The Spiritual Unfolding Process
by Thomas Eldridge
We can move the entire mountain one piece at a time. - Chinese proverb
Spiritual unfolding is a process of discovering who we are at our very core -- our essence. It is a process of learning what it is that our soul resonates with. Spiritual unfolding takes place over an entire lifetime and usually does not proceed at a fixed rate. There may be periods in our lifetime of strong unfolding when our personal self-interest is very high. These are times that we may shift away from paying much attention to other people, as we become vitally interested in our own development.
If we are already living what would be considered a comfortable lifestyle, in a material sense at least, we may wish to make certain changes in our living arrangements. We might move into a less financially draining living space, or take a much less demanding job to save our energy during this undertaking of personal growth. Other people may view what we are doing as self-indulgence or shirking responsibility, but somehow we know that if we wait any longer to become fully alive, something vital within us will slowly die. Our work is to be a true and real human adult - to experience ourselves fully at all levels, from the physical to the most spiritual. It is this true and real human adult that we need to be in order to help others and our world.
During this spiritual unfolding process our values may change, our old lifestyle may no longer support us, and usually our relationships significantly transform. People we have known for a long time now seem difficult to be around. New people, whom we never even noticed before, become meaningful for us in unexpected ways. As we gain new insights into ourselves, we find new purpose in life. People may generally be more interesting to us, or the planet may seem to hold more possibilities. Our psychic discernment may change as our physical tastes evolve. Eating healthier, simpler foods may lead to more compassion for the earth and all its various life forms. Exploring our evolving spiritual refinement with sensitivity can lead us to the sacredness of ourselves.
When we honor the sacredness of ourselves we may genuinely allow ourselves to freely be who we are. We cannot bear the insecurity any longer of living with a false persona. We cannot play the expected roles anymore. Maintaining our former defensive habits becomes impossible. Slowly over the years our outer behaviors and experiences become similar to what we are actually feeling inside. Only foods that truly sustain us are appealing. Exercise is enjoyed and eagerly anticipated. We participate energetically in activities that support our values. As we become healthier our body becomes more immune to infections and illnesses. Simultaneously as our psychology becomes more grounded and secure, we become resistant to poisonous emotions and destructive thoughts, both within ourselves and from other people.
Everyone has a limit to their capacity to fully integrate new awareness and insights at any one particular time. Even after we have been working on ourselves for some years, we may have the experience of an illness or a difficult emotional situation suddenly thrust into our life. To fall ill after successfully managing our lifestyle, for what seems like a long time, comes as a shock. But like the common cold, it is most likely just a signal to slow down because it is now a time for quiet assimilation.
As Native American Indians say, it is a time to be in the North -- the place of accumulating wisdom. It is a time for more awareness and information about ourselves to be integrated into our consciousness. This new awareness may become more refined and subtle over the years, but it nevertheless contributes significantly to our completeness. The only limit to our fine-tuning of our life is the final adaptive limit, reached at our death, when we can no longer grow into anything more in this lifetime.
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