The following paragraph is from one of my favorite books.
“...spiritual growth is learning to make your life work in every area, from your relationships to your career, as you put your spiritual light into everything you do, bring awareness and love to all your activities, and turn every experience into an opportunity for growth, you are being your higher self.”
Years ago I hadn't yet learned how much action, the steps, that growth takes. I didn't know that it takes work, awareness, looking at me and my patterns, habits, and experiences. Instead, I was mostly just a sponge, watching others, and studying to be more like them.
I thought I only had to soak up information from reading, attending classes/workshops, and listening to spiritual leaders and then I'd have awesome mystical experiences that would knock my socks off, and result in a deeper experience of life and myself.
But that's not how it works.
And yet I persisted in looking anywhere but at myself. I watched people who not so much walk but seemed to float into rooms. You know the ones that speak as if they're right out of a Kripalu course catalog? My focus was on them not me. I assumed these beautiful ethereal individuals must have deeply meaningful lives and feelings of well-being and I wanted that because, back then, I so didn't have that.
As I watched them I wondered, where did they learn to speak the flowery way they did? Their yoga poses were perfection, and their outward appearances exuded the epitome of calm, peace, and hipness. Frankly, they annoyed the s_ _t out of me.
At some point, I tired of it all. The spiritual growth workshops, the best selling books, the advice and philosophy from various leaders throughout the world. It was all well-intended and full of helpful often heartfelt information but no longer attractive to me. I was on to something deeper, more direct, more truthful to me.
True growth and positive change, lasting longer than a few hours, would have to come from looking at myself and growing from there. As someone I trusted once pointed out to me, "...the big learning you came here for".
Sometimes I still need reminders to stand in my own power and stop comparing.
The reminder came from a meeting with a new acquaintance. Simple. So how was it that I went home to have lunch with my husband and started to cry into my salad? My confused husband gently asking how can you meet someone for an hour and come home crying? That made me laugh and now I was laughing+crying+eating.
What had bugged me about the meeting was the more she shared her amazing dramatic mystical experiences, the more I started to feel unterrific, uninteresting, unspecial, ungood, as I fell right back into comparison mode.
A few days later when I saw that meeting more clearly, I remembered that she had also shared details about her everyday life. And I got it. Her life was nothing like her mystical experiences and she wasn't doing so well. But I couldn't see that because I was too busy not measuring up to her cool stories.
She would have benefited more from my compassion rather than my envy of her mystical experiences. And I would have benefited from seeing her more clearly and realizing we're all in this together.
Do you ever bring yourself or anyone else up short, based on a lot of nothing? Perhaps it's about the size of one's office, or the title they have, or recognition they've received, or vacation they're taking. Comparing ourselves to others, it's not great right? All day long we have opportunities to compare but those are the same opportunities to see non-comparatively and stay in our own power.
Cool stories or not, what matters the most to me is how I experience my life, and how good it feels. That's the "more" to my story because that's what's more important to me.