Not all growth is perceptible. Nor is all growth equal.
There are years when you grow outwardly. You graduate, get a new job, move to a new city, and perhaps buy a house.
You meet the love of your life. You get married. You get promoted at your job.
There is great outward momentum in those years. Your growth as an individual, as a global citizen and member of the community is perceptible.
You have tangible proof to demonstrate your growth.
You point to all your external accomplishments and say, “Look! I have come so far in such a short time!”
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But there are other times when growth progresses at a snail’s pace.
You may have a nagging desire for change that creeps up on you and keeps you awake at night.
My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.
You may decide that you won’t tolerate being overweight and exhausted for one more year.
Maybe you are ready to move on from your current job or relationship.
Perhaps you are ready to finally acknowledge feelings that continue to haunt you – gut wrenching fear of losing control, bitter regret over lost dreams, gnawing guilt of all you ought to do compared to what you want to do.
When the tension from containing your desires is too much to bear, when the pain of living a half-life consumes you, you can’t help but transform.
You must choose to evolve, to face your fears and your feelings.
You choose to transform even when not many will understand or relate to your growth; you pursue it even when that growth will be imperceptible to everyone except a select few.
As social animals we are so eager to grow in ways that society accepts and applauds. I find it ironic that we pat ourselves on the back when we achieve external growth, but are reluctant to even explore the internal one.
The day is ending. It’s time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that is beautiful. Now, Let go.
We often discount those days, months and years of listening to our inner thoughts, of opening up our heart to something new.
This internal growth although at times tenuous, is invaluable. It is more precious than all the wages, promotions and accolades you will ever earn.
Pursuit of material possessions can only lead to temporary happiness, while pursuit of self improvement is sure to lead to greater wisdom, knowledge and personal power.
Self knowledge and self improvement are powerful tools in your arsenal. They will invigorate you and open up unforeseen territories to your novice mind.
Only by gaining a better understanding of your motivations, your deepest desires and darkest fears, can you build a foundation of resilience and strength to weather the storms of life.
Only by rising up to the very challenges that you shy away from will you be able to prepare for greater external successes in your life.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
Internal growth can sometimes seem anachronous and inconsistent. One day you are content with everything in your life, next day you are devouring books on personal development. You may be fascinated by concepts that have been hitherto foreign to you. You crave to explore creativity in a mind that long ago chose to be analytical, logical, and rational.
Growth can also seem distorted and ugly. It can seem like a regression, a return to puberty. Just as their gangly limbs might seem alien to a budding teenager, these new feelings, a new understanding of human existence that emerges as a result of internal growth can be disconcerting.
This new reality can seem at odds with the individual you were just a short while ago, a contented adult now reverted to a gauche teenager.
But over time the awkward growth compensates. The teenager transforms into an adult again, a more wise and self-assured being.
The growth never stops; it may eventually smooth out one dimension at a time, but it is ever present and undeniable.
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
So, stop resisting this growth. It is inevitable.
Entropy always increases; chaos is the order of the Universe.
The Universe is forever expanding in variety, complexity, and sophistication.
The pull of the Supreme consciousness to develop you into a greater being than you are today is inexorable.
Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.
You are here to continuously develop in your thoughts, your words, your feelings, your convictions, and your dreams, just as surely as galaxies are born, swell, collide and merge.
As you plant the seeds of your talent, as your roots plunge deeper into the earth forever grounding those talents in an unyielding foundation, the tree of your life will bloom outwards reaching high up to the sky.
You never have to wait for a specific time to pursue growth. However, the New Year is best time of the year to plant the seeds and nurture those roots.
The resplendent colors of Autumn have faded into a profound gratitude for another productive year.
As we emerge from the warm glow of the holiday season, now is the best time to reflect back on everything we wish to transform in our life both externally and internally.
As you start planning your New Year’s resolutions, I have a few requests for you.
Even as you are growing and reaching up for the sky, realize that who you are at this precise moment in your life is enough. You are perfect at this moment!
Wherever you go from here, always choose to be yourself. Authenticity is indeed audacity.
Find the courage to plan one audacious thing this year. It could be a goal, it could be a connecting with someone or it could be exploring your creative side.
Rather than going after these walls and barriers with a sledgehammer, we pay attention to them. With gentleness and honesty, we move closer to those walls. We touch them, and smell them and get to know them well. We become familiar with the strategies and beliefs we use to build these walls: what are the stories we tell ourselves? What repels me and what attracts me? Without calling what we see right or wrong, we simply look as objectively as we can. We can observe ourselves with humor, not getting overly serious, moralistic or uptight about the investigation. Year after year, we train in remaining open and receptive to whatever arises. Slowly, very slowly, the cracks in the walls seem to widen and, as if by magic, bodhichitta is able to flow freely.
Be compassionate with yourself.
Treat yourself as you would a seedling or a child with tender loving care.
Forgive past mistakes.
Stop replaying your weaknesses. Choose to lean into your strengths.
Remember that what you focus on grows. You manifest your life from your very thoughts. Control your thoughts, manifest your destiny.
As you reach for those big dreams, remember to breathe and appreciate the small beauties in your life.
Wishing you and everyone in your circles, a very Happy New Year!
My heartfelt hope is that the New Year brings you tremendous internal and external growth!