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 The Spiritual Journey: Divine Discontent 
 

Our cravings bring us face to face with the human shadow, those still unconscious parts of ourselves we deplore and disown. Learning ways to heal these unwanted parts is more than half the work of embodying spirit, our psychospiritual integration. To heal, we must return to our past and literally "re-collect" all these lost pieces of ourselves. This process of purification and acceptance of our disowned nature is a prerequisite for any spiritual transformation. There is a time-worn maxim in spiritual work: You can't move to a higher level until you accept fully where you're at.

Our alienation from our deeper Self, with the companion feelings of isolation and shame must be fully experienced before they can be transformed. "Not out, but through!" becomes the psyche's cry as it learns it must experience its own dramatic bout with darkness, the negative side of its nature, before it can complete itself. Why? Because if we only pursue the light, we deny the shadow of our own nature and project it on others. Hatred, bigotry, even war have their psychodynamic roots in this phenomenon of projection. The negativity within us, being only one side of our nature, holds its power only by remaining in the dark. Once accepted, the compulsion to act from these incompleted dark elements within us subsides, and they are balanced by the positive qualities of their opposites. We reclaim and accept our whole nature.

There is a correlation between the shadow's ways, feelings of ecstasy, and our addictive nature, for each operates in the closets of fear and repressionÑthe inability to own the passionate and "untamed" side of our nature. But as you read, you'll start to see that even the lowliest shadow self has a purposeful and holy function: that somehow, having to hit bottom is a sacred ritual, an integral part of the creative process. Our passions are obviously tied to the act of creation itself. And who would know more about the activities of creation than the Creator~-God who invented them?

I hope you now have a sense of the "holy conflict" within our desire nature, but that you also realize that all can eventually be resolved into a life filled with divine ecstasy and love. Apparently, the Higher Power has plans for our path to heaven other than letting us simply choose between the opposites of right or wrong, moral or immoral, passionate or blase. Transcendence is a battle between "the warring Opposites," which then both rise to a higher way. These are the workings of creativity itself.

Most of us feel we're a long way from harmonizing our holy and unholy aspects. We prefer to project our despicable shadow self onto others and denounce it from a distance, a peculiar psychological defense mechanism we'll speak of later. This acceptance of our whole nature requires a shift in consciousness we can't take for granted. We may need to do a great deal of inner work before we can resolve these splits which tear many an unconscious soul apart.

A reframing of our biographies and a new identity may be in order if we're ever going to get past this uncomfortable stage of our human unfoldment. The work needed will be that of psychospiritual integration. As natural transcenders, we must learn to accept ourselves as the lucky possessors of insatiable appetites, hungry hearts, and minds that are starving for truth. For without this craving, we would fall into a state of entropy and never push forward. The craving, the hunt, the heady anticipation of "the seeker," of going toward some deep and unmet yearning, always seeking a greater highÑperhaps this is the true blessing of being alive! And even more: perhaps it's God's way of keeping us on a path of transcendence. It could be that this is why our Future continually beckons but never really arrives. Our "divine discontent" assures us that we'll never rest in any sort of incompletionÑagain and again we feel capable of going beyond our current state. Perhaps this is how we eventually simulate our God-nature and merge with our Ideal.

(Excerpted from Embodying Spirit: Coming Alive with Meaning and Purpose ISBN: 0062552783)
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