Blog #43: Progressive Spiritual Growth

  The “saint” is a person who radiates the reality of God. Although acutely aware that they are just an “earthen vessel”, it is apparent to all who have eyes to see that this person is in touch with something greater than themselves. Like a stained glass window that only comes “alive” when the sunlight shines through, this person is not the message, but is the medium for the message.
  Getting to this point does not happen overnight. Step by step, the person who is a filter for the divine has had to unmask many false idols along the way. This is why “saints” never takes themselves too seriously. Each “saint” has made many mistakes along the way, gradually realizing that their false steps were not evil, just incomplete.
  There is a kind of order to our lessons. We first of all learn that food or material comforts are not the highest to which we humans can aspire. We then come to terms with the fact that “it is not about how much money we have.” Do we not all know individuals who are very wealthy but who are very much unhappy? As we continue to look at these various lessons, no doubt you will remember mistakes that you have made along the way. You may also recognize friends and loved ones who appear to be stuck at a given level. Remember, every step towards maturity is necessarily immature. Never judge anyone. Love each person as they struggle along, often having to learn the hard way.
  A peculiar truth is that, when we are at a certain place in life, we are convinced that this is what we are looking for. In fact, we may rationalize and deny other realities as illusions, because we are afraid of the implications. What if the “saints” are right? Does this mean that we may have to “die” to the previous level? Yes, but we are not called to reject the inadequate levels, but to keep expanding to greater levels of whom we are.
  Mother Nature helps us along the way, especially if we are fortunate enough to “fall in love.” This powerful experience, much stronger than the ego, gives us a sense of feeling connected to someone greater than ourselves. The boundaries of the skin encapsulated ego are collapsed. We now see our identity as part of a couple. This sense of belonging to something greater than oneself may then be further refined as identification with the goals of one’s society or church or political party. Such a person becomes the good citizen, the heroic soldier, or the pillar of one’s church community. This individual, while not a “saint”, is a far cry from the self-centered materialist.
  If the person continues to grow, they may then become a “citizen philosopher.” Such an individual now feels the weight of belonging to a global community. No longer just the “good soldier”, this person identifies with the planet and the universe.
  The next stage of growth takes on in on an apparently different journey, the journey of self exploration. No longer just a “cosmonaut”, one becomes a “psychonaut.” We gradually come to know ourselves and to accept ourselves. We may even think that we have come full circle and have found ourselves and have made peace with ourselves. There is, however, one more hurdle in becoming a “saint.” Having found ourselves, we now feel the invitation to “give ourselves away” to something greater than ourselves. We now realize that the supreme form of self-actualization is a kind of self-forgetfulness.
  The enlightened person, the person who has finally awoken, the “saint”, now sees everything as holy. Material goods, sex, power, belongingness…the whole earthly endeavor is seen as being ultimately “sacramental” because we live in a holy universe, charged with the grandeur of “God”!
Next posting: The Wisdom of Oz
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