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Spiritual Growth - How Traversing the "Three Layers" of a Person Can Lead to Satisfaction
Metaphorically speaking, you could say that each person is made up of three layers.
The top layer consists of the stories we run in our heads about ourselves, about others and our experiences. This is the level of the mind and rationale, and it's what we say to ourselves and others especially about things that concern us or that we believe in strongly. This layer is like an opaque, heavy screen that shields the other layers below it from our view. Until we see the opaqueness and heaviness of this way of living, we are mostly oblivious to what lies beneath, in the deeper, truer aspects of ourselves. The reason why it's inadequate in the end to live primarily focused on this level is because all our stresses and discomfort in life arise due to such a focus.
In real terms, it's good to consider an example. In my experience of counseling and talking with people, there is a common decision that most people have unconsciously made as a child and which influences how their life transpires and the subsequent decisions they go on to make, plus how they are in everyday terms. This decision is that one is not worthy, one is not good enough. The decision is made as a result of experiences we had as a child.
It has to be emphasized that it is the way of most parents, that whilst they may not intentionally wish for their child to feel small, it cannot be helped due to the fact that the parents themselves have their own issues of unworthiness, and thus the pattern continues. It's simply the way family dynamics work. Of course there is an element of degree - some parents are more loving and forgiving than others, some are more subtle in their condemnation of their children's behavior and some more overt. But from what I have seen, there is rarely an absence of an unconscious instilling into their children that the love they have for them is conditional. In rare cases, where parents are especially conscious of their own lack of self-worth this pattern can be addressed and authenticity into the relationship with their children brought in to play.
It is perhaps helpful at this stage to consider that this is simply the way of the world. Your ego that wants to justify your parents behavior, is simply that: ego. Ego has its own agenda, and this agenda does not include facing the truth of what you are already carrying inside you. This is just the way of this world, and we are here to learn and grow. Our journey is learning to claim back our own power, regardless of circumstance.
So, we have this unconscious decision that we are not good enough.
As a child we are not easily able to resolve for ourselves feelings of unworthiness. Thus, being human beings, we develop a coping or compensatory strategy to win our parents' or guardians' approval. As we go through life, we transfer the need for approval to others. This strategy generally involves seeking experiences externally to make ourselves feel good, since then, it is as if we are good enough. But this lasts only as long as the outer experience lasts. When it's over, we have to find another such experience, because we still have not dealt with the inner feeling of unworthiness, which we are on a path of ignoring. The compensatory experiences we seek are varied and operate at many different levels, from the minutest experience of filling moments of silence when with another due to discomfort, to larger, more impacting experiences eg choosing a career that is highly-paid but which does not truly satisfy, yet gets us the approval of others so as we can feel good about ourselves.
Thus you can see that due to that one unexplored decision about ourselves, one's life can be greatly influenced.
At this level of being, we are usually unable to recognize the influence that this decision has had on our life and continues to do so everyday. That is, until, the second layer begins to seep through to the surface, unable to be ignored any longer, or through our own gradual realization that the life we are living does not feel so great. This is a great moment, albeit painful.
This second layer which is hidden below the coping mechanism involved in daily living, is one of suppressed emotional pain. Now this layer cannot be made to vanish simply because we ignore it or pretend it is not there. People have said to me things like 'I have no pain, no stress' and 'I am happy.' But I say, what about all those times you have been feeling angry and worried, and what about those arguments you keep having with others?
Yes, we can ignore the pain - and most people do throughout their lives - but one day, the coping mechanism doesn't work so well anymore. What then?
Indeed, the first step then is to acknowledge the existence of our feelings of unworthiness. We must begin our healing process. This is for many people the hard part. The stories that govern their life and beliefs about themselves (eg they do not have self-worth issues, they are not angry) are run so hard and so frequently that reality (I don't feel good enough) and fantasy (I don't have self-worth issues) are completely confused.
Thus it is that when we shine the torch of our own truth upon ourselves, we reveal much to ourselves about who we really are. The process of allowing one's heart to finally start its softening, is what will in the end allow this layer to be faced. And face it, it must be - at some point.
So, what happens when we do take courage and face ourselves?
We allow the third layer to finally begin to shine forth.
This layer below the second, is where we find who we really are. This layer is totally untarnished by the top two, but in order to find it, we have to traverse down through the top two consciously. This is the awakening process. This deeper aspect of ourselves is always with us, it never leaves, and it is full of all the love and wisdom we previously did not think we had or deserved.
And as we do delve deep and discover the reality of our always-ready inner peace and aliveness, this layer begins to gently reach back up, cleaning up the top two layers of emotion and stories, and gradually these two become permeated by real self and become one.
Perceiving life through each layer is a vastly different experience of life. Those who live primarily through the eyes of the first, will have no idea what potential life holds for them, and mostly they will not even want to know, because it's their nature to form a story around everything that makes them uncomfortable, and to be right about themselves, others and life. Denial is the game-plan. This was my own life for over 40 years. Then those who take courage to allow their buried fears and insecurities to arise, will experience pain. This cannot be helped. It is natural. Pain is painful. And if it's there, it must be felt in order to get to the third layer.
But get there you will, if you allow the spiritual journey to take its natural course. You do not have to do anything to find it, it will find you, as long as you continue to utilize your innate resources of courage and honesty. The key to this deeper aspect is: feel it to heal it. This is what spiritual growth means. Each and every one of us has a direct connection to our own - what I like to call - non-religious Divinity, and this is the true, fundamental experience of reality and Life, where instead of spending time and energy unconsciously compensating for our 'failings' we finally merge with Life itself, and feel satisfaction. We become Life. And we know without doubt, we are worthy.
Find out more about spiritual growth by joining http://www.soulalert.com, a recently-launched spiritual portal for all evolving people. Reena Gagneja, the author of this article, is the founder of SoulAlert, and she is also a Spiritual Counsellor and Soul Contract Reader. She offers a free initial consultation by phone for Counselling and Soul Contract readings. http://www.reenagagneja.com http://www.soulalert.com