I believe this was a book from the early 80s. A group of people worked to transcend through circles or levels of consciousness (I think 10 of them?) and it was part of at least a two-book series.
The group was small. Less than 20 people. My memory is fuzzy on the details but I know I read it sometime between 1986 and 1988. The goal was to get to an ultimate level and that was where the second book started.