Unstraight Lines

by jai cross

Humans don’t tend to move in straight-lines. We may walk directly from the car to the grocery store, but that’s not typical of how we move through life.

Think of your own pattern of spiritual growth over the past few weeks, months, or years. Imagine graphing that growth versus whatever time unit feels applicable, but one that is long enough to see overall trends. We may wish that the resulting line would regularly increase due to the continued effort we expend on self-improvement. But for most of us, the line will more closely resemble a snake that had swallowed a twisted coat hanger with various ups, downs, and plateaus. We might become so focused on this lack of symmetry that we completely overlook the fact that the line goes up when viewed over sufficient time, a confirmation that we are advancing.

We can resist our graph’s variability by trying to super-impose a straight-lined version of how we believe things should be or we can accept it as it is. Acceptance allows us to appreciate those dips as a natural part of our development. Setbacks, missteps, and temporary confusions are thus willingly assimilated into our larger growth pattern. When we release ourselves from thoughts and beliefs of how our growth should proceed, we can embrace the tremendous opportunities that exist beyond our limited self-judgments. We can come to appreciate our flumblings, not as mistakes, but as integral pieces of our journey forward.

For example, I do a 20-60 minute energetic practice virtually every day. It might seem reasonable to expect that my proficiency would increase over time with some a regular practice. However some days, higher energetic states are more accessible to me than others. So I choose a particular practice that suits my present set of circumstances. My acceptance that I do not develop in a straight-line encourages me to adapt to what is available at that time. Each practice session is an opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness of that moment, to experience what I can bring forth in that moment, and to deepen into who I am in that moment.

Straight-lines don’t occur very often in nature, so as you come back into a fuller since of your authenticity, you can expect to encounter fewer of them.

I am not confined to a straight-line pattern of development. And that is a blessing.

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