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Maturation

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Maturation

A Particular Maturation of the Soul

Engaging practice so completely and so totally requires a particular maturation of the soul. We are not able to have our practice be a continual practice until our motivation and interest for practice have become our own. The soul matures in this particular way when we develop an autonomous, independent, and true motive for engaging the inner work. This means you are not driven by your mind, you are not driven by what you heard, you are not driven by some experiences you had. You are driven by something much more fundamental, something beyond your individual self. From the beginning of our lives, we are driven by powerful inner forces. These inner forces, these drives, help our survival, our learning and maturing. These drives express life in us; they are expressions of the life force as it differentiates into various arenas of life, such as skills and functionality. Perhaps the most obvious and well known of these forces is the survival drive—the drive to keep on living, which commands potent energies and wide-ranging intelligence . . . . . . . .
The particular maturation of the soul that fosters true practice involves the awakening of a fourth drive, the enlightenment drive. Although similar to the instinctual drives, with similar energies and intelligence, the enlightenment drive is not completely biological. Its aim is not a physical one; rather, it is about the quality of inner experience. We may recognize the enlightenment drive as the religious drive, the longing for God or divine union, the desire for enlightenment or truth, or the love to discover the secrets of existence, what life is all about.

Complementary Facets in the Maturation of the Human Being

The process of spiritual development, which is the maturation of the human being, can be divided into two complementary facets. One is the self-realization of Being in its various aspects and manifestations, and the other is the integration of this self-realization in the everyday life of a human person. The latter is a progressive process of maturation of the self, in which the unfoldment of Being expresses itself in an individuated personal life with other human beings in a real world. Self-realization connects the person to his true identity, which is his Being, and this makes it possible for him to mature in everyday life and to fulfill his humanness. Human life becomes then the personal expression of one’s realization in the context of normal life situations. So we can say that the process of individuation makes it possible for us to be in the world, while that of self-realization connects us with the transcendental source of our Being, which is beyond the world of appearance. The present book is an attempt to understand the process of self-realization, while The Pearl Beyond Price is an attempt to understand the individuation of Being, which is a process of the personalization of its various facets and manifestations.

In Every Soul there is an Inherent Drive Toward Truth

When, in the course of maturation, or in the context of some identity-shaking life event, or in the pursuit of a spiritual path, we become more open to knowing—or “remembering”—the self in its deeper nature, our narcissism begins to become transparent. If, at these times, we are graced with the opportunity to pursue the truth of our identity rather than compensating for our spiritual dissatisfaction, we can begin to reverse this “fall.” When the soul is caught up in rigid identifications and relations with others and the world, it is not satisfied. In every soul there is an inherent drive toward truth, an inherent desire to feel fulfilled, real and free. Although many people are not able to pursue this desire effectively, the impetus toward the realization of the self is in all of us; it begins with the first stirrings of consciousness and continues throughout life whether or not we are directly aware of it. This impetus spontaneously emerges in consciousness as an important task for the psychologically and spiritually maturing human being. As maturity grows into wisdom in an optimally developing person, this task gains precedence over other tasks in life, progressively becoming the center that orients, supports and gives meaning to one’s life, ultimately encompassing all of one’s experience.

Maturation in the Flow of the Logos

The order and reason of the logos is not simply in the harmony of the flow, but in the intelligent development of this flow. We recognize that the dynamism of the logos possesses an optimizing intelligence, which makes it into a maximizing force. When we are able to stay in this flow for some time we begin to recognize its influence on our experience in general, and on phenomena at large. The logos does not simply flow from one object to another, from one phenomenon to the next, but in this flow there is development, growth, maturation, and evolution. Not only is there intelligence in this outflow that contributes to its harmony, but this flow is intelligent because it tends to fulfill the nature of each individual form. It fulfills the nature of each form by making it a better vehicle through which true nature can express itself. The flow is intelligent because it influences everything by moving it closer to intimacy with true nature. It moves everything closer and opens everything further to greater realization and embodiment of the qualities and dimensions of true nature. We see this most clearly in its role in the development of the soul. We begin to understand why when the soul unfolds under the guidance of Being it does not stay in the same place or deteriorate. The unfoldment always reveals greater depth, clearer insight, more precise and universal truth, enhanced clarity, and more luminosity. In other words, the unfoldment of the soul always leads to greater and more complete experience of the qualities of true nature.

Realizing Spiritual Practice as a Way of Life

As our engagement with the path matures and develops, we realize that practice is a way of life, a way of being. This kind of orientation, this kind of commitment requires a motive that is independent of external things, a motive that arises from the enlightenment drive, from the action of True Nature manifesting through us as a dynamic force to reveal itself. So we recognize at some point that our motivation needs to be grounded in and originate from this place beyond the individual soul, beyond the individual self. That makes our motivation true. True motivation expresses itself in the interest, the love, the compassion, the service, the devotion, the respect, the appreciation that we feel for the truth of reality.

