Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Keep Growing

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We are blessed to have a home in which we can comfortably stay. There is a pandemic raging out there in the big wide world. Home alone is the best place to be.

There is also a political calamity raging in the U.S. with incredible numbers of people holding opposing views about what is real. It’s frustrating to witness. I hold a view that human development doesn’t naturally progress without some energy to urge forward momentum. If there is no outside influence, people will tend to settle for far less than their ultimate potential.

We see what we want to see and we hear what we want to hear. Change is unsettling for the majority of folks.

Physical human growth is outwardly obvious with age but intellectual enlightenment and emotional and spiritual maturity less so. Some people’s development seems to stop at an adolescent level. There is a phenomenon of like minds coalescing around their common level of development.

It is uncomfortable to find oneself surrounded by too many others who function in a distinctly different stage of growth. Picture yourself as a toddler playing comfortably with your dolls or trucks when a gang of college students suddenly takes over the room to practice a debate.

Yesterday, Cyndie read to me from Fr. Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward” about stages and steps of human and spiritual maturation. This excerpt resonated:

…from your own level of development, you can only stretch yourself to comprehend people just a bit beyond yourself. Some theorists say you cannot stretch more than one step above your own level of consciousness, and that is on a good day! Because of this limitation, those at deeper (or “higher”) levels beyond you invariably appear wrong, sinful, heretical, dangerous, or even worthy of elimination.

I don’t have any idea how to bridge that inevitable discord in appearance between people of distant levels of development, but at the very least, this helps me to comprehend what has been so incomprehensible to me.

I feel as though I have grown significantly in my perspectives about how to love myself and others, but the last four years have tripped me up in my goal to maintain a healthy perspective about those who appear so wrong and dangerous to me.

We might all be adults, but some would rather play with their toys while others seek to debate difficult concepts. It is understandable that two groups of such different levels of consciousness would have difficulty understanding each other.

No wonder it is so hard to get everyone to simply wear a face mask in public during a global pandemic.

May we all pause to see those with whom we don’t agree with fresh compassion for whatever level of human growth they have achieved. Each of our paths are unique. Offer a hand to those who are willing and open to lifting us, or being lifted by us.

No matter where each one of us is, don’t ever stop growing.

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