The following will be just my own observation on what could be experienced as “stages of spiritual development.”
The first stage is the acknowledgement of duality. Good exists. Good is Godly. Evil exists. Evil is Satanic. It is Maya, (illusion) it is against that which is good.
Therefore, the need to “do” good and destroy evil. The fight is against evil.
From this recognition, the “outer” experience will be about “changing the world.” The need to moralize the world out of evil.
Politics, philosophies, social structures, economic policies thrive in the recognition of that which is evil, bad, negative and their whole idea is to change that into Godly, positive, pure, etc.
The means to reach to this “goal” of change will vary. That is, through force, through fear, through discipline, through laws. It is about “doing,” that is, making things happen. The means could justify the end.
The above is ingrained and exploited by our society. We have the heroes and the villains. We have the workers of light and the ones from darkness. Laws are “black or white,” commandments are in place and the intellect has material to learn and understand how to live life “by the book.” Spirituality turns into an intellectual endeavor. Nevertheless, this way of seeing the world will create will power in the individual to adhere to laws and commandments.
The above understanding is useful to create religions and fanaticism as well.
Typically, this first stage of awareness of change deals with the outside world, “others.” However, it could be used for the “inner” experience as well.
I am a sinner. I am guilty. I must destroy the vices in me. Here the personality is divided into the “good” tendencies and the “bad” tendencies. Fanaticism in this search for “inner” evil, could lead into mental issues such as complexes. Many “saints,” are in this category of development.
In the second stage, there is a realization that any belief system about “good” or “evil” does not reflect the reality of good needing evil to exist. There wouldn’t be “good” unless there was evil. The mother of those 2 kids, is the same. Duality is recognized as a source of separation. Therefore, the outer world, will be just a reflection of the inner world; for whatever I perceive is nothing but a reflection of what I hold inside. This is the stage when beliefs are no longer needed, for the reality of being is for the first time experienced. As “I am” so I will “do.” Here the mental game of the duality of good and evil is acknowledged by experiencing the craziness of fragmenting the personality into “good and bad.”
This stage will deal with mental issues. It will deal with discovering the mind and its intricacies. Beliefs are no longer needed when the truth of the self is realized. The intellectual mind, thirsty for information, is left aside. Gains happen through “losing things,” by getting rid of things such as complexes, ideas, beliefs and previous learned behaviors. The heart and the expression of it through communication (Throat chakra) will develop at this stage.
In the third stage, all dualities are left aside. The method of using duality, which was used in the first stage, is completely gone. Acceptance to all, without labeling becomes the practice. Being “good” happens automatically by being wholesome, by seeing unity rather than division, by discovering the manifestations of the inner source of happiness; by being acquainted with silence, stability, serenity, calmness, elegance, and harmony through personal experience.
The third eye and the 7th chakra will play an important role here. Wisdom could emerge.
The above is not a “recipe,” it is just a description of something which does not have stages nor limits and that could be experienced in a totally different way by someone walking the path of the spiritual walker.