As we climb in our physical world each step brings us deeper and deeper joy. A small child learns to roll the ball to Mommy and laughs with delight. As she grows she learns to bounce the ball and re-catch it again, another deeper level of satisfaction. Next she can bounce the ball off the wall, off the ground and into her hand again. Alas she desires further progress, but to become a master requires commitment and sacrifice. It takes months and even years before she can juggle three balls, then four and more.
The spiritual climb follows a similar process, the early steps are easy and joyful. To become a master requires sacrifice and commitment. Learn to swallow your inner most spiritual sensations of guilt, fear or apprehension. Feel it swimming in your stomach, examine it, hold it, experience it and you will learn to grow through it. You will find it as frustrating as the little girl mentioned above as she fumbles and drops, again and again through each successive step of her progress. She suffers many, many defeats during her journey to becoming a master juggler.
We don’t climb to the highest levels on our positive experiences. It is through the negative, frustrating and sometimes painful interactions that we achieve the greatest growth. Be it in juggling or in our spiritual states, there’s always challenge and frustration along the development path.
Each successive step is harder and harder to master. However each step brings us deeper and deeper joy and satisfaction as we master it. So embrace the negative it’s the area to explore for advancement. As we wrestle with it, rehash through it, swallow it down, digest it we finally master it. We attain another step on the spiritual ladder.
As we reach new heights we experience a deep joy, but that joy quickly reverses as we discover the next rung to conquer. Can we ever return the joy of the early steps of our spiritual climb? Yes, when we share that step with someone else new to the experience, just like a master juggler rolling the ball with a small child.
As we share our experience we relive the joy, hoping the newly exposed will also commit to mastering the next step. We cannot do if for them we can only encourage, prod and challenge them, hoping to keep them engaged to becoming masters too.
The same is true in mastering the spiritual journey, individually we must engage and commit to each step throughout the process, there’s no short cuts. Each successive step requires more and more concentrated effort. Through repetition, analysis and continued commitment internally to our spiritual state we progress.
Every genuine point of progress along the climb is experienced alone. Once we achieve a plateau the pleasure and satisfaction is always there for us, but soon it becomes insufficient and our next level of advancement becomes our driving desire to keep climbing.
If we stay among children we may deceive ourselves on our progress toward mastery. It’s easy to feel like an accomplished mathematician in a room full of first graders. We all can become masters if we genuinely desire it. It’s not easy, it’s complicated and requires lots of repetitions and struggle, and no one can do it for us.
The spiritual journey is a unique path of progress for each one of us. As we attain mastery we immediately know those who are close to mastery and those who are pretending. Alas we also know those who have skills we have yet to master, this is your next level. Inquire of their journey secrets to get to know the road signs and paths to hasten your own advancement, but remember that only you and you alone can do the work to experience the mastery.
No matter how high you climb there’s always another step and fewer and fewer masters to share their experience. When you find yourself alone in your own space of mastery, new developments come slow but when they do arrive the Joy is Immense.
This posting is a spiritual sharing. I invite you to measure your progress against your own inner compass, it will not deceive you. No Master can do it for you they can only point you in the right direction.