The population ranges from those who refuse to see, to those who cannot, to those who will, to those who do, to those who can but do not want to, to the unification theorists such as Wilber.
What, in your experience, catalyzes the growth of people who were previously stubborn or uninterested in further enlightenment?
Asking, after 30 years of meditation & practice.
I think one common thing I see in everyone who gets “stuck” is when people think they “got it”. Not just in spiritual development but in all aspects of life. For example, unhealthy people are often the most likely to give advice about some fad diet or popular workout routine. Something was successful for them at some time and they stick with it. It’s hard to break away from something that seemed to work in the past and realize that past performance does not guarantee future results.
I think everyone CAN “see”. Everyone has the ability. But in order to grow, we have to cast off what we think we know about any “next level” because we are probably wrong.
Unfortunately, success often impedes one’s need to cast away what is working and the greater the success, the greater is the fear in casting it off.
The basic “trick” most spiritual and religious organizations play on it’s members is to give participants some kind of early feeling of joy or ecstasy - but also at the same time hiding the fact that the participant doesn’t actually need that particular person or religion on an ongoing basis. It’s very rare to find a teacher or guide who says “You don’t actually need me or any of this rubbish, but it can help you for a time until you find something better.”
The greatest progress is often made among people who have “failed”. Many times this means material poverty, but more often especially in North America where people are “successful” - they look around at their success and are incredibly depressed that for all their wealth they have nothing. They feel deep down that they lack something and “want it”. So they find something that gives them initial success but also at the same time might limit their next step.
Pain. Not to get all goth/emo about it, but in my experience, pain is the greatest motivator for transformation. Whether that pain is coming from a personal trauma, from someone we love, or from environmental life conditions, we tend to resist change until we are forced by various pressures to transform and those pressures finally surpass whatever comforts we’ve surrounded ourselves with. Life is suffering — and that suffering is a catalyst for all growth in the universe.
I think that this is the vital evolutionary role that pain continues to play in the universe. It’s not just about avoiding threat and seeking comfort and safety, but also allowing that pain to push us forward when we no longer have access to our insulated refuge, or when our comforts can no longer protect us or distract us from our own suffering. Confronting fragility yields greater anti-fragility, if we allow it to.
Great reflections Ray. I agree that epistemic over-certainty almost always prevents genuine transformation, and therefore we need to cultivate a “confident humility” that prevents us from going too far over our skis, as well as the sort of halo effect that seduces us into thinking that just because we are good at some things, we are therefore good at all other things. Ryan and I just did an episode about this, which I hope to publish in the next week or so.
this has absolutely been my experience - although pain (existential, illness, loss) prompted my ‘search’, the breakthroughs came mostly in meditation or directly after.
I was listening to a Rogan interview with Tristan Harris and Daniel Schmachtenberger a couple of weeks ago and they were asking ‘so how do we get people to level up?’ or something to that effect. And I said to my phone ‘Pain’ lol. It’s happening all around us but those deeply in it can’t see it.
(Love your work, Corey)