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Seven Stages Of The Ego

--by Rumi, as told by Elif Shafak (Apr 16, 2018)


The first stage is the Depraved Ego (Nafs), the most primitive and common state of being, when the soul is entrapped in worldly pursuits. Most human beings are stuck there, struggling and suffering in the service of their ego but always holding others responsible for their continuing unhappiness. If and when a person becomes aware of the ego’s abased situation, by starting to work on himself, he can move to the next stage, which in a way is the opposite of the previous one. Instead of blaming other people all the time, the person who has reached this stage blames himself, sometimes to the point of self effacement.

Herein the ego becomes the Accusing Nafs and thus starts the journey toward inner purification.

In the third stage, the person is more mature and the ego has evolved into the Inspired Nafs. It is only at this level, and not anytime before, that one can experience the true meaning of the word "surrender" and roam the Valley of Knowledge. Anyone who has made it this far will possess and display patience, perseverance, wisdom, and humility. The world will feel new and full of inspiration. Nevertheless, many of the people who reach the third level feel an urge to dwell here, losing the will or the courage to go further. That is why, as beautiful and blessed as it is, the third stage is a trap for the one who aims higher.

Those who manage to go further, reach the Valley of Wisdom and come to know the Serene Nafs. Here the ego is not what it used to be, having altered into a high level of consciousness. Generosity, gratitude, and an unwavering sense of contentment regardless of the hardships in life are the main characteristics accompanying anyone who has arrived here.

Beyond that lies the Valley of Unity. Those who are here will be pleased with whatever situation God places them in. Mundane matters make no difference to them, as they have achieved the Pleased Nafs.

In the next stage, the Pleasing Nafs, one becomes a lantern to humanity, radiating energy to everyone who asks for it, teaching and illuminating like a true master. Sometimes such a person can also have healing powers. Wherever he goes, he will make a big difference in other people’s lives. In everything he does and aspires to do, his main goal is to serve God through serving others.

Finally, in the seventh stage, one attains the Purified Nafs and becomes Insan-i Kâmil, a perfect human being. But nobody knows much about that state, and even if a few ever did, they wouldn’t speak of it.

The stages along the path are easy to summarize, difficult to experience. Adding to the obstacles that appear along the way is the fact that there is no guarantee of continuous progress. The route from the first to the last stage is by no means linear. There is always the danger of tumbling back into earlier stages, sometimes even from a superior stage all the way down to the first one. Given the many traps along the way, it is no wonder that in every century only a few people manage to reach the final stages. 

Excerpted from Elif Shafak's Forty Rules of Love.

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8 Previous Reflections:

 
On Apr 19, 2018 Sunil, Bangalore wrote:

 Nafs(Self) an Arabic word in Quran.
I practice Ramana Maharishi's preaching"Who Am I? I,the biggest stumbling block in spiritual progress relates to the worldly-physical-mortal body.Whearas the eternal Soul inside is only pure consciousness the all pervading Omni present life force.Brahmo Hum Brahmo Hum Brahm Swaroopohum.Nityo hum-Shudho Hum-Budho Hum-Mukto hum.Soul overcoming self is a continuous spiritual quest.Kabir said the path is so narrow that the two cannot reside together. Either it is HE or I. May be I am at a stage dispelling I and adopting HE? In the process the gradual slow Opening of The Third Eye-Tenth Door helps to understand the report card.
 



On Apr 18, 2018 Amy wrote:

 There are no perfect human beings.  Perfection is God, Jesus , Holy Spirit ... Alone.  There are times, however, when the Holy Spirit in dwells an imperfect human being to Have His (perfect) will done thru that person...but stage seven is not a level any human can reach alone.  This is why I believe!  God's got what I need and cannot achive separate from Him.



On Apr 17, 2018 Paul wrote:

 Stage or no stage we have to continue to apply skillful effort.



On Apr 17, 2018 Stanford wrote:
 To love and beloved, to practice health in harmony with one's self - Understanding the evolution of our being in conjunction to the foundation of continuous love practice. 
 

