Personal Growth - The spiral staircase
by Suma Varughese
Our human journey leads us to oscillate between the polarities of good and evil; wealth and poverty until we reach enlightenment.
Suma Varughese is Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive.
Write to her at email@example.com
I recently attended an introductory workshop to past-life therapy conducted by a friend of mine. And since then I have found myself pondering over one statement he made. My friend said that apparently we take about 700 human births before we actually hit the jackpot of enlightenment.
These births gravitate between four roles: that of prince, pauper, priest and prostitute (the word prostitute encompasses a life of indulgence and sensuality). We play these roles alternatively until we have learnt the lessons we need to before moving to the next level. At the next level, we once again swing between the two polarities of wealth and poverty and good and evil until the lessons at this level too have been mastered and so on until we reach the apex, where we finally see the light.
My own experience of the path had confirmed to me that growth is spiral-like rather than linear. We go through the same processes such as taking responsibility, accepting, dropping expectations, surrender, over and over again. But each time we do so, we experience the power of the truths at a deeper and more immediate level and with greater clarity.
For instance, I am now experiencing the concept of taking responsibility for perhaps the fourth time since I set foot on the path. Each time, the insight seems powerful and I feel I have really got it, but only hindsight has proved to me that the insight did not transform the way I lived my life or conducted my relationships. Today, I do feel it is possible for me to take responsibility for my stuff at least with 80 per cent efficacy. Perhaps I will have to take one more step on the spiral to establish myself fully in the state of responsibility.
Apart from this, the four P’s, as they are called, have made me realise that no matter how advanced we may be on the path, we may still have to take birth as paupers and prostitutes – for there may still be some edges to be softened or some kinks to be straightened.
This explains why seemingly evolved people – gurus, sages, and so on – can still get entangled in unsavoury sex and money scandals. They are evolved. Many aspects of them are genuinely liberated and yet until the final climax, there are still lessons to be learnt and vasanas to be released.
The four Ps also make us eminently aware of the transient nature of our present fortune – whether good or bad. Is it really possible to ignore the extended arm of the beggar perched on the grimy step of a railway station when we know that perhaps we ourselves were there at one point of time and for all we know might well be for another?
Equally, is it possible to sit on judgement of those who err in one quarter or other when we know that we ourselves will be waging similar battles with sensuality in some lifetime?
How differently our rulers would behave if they were to realise that in other lifetimes they would be the ruled.
This wisdom is transformational if we have the character to act upon it.
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