In relation to your Inner Being with the Body/Mind we see spiritual evolution in a lifetime as:
8- God Realization
1- Materialism: Most of the planet is in the first stage: Materialism. Here we place value to all material things such as: Money, Social Class, Education, Friends Circle, Traveling, Entertainment, Physical appearance, Race, Religion, Country of Origin, Material Possessions, Politics, Ideologies, and more. Most of the planet is in this first stage of spiritual evolution. Next post we will talk about the second stage.
2- Religiousness phase is a life compose of both materialism and spirituality. There is a firm belief in one's own religion and its teachings, rituals, books, prophets etc. Religion many times is part of a culture and one is born into it in blindness, yet accepted in faith. Participating in all religious activities is part of life, yet religion becomes a vehicle for most in their minds to improve the materialism in their lives. In Religiousness you want all materialism, yet the aspiration of a promise reward such as: heaven, nirvana or any other paradise adobe, is expected just by being part of religion and following dogma.
3- Awakening - At this stage the individual using his/her common sense, rationality, feeling and intuition, is tired of the dogma and teachings spread by religion. There are so many questions unanswered. Many don't even get to this stage, as they just choose to become agnostic and atheist and get lost forever. Others have this thirst in their minds and hearts for answers that a personal quest to unveil the truth begins. The mind is open and ready for new concepts and ideas and the exploration of other philosophies, religions, metaphysical teachings, paranormal and more become part of the search for truth. The individual has chosen not to be a follower of inherited religion, but and explorer of a deeper meaning about God, life and existence.
4- Seeking is a stage where most spend the rest of their life specially in this new age of the world wide web where there is so much information. Once awaken the individual begin studying and learning from many sources. Dozens of books and seminars become part of that process of seeking. Terms like Enlightenment, Ascension, God Realization, Tao, Higher Self, Multidimensional, Higher Consciousness, Inter-dimensional Beings, Synchronicity, Source, Oneness, Universal Love and much more, become the object of seeking to achieve. When seeking have gone for years these "ideas" become in the "mind" realities that are not truly experience in "consciousness", but believe as realities to the point that even not experience are taken as being lived. It is a stage of self-delusion and a bubble of reality around the individual. Many believe this to the point that some become teachers to others and then it is the blind leading the blind. This stage is too long to describe, it would probably need a book, but we get the idea.
5- Mysticism is a rare gift mostly a reward of many lifetimes of spiritual practice, that allows this spiritual opening to manifest in the individual who has discipline in this life to manifest it. This is the Ascending path of energies or Kundalini going up the chakras, while allowing the person to experience all the correlations with each chakra in relation with the universe, dimensions, and different realities of consciousness, his own inner being and God. It becomes a visionary quest that manifest in deeper levels of communion in Consciousness in alternate perceptions of reality as the ladder of the chakras is explored. In the East it is call Savikalpa Samadhi, which is evolving and in time, discipline and hopefully with the guide of someone who has already traverse the path or a real guru, mystics can experience communion with the Universal Consciousness, the Light of God, True Oneness. In the East it is term Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This temporary experiences begin to shape the mind in consciousness towards permanent and uninterrupted experiences. True Mystics are the ones that bring real information from the higher realms as a first had experience and not just an idea. A complete book should be devoted to this stage, but I hope I was able to give an clear idea.
6- Self-Realization. This is a more evolve spiritual stage than the mystic. To attain Self-Realization you don't have to be a mystic. Mysticism is an Ascending path in consciousness explore in paths such as: Kundalini Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Mystical Kabalah, Tantrayana Buddhism, Egyptian Magic, Krishna Consciousness and others and maybe a couple New Age Teachings. The concept of Self Realization is not taught anywhere in the New Age Metaphysics, as it does belong to the ancient traditions as pass from Master to disciple. Mahayana Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Taoism are the most clear teachings in Realizing the true Self. Here all phenomena of the mind in relation to Consciousness itself is transcendent to Realize the true unconditional bases of our own existence that is Consciousness it self. True non-duality beyond the mystic path is experience 24 hours a day, even during sleep times after Self Realization. The only pit fall of this stage is that can be attain even while still having the focus of the ego-sense. In many cases individuals in this stage become self deluded by their egos in this non-dual experience and begin to claim they are Avatars or incarnations of god. To explain this stage we will need to write not one book but many.
7- Enlightenment. To attain Enlightenment both the Mysticism and Self-Realization stages must have been fully traverse and master. It is not like in the case that the Mysticism and Self-Realization can be exclusive of each other, in the case of Enlightenment both paths are necessary. In the previous stages the mind has not been transcended. In Mysticism the mind has been polish to the point of stillness and absolute silence to explore Consciousness, yet is never transcended as it goes into a kind of trance. In Self-Realization the mind is being Witness by Consciousness and becomes a separate entity in the Self that has been Realized. In Enlightenment the mind is fully Transcended from the point of Awareness of the Self and the ego sense in dissolved into the nothingness that it was created in the first place. This is a much more humble stage as now it is truly Realized that "I am not God" contrary to the Self-Realized stage is lead to believe "I am God", yet that the realization that I am a drop in the Ocean of God manifest. Once the mind and ego is transcended there is a disconnection from Maya or the Matrix. All the previous stages are explored within the realm of Maya or the Matrix. Enlightenment frees our inner beings and mind from its influence. Now in enlightenment there is a realization that God is Real and God can truly be experience in His infinite form as a different reality, yet thru Him real Oneness is Experience. Many books has to be written alone about this stage.
8- God Realization. - After Enlightenment comes God Realization. Just a few beings history have attain this level of awareness. Enlightenment and the previous stages are all an interdependent reaction between your Inner Being who is your Eternal Reality created by God and your Material Body and all Energy Bodies, Chakras, Kundalini, Consciousness, etc. In God Realization you experience All Reality directly from you Inner Being Independent of all temporal bodies and energy structures and even you physical body. Then As you become truly aware as your existence as a Being created by God, and you are able by the Grace of God to Realize the True Nature of God as a Living Personalize Being, who can communion with the Real You " the Inner Being" face to face, just like Jesus and Moses. The Samadhis of Comunion with God in this level are infinite in number in a never Eternal dance and relationship with the true Living God. So, it becomes like a circle as all began leaving the God of Religion, to find that HE is Actually Real, yet is now God is experience and lived beyond all concepts of Religion. A long series of books has to be written to explain this level. After this there is truly Ascencion the final stage.