The Only Way for the Soul to Move Toward True Maturity

Understanding the ignorance of the ego, the ignorance that results from what we have forgotten, is necessary in order for the immature to mature. The soul, our individual consciousness, is much more than this immature ego part. However, she does not grow, or grows with various imbalances, when she does not deal with this immature part of her. In most cases, she does not grow because she identifies with this immature part and believes it is the totality of her. Only by becoming liberated from this inner child and integrating it into a larger context can she grow. She grows, then, as this part grows, with it and inseparable from it. In those cases when the soul develops without dealing with this immature part, the development is askew, not balanced, and usually leads to oddness and strange behaviors and attitudes, common in many spiritual circles. There is no real maturity here. The only way for the soul to move toward true maturity is by coming to terms with this immature part in a genuine way, integrating it, and including it in her development. Then the soul grows as a whole, with balance and grace.

The Proverbial Midlife Crisis

In the work of self-realization, the first and most important part of working on the narcissistic constellation involves exposing the shell. This means realizing directly that what we take ourselves to be is not real, that it is an empty shell, a facade constructed from images and identifications. For most students in our work, this happens completely naturally, in the course of self-exploration. It is not necessary for the teacher to introduce or create these perceptions. Simply by exploring our continuing experience of ourselves and inquiring into its meaning and truth, we come to see that what we take to be our identity is actually an empty mental construct. One of the main ways a person arrives at this understanding is through maturation of the well-integrated self. Maturing through a life lived with a competent ego integrating one’s experience, we are likely to experience some relaxation of the defensive ego structures. With the relaxation of these structures, we may then become aware of a sense of emptiness and meaninglessness, a sense that our life is pointless. This may happen, for example, when we live our lives according to our ambitions and ideals and actually complete our inner program. We can then relax and we can afford to be flexible in our positions and attitudes. This entails letting go of some of our defensive positions. Also, accomplishing our goals may give us a sense of inner value and felt wisdom, but the deepening of this wisdom will eventually require a transformation of identity. Frequently, an individual who has arrived at this awareness through maturity becomes interested in the deeper aspects of existence and seeks answers in philosophy, religion, or spiritual practice. This natural process is frequently what begins the inner search, especially in a well integrated ego. It is the proverbial midlife crisis, although often, of course, the quest leads one to seek meaning in external life or activities.

True Maturity Requires a Movement into the Realm of Being

We must remember that the personality of ego is of a different nature than that of Being. It cannot move to the realm of Being through successive approximation. Fake gold cannot become real gold, regardless how good the forgery. Returning to the assumption found in most of the literature of psychology that the human being always needs defensive structures, we wonder: Why does an adult human being need to defend himself against his inner experience? It is understandable for an immature and dependent child. For an adult without gross structural distortions, defense merely implies the unwillingness to confront inner anxieties that have already lost any realistic grounds. Confronting these anxieties will bring an understanding of their groundlessness, and make it possible to abandon the defensive posture. Since this would mean abandoning ego identifications, our conclusion must be that true maturity is not possible within the realm of ego states, but requires a movement into the realm of Being.

True Nature Stirring Within the Consciousness of the Soul

The maturation of the soul appears at some point as the stirring of the enlightenment drive. And we interpret this stirring of the enlightenment drive as the interest and love and desire that motivate us to engage the spiritual path. It is actually True Nature stirring within the consciousness of the soul to reveal itself, as if to say, “Hey, you, it’s me. Where are you looking? You are looking in the wrong place! Look here!” But because we don’t yet recognize this revelation, we feel that this interest and excitement, this love, this longing, this yearning, is ours. We feel all sorts of discontent and existential angst and suffering. We want God, we want enlightenment, we crave the truth and, basically, we are full of delusions. And the whole time, we believe we are waking up. We are waking up in a sense, but as we are waking up, we are also perpetuating further lies. Fundamentally, we are misinterpreting the situation.

Variations in the Perception of How the Process of Maturation Proceeds

Because there are many and various potentials in the human being, there are naturally wide variations in the perception of how the process of maturation proceeds. Different teachings emphasize different parts of the human potential. There are also differences in the value attached to the various potentials, and in the ways these potentials are conceptualized. Two major views of how the process proceeds stand out: (a) The progressive or sudden abandonment of ego identifications to the point of realizing the nonpersonal aspects of Being. The work or practice is centered around ego and not Being. The attitudes emphasized are those of impersonality, detachment and objectivity. There follows a process of realizing the personal aspects, seen some times as the process of bringing Being into the world. The most representative tradition of this perspective is Buddhism ..........(b) The gradual and progressive realization of the differentiated aspects of Being, the essential aspects, by the working through of segments of ego identifications. The emphasis is on developing the Personal Essence. The work or practice is centered more around Essence, and is less focused on ego. The attitudes emphasized are those of loving the truth and serving God. This process is seen to continue till the entry into the nonpersonal realms.

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