The Three Stages of Life

There is one life. However, there are many philosophies and spiritual studies that divide life into many stages. Obviously, we can divide life based on physical stages like a new-born, adolescent, adult and so on. But here I am trying to dissect life, based on the ego or mind, so to speak. I have noticed, we go through three stages in life. Let’s see how in each stage, we cope or are open to life.

The Three Stages of Life

These three stages can happen in one lifetime, or maybe not. However, the day you lose all resistance to the isness of life, that’s when you’ll reach the ultimate state of a human being. 

Stage 1: I Want It All

We are born into this world and is amazed by its people, the love showered on us and all the beauty of nature. Then we start thinking. This programmed device we call mind starts talking to us day after day. We are given a name, a family, friends and so forth. Soon we assert that this is me. Times goes on as it always does.

Then we are intimidated by other human beings and their capabilities. Society tells us to be this, be that. Achieve this, you will be complete. We start running behind ‘becoming something’. That’s when we realize ‘I am not good enough’. If I was talented, I will have added something to me. We start comparing with others. It strikes hard on us that we are not talented as our friend, our neighbor, that film star, that face on the magazine and so forth.

We get depressed by the fact that, life isn’t going the way we wanted it to. For those of us who have tasted success in the early years, those of us who are appreciated and adored, also feel a lack that only that individual know of. I am being appreciated, but that’s not enough, I need more. When life fails to cater to our interests, which is true for everyone on a longer timeline, we feel disheartened.

Stage 2: I AM Unique

“How will I add to my being?”, comes to mind.

Then starts the second stage. ‘I am unique’. I am unlike anyone else. I did not get that favorable remark from that Mr. someone because they failed to recognize my potential. ONE DAY, I will make it and those who said you can’t make it will line up for my autograph, photograph, what not. We will find ways to affirm our superiority over others. For those of us who are recognized, our egos start inflating and confirm the assumption that ‘yes, I am greater than anyone else’. 

Those of us who aren’t recognized yet, confirm their superiority by their UNIQUENESS which makes them stand apart or alone from the crowd of limelight-seekers. This is the stage of the understanding of distinctness that’s misunderstood as superiority.

Stage 3: I Accept Everything 

As life isn’t a smooth road, you go on to bumps and gutters. There comes a point in life when we lose something valuable to us. A position, a place, a loved one, health. Our identity is at loss.

What we thought we are, is no longer there to serve us. If you flip the coin, sometimes it also happens that we gained everything but still feel the incompleteness. The void keeps on burning a hole in our existence. This is when we re-evaluate our priorities.

The things that we thought will complete us, are no longer doing their job. Crushed in the void of nothingness and loss, we search for the meaning of life. The contemplation over a period of time will take us on a journey where we will see clearly that, the important things in life are not to found in stuff. our job or our status or possessions. This is the period when we embark on self-discovery. A journey that leads us into our inner core.

Soon we realize, everything out there is a mere projection of what I am. It was all an inside job, it never was outside. From the thoughts of inferiority to pseudo-superiority, we have reached a stage where we see everyone as equal.

Our search for the truth

We remember the days when we used to be awed by flashy cars, intellectual conversations, beautiful women and what not. Out of the suffering bloomed something that was always a part of us, but we were too busy to notice compassion. Once we realize the equality of humanity, it’s our job to foster compassion. It’s a clear sign, we are progressing as human beings. Once we start seeing everyone as equal, no matter, sinner or saint, we have arrived. It’s the threshold of existence.

We have more to go, dive deep within ourselves to find that, the whole universe is but the projection of our mind. It’s also a time when we feel gratitude towards existence, for giving us a place and system to flourish. Gratitude for those who helped us when our world was shaken, roots tore apart.

Gratitude then flows towards those who hurt us, because, without them, we will still be living in our self-created dilutions. Dilution of grandeur so to speak. We will thank existence for nothing really, for no apparent reason. Because, if there was a reason, it wouldn’t be thankfulness in its truest sense. it’s just a trade, where you get something and you return back something else. If there is anything more to say, it will be that one day, we will bid adieu to this big wide world we called our home.

We came here empty handed and will leave the same way. But this time with lessons that nourished our souls. What will be left behind of us that we call a legacy? Maybe there will be a statue on the corner of the street. But with time, that too will wither away.

So what’s left?

The same point that was there before we were born. Nothingness.

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Rahul Chelat

Rahul is just another human looking for purpose in life. After struggling with it for over 30 years, he finally realized, life is what you make out of it and that it’s always NOW, never tomorrow or the next second. A copywriter by profession and a philosopher by attitude, he is juggling with the worldly pursuits and spiritual pursuits in his daily life, contented with the fact that, we are the universe expressing itself as a human for a little while.

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