I received a question the other day asking me why the majority of humanity has failed to evolve into happy, joyous, and enlightened lives — like Jesus and Buddha.
I wish joy and enlightenment were easy. But they aren’t. Not for us — neither for Jesus nor Buddha.
Luckily, living in joy is good enough of a thing to make all this hard work worth it.
We are here to expand and grow. Yet, we are divine souls in a human body, which creates our own inner struggle and duality. The part of us that is bonded to the animal kingdom wants to let things be. Be cozy, play safe, and always go with the flow. Excessive energy waste is only for when absolutely crucial for our survival.
Yet, our eternal soul, with a fire burning in our hearts, knows we can go much beyond, on and on.
The soul is filled with willpower. Unfortunately, the more we over-identify ourselves with our earthly-bond being, the hardest it is to access that fire.
We want to grow, to live more joyfully, and free — and yet, it is so cozy and safe not to. It is so easy to stay where we are — despite the repeated patterns, frustrations, and pains. And so we do our best to shut down the inner whisper saying “there’s more to life, there’s more to you”. Gladly, if you are reading this post, I bet you can hear that whisper loud and clear.
Comfort zones are great nests for depression, and depression hates a moving target. Mostly, because comfort zones aren’t our true nature — more on it later.
To grow we need challenges to move us beyond — that’s the only way we get to expand — emotionally, mentally, and energetically. We focus here mostly on spiritual growth, but these points are valid for any type of growth that requires much energy, be it self-improvement, developing emotional maturity, and better relationships.
Buddha & Jesus
The story goes that it took Buddha seven weeks of uninterrupted meditation under the Bodhi tree for enlightenment. That’s right, day and night, outside, under a tree. This after years of pilgrimage looking for his answers. On top of that, he didn’t know it would take him seven weeks under the tree to get anything. It could take longer, or shorter. All he knew is that he had to do it — and he gave all he got, in totality.
This is a story of, above all, willpower.
Let’s not forget, Buddha was a prince living in a castle full of luxuries. His path required him to leave pleasure, power, and wealth behind. If anything, his story tells us of great sacrifices.
How many of us are willing to commit to anything to that level?
It is not about enlightenment only. It is about following dreams, giving our best, and living, in totality. How committed are we?
The story of Jesus is not openly brought up in the bible. In fact, in the bible, he disappears for decades between early life and coming back already in his late 20s to preach. The unofficial gnostic story is that he spent those decades studying hard in mystery schools, diving deep into spirituality before returning home to preach.
These stories are not only about what is possible but about what it took; the willpower of their protagonists. They left everything behind — and they got what they wanted. If they can, so can we. But hear me out:
We don’t grow merely because we want to. Heck, we don’t get anything just because we want it. Otherwise, we would all be rich and happy, not get fat regardless of how much we eat, and have fantastic sex lives.
Wanting something is nothing but the power, the fuel, to act on it. That fuel has to be used for us to get there. We get what we become, what we commit to, and what we channel energy on, day after day. Eventually, if we commit and keep giving all we got, we might get there.
No, in this life nothing is guaranteed. And, despite the fear and uncertainty, we give everything we have.
“I have left a few paltry rupees, a few petty pleasures, for a cosmic empire of endless bliss. How then have I denied myself anything? I know the joy of sharing the treasure. Is that sacrifice? The shortsighted worldly folk are verily the real renunciates! They relinquish an unparalleled divine possession for a poor handful of earthly toys!” Bhaduri Mahasaya
Gotta Love Challenges
Spiritual growth is not the path of least resistance. Quite the opposite.
It is the path of facing fears, outgrowing shame and discomfort, and letting go of identities and attachments. It would be so easy, if only we were not so attached to all these things.
On this path, one has to make herself somewhat comfortable with discomfort. But then, again, that’s necessary for all kinds of growth.
Growing requires a level of discomfort. If you are too comfortable, you are not growing, for you are moving within an area of safety. That discomfort is the challenge to be faced, so you get to grow.
Comfort zones, sweet love, and nice songs can be amazing for a while, but if that’s where we stay, we also cannot grow. It’s like playing an instrument. You have five songs you love playing but if you want to play those three new songs that are kind of harder, you need to practice, make mistakes, have patience, and devote yourself to your commitments.
Quitting a habit or changing a relationship dynamic is the same thing. We need to see what is happening, take a step back, make new connections, and act on them. Make mistakes, adapt, and learn.
So no, we don’t want to get out of bed jumping in excitement to run 10 miles outside, and we probably will not make it the first time. But how we feel accomplished and outgrow ourselves when we do it! How strong we feel, how big we know we are! And so we experience more of our own energy and potential, as we learn to deploy our power.
Being triggered is part of it. Spirituality and spiritual teachers will trigger you so you can keep growing, and letting go of what is blocking you. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t know in what direction to heal and grow.
