A Motivation Scale: from Materialism to Spirituality
By George A. Boyd ©2023
Q: What markers are there for those who enter the spiritual path. How is their motivation different from one who is not spiritual?
A: We can describe on eight-point motivational scale. Four of these are primarily involved with human life; four of them are spiritual postures:
- All material desires – one is completely focused upon possessions, home, car, and family. If there is any religious affiliation, it is only to ask God to fulfill desires.
- Religious ritual – One’s focus is primarily in material desires, but the family regularly attends religious meetings on a regular basis, and religion conditions their values and beliefs. At this level, one identifies as a member of a religion.
- Spiritual study – There is interest at this level to read about spirituality to gain greater understanding of one’s faith. Initially, this will just be scriptures and books about one’s religious faith. Later, at this stage, one may read the books and teachings of other spiritual traditions to better understand other faith traditions.
- Removal of suffering – If one has undergone traumatic experiences or loss in one’s life, on looks to the Divine, as a source of healing, comfort, and strength to be able to cope. One may learn meditation at this level to be able to process and transcend—at least temporarily—the ongoing suffering one feels.
- Initial mystic experience – One undergoes an experience that radically changes one’s perception, beliefs, values, identity, and behavior. This can come from:
- Use of psychedelics
- Awakening of the Kundalini
- Reception of Light Immersion from a spiritual Adept (Shaktipat)
- Astral projection, where one views the body from outside of it
- Encounter with a numinous being, such as an angel or a materialization of a spiritual Master in a vision
- A peak experience, where one gains union with a higher spiritual essence
- A near death experience, where one experiences a vision of the spiritual realms while one is clinically dead, before one is resuscitated
This experience leads one to orient towards spirituality, to make sense of what one has encountered. This leads some individuals to engage in a serious spiritual quest. For some individuals who have had this experience, material desires and suffering taking a back seat to the desire to know more about this portal to a transcendent reality that they have opened and passed through. In Mudrashram®, we call this the Neophyte stage of spirituality.
- Aspiration – One begins to seek to know one’s true nature, and how one might develop one’s spiritual potentials. This takes the form of studying many spiritual systems and getting initiated into several spiritual traditions. We call this in Mudrashram®, the Aspirant stage of spirituality. Several characteristics mark this stage:
- Studies, reads books, listens to lectures and audios, watches videos on the Internet to learn about spirituality
- Asks many questions: gets many confusing and conflicting answers
- May begin to express the Soul’s abilities in science and art, and as psychic gifts
- May begin to commune with one’s Soul to gain understanding or may get answers from spiritual guides
- Re-evaluates one’s beliefs and values; reviews the information one was taught to align with the Soul’s inner truth (dharma)
- Gets clear on one’s intrinsic and extrinsic Soul Purpose; one seeks a Master to help one actualize this Purpose—one identifies a resonant spiritual Path—instead of selecting random Paths, based on the promises of spiritual teachers, with no clear understanding whether this Path is appropriate or not
- Discipleship – one realizes a spiritual essence as one’s true nature, and begins to operate from this level. The disciple develops:
- Dedication and discipline
- Perseverance on the face of adversity
- The practice of regular meditation and transformation techniques regularly (sadhana)
- Humility and a willingness to learn
- The capacity to love unconditionally and feel compassion
- The capacity to engage in selfless service
- Mastery – One completes spiritual development on one’s chosen track and enters the Presence of the Divine. The Divine anoints the Initiate:
- To send the Light to awaken the spirit, a nucleus of identity, an ensouling entity, or the attentional principle (Awakener)
- To act as guide to the attentional principle or spirit on the inner Planes (Guide)
- To convey the teachings of one’s Path (Teacher)
- To counsel aspirants and disciples to give them practical and moral guidance (Counselor)
- To assist aspirants and disciples work with personal issues, and hindrances and obstacles to spiritual development (Therapist or Healer)
- To inspire aspirants and disciples to make the next step in their spiritual studies and to progress on their Path (Coach)
- To send the Light of Grace, Love, Wisdom, and healing through attunement to support students in times of adversity (Minister)
People have to pass through the portal of an initial mystic experience to awaken to their deeper spiritual nature. If they do not close that door out of fear, they may progress to the Aspirant, Disciple, and Initiate stages of spirituality.