There are basically two stages to be gone through before the struggling disciple rises above body consciousness and begins to enjoy the Spiritual Disciplines and to firmly tread the Path of Spirituality.
The first stage is where the disciple has little or no knowledge of self-introspection and is in a state of abysmal ignorance.
The second stage is when the disciple begins to realise that he has innumerable faults and failings which must be corrected before he can hope to rise above body consciousness; at which state this Path really begins.
This second stage, which is for most a long drawn-out struggle with the lower tendencies of the mind, is known as man making. Spirituality, or rising from the lower realms of existence to higher realms of untold bliss and harmony is not difficult. It is the man making which is difficult.
There is no specific time limit for this second stage. It all depends on the disciple’s aptitude for self-discipline, obedience to the commandments of the Master, and developing a Love for Him.
It is the self-assertive ego which is the last obstacle to be conquered, and this cannot be done until the soul begins to come into its own, has some glimmerings of its True Nature, which has the result of developing in the disciple a natural humility. This is not to be confused with an attitude of servility, mind you. True Humility has strength, but is nevertheless not self-assertive.
Although the Gracious Master-Power is ever at hand to help the disciple in this struggle, it is something which the disciple must go through himself. Nobody else can do this for him. You have been put on the way and have been given some capital to start with, which still exists with you.
A seed has been planted in you which one day must surely fructify and you have as your constant companion the Master in His subtle form of Light and Sound. He is also quite capable of manifesting to you His charming Radiant Form when you have learnt to rise above body consciousness. It is not reasonable to expect to attain to the higher planes without first perfecting yourself to a great degree.
As in worldly studies, in which it is not unusual to spend twenty years or more to obtain the necessary qualifications to fit yourself for a career, so even greater is the time and effort that must be put in by the disciple before he can be made a fitting vessel to receive the truths of his own soul and of God.
It is a very odd outlook that some have; to expect self and God-Realisation in a short time and with little labour, while the same people are willing to toil for years to obtain the pot of porridge that is all this world has to offer.1
[…] Proficiency demands persistent and earnest efforts. Time factor is also necessary. Each bit laid for the Spiritual Edifice counts creditably for your Inner Journey. The Light of Life is in you; indeed you live by that very Light whether you realise it or not. Each one of you has had an experience of that Holy Light. Now you must live in constant contact with the Holy Light. It is uncreated and shadowless, eternally the same and peerless. The whole creation came into being by the same Light, and that very Light is shining in every heart.
Spiritual Elixir – Part II,
Chapter II: Meditation,
by Kirpal Singh, 1894–1974
Source: 1) This chapter is an excerpt from the text ‘The Making of Man,’ by Kirpal Singh, 1894–1974, published in Sat Sandesh / February 1971.