If spiritual growth was easy and comfortable, then it wouldn’t be much “growth” in it. This is obvious, as we all have gone through it multiple times, for we all have learned so many different things in life. Yet somehow, when we get too much in our heads, when we overthink it, it feels too much. The remedy is to just trust and do it. There we go, do it once, do it twice, do it thrice, we’ve survived, we’ve grown, and it is all good.
Spirituality and Spiritual Growth Are Not the Same Thing
We are all spiritual beings on a journey of growth. Some of us are more aware of it than others, that’s all.
Some avoid all the work, which means it will take them a long time to grow, as they keep hitting their heads on the wall. Others care too much about growth and forget about all the fun.
How we do things, where we do things from matters, for that is the energy giving birth to what we are creating — and that is what we live and experience in life.
We came here to grow and enjoy as much as we can. We can have both, but that doesn’t mean it will be flowers and rainbows, or that we can always have both at the same time. Sometimes doing the laundry is just that: doing the laundry. Nor fun nor boring. Centered.
Unfortunately, spirituality has become a hobby, people are having fun experiences, but never going deep and not having coherence. It is all disconnected. All this shooting everywhere creates an energy mess in their field, so they stay stuck. It creates self-deceit — thinking they are doing the work, when they are actually avoiding it.
Remember, everything is spiritual if you are aware of it — shadows, demons, and everything. Not everything is growth. Fun is good, I love fun too. And sure, sometimes when we are too rigid fun is an amazing teacher! But no, joining so-called conscious, and spiritually-related events don’t necessarily equal growth. It equals fun.
This is partly why guidance is this path is so important. I am forever grateful for having had great teachers in my path from the beginning, and for now being able to guide others in their path. You can learn more about how to work with me here.
Why Grow, Anyway?
Our life is part of a spiritual progression and so yes life will make sure you go on growing. It will also give you many possibilities to react on karma, walk backward and hurt yourself. All possibilities exist, and that’s why it is so easy to stay stuck. Sure we can see lessons everywhere, but we can also be smarter and act a bit less self-destructive. Feel less limited, expand more.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel all the time.
Many people have done this path before, it is not so unknown. Options are plenty. But maybe insist on doing their way — I’ve never seen people wanting to not be taught 2 times 10 is 20 and have it on their own terms, but for spirituality, people seem to be keen on repeating unnecessary mistakes.
Left to its natural pace, it is said the progression should take about 100 million years. A long process, with its ups and downs. Maybe you don’t even believe in this, so why bother?
The idea behind dedicating ourselves more to growth is to leap forward, so we can free ourselves from all current and repeated suffering, illusion, and blockages. The result of more connection, more joy, and more of who we truly are unfolding. Liberation, at last!
Not everyone is aware of their cages, so no reason to bother. Others are fast to realize the new cages they got themselves into as soon as they free themselves from one. And sure, some people might be already outside of any cage.
Every soul is on a different part of their path. Some are quiet, others are whispering, and others are shouting to be free.
So no, you don’t have to consciously work on your spiritual progression, because somehow you (probably) are still going to get there —even if it takes you extra millions of years.
Letting go of attachments and fears isn’t easy. But how free and spacious we feel after we drop each new illusion. Every time we let go of another thing that was blocking us, a little bit more of us gets to be free and shine through. Lighter.
Of course, it depends on how much you want to grow. Not everyone is aiming at enlightenment, and there’s no problem with that.
If your intention is not very clear, but you have been feeling limited, trapped, and suffering, this is a beautiful starting point: longing to heal, to feel better. As you go on this journey, you will become aware on your own of what is going on — and that there are no limits to how much joy you can have and how much you can expand.
It is not a quick journey, and patience and self-love are key.
Self-love is the reason why we go on this journey in the first place. To be more of ourselves, to stop holding ourselves back, to be more connected, more liberated.
The Human Condition
There’s only expansion, or contraction. There is no staying where we are. It might look like it, we might tell ourselves we can just stay there and enjoy, but if we look closely we will see — we are either growing or regressing.
Everything moves. As the universe expands and humanity evolves, if you stay where you are, you are by default contracting in relation to everything else.
Signing up for spiritual growth, or any accelerated growth for that matter is going against our so-called human condition.
What nature is that? The nature of being a satisficer, not doing more than needed, saving energy as much as possible. We don’t like work. We do what we have to, to survive. Like a cheetah in the savanna.
That’s the nature of our animal side. Except we are also divine souls, habiting this body — and the soul’s nature is growth, but growth is work, which our other half is not crazy about.
The result is we resist our own soul and its nature.
Staying too much in our comfort zones causes frustration. It causes us to feel trapped, and limited. That’s because safety is not our nature. Frustration is a call of the soul, claiming its true nature of growth.
As we have disconnected from our hearts and souls, the harder it is to connect to that fire in our hearts and that spark of the soul.
