The Nine Steps of the Path of the Heart

The classic 11-ring labyrinth

The labyrinth of the Chartres Cathedral is a graphical representation of the spiritual path.
Photo by Steve Snodgrass

IAM Heart exists in order to help students progress on the path of the heart, the path of illumination. We have many different programs to help people understand what is the heart, what is illumination, what does it mean to make progress on the spiritual path, and how the path of the heart differs from other spiritual paths.

We offer seminars, online courses, mentoring, retreats, and a two-year University of the Heart, all of which are designed to help students understand and uncover their inner potential towards illumination, the goal of human development and the longing of every heart.

Illumination means manifesting in your body, mind, personality, and behavior the pure qualities of Love, Harmony, and Beauty, exploring the potentials of all Being, and accomplishing the purpose for which you were created, becoming a fully-realized version of yourself.

In walking the spiritual path, one takes a step left, right, left, right: the left step in wisdom, the right step in power; the left step is in receptivity and the right step in expressivity.

  • Each step in wisdom is a greater realization of the nature of reality and the identity of the self.
  • Each step in power is greater health, influence and accomplishment.

Together the steps of the path develop the human character so that one can be of greater service.

The steps of wisdom are shown by gratefulness for the past, appreciation for the present, and intuition about the future. The steps in power are shown by confidence, joy, and fearlessness. Together, wisdom and power give peace and purpose.

The book Follow Your Heart, by Puran and Susanna Bair, gives a detailed description of the spiritual path in nine steps; their book Energize Your Heart in Four Dimensions gives a description of the power of the heart and practices for developing that power.

The nine stations of the labyrinth

Above are the nine stations of the spiritual path encoded in the labyrinth, as described in detail in Follow Your Heart. (The stations are being published here on the internet for the first time.)

The key to understanding the labyrinth is to recognize that it has four quadrants with different meanings. One begins the path on the left side, representing the mind; one doesn't cross over to the right side, representing the heart, until the transition from step 3 to step 4. Then there many crossings as the heart and mind find harmony and integration. The last steps, beginning with the transition out of step 7, and ending with the entrance to the goal at the end of step 9, are entirely on the right side. First develop the mind, then develop the heart.

The top and bottom quadrants have the meaning of advance and surrender. The path begins from the bottom, as one takes the risk to commit oneself to the boundaries of a path. The sixth step is the greatest surrender -- the dark night of the soul. The seventh step is the greatest advance -- enlightenment! The two are connected by a simple path segment: after the real surrender, enlightenment is simply waking up; the hard work has been done.

The labyrinth is a symbolic description of the spiritual path, and IAMheart offers a seeker specific practices and guidance for each step.

Learn more about the resources we offer to help you make progress toward heart-centered illumination by clicking here.