Grow up yes, but keep your child-like curiosity, silliness, humility and a sense of wonder and genuine, honest expression.
The use of, “Grow up!” in this series must also be explained. Many of us have a twisted understanding of what it means to be “grown-up”. Much of it is tied to acting like a superior rather than demanding a superior standard of ourselves. We who descend from a legacy of slavery and colonialism, struggle especially with this. So, to be clear to be “grown-up” in this exploration, has nothing to do with abandoning child-like curiosity, silliness, humility and a sense of wonder and genuine, honest expression. It also has nothing to do with status whether economic, educational or social. It has nothing to do with age either. In fact some children are more spiritually grown up than their parents.
You and I know of regular Sunday church attending grannies who constantly pray for the ability to forgive yet continue to harbor grudges till their deathbed. The meaning of Christ on a cross has become such a fetish they expect forgiveness to be miraculously bestowed upon them just fingering the rosary. Seventy plus years and they still don’t get it. Meanwhile, in a much shorter time span, it is quite possible for their grandchild to fully grasp what the actual power-up of forgiveness is and begin to implement it.
How many grudge-bearing yet church going grannies do you know?
While their kids express far more spiritual advancement in their ability to forgive from true understanding of what forgiveness is? It is proof that being a spiritual grown-up has little to do with age.
Growing up simply means to evolve away from the primitive animal mind and advance closer in consciousness of the Divine mind. In doing so, one becomes empowered and enlightened enough to effect massive karmic resolution and soul advancement regardless of their environment, upbringing or circumstances.
On Planet Earth School, it takes guts to be an independent grown-up. It is much easier to be a child completely at the mercy of your environment, peers and those you have designated as your “parents” be they priests, pundits, pop culture idols or political leaders. It’s funny, almost every religious text from the bible to Koran says, “narrow is the path and few are on it”. Yet so many people place great stock in the popularity of their chosen path and making it as congested as possible with childlike followers. If you are one of those taking comfort in the popularity of being one of billions in a religion and converting more members globally and trying to get the entire world to conform to your path, you like the aforementioned forgiveness-challenged granny, still do not “get it”.
Any person doing intricate, individual soul-evaluation every day could never easily conform to be one of billions of followers. The more spiritually enlightened you become, the more your unique Divine spark shines through and the more immune you become to peer pressure and compromises needed to fit in. Even if you came from a class of billions, you just naturally become the weird, indefinable outcast rather than one of the popular ordinary kids on Planet Earth School. You also have neither the time nor the energy to preoccupy yourself so much with the lives of others like a distracted Class President or Hall Monitor who neglects their own school work.
Yes, you are eager to save the world. But if you want to truly do so, you must allow all wider familial, community, political concerns to fall nicely into place around your focused attention on your spiritual development.
For a spiritually mature person, their goal and only goal, is to graduate from this Earth School with full marks. Not for reward. Not to avoid punishment. Not to impress anyone, including God. They do it because they deeply desire and are ready for more power in their next leg of their eternal journey to God. They understand fully that with great power comes great responsibility and being alive in the Divine One is being in the service of the Divine One, a rare and wonderful privilege. So out of share gratitude for this, they seek the power to do even more of Its will within Its Universe.
All wider familial, community, political concerns fall nicely into place around you when you keep that focus. You will never find yourself infringing on someone else just to validate your own path. Yet, the way you inspire others will be almost effortless and always unconditional. What is more, if you goal is self-mastery first before trying to master anyone or anything else, you will by this very fact, make our Earth School a better place to live and learn on during your stint here. This is the path of a Spiritual Grown Up.
By the way, all spiritual visionaries throughout the ages have always urged for their listeners to cease being childish, petty and foolish and to well…GROW UP! They leave many powerful tools to aid us to mature in our understanding and directly combat the primitive infantilism within us. These are namely:
Love/Compassion/Forgiveness / Vs. Hate/Suffering/Vengeance
The Spiritual Adult has deeply rooted total trust their soul is unharmed, immortal and the Universe/God is just and love is unconditional. They can afford to be generous with their love and able to forgive E.g. Christ forgiving those who crucified him, the Buddhist path of non-violence even sacrificing oneself in protest instead of others.
The Spiritual Infant still believes they need to earn Divine love and eye for an eye is the only way to seek justice because they do not trust the immortality of their existence and fear death and so loathe any kind of impediment to trouble-free existence in what is to them a frightfully short lifetime. They also do not trust that the Universe is already designed to deliver equal and just output for what we input and must act as vengeance enforcers for the Divine which is truly a redundant, karmically backward post to fill.
