Are You In Spiritual Kindergarten?

Excerpt from Chapter 1 - Overview

Spiritually, are you in graduate school or in kindergarten? Are you holding yourself back from manifesting your true soul age? I offer three useful tools to help you evaluate your spiritual progress/advancement. (If the idea of measurement is offensive to you, then I suggest you add spiritual measurement to your I-am-bothered-by-list mentioned earlier.)

No, I don't believe there is some judgmental god up there ready to punish us all. What makes logical sense and is the happiest belief, in my experience, is that your soul has a curriculum here on Earth School for this incarnation. While the soul's curriculum is relatively flexible, there are certain issues that your soul would really like for you to master this time around. These valuable difficult pieces of learning show up repeatedly until you learn what you need to learn. So how are you doing? How can you measure this? I suggest three different ways of measurement. These three ways include physical measurements of body tension, looking at "I-Wants," and examination of the face.

1. Bodily Measurements of Tension. Those who have the least amount of body tension are actually demonstrating peacefulness and calmness inside rather than just mouthing words like "inner peace" or "the way of the heart." Therefore, comparing your blood pressure, heart rate and fingertip temperature with people who have little tension will be an excellent indicator of how well your spiritual and psychological beliefs provide you with inner peacefulness. It is reported that such physical measurements on some of the more famous Indian gurus do reveal their inner peacefulness. Is your favorite guru or teacher peaceful inside? Have you measured yourself or your friends?

2. Your I-Wants Reveal Your Spiritual Stage Of Development. In his classic book, The World's Religions, Huston Smith describes how a Hindu sage might evaluate all of us in terms of what we want (e.g., what we pursue and/or what gives us satisfaction). Smith describes four stages of development. If we cling to any of the first three stages, we will not be able to manifest the fourth stage to any significant degree. Those clinging to Stage I want pleasures. Those in Stage II want success (money, fame and/or power). Those in Stage III want to do service. When attachments to the first three stages no longer give us much satisfaction, then we are ready to start entering Stage IV, the stage where we want true freedom. This is not freedom to follow one's neurotic ego, but a freedom and ability to surrender to higher wisdom (i.e., the freedom to drop the neurotic ego). Few people ever get much involved with Stage IV.

3. How Wide Open Is Your Face? Perhaps you have noticed the wide-open smile of a happy two-year-old; her smile is very different from that of most adult smiles. Most adults have an accumulation of life tension that never leaves their faces. It is socially-correct not to notice this tension. Nor do most of us want to acknowledge the fact that our own faces lack peacefulness. As a therapist, I have noted that many clients' facial structures change dramatically when they have reached deeper truths. In those circumstances, they show that wide-open smile missing since their childhoods. It is not childish. While this has usually been a temporary change for my clients, my personal goal (which I suggest as a possibility for you) is to show a wide-open face about as often as a healthy, happy two-year-old does.

I shall discuss each of the above three evaluative tools in more detail in Chapter 2.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze

 

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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Without goals, or with inappropriate goals, we often founder or flounder. I have seen a number of clients for whom goals initially are non-existent or impossible. They suffer as a result because of lack of direction."