On Apr 16, 2018 Shavell K. Crawford wrote:
 In reading the seven stages, aspiring to remain at stage 6.  Even on days where I can most identify with stage 6, I revert back to stage one and seek constant humility, repeating the stages.  Stage seven is inevitable and is physical death to the world as we consciously know it.  No one is perfect who is living, often making mistakes.  Repenting or letting go of ego, then advancing to the next stage.  Embracing a loop of learning, imperfections, joy and serving others. 
 

On Apr 15, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Life is a journey of expanding our consciousness. As I review my life voyage, I see myself going beyond my self- restricted  boundaries. I create my own suffering by getting attached to my craving for outer things. Recognizing the cause of suffering has helped me to mature and go beyond such a restricted way of thinking and living. Non-judgmental awareness of my own self-created bondage has been helping me to liberate myself from such bondage. There are times when I feel free from my egoic mind and feel deeply connected with the flow of life. These are the moments of pure love in which the dividing line between me and nature and other human beings gets dissolved. It is an oceanic feeling. Practicing meditation everyday has facilitated the process of knowing myself and expanding my consciousness. It is a unified sky-like state of consciousness. It is a state of pure love, unbound freedom and filled with blissful joy. May we be aware of our self-created boundaries and move in  See full.

 Life is a journey of expanding our consciousness. As I review my life voyage, I see myself going beyond my self- restricted  boundaries. I create my own suffering by getting attached to my craving for outer things. Recognizing the cause of suffering has helped me to mature and go beyond such a restricted way of thinking and living. Non-judgmental awareness of my own self-created bondage has been helping me to liberate myself from such bondage. There are times when I feel free from my egoic mind and feel deeply connected with the flow of life. These are the moments of pure love in which the dividing line between me and nature and other human beings gets dissolved. It is an oceanic feeling.

Practicing meditation everyday has facilitated the process of knowing myself and expanding my consciousness. It is a unified sky-like state of consciousness. It is a state of pure love, unbound freedom and filled with blissful joy.
May we be aware of our self-created boundaries and move in the direction of expanding our consciousness.

Namaste!
Jagdish P Dave.


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On Apr 15, 2018 david doane wrote:

 The seven stages of the self make sense to me.  I think I became aware of being in a stage when I was in stage 3, Inspired Nafs, as I felt some sense of surrender to life and some sense that further growth was to come.  In this stage, I was aware that new awareness was happening for me, and I was aware of many questions and had a sense that more understanding was coming.  I think I have had experience in stage 4, some brief experience in stage 5, and at least gotten my toe occasionally into stage 6.  What helps me remain aware of the stage I am experiencing and supports my journey of evolution is times that I become aware that my awareness has deepened which is accompanied by a sense of satisfaction and gratitude.  Based on my own experience, I agree with the author that the journey is definitely not linear, as I have had brief experiences in a stage that was mostly beyond me, then tumbled back, and then sometimes have experiences of longer duration in a  See full.

 The seven stages of the self make sense to me.  I think I became aware of being in a stage when I was in stage 3, Inspired Nafs, as I felt some sense of surrender to life and some sense that further growth was to come.  In this stage, I was aware that new awareness was happening for me, and I was aware of many questions and had a sense that more understanding was coming.  I think I have had experience in stage 4, some brief experience in stage 5, and at least gotten my toe occasionally into stage 6.  What helps me remain aware of the stage I am experiencing and supports my journey of evolution is times that I become aware that my awareness has deepened which is accompanied by a sense of satisfaction and gratitude.  Based on my own experience, I agree with the author that the journey is definitely not linear, as I have had brief experiences in a stage that was mostly beyond me, then tumbled back, and then sometimes have experiences of longer duration in a more advanced stage. 

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On Apr 15, 2018 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 I relate to two steps forward, one step back. In that life and stages are like a dance. There is progress, not perfection, at least that's my mantra. <3 To support the journey I do my best to not judge where I am or where anyone else is either, to sit in compassion for self and others. Each stage contains valuable learning and when we move through without judging it, we are able to see/feel the learning with more ease.