In search of spiritual growth Fred has been going to and talking with a guru at his downtown office once a week for 3 years. As a result of this relationship Fred has grown into an awareness about himself to which he had previously been unconscious, and feels internally freer with each new insight. Fred feels the guru is essential to this growth. One day the guru does not cancel the appointment and yet does not show up for it. Nor the next week. Fred tries calling, texting, and emailing but simply cannot contact the man. Has the guru been abducted by aliens? And then, one day Fred reads in the newspaper that his guru has been arrested for theft, the police having found 167 stolen bicycles in his apartment. Fred wonders: Now what?
Sometimes the healer also needs healing. In regard to spiritual realties, it is not the “other” who heals us, despite how helpful they might be, but rather it is our involvement in our own growth that brings about that wholeness for which we seek. Unfortunately for us Westerners, we are a nation of shoppers, always on the hunt to obtain things, and usually at the least expense. We are a people of convenience, wanting everything the way that we want our food: Quick, easy, and at no cost to us.
Spiritual growth does not occur this way. Spiritual growth is not something that we rip the top off of and pop into the microwave. In order to grow we must invest ourselves in that growth, which often means embracing persistent inconvenience. Spiritual growth requires personal interior revolution, a throwing down of the old way of thinking so that something new might be born, and that takes time. How to go about this revolution can often be a mystery to us, which is why we seek help from others.
With or without the help of others, it is important for us to remember that Spiritual realities are not a commodity to be obtained or a mystery to be solved; rather, spiritual realities are a mystery in whose presence we must learn to live patiently in order that it might reveal itself to us on its own terms. This is not passivity, but instead an active attentiveness. We must be willing to live in the presence of the questions that spiritual realities pose to us, rather than to run away from, or dismiss, what we cannot immediately solve. Others can, perhaps, help us with understanding this, but in the end the work is ours alone.
We can have as much spiritual growth as we are willing to pay for, and the coinage it requires is the pennies of our faithful presence.