Those of us who intentionally pursue the spiritual life can’t help but take time for a check-in. How am I doing? Am I a little closer to figuring out this Mystery? Have I turned my life over to the Spirit in some significant way so that the light of Christ shines through me to others? How am I doing, Lord? Do you love me? Do I get any special credit for my good intentions?
This kind of introspection is common especially at this time of year when many are making or already breaking New Year’s resolutions. We review our activities in order to take control of our lives to make them positive. Sometimes our new programs for happiness work. Discipline and hard work can produce desired results.
In the spiritual life, however, the process is more than an application of our best efforts. We cannot reach heaven by building a ladder. In fact, we often get in our own way by concentrating on how we are doing rather presenting ourselves to God in a humble fashion. God is interested in a loving relationship with us rather than handing out merit badges for our good efforts. In our goal for personal achievement we may create absolute answers to spiritual questions so that we can feel secure and certain that everything will work out as desired. But certitude is the opposite of faith. It replaces trust with seeming facts that aren’t necessarily so. This is the problem with taking every word of the Bible as literally true, forgetting that the Bible was written by fallible human beings reflecting on their idea of God, right or wrong.
The spiritual journey is not primarily about us but is a willingness to let go of our personal identity to participate in a transpersonal consciousness that we call Spirit. It is an openness to glimpse the Source of All Being – to begin the process of merging into Divine Love. In this process the ego-bound self dies to self to be free to enter into unity consciousness. The process is not one of finding answers but one of discovering humility as we journey the pathway to God.
There is value reflecting on our lives and pursuing good intentions especially if we are on a destructive course. But we need to remember that the identity project is ultimately doomed since it tends to create a false self that is more interested in itself than in the Source that made all things possible. The spiritual process is one of letting go of the self to become one with the Ground of our Being. How this occurs is a mystery, but our surrender allows this grace filled transformation to occur. It is the “ego’s journey home to the source of its own Being.” (K. D. Singh)