Divine Knowledge/Power & Purpose/Inner Peace Vs. Fear/Karmic & Environmental Constraint/Suffering
The Spiritual Adult knows this existence is one leg of an eternal journey and they are part of a Higher Divine Purpose. This gives them power to purposefully fulfill their goals without fear or the need to incur negative karma. Freedom from fear leads to more inner peace, even when a whirlwind of confusion and pain swirls around them the spiritual lessons and path ahead is never lost on them. E.g. Hinduism’s focus on self-mastery and self-awareness to awaken power from knowledge.
The Spiritual Infant lives in constant fear. Fear is what motivates them to do what is right or wrong. Fear drives their relationships, even their relationship with their Divine Parent. Fear drives how they try to fit into society. They feel absolutely powerless and victimized constantly by outside forces(either God is testing or punishing them or a devil or its minion is tempting them) and are unable to take responsibility for their life. Pain from challenges, loss or change in no way sparks their growth but makes them wallow in suffering. Loss of faith often results when they can no longer justify the suffering in light of their faithful and fearful devotion to what becomes to them, a seemingly uncaring Deity.
Joy/Contentment/Gratitude Vs. Lack/Envy/Greed
For the Spiritual Adult, happiness comes naturally from self-awareness that we are Divine and the universe is abundant and everlasting and this is reason alone to rejoice and feel content. Wanting and grabbing is not necessary. All that is required and attracted will be given freely and unconditionally in perfect balance. E.g. Rastafarianism’s “Jah will provide”, Christ’s rejection of materialism at the expense of another’s humanity or distraction from one’s focus on their eternal soul.
The Spiritual Infant has an unquenchable hunger, over active ego and a blind spot that prevents them from seeing all the ways they are Divine, provided adequately for and unconditionally loved. Much more on this later on!
It is easy to wax philosophical on these virtues. It is much harder to shine that glaring spotlight, regardless of our religious/spiritual path on the unpleasant realities that show we have allowed spiritual infantilism to hinder us. Most of us, myself included are far from grown-up but a lot of us are hitting puberty after an arduous childhood of false fears and petty resentments.
After many millenia in this mindset it is hard to evolve to...
Some forms of infantile behaviour stems from echoes of our primitive past, natural inclinations that aided our survival 100,000 + years ago but are now hindrances to our advancement and must be sloughed off. For evolution is not just about our physical brains and bodies but our spiritual ones as well. Unfortunately, many forms of infantile behaviour, we refined in ever more destructive ways, justifying them sometimes even in the name of God, family and country. For example fear has been refined into so many spiritually destructive by-products, the leading one being guilt.
Yes, guilt is a form of fear. It has nothing to do with true acknowledgement of a misstep and feeling genuine, active responsibility that results in self-forgiveness, growth and change. Guilt is just fearful self-pity that has the same paralyzing effect as trepidation does. It even feels the same- the stomach sinking feeling, rapid heartbeat and a fight or flight response in the form of either defensiveness or a defeatist self-punishment mode. As destructive a trait as it is, many who call themselves spiritual leaders use fear based guilt to control and corral followers. They are counting on the defeatist self-punishment mode to create enough need and desperation that paves the way for a highly emotional conversion.
Have you allowed yourself or another to load up the spiritually paralyzing burden on guilt on your shoulders? Remember guilt is not true remorse and a sense of responsibility. It is nothing more than fearful self-pity that leaves you vulnerable to predation by religious predators.
Many of us just hitting spiritual puberty are also realizing guilt and fear based faiths are for Spiritual Infants who don’t want to go through the troublesome process of analyzing why they made mistakes and taking responsibility for learning and growing from them. It is much easier to just chalk it up to a “sin nature” and the “devil”; the infantile spiritual equivalent of the boogie man. Then you just take a magic potion of Jesus blood and we can forget everything! Now just pay me 10% of your salary every month please! Spiritual Adults can sniff these wolves in sheep’s clothing out a mile away who load you up with guilt and then offer to relieve the load conditional of course on your demonstration of the proper amount of devotion! Don’t worry, they will let you know through subtle at first then not so subtle means what is the “proper” amount.
In previous essays, I have explored Love/Compassion/Forgiveness as well as Divine Knowledge/Power & Purpose and Inner Peace. Perhaps it’s my recent move back to St. Lucia. Perhaps it’s my experience recently with trusting the Universe and my Creator and seeing that trust answered tangibly resulting in me feeling intense joy and gratitude. So the spiritual virtue I will like to focus on is Joy/Contentment/Gratitude and the infantile thinking that hinders us from truly experiencing this essential spiritual power-up.