spiritual growth

The Value of Challenge in our Spiritual Work

ChallengesI've lately been re-doing certain exercises and techniques I learned years ago. I'm redoing them because it's been some time since I've done them, and I've challenged myself to do these exercises with more intention and awareness than I likely applied the first time I did them. To my mind, part of what makes spiritual work meaningful, and perhaps work in general, is the challenges we discover during the course of doing it. If your spiritual work isn't challenging you, then its time for a change. When you discover challenge, you are doing it right. You have discovered in challenge those parts of yourself that need to grow. You have encountered a sense of vulnerability, and a realization that you are being called to face up to yourself as well as to the spiritual powers you work with.

My choice to re-do certain exercises is a reflection of my own challenges and how they have changed me. I look book on previous work I've done and I wonder if I couldn't do it better, or if I didn't miss something from before. So I approach a meditation technique a bit wiser perhaps, certainly more experienced, but also with a humbleness because I recognize that I want to challenge myself again to really get into the heart of the technique and embrace it as an opportunity to challenge myself and my spiritual work.

I don't think a person can really grow unless they challenge themselves. It's easy, for example, to read lots of books on magic and spirituality, but simply reading those books won't provide you an in-depth understanding of what you are reading. Indeed, you'll know this when you feel lost...and the only way you will be able to change that is to challenge yourself and DO the work. Embody the work and make it part of your life, something that is meaningful because you actually have made it your own.

Last night I was developing an exercise for the Wealth Magic book and I talked with Kat about the exercise, and asked her what she thought I should include in it. What elements was I missing from this exercise, and what could I do to really integrate those elements and challenge my readers with the exercise? I ask her that question, because I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and how better to do it than to ask the advice of someone who knows me intimately and yet has her own perspectives and experiences. The answers she gave me provided me an opportunity to become a better writer, as well as challenge my readers in their spiritual work. I looked for the meaning that she might find as a test audience, but I also knew that by challenging myself as a writer through getting input from someone else, I could also improve my writing and my connection with my audience. I made the writing my own by challenging myself to be better, instead of simply settling for the status quo.

Your spirituality comes to life when you challenge yourself to make it part of your life. The same is true of writing, art, anything you are interested in. Until you challenge yourself and push yourself to be better, you can't make it your own...and you'll find that sometimes you have challenged yourself and time passes and you need to revisit and redo the challenge, because the experiences you've had, have changed your understanding of what you knew...and you need to rediscover and re-embody that understanding. Challenge yourself and you will do it.