I used to think that my progress in life was linear. I'd face a test, learn a lesson, move on. If the test reared it's ugly head again and caught me up in it's delusion, I'd get frustrated with myself and feel like I must have failed the first (or second/third/billionth) time. This belief stuck with me for decades and stuck is exactly what it created. Negative emotions are like barbs that hold us fast to an unhelpful belief. The more frustrated, the more stuck.
Here's a concrete example: I can become needy of my husband when I am unconsciously judging myself. It's a common codependent behavior, we seek confirmation that we are loved from an outward source when we feel deficient of it inwardly. When our partner isn't in the mood to comply or is needing some space, we tailspin into unworthiness or, in my case, withdraw into a quiet seething stew of emotions. I've worked on this pattern relentlessly for a solid decade. It has released it's hold significantly, but there are days when it rears it's head.
One day, about a year ago, I was listening to a talk by Swami Kriyananda. In it he described the spiritual path as a pendulum, rather than a staircase. He said that some days you're nearer the center and other days you're further from it. The concept sunk deep inside my bones and unlocked me from this unhelpful belief in a linear progression. I can feel the freedom from self judgement, frustration, and disappointment of that wisdom seeping into my everything.
Understanding that life is a pendulum, not a straight line set me on a new course. I recognize when I'm nearer the center and when I'm further from it. I can more easily grasp that when I'm on the outside of the rotation, I'm simply farther from my own source of light. No need to judge, just take a breath and do what moves you toward the center. Simple.
Very quickly I noticed that the pendulum of my progress isn't a typical back and forth motion on a single plane, it's a Foucault pendulum. The Foucault pendulum rotates on a plane, but then further gyrates with the rotation of the earth and is even influenced by the earth's orbit around the sun. Some scientists wonder if it's not also attuned to the rotation of the entire universe. My experience of growth is that I move through the center, but I also revolve with the shifting of seasons, hormones, and stages of life.
This understanding has been revolutionary for me. Pun intended. Maybe it too can help to unlock you.
Love & blessings,