Aligning with the Evolutionary Impulse
"As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter."
- Power of Now, page 131
Growth -- whether physical, intellectual, or spiritual -- is an unconscious process outside the realm of our own doing.
Our own birth and life was not of our own doing. We are given life – a physical body, a mind and a heart – and each of these grow in a mysterious way. As children we grow bigger and taller with each next year. We don't know how or even when it is happening. It just happens. We don't control the process. But we do influence it greatly.
Some children grow more strong and healthy than others. This is in part due to genetic inheritance. But it is also a measure of the quality of nourishment and care the child receives. Growth is influenced by the emotional environment in which the child is raised. Medical researchers are discovering that growth is influenced by how much a child values himself or herself – or not. Children are capable of developing such a low sense of their own value that they do not care about their own welfare, health or happiness. These children will suffer from many internal mechanisms that limit or stunt their physical, emotional, mental and later their spiritual growth.
The same is true for any person at any time in their life.
Growth is an act of grace bestowed by the evolutionary impulse that animates and enlivens all of life. The evolutionary impulse is an optimizing force. We attract this grace by creating favorable conditions to our growth. Another way of saying this is that we align ourselves with the evolutionary impulse.
Growth is what happens if you don't do that which will hinder growth. You actually have to work against the evolutionary impulse in order not to grow. Unfortunately, many of us do.
What are some of the hindrances to our growth?
- Negativity of any kind
- Negative friends
- Negative thoughts
- Negative actions
- Criticizing yourself or others
- Blaming yourself or others
- Indifference toward the well-being of yourself or others
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Incessant thinking, doubt or worry
- Fear of stillness and silence
- Medicating with alcohol, drugs or other addictive behaviors
Be honest with yourself as you re-read this list. There is at least one that will apply to you. The truth is, there will be more. But choose one, and for the next week, observe this barrier to growth with an interested curiosity. Look for it in your daily activity and in your inner mental activity. Don't try to make it go away. Just allow it to be as you watch it and learn how it influences your life.
For the next week, give yourself the gift of practicing this exercise.