While sentient Beings sense an impatience during the process of enlargement, it is not beneficial to allow that impatience to be translated into a lack of contentment. The two are not the same, but one can, and often does, lead to another.
Enlargement that grows out of discontentment only enlarges the discontentment. Expansion can only expand what is , it cannot expand what is not. If you are not contented, you cannot expand your way to more contentment. Every capitalistic society on the face of the earth has eventually learned that. "Bigger" and "more" is not necessarily "better." In fact, it rarely is. Enlargement, therefore, must have its basis in Contentment or it will merely increase what is not desired.
The impatient and the discontented should, therefore, not be confused. Being impatient does not have to mean that we are not happy with "what is." On the contrary, it can mean that we are so happy with "with what is" that we desire more of that--as soon as possible, thank you.
But there is something interesting that happens here as this process leading to our own Attainment of Self Awareness unfolds. Following Contentment we become impatient to experience more of the peace and the joy that Contentment brings--we seek enlargement of that experience--and yet, a part of us stops us from expanding our experience any further.
The phase of personal and spiritual growth that we are now discussing--which I have called, in my cosmology, "Enlargement"--includes three minor steps: stopping, starting, and sustaining.
Stopping is not only the first step, it is the first sign that you are on the pathway to the Divine. The fact is that many people, having reached Contentment, do not want to go any further. In many cases it's taken their entire lives to "get to" Contentment and they don't want to risk losing their hard-won peace, joy, and serenity by venturing forth into the spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally unknown. Reluctance emerges. Roadblocks appear. There's even self-sabotage. Yet the urgent inner desire to spiritually grow continues to call. And so, there's a pulling and a tearing within. Go on/stay here, go on/stay here, go on/stay here.
Move ahead/stay put.
Venture forward/stay where you are.
It is the feeling of standing at the side of the pool. Everyone is urging you on: "C'mon, get in! The water's fine!" You put a toe in and your body tells you exactly the opposite. Maybe you won't go in after all. You friends smile. "You can't do it one-toe-at-a-time, for heaven's sake ...just jump in!"
But you don't.
Until you do.
You just dive in. Or you do it your way and ease yourself in, a little bit at a time. But eventually you're in the water, and you're glad you came to the party.
We see, then, that stopping is a sure sign that you're ready to start. Stopping yourself even before you begin is an absolute indicator, a certain harbinger of things to come. So don't be discouraged if you experience yourself stopping-and-starting, stopping-and-starting.
If you jumped right into Enlargement without hesitation, good for you. Not everyone has to take every step on the Pathway to Self-Awareness. In fact, none of the steps are required at all. You can skip all of the steps, if you like, and jump right to Attainment. But the path described here is the path taken by many people, and that is why it is being described here. We want you to know that you are on your way if you are experiencing these things.
One of the reasons that the Stop/Start phenomenon is so much a part of so many people's journey is that often the Pathway to Self-Awareness brings up issues of self-worth.
Many people do not feel "worthy" of stepping into Attainment. They do not feel that it is "appropriate" to claim their own Divinity or to embrace Self-Awareness. So the idea of Enlargement into that State of Being feels "wrong" to them--or, at least, premature. And so they shift into a "when-I'm-ready" or a "when-I've-earned-it" mode. They take seminars, do workshops, go to retreats, read books, fast, meditate--whatever they feel might help them to change, to shift, to transform themselves. Transformation becomes the watchword, the desired result. When they are transformed they feel they'll be "ready" to claim Attainment.
This explains the self-sabotage phenomenon. Because they have convinced themselves (or been told by others--often their religions) that they are not worthy, they keep pushing themselves away from the table before the feast has been served. Transformation is never achieved, because to achieve it would fly in the face of their own deepest thought about themselves.
People who fall into this Not Good Enough category (many of them place themselves there subconsciously, without even knowing they are doing it) are often the ones who unwittingly engage in those acts of self-sabotage that everyone else around them can see, and that they, themselves, often don't recognize, as they deal with the inner yearning to spiritually grow.
Others will stop themselves because they believe the process of the Enlargement of oneself involves a choice between living a so-called "regular life" and the "spiritual life" of a "true master." In other words, it "looks like" you can't be a spiritual master and go bowling. Or have raucous sex. Or eat a thick, juicy steak. Or whatever else it is they've got it in their head that spiritual masters don't do. And so it looks to us as if they have to make a choice. Be "in this world, but not of it," or be "of this world, but not in it" as far as spiritual clarity is concerned.
If some of these descriptions feel a bit familiar, be of good cheer. As already noted, your stopping is a sure and certain sign that you are ready to start...for good. And, ultimately, to sustain the Enlargement of Self at your new level.
Copyright © Neale Donald Walsch. All rights reserved.