True spiritual self-development does not mean struggling to improve the self but rather to transcend its limited levels through self-observation. The task is not to become something new, but to see through the parts of ourselves that stand between us and the new life that already exists within us as unrealized spiritual potential. It might be better said that self-development is the stretch of country we walk between the old world of what we have been and the new world we enter into when realizing the still, secret Self within.
Too often it happens that some people lose their interest in self-study. They give up on their inner work because they don’t see the immediate results hoped for. If anything, in their growing awareness of what has always been their actual condition, it seems to them that they are now even deeper asleep than ever before! Don’t fall for this trick! Instead, be encouraged by the fact that although you will likely fail many times along the upper path, self-study and inner success are really two ideas that mean the same thing, if you’ll only stay the course. All you have to do to stay the course and to win the inner war is be willing to start over and over and over again with your self-study. And here we encounter another beautiful law of higher life created just to help us succeed:
Starting over is always possible because Now is always new.
Life is continuously new in the present moment, and so are you. The negative inner voices that proclaim you won’t make it come only from what has been your world up until now, and not from Life in its perpetual newness. Seeing the truth of this gives you the strength to brush away these feelings of failure and start over with self-study.
Remember: Each moment that some self-study shows you how spiritually asleep you are, use that same moment to wake up and remember that you can always start your whole life over. Then see that the inner voice calling you a loser should be the focus of still a deeper self-study, and not the self that you look at yourself from.
In this podcast, Guy Finley talks about how our experience of life is directly connected to our understanding of the immutable spiritual laws that govern all things.
If our heart longs to see a shooting star, that day will come when we’ll see one blaze across the heavens. If we keep looking for physical gold, by panning a stream or breaking through rock, chances are our search will be rewarded, but when we seek the more valuable gold of real self-knowledge, we are guaranteed to find it. It is there in abundance just waiting to be uncovered.
Opportunities for self-study — and the changes these discoveries yield — present themselves endlessly, with new ones arriving with each new moment. The key point here is that if we don’t undergo the changes within ourselves that we say we desire, it’s because we are not awake to these unfolding opportunities. In other words, our attention is on something else. It’s easy to have our attention sidetracked in this way. The truth is that even though we may feel a strong pull in the direction of self-study, and long for the special freedom it alone can grant us, there also exists quite often an even stronger pull away from it.
Constantly shaking ourselves into new self-awareness — and then struggling to snap out of the gravitational field of negative influences we find ourselves in — can be an exhausting experience. As long as we remain unaware of just how vulnerable we are to these influences while asleep to ourselves, it seems easier to just remain in psychic slumber. This is a state to which we have all grown accustomed, and the inertia that tends to keep us locked in it is very powerful. As a result, we’re easily convinced that a little self-pampering is just what the doctor ordered!
“I don’t feel up to working on myself today,” we might hear ourselves say, or, “I’m too tired. Besides, there’s no point in trying to quiet my mind when it’s in such a whirl. I’ll just wait for a better time when I’m more alert.”
We must not fall under the power of these deceptive voices coming to us from within our own minds. We must refuse to accept that the weakness claims as being ours is the same as our own. If we wait to do our self-study until we “feel like it,” we’ll never do it at all. We must engage in the process of self-study as a volitional act, deliberately embarked upon regardless of whether we wish to or not. We cannot wait until we feel the time is right for self-work. We must do our self-study consistently, making efforts every day to observe ourselves in action. Now is always the only time there is.