Growth is the increasing awareness and empowerment of the Self. A Deliberate and continual practice of seeking the Truth and teasing out Untruth.
Stasis: settling for an apparent comfortable, safe and secure existence, that resists the discomfort that growth exacts against the Psyche. Growth is not sought any longer, the status quo, is given deference to awareness and further knowledge. Recognition of ones current way of life in the external replaces their recognition of the higher Truth.
Regression is the decreasing awareness and submission to the Ego and untruth. Given up the fight or never grew to take the first swing in the internal realms.
We are always supported in our Growth efforts by the force that fuels all life, Love, and it’s component drives and forces. The still small voice that is calling us home is our Self, who through its unique position in the internal, has varying access to both the Soul, and the Eternal, and to the Truth that only it can recognize in the External.
Inner Turmoil between the Self’s urging us to rescue and strengthen it, and the Ego that is blindly driven by misguided worldly needs, sets us up for the painful choice of going inward and growing or submitting to the apparent pleasures and distractions of the material world.
Discordant life experiences, pain and difficulties are the opportunities that spark growth. Intense experiences are required for most of us to truly remove our focus from the material world and to focus on the internal spiritual one. As it does from the very beginning of our life, struggle refines us, strengthens us and sharpens us if we choose to see and gain in real knowledge by linking the lesson with the experience. Growth is not a passive achievement. Age and experience do not predicate growth. They correlate with it but growth is a deliberately active process.
We live in a material world and our senses and urges are such that the internal, the intangible and the unprovable, usually lose out to the flesh, and the temporal pleasures and distractions of the external. Absent a potent individually developed internal linkage between the joys of the material world and the richness of the internal spiritual world, we have little resolve to make the earnest investment of vulnerably traveling inward.
A spark, in the form of a vexing discordant feeling from a experience(s), is requisite for internal growth. A strong foundation from a wide breadth of opposing perspective life experiences, buttresses the individual in their quest, as does maintaining ones innate sense of curiosity, imagination and curiosity gifted to them from their earliest remembrances.
Given the same external circumstances a person who has listened to their still small voice, and has placed some faith and hope in its guidance and wisdom, will grow more and at a faster rate than a person who has submitted to peer pressure and given in to their lower desires. This insinuates that a sense of their Self, is still audible and has been recognized in the external through achievement or accomplishment, no matter how small in the worlds perspective. The more confirmation the stronger the foundation.
The type and number of unconscious repressions, retard growth and increase fuel that the Ego possesses in its battle to control our lives. This can be enhanced by a negatively perceived family life or other negative experiences that required the individual to grant the ego control in order to continue to function. This, in large part, frames the journey that we must individually undertake towards the liberation of the Self and subsequent Growth and increasing Awareness.
The Self and Growth
The Self is energized by experiences that edify, strengthen and confirm its purpose.
As the Self grows in strength, it provides the confidence to increase the part of the conscious awareness that it reveals to others.
This further increases the strength of the Self until a discordant life experience provides the spark for the self to face its fears hidden in the Unconscious.
This process can be long and arduous, but when accomplished, it releases the energy that had been bound up and fueling the Ego and its misappropriated intensions.
Because the Ego has been employed for so long, it’s ineffective life coping strategies are entrenched habits and must continually and intentionally be discharged throughout our life times.
These charges rob the Self of its power as we lose our power to the external world where the Ego had been effective at supporting our efforts for so long.
Our personal conscious awareness expands with new knowledge and with the increasing strength and refinement of the Self.
When and if the conscious and unconscious become one, as in the case of Individuation (Jung), or Self-Actualization (Maslow), then the Self can express itself as it truly is and harness the Souls power of intention. This process powers the Self to reach and risk, allowing the gifts that we are all uniquely endowed, to come into the fullness of their expression. The Souls Energy is infinite, unlike the limited supply of the Ego’s Will that is finite and exponentially less potent.
The Ego Usurper
Like anti-depressants, or even depression itself, the Ego takes over when we are too weak to function. The Ego, is a crutch of sorts, it functions to help us heal and when the restored Self takes over again, we Grow. The Ego supports our survival and helps us cope, but it’s overuse, like overuse of anything, causes us to stall and eventually regress.
This Growth process leads to “Self”-confidence and hones and sharpens the true Self so that we might grow into the full expression of who we are, that we might contribute the gifts we are meant to, in the life we have been blessed with.
“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego,
the second half is going inward and letting it go of it.”
The challenge is getting through the fear by aptly discerning from where it originates, and then applying the lesson to our ever more lucid, and our “own” personal, truth based belief system.
This can only be accomplished by the Self through its recognition of Truth through Beauty in the world, and the Souls corresponding confirmation of the feelings of Love and Joy.
Unfortunately, more often than not we don’t manage this truthfully, as the fledgling Self
has not accumulated the Self-confidence or Awareness necessary to manage our Ego defense system appropriately.
This then, is the Human experience, and our Growth is predicated on the building the strength of the Self and employing the Ego defense system only when appropriate defenses are required for our survival.
The Ego, being a survival defense mechanism as well as an integral part of our Self growth system, does not relinquish control very easily, especially at lower levels of awareness. It wants to protect the Self and the Soul, but when we are weak and unaware, the Self doesn’t possess the Insight or the Courage in needs to reassume control. Until the Self gains the Awareness it needs to regain full control of the Psyche, the Ego will be directing most of our lives important decisions. It can become a habit to employ the Ego in stressful situations, when we aren’t sure what to do, and when we feel threatened.
The Ego does not have access to the Self’s wisdom, power of Intention and Awareness, or the Souls Love. It’s an unaware defense system intended to keep our physical machine functioning, it has no concern about anything else. It can’t see Beauty, Truth or Love, it is not designed to discern Meaning or the interconnectedness of the material and the spiritual, that’s the Self and the Souls purpose. As a result the Ego must use counterfeits from the material world that it thinks will satisfy our “needs”. It can never provide us what we truly “need”, because we don’t “need” anything outside of ourselves. The Self Sees Truth in the Beauty of the world, releasing the power of the Soul to channel our intention and we express as we truly are. “Needs” is an external manifestation of the Ego, it’s a construct, constructed by the Ego.
After many attempts, and many empty feeling failures, the Ego can become desperate to obtain gratification, so it settles for a counterfeit existence. This act wounds the Self, and the Soul not being channeled by the self, is expressed less and less. Hope can be lost, ones Ideals become ordeals and life is dealt with, coped with, we try to survive.