Spiritual growth is a path that reawakens that flame in the heart, that reactivates our soul, that part of us that is excited to expand, that came here to grow, that lives fully is alive in us. Embracing our divinity.
When Does It End?
Well, if you are here on Earth now, it is certainly not done. Progression doesn’t mean get anywhere and chill — ever.
It actually means more work. The more we grow, the more we know, the more power we get, the more responsibility we get as well.
This is a truth I can’t possibly sugarcoat.
What did Buddha do after his enlightenment? What about Jesus?
I’ve never heard of them going on beach holidays, chilling in a singing circle. More like working hard, pouring their hearts out to serve humanity.
Ok fair enough maybe that kind of holiday wasn’t even a thing back then, so I can’t compare their options with ours.
I can say this: look at the Dalai Lama, waking up every day at 3 am up to this day to do his practices — hours and hours of prayers, prostrations and studies every day.
This is not a path of chilling. This is a path of constantly outgrowing yourself. Remember, there’s no limit here to how much you can grow. And of course, this is done by choice, hopefully, with joy. Again, it is about reclaiming our true nature.
It gets to a point where the only way to outgrow yourself is to help as many people as possible to outgrow themselves. Because, if we are all one, at some point you start freeing these other parts of you.
“Those who are too good for this world are adorning some other. So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful services.” Sri Yukteswar
Catalyzing Our Growth
When we commit to this path, more things start coming our way, naturally, for clearing. And so we need to deal with more, faster. We still need to clear karma, and the energy will start coming down to boost our growth and purification which means, more challenges, and faster. Also, because now we are also paying attention, we can now see things that we couldn’t before.
Purification by fire, at its best.
Fortunately, we would also be better equipped to handle them, given our spiritual lessons, and the energetic support we have. Healing requires us to go through things, so yes it can be daunting, but these are those challenges, that make us grow.
Back to Buddha, the story goes that while he sat there under the tree, the demon Mara came to him to try to seduce him out of his process. The most beautiful daughters of Mara came to him, yet he remained in meditation. Mara sent armies of monsters to attack him, and there he sat in meditation, untouched. Focus, commitment, undistracted.
That’s how we free ourselves from karma. We can look at it in the eye and choose to not engage — and so we free ourselves from the bondage of action and reaction.
An important concept in Buddhism is the triad of Dharma, Sangha, and Buddha. Dharma is the teachings, the path — no one needs to reinvent the wheel. Sangha is the group, the teachers — there’s no need to do this alone; we can inspire and support each other. Buddha is someone to look up to, the one who got where we want to get, a role model, a reference point, so needed in this day and age.
Work with a guide and this catalyzer is surely going to be bigger. Because we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, guidance can be a strong ally. I have previously written an article called 9 reasons why work with a spiritual guide, see it here.
Healing Your Relationship with Work
“So much work!”
Yes. Is this bad, really?
This is a super tough thing for people who have issues with the idea of “work”, which is understandable.
Most of us grew up with parents who didn’t love work. Who struggled and hustled, and did things out of duty and with no love. Who didn’t have big visions and purpose but worked for money and for taking care of their families. And so we followed suit: we didn’t know what we actually wanted, got jobs that had nothing to do with things we loved, and carried on frustrated. We have a pretty damaged blueprint when it comes to working.
We want to play, not work. We confuse freedom with a lack of commitment and responsibility. That’s actually being a slave of the ego — that part of you that wants to keep you hostage, in your comfort zone, distracted, not growing. Trust me, your soul is ready for massive leaps, not stagnation.
Our relationship with work is one of the many things we have to heal, personally, and as a society. It is an important shadow to look at, without which it is hard for us to truly embrace growth.
There’s no “now I am done and will just chill”. I mean you got free will so you are free to slow down, pause, or quit at any given time. I have to say it is kind of hard to take the blue pill after a long time with the red one, but surely some can.
Regardless of what kind of growth we are going for, healing our relationship with work is crucial.
Things that are not about instant gratification only become joyful when we are in the process, and as we see the fruits — not when we are out of the process thinking about it. As we are on it, we are it, and we keep on it. But once out of it, we just see it as work. The remedy is to get out of our heads, and surrender, wholeheartedly.
I enjoy thinking that expansion is our nature, and the more we follow the voices of our hearts, the more we just laugh at it, pack our bags, and go for the adventure.
That’s literally the story of my life, as I keep living nomadically laughing at all new messages I receive of Spirit sending me around the globe to serve. I’ve surrendered. It is not always flowers and rainbows, I do have my days when I question my sanity, but my heart gives no other choice. I do four hours of practice per day, mostly in joy, but I am human and I have my periods where it feels like a burden. But that doesn’t change anything. Because it is a commitment, at a soul level.
When we’ve learned to identify ourselves with our soul, things get so clear — not easy nor fear-free, definitely challenging, but oh so clear.
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