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The Process of the Spiritual Path
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

''How can we look mindfully and deeply when one eye is on the goal?'' Susan Jeffers

''To give yourself time is to actively work toward a goal without setting a limit on how long you will work.'' Joe Hyams

In many aspects of our lives, goals are helpful. To make sure we meet deadlines, remember meetings, get to the dry cleaners, or shop for groceries, making ''To Do'' lists and setting goals for ourselves helps keep us focused. Yet as we grow spiritually, goals and deadlines can take away from what is really important to our Spiritual growth - the process. When we only look at the end result, we miss the education we acquire through the journey.

We often inadvertently set spiritual goals for ourselves - read all the books on creativity that I can; go to yoga five times a week; look at my affirmations every hour on the hour. When we approach our spirituality in this manner, we might only see the overall lesson, not how that lesson can serve us to be a better person.

Susan spoke of this mainly in the context of exploring Spiritual growth, but it can apply to all of life. When one goal is achieved, there will be another. Life becomes a series of ''ends'' with nothing in between. The journey is where the true lessons lie. Living our best lives is about noticing the small details, not looking at the big picture.

''In a world of deadlines and stress,'' Susan wrote, ''it is wonderful to know that there is one area in our life where it is better not to rush...and that is the area of Spiritual growth.''

Goals are generally thought of as the achievement, but in expanding ourselves through Spiritual growth we are always constantly evolving. Looking to check off another box on our path of development is not the important thing. The important thing is to learn more about ourselves. Treating Spiritual growth as a thing to be accomplished misses the fact that it never can truly be finished.

The quote used to begin this article is the beginning of a whole paragraph on the subject Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life: ''How can we look mindfully and deeply when one eye is on the goal? How can we learn the art of letting go when one eye is on the goal? How can we learn the art of embracing all that is beautiful in life when one eye is on the goal? The answer is simple...we can't! So decide that you are going to do it with both eyes on the process...and forget about the goal! I know this contradicts so much of your previous teaching, but in the area of Spiritual growth, you have entered a new dimension of being.''

By looking to complete a goal, especially when we give ourselves deadlines, we are missing the point of the process. To grow spiritually, we need to absorb and to think and to be. Walking the spiritual path will never be about how much you read or how often you do yoga or how many times you repeat your affirmations. Those things are only tools that will help you become more in touch with your spirit and to assist you along your spiritual path.

''When you stop thinking that you have to do it all now,'' Susan continued, ''or even in this lifetime, your impatience dissolves into the sweet flow that is the natural rhythm of life. And as you continue your step-by-step journey, inward and upward to the best of who we are, life just gets better and better and better and better.''

Spiritual growth can take many forms - from a simple walk on the beach to formally studying with a master and anything in-between. What matters most is that we give ourselves time to discover the tools and knowledge we need to open ourselves to the Universe. It’s not a race and there is no one way for any of us to open up spiritually.

So take your time to look mindfully and deeply. Remember that Spiritual growth is about, after all, the process itself – expansion, progression and self-improvement. Your Spiritual path does not end... it transforms as it unfolds.

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