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Stepping Stones

We Begin Alone - Week Three

All myths are about transformation of consciousness. The consciousness of the hero is transformed through a series of tests and trials that require the hero to move more and more consistently from the truth of his or her inner wisdom. The spiritual journeyer understands this about life—that life evokes our character and we find out more about ourselves and about the mystery of life as we go. The tests and trials of life confirm for all of us that suffering is part of life. Because the outer world is temporal and ever changing, we will all experience pain, loss, frustration, disappointment and grief. We will all experience the frailty of the human body through injury, illness, aging and ultimately death. We are awakened not by trying to hold off suffering, not by trying to find a safe harbor and hoping it will pass us by, but by accepting that life is as it is and being willing to live consciously and intentionally in that mystery that is unfolding through us. Twentieth Century Poet Paul Claudel said that “Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with his presence.” Our spiritual journey teaches us to seek that inner stillpoint, that mysterious presence that allows us to hold our center regardless of our circumstances, trusting that we are part of a transcendent mystery.

It is this inner awareness that gives life zest and purpose and meaning. It is this inner awareness that signals our readiness for the hero’s adventure. With this awareness, we begin to walk on our own feet, on our own path, from our own center. We accept the challenges of life and begin to stand in the integrity of who we are. We begin to practice seeing the spiral path unfolding in front of us with the awareness that we are unfolding through our conscious participation in the journey. Being able to hold one’s focus and intention firmly in mind in the chaos and struggle of life is a mark of spiritual maturity. This is where we use the fire of our intention to burn away the thoughts and stories that no longer serve us and to forge a path where none seems obvious. This is where we begin to emerge as the hero in our own story.

Weekly Stepping Stones

Have you ever avoided a struggle or challenge in life by settling for safety? In what ways have you followed the crowd or other people’s expectations and ignored the nudge or call of your inner life? When you have faced a difficult struggle in life, can you be aware of a sense of inner presence or light that supported or guided you?

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