does He not talk to us, help us, guide us…….... so that we can build a better society?”
"Is there life after death?” “Does transmigration of soul takes place?” “If religions are God’s code of laws for human conduct, then, why are there so many religions, which differ from each others? There ought to be just one religion, one set of rules, God's rules.” “Universe is made up of matter and energy. If God did not create the universe, how was it created? Can something be made from sheer nothing, as scientists say? Is it not a ridiculous notion?” “Is God accessible? Or is He outside time, space, form or boundaries?” “Does God answer to prayers?” “Are there any limits to God’s powers?”
“ Is there a purpose to the universe?” “ Is it a grand, gigantic experiment, carried out by God, , involving millions of quadrillions of star systems, incandescent with light and fire, spread over googolplex of miles, harboring countless diverse life forms, spinning like tops and flying like birds, for billions of years? Doesn’t He know the results of the experiment beforehand, or does, even He, needs experimentation to determine whether the outcomes tally with the theories? Or did He, in His own inscrutable way, deliberately choose not to know the results any earlier?”
"Why is there anything. Why is there, simply, nothing.". ( a question asked by Leibniz
in 18th century )"
Another feature, often always present, is that such persons are inordinately attracted to the supernatural, or God / deities/religion. These persons are drawn to the esoteric and mysterious. Another frequent trait is the compassionate nature of these people; misery of less fortunate never fails to touch their heartstrings.
What keeps such persons in first stage, often, for such a long time?
The answer is, two words: “Unfulfilled desires”
Look at an average person’s early life. He/she has to go to school/college and finish education. That is the goal society has established for him/her. For men, in underdeveloped and developing countries, the next overriding concern is to find a job, otherwise, how is the family going to eat? For women, in these countries, it is to get married (parents are ashamed of themselves and looked down upon by society, if they cannot arrange marriage for their daughter).
To be continued