The five stages of the heart, that is, the full unfolding of the human heart, is described in The Holy Science by Swami Sri Yukteswar. Here you can find universal themes that relate to the individual identifying more and more with the soul in direct communion with All That Is. This brings infinite peace, joy and wisdom.
Each of us goes through these universal stages in a personal individualized way. Reflect on these stages. You can see where you are and where you will be if you want to unfold the full potential of your heart. The knowledge of these stages may help you in your spiritual growth.
THE SEQUENCE OF THE FIVE STAGES OF THE HEART UNFOLDING
THE DARK HEART
At this stage there is no awareness of the purpose of life. At the lowest end, there is evil, i.e. self-centeredness, lack of compassion for others, devious manipulations, even cruelty. But, most at this stage are just unaware of the purpose of life and not seeking it. There is little or no knowledge of anything beyond the material: i.e. money, possessions, the body, sex, reproduction, etc. If there are innate gifts in someone, e.g. clairvoyance, medical intuition, they may be used for personal gain and selfish desires and are not a sign of spiritual evolution. The dark heart has little to no awareness of cosmic law, such as the impact of the law of karma.
We emerge from the dark heart through suffering. It is most often psychological, e.g. depression, substance abuse. This is not an ordinary but a profound suffering, a great trial. The mind becomes sick of delusion. Our suffering forces us to ask existential questions like “Why am I here? What is life really about?”
Once you have gone through this profound suffering you are brought to the propelled stage of the heart. But there are many who will stay in the dark heart for one or more lifetimes.
THE PROPELLED HEART
With the propelled heart we begin our seeking in earnest. We want to know the real nature of the universe. We are on a quest for truth. We read, go to lectures, and talk to others. We say, “not this, not that” as we desperately look for truth. You may find yourself being increasingly discriminating thinking “No more of that.” You may reject jobs and relationships that you have previously been involved in without exactly knowing where this is leading you. But, the heart, if you listen to it, let’s you know what is right for you and what no longer fits. Psychotherapy can help especially if you are making big changes and/or feel lost at times.
The propelled heart is an essential prerequisite to get to the next stage. We must go through this as God, (aka Source, All that Is, Higher Self, Creator, the Universe), will not reveal its secrets unless the soul really wants to know. Deepening in our desire to know may last a short time, a life, or lifetimes until we ask for help from Source itself.
On this intensely propelled quest, most eventually will put out an increasingly urgent soul call, “Source, I need help.” We petition the Creator and we eventually get answers. Anytime we have a desperate need, Source does answer. He/She/It communicates directly to you to let you know, “I am here.” There will be some kind of confirmation through intuition, a dream, synchronicities, and so on. Is one propelled to grow into full communion with All That Is? That is the question that determines the stage of the heart at this point. Here again, one may have gifts such as clairvoyance, or healing abilities, but this does not mean one is elevated spiritually.
So, the sequence goes from crisis—to search—to soul call—to confirmation. Finally, if you persevere, you get a great teacher who is right for you. No matter where you are, that great teacher will find you. He/She has been through the process of many, ideally all of the five stages and can guide you to do the same. Thus Source responds to your soul call. Place your intention on finding the great teacher, i.e. one who is completely devoted to your coming out of darkness. He or she has no self-interest, no egoic need that supersedes that commitment. Keep that in mind.
THE STEADY HEART
If one continues growing, the propelled heart leads to the steady state of the heart. Many fall off the path here, but not forever. Why? Very strong karma—temptations, obstructions and barriers–takes them away. Examples: a need to live in a big, fancy house, or a desire to have many sexual relationships, or being in a marriage in which our partner demands to always be center stage, the controlling partner. We each have our own karmic script as we go through these five universal stages.
If one is fortunate enough to find a qualified master teacher dedicated to our unfolding our full potential, that teacher will make promises to us at the latter part of the propelled stage. He or she will provide us glimpses of Cosmic Consciousness, the most expanded consciousness available to us. We need to respond by committing ourselves to battle maya (ignorance and delusion) and dark forces. There is much learning now as we do this inner work, battling maya…the pull of illusions, our culture’s promotional materials, the seductions of an ego-based life, desires for fame and fortune.
