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A good posting. This fundamental lesson provides a foundation for understanding the spiritual path being embarked upon from a starting perspective. As there is progress achieved by the spiritual aspirant the understanding changes as the capacity for understanding changes in the personality. Therefore, these fundamental ideals are to be kept in mind with that context. As you have stated, the different levels of aspirant achievement are there as guidelines but not as absolute or hard and fast rules of advancement. This means that since all personalities are not exactly the same, so too the timing and exact means of advancement are not the same. Though there are some general guidelines there are some individual unique aspects of the personal practice that everyone will experience eventually, as progress is made on the spiritual path. Therefore, assessing one’s advancement is at the same time a mechanical as well as artful blend of the triune partnership between aspirant, teaching and teacher, that requires perseverance, patience and caring.