Softening around Spiritual Progress


The Divine does not look at the flower that has only partially opened and think that it will be pretty enough to love once it reaches full bloom. That is our view--that we must change and somehow reach our potential before we are worthy of what life has to offer. Many aspirants want to let go of certain habits or emotions like anger, fear, impatience, or procrastination; spirituality is seen as a means of becoming a better person. To want to let go of negativity is to be commended and supported. There is no greater ideal than to work through the negative ego so that you can live authentically and with love for all.


There is also something pernicious about the desire for progress, which requires the old you to be held in judgment as not good enough, of having been surpassed. A linear view of the self can emerge, where you are in constant comparison of how you were yesterday, last year, a decade ago. Attached to the requirement of progress is the possibility that you will stop making progress or, worse yet, you will return to the ways of the old, a form of “backsliding,” that smacks of failure. Progress can become something of a trap, to ensure that you cannot succeed. I have see it many times in spiritual communities. Like the valuation of a company, they start to see themselves only in terms of growth.

The truth of an authentic spiritual path is that it takes you out of the realm of success and failure, of growth or regression. You remain committed to the task of seeing your shadow and opening to love, but there is no linear progression. Spirituality allows you to see each incarnation of the self, in this very moment, as a perfect expression of who you are right now; you no longer need to measure yourself against a hallway of ghosts.


Whether you are a tight bud still waiting to open to the light or a flower in full bloom, see if you can let go of any judgment or reproach that you are not yet who you think you should be. Soften around any sense of grasping for a different, newer, better self. Contemplate the possibility that you might be as lovable now as you would be if you were already the person you imagine yourself becoming.

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