I started running a few years ago. I hated it. My first run was a mile. Horrible! But I kept it up. Now, a few years later, I can call myself a runner. I used to be in a state of running a few times a week. Now, I’m in a stage where I can legitimately call myself a runner.
I moved from a state to a stage.
It’s the same thing with our spirituality. Ken Wilbur has studied and articulated this idea in his books on spirituality and mysticism. It’s one thing to experience a mystical state. It’s another to persevere in practice until this state morphs into a permanent mystical stage.
This is why Merton challenged Aldous Huxley’s fascination with hallucinogenic drugs to achieve mystical states. These mystical states, though valuable, aren’t permanent. They aren’t the normal daily life of the person. It is necessary through practice to press through until it becomes integrated with who we are. Even though a few people like Huxley, Carl Sagan (well, not drugs but cannabis) and even Steve Jobs saw the world differently because of their experiments, it is best to grow into these stages natively, organically and naturally.
Have you had mystical experiences? Have you entered mystical states or had mystical insight into reality? Good! Now press in to those until they sew themselves in to the fabric of your being and you enter this stage permanently.