The Path of Personal Mastery: Week Six

Hi everyone!

We had an exciting class this past week, and we talked about an important subject, which is life’s inevitable struggles and difficulties and how to perceive them from a spiritual perspective.

 

Week 6: The Bumpy Path of Growth

 

I. INTRODUCTION

 

Tonight we look at our expectations of the “spiritual path,” including what it means, and how we can respond, when life is difficult. How do we retain that sense of intuitive connection and meaning when things don’t go the way we think they should, or when we or others are in pain or struggling?

 

Tonight’s questions:

 

  • What expectations do we have of life?
  • How can we understand life’s difficulties through a spiritual lens?
  • What meaning or purpose is there, if any, behind suffering and “failure”?
  • How can we experience less suffering and more happiness?

 

Our focus tonight goes back to our first class about “success” and redefining what life is actually FOR. (Not achievement, not “fulfillment,” not happiness or control.)

 

 

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II. HANDOUT

 

The Guides say:

 

Life does not exist for our pleasure, but for our growth, for our healing and for the healing of our planet.

 

That part of your life in which you are struggling is the place where your soul has decided to focus its efforts on behalf of your growth.

 

The goal of life is not to feel less pain. It is to feel, period. It is to allow life to work on you as only life can.

 

It is those who avoid pain who do the most damage to themselves and others in their refusal to grow.

 

Be with your life, and be in your life, with all its ups and downs, and know it as “right.” Know it as yours, know it is exactly where you need to be.

 

Trust the circumstances of your life as the path that will take you, over time and without fail, to the place you need to go as a soul. That is assured.

 

 

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Life cracks us into unrecognizable shards of former incarnations. Slivers of our hurt and our pain and our shame nestle next to fragments of our truth, our divinity, our fierce reclamation of power. It is this very brokenness that allows us to knit together, kaleidoscope style. And we spin and shift and turn to the light until we appear brilliant, lit from within. Suddenly we are revealed; unexpected beauty born directly from brokenness. We have to be willing to break in order to become.

—Jeanette LeBlanc

 

 

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The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

—Rumi

 

 

 

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III. MEDITATION: Getting a higher perspective on ourselves

 

In this exercise, we’re going to practice elevating our vantage point in order to see ourselves and our lives from a higher perspective. Here’s an audio file of the meditation (a slight variation on what we did in class, but the same general idea):

 

Here’s a transcript if you prefer:

First, let’s check in with our human selves. Notice any physical sensations, notice how you feel in your body. Next, scan your mind, noticing any thoughts you might be having. Where is your head at? Now move to your heart. What feelings are you aware of? Think about or picture anything that is on your mind or weighing on your heart. Is anything causing you discomfort or unease in your life right now? Are there people or situations that are challenging for you right now? Allow them to enter your awareness, and notice how you feel.

 

Now, I’m going to ask you to move your focus outside/above your physical self. Come into alignment as your Higher Self, or your witnessing self. Look down at this human being that is you. Look at her the way a mother looks at her beloved child. See her through the eyes of knowing, and compassion, and love, and also with detachment. Note how she’s absorbed with her physical body, her thoughts, her feelings, her worries, her challenges. Send love and gratitude to her for the hard work of being a human being. See if there’s anything you want to communicate to the small self from this vantage point.

 

 

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IV. ACTIVITY: REFRAMING CHALLENGES AS GROWTH EXPERIENCES

 

As the Guides said:

 

Trust the circumstances of your life as the path that will take you, over time and without fail, to the place you need to go as a soul. That is assured.

 

This means that there is always a point and a purpose to the difficulties that we encounter. We are going to explore that idea by looking more closely at difficult experiences in our own lives.

 

We went through the following exercise, using this handout:

REFRAMING CHALLENGES handout

 

 

 

 

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V: “What’s your major?”—THE CORE CHALLENGE

We talked about the idea of a “core challenge” or central struggle area that shows up in our lives.

 

The Guides say:

 

That part of your life in which you are struggling, that is your “major,” if you will.

That is the place where your soul has decided to focus its efforts on behalf of your personality and on behalf of your growth.

 

Does that mean something is “wrong with you?” Because you struggle, because there is a part of your life you can’t seem to “fix” or figure out no matter how hard you try? Absolutely not.

 

It means you are learning. It means you are ready to learn, you are worthy of learning, of proceeding, through your trials, to the next level, to a place where you will eventually struggle less with this particular thing.

 

 

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Identifying our “major” or core challenge can help us develop greater compassion for ourselves, knowing that we have chosen to take on a significant challenge over lifetimes in order to transform it. It helps us know that “nothing’s wrong” and that we’re doing important work. These can be themes that run through an entire incarnational cycle. We may be born into a particular family or choose particular circumstances to bring this theme to the fore in our lives.

 

Some familiar “majors,” or areas of consistent struggle/challenge might be:

  • Relationships
  • Money
  • Work/career
  • Body issues/health
  • Identity
  • Self-worth

 

NOTE: This is easier sometimes to see in others than ourselves. However, it can help us be more understanding/less judgmental of other people, including our kids, knowing they have chosen a “major,” a core struggle, too, that it is “the work of lifetimes,” and that they are doing the best they can.

 

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VI. CLOSING

 

 I read this poem at the end of class:

 

THE WELL OF GRIEF

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,

turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,
the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.

—David Whyte

River Flow: New & Selected Poems
Many Rivers Press

 

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Next week: The Role of Relationships