To get from the propelled state to the steady state, you must have loyalty to a qualified, evolved teacher who is dedicated 100% to your evolution as you will have to have his/her help. So you need to promise you will follow and listen. You will need to make changes. That can be challenging. Your most important relationship is with the Source and your qualified teacher who is able to lead you deeper into communion with the Creator. You dedicate and devote yourself to these relationships. You can feel that your teacher is guiding and protecting you. You have faith in that. Your fear and anxiety decrease. You are still motivated by intense yearning but your faith grows supported by your inner knowing that your teacher is guiding you.
Some people will think you are weird because you are responding to a higher call they cannot hear. However, if you stay kind and open, your true friends will rise with you. Your spouse may not be in it with you but there are vital lessons in these committed relationships. If you are patient, kind, and make sacrifices, you will see you are making a very important contribution to those close to you.
Service is awakened as a new motivation as you enter the steady state of the heart. People are drawn to you because you can deeply listen. The infinite compassion of Christ and other great ones is growing in you. Your work in the world including your dedication to family is a life of service. Those who have gifts such as clairvoyance, mediumship, and medical intuition want to dedicate these gifts in service to others at this stage.
Now, you enjoy enlightened faith: a little spiritual experience plus dedication to your qualified teacher. You are not looking to the external world as much to give you satisfaction; instead, you know your deepest fulfillment will come from your internal world, the holy stream of connection to the Divine. Sri Yukteswar referred to this as the “baptized state”.
THE DEVOTED HEART
We are usually so dependent on the outer world. We crave support, love, and understanding from others. This makes environment stronger than will. But, in the devoted state of the heart, we transcend mortal dependencies. We get our needs met inside through the relationship with our master teacher and Source itself. We stay attuned to them. We feel their vibrations. There may be work to do at this stage to let go of our attachments to outer relationships. The love will continue to be present, in fact a more pure love will be there, with no expectations or personal needs. Purification and purgation lead to the necessary letting go. Psychotherapy can be helpful as there is personal inner work that most people need to do to clear the way for the devoted heart. It may involve clearing away the dust of previous trauma, or previous situations where you acted out of a lack of compassion for others.
Particular meditations, prayer and affirmations can help you with the attunement with Source and your chosen teacher. In the stillness of deep meditation you will feel the vibrations in your head and spine. The task is to concentrate on these vibrations with reverence. They grow and expand, giving comfort and joy. Then you will recognize that your teacher and Source are with you. Cosmic Consciousness, ecstasy, is ahead of you, calling you towards it. In the devoted heart, the omnipresent “guru” appears first in meditation and then all of the time. The meaning of the word, guru, is one who is wholey dedicated to the work of dispelling darkness. (Not an ego-driven authority figure who seeks submission or servitude from you for his/her personal gain.) The guru may be alive in body or no longer in body. Paramahansa Yogananda is an example of a guru no longer in body. Some feel the Higher Self is the guru.
THE CLEAN HEART
At this stage the heart is purified. It is a source of light. You are a fearless, loyal, faithful servant. You have become unified with Source itself forever and ever. One great teacher, Daya Ma, past president of the Self Realization Fellowship, described her experience of this: “I have nothing to say or ask Lord, but I love you. That’s how I judge the quality of my meditation.” In this state, the teacher’s work is done. Eventually you become equal to the master teacher as you have succeeded in dispelling the darkness, nothing is left but love. This is the promise.
Swami Sri Yukteswar Encourages Us
Never forget the great goal of life. The illumined sage Shankaracharya said: “Life is always unsafe and unstable, like a drop of water on a lotus leaf. The company of a divine personage, one who has attained the clean heart, even for a moment, can save and redeem us.” Pay attention to the five stages of the heart.
Spiritual advancement is not defined by powers but by the five stages of the heart. Advance through these stages in order to progress.
SWAMI SRI YUKTESWAR originally defined the 5 Stages of the Heart. Brother Satyananda gave a talk on the subject to a large audience interested in Self-realization. His talk was adapted for the IMHU blog by Emma Bragdon so that it can speak to the general public.
The Original talk is published at https://yoganandasite.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/five-stages-of-the-heart-swami-sri-yukteswar-bro-satyananda/
If you are interested in reaching further into stages of the heart take action. Learn about: