This paper suggests that we make progress towards enlightenment as we learn to master the seven stages of psychological development. The first three stages of development are about the development of the ego. The fourth stage involves aligning the motivations of the ego with the motivations of the soul. The last three stages are about the activation of the soul. We achieve enlightenment to the extent we are able to master every stage of development—the first four stages being a necessary foundation for the upper three stages.
"There is now emerging over the horizon a new conception of human sickness and human health, a psychology that I find so thrilling and so full of wonderful possibilities that I yield to the temptation to present it publicly even before it is checked and confirmed, and before it can be called reliable scientific knowledge." - Abraham Maslow
I think it is important to differentiate between a need and a requirement. I say this because I often say to people that I have no needs, meaning that all my needs are taken care of by my soul before I know I have them. However, the response I usually get is that of course you have needs. Everyone needs oxygen, or they will die. For me, oxygen is a requirement, not a need. Let me explain.
There are two aspects to the Seven Levels Model: the Stages of Psychological Development model and the Levels of Consciousness model. We grow in stages (of psychological development) and we operate at levels (of consciousness).
One of the subtle but more important changes that occur as we move through the seven stages of psychological development is how we make decisions. The predominant mode of decision-making at the survival stage is instincts. At the conforming and differentiating stages we primarily use subconscious beliefs, supplemented by conscious beliefs. When we reach the individuating stage conscious beliefs start to predominate. At the self-actualising stage, we shift to values-based decision-making. Values are supplemented by intuition at the integrating stage, and by inspiration at the serving stage.
This paper places leadership development in the context of the evolution of consciousness from the Big Bang to the present day. It identifies the five characteristics that are at the core of all successful evolution and integrates them into a four-part process for leadership development that supports the continuing evolution of Homo sapiens.