With this test, you can find out where you are on your journey to awakening and what your next step is. Like any journey, it is always good to know where you are and which direction to take.

Please answer the questions from your everyday experience right now.  Do not refer to insights you had earlier in your life, when they are not your everyday experience.

You’ll find the results at the end.  The lowest number that resonates with your experience is your next step.


  1. It is clear for me that I think and can choose to think differently if my thoughts are, for example, criticizing myself all the time. I decide and control what I want to do and exert my free will. I am responsible for what I do. My feelings belong to me, just as my body.
  2. I become angry or frustrated when things don’t go the way I want them to. Through my reactions, I can change situations and how other people act.  I can’t live without chocolate, going online, smoking… (insert your favourite little addiction).
  3. I am seeing the world from a viewpoint within me, to where all the information that enters my senses is funnelled. What I see is clearly separated from me and from each other. I am separate from everything else.
  4. I am perceiving a world outside of me which exists in time and space. It is mirrored in my perception. This world is always there, whether I experience it or not, for example, when I sleep.  I experience a body and the world looks 3-dimensional and is made from matter.
  5. There is a deep knowing that ‘I am’ or ‘I exist’.   Or ‘I am awareness’. Or ‘I am consciousness’.
  6. I feel very restless, as if I’m looking for something but I don’t know what. It is so uncomfortable that I can’t rely on anything, not know what is coming and, don’t always feel good. I don’t want that.
  7. I feel quiet but not yet finished with my spiritual journey. Something is still missing. I haven’t seen the truth yet.


Which lowest number describes your experience?  The numbers above will most likely resonate as well.


Here are the erroneous beliefs that have to be seen through in the next step on your journey to awakening:

  1. Your next step would be to see through the self-illusion, the idea that YOU are behind the wheel of your life. It is the most outer layer of beliefs (Fetter 1, which falls together with the fetters 2 and 3)
  2. The belief here is that there are forces inside yourself called “desire and aversion” which make you react emotionally to situations to feel better, continuously pushing and pulling at experience. This is the second layer of beliefs that need to be seen through.  Looking for what makes you react is your next step. (Fetters 4 and 5)
  3. Reactivity lies behind you, you respond to whatever happens without emotional charge.  You think that a subject is in the center of experience that is separated from everything else. The belief in a subject that is separate from the objects of experience would be the next step, the third layer of beliefs. Explore whether the subject actually exists. (Fetter 6)
  4. You believe that you have the faculty of perception which mirrors an outside world that exists outside and independently of you. The faculty of perception is the forth layer of beliefs that are in the way of awakening. Find out whether this faculty actually exists. (Fetter 7)
  5. The taste, scent-like, or familiar feeling of ‘I exist’, ‘I am’ in any form is the fifth layer of ideas that prove not to be true. The next step would be to explore the sense of I am and find out whether you exist in any way. (Fetter 8)
  6. The restlessness is looking for something safe to stand on, to hold onto, something to rely on and feel good. This is the last but one layer that covers up the awakened state.  Explore whether there is such a thing as substance or something safe to stand on. Can permanence or reliability actually be found? Is it true that you could and should always feel good? This is the only step in which no noticeable shift happens. The restlessness simply calms down. (Fetter 9)
  7. When the restlessness has calmed down, find out what has not been known.  Seeing it will bring you full liberation and peace. All suffering ends here. (Fetter 10)


Did you find out where you are on your spiritual journey? Write it in the comments.

Image by mario egartner auf Pixabay

Comments 11

  1. Well, I recognise 5 as established but 6 and 7 are both resonant in a coming and going kind of way.

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  2. I recognize steps 6-7 as my most familiar state now. Though I do occasionally react with some emotion (2), especially to injustice or unfairness, it passes quickly. I don’t feel like I’m actively “seeking” anymore, but I can’t claim total freedom and equanimity.

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      Hi Jamie,

      well done! As long as reactivity can still arise, the fetters 4 and 5 are not done with. Return to the inquiry. This might have to be done over and over again, it’s a very durable illusion that something makes us react.

      Before the reactivity ceases, it is not possible to see reality for what it is, because each reaction confirms that there is a world outside of yourself and separate from you, that you can push away or pull closer.


  3. Experientially I am still have not moved past fetter one, although I fully comprehend intellectually that I am not a separate self.

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      Hi Joe,

      mostly residing in 6 is rather good! Just be aware not to build your house there As long as there is any sense of “I am” or “I exist”, there are still some steps to take.


  4. Intellectually I passed the test with perfect score because I’m always reading nonduality books and I can talk the talk. But in truth I failed the test- I try to control reality, I see thoughts as mine, I feel myself inside a body which I constantly fret over……is there any hope for me?

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      Hi Steven,
      I’d say, there is a lot of hope for you. Why? Because the honesty that you express in your comment is one of the most important assets to awakening.

      To realize for yourself what you know theoretically, simply start with the first step, seeing through the idea that there is an entity called ‘me’ inside the body that thinks, experiences, and has control. If you’d like some help, I suggest to go to http://www.liberationunleashed.com. They are specialized on the first step, I started there as well.


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