“The Ladder of Life”
You know, as I look for topics that would interest you or at least have some sense of purpose for you, sometimes ideas just pop into my head…thank you Spirit!
SO, when the “Ladder of Life” came to mind, I thought, why not go for it. Could be an interesting topic…some value to it if I can fill in the large blank that is a blank page.
So, I googled “Ladder of Life” just for the heck of it, and I got all kinds of Ladders…but nothing about the “Ladder of Life” that I was thinking of.
So, once again, I was going into this on my own.
When I think of a ladder of life, I think of the steps we take on our life’s journey and how each one affects us.
If we think back to our earliest choice, where did it bring us? And then, think again to our next choice…. there is always a choice.
Somewhere along the way, we choose to try to better ourselves. Maybe we made a-not-so-great choice and we weren’t in a good place. But then we made a ‘better’ choice and we saw that there was hope for us.
We all have been in those situations…some earlier in our lives than others. But we made a choice to do better. There’s always a CHOICE!
Obviously, one of those choices was to attend Unity…just saying!
We ALL have experiences that were presented to us for learning…learning about life, about others, learning about relationships, and about the God of our understanding.
T.S. Eliot says, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.”
It is possible to live through something and not to understand it. If the meaning is not recognized, then the full life changing impact of the experience may be lost, even aborted. Luckily, it is never too late to “get the meaning” and with the meaning there may come transformation.
This could be the ‘spiritual 2×4’ that we too often refer to, right????
AS babies, we are born whole and complete. We lose that wholeness as we grow and separate ourselves in our individualization…. ego comes into play and domestication on all levels thwart our sense of remaining in Oneness with the Divine.
So, our goal then, is to get back to wholeness. And THAT is where our “Ladder of Life” comes into play.
The creation story of the Garden of Eden tells us metaphorically about our lost wholeness.
The Garden is a place of wholeness and perfection. All needs are met and there is only one prohibition. One may not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eating from this tree will bring death. Such a temptation to knowledge proves too much and Eve and Adam do eat of the fruit. Their eyes are opened. They awaken to self-knowledge and to the world of opposites. They are thrown into the world of duality.
Symbolically, the story tells us that when they eat of the fruit of this Tree there is the birth of self-reflective consciousness. There is the beginning of personality formation and the Ego. With the birth of the ego there is an expulsion from the garden of unconscious wholeness out into the world of individuality.
Can you see why eating from the tree of good and evil brings about metaphoric death?
That death introduced us to duality. We no longer saw ourselves as One with all. A death of our realization of wholeness. And we want that back…but we cannot not gain it going backwards…we must move forward.
Life’s journey, then, is to strive to regain our realization of wholeness but do it consciously and with intention. Unconscious wholeness does not do you or anyone else any good but conscious wholeness can be made manifest in the world and shared with others.
The first half of our lives we developed personality and a sense of ourselves which is the ego. We learned skills and abilities, so we can be all we can be in this physical world.
The second part of life involves bringing all that knowledge together to wholeness. It’s almost like asking yourself, what did I learn in this life and then setting our steps forward to transformation to our realization of our Divine self?
And actually, that is what you are asking as you climb the Ladder of Life…what did I learn at each step, each rung? And, does it still suit me to have that as part of my life?
In our “I of the Storm” class this past week, one of the assignments was to form a timeline of your life’ journey and indicate on that time line, the instances of resistance you encountered along the way, noting the feelings felt. Then, looking at the maze that is your life, what can you learn from those situations? Was there a theme to your challenges? How often did you have to learn the same lesson? Did each situation make you stronger?
It’s a great book and class…everyone should take it.
So these questions and experiences are all rungs on the Ladder of Life.
Each point of resistance is an opportunity to learn something. We do not necessarily realize it at the time, but looking back is most often, easier to do. Try it when you are at home and see what you come up with.
Rev. Dr. Gary Simmon’s book, “The I of the Storm” has a unique way of looking at those situations that present themselves as conflict. It is when we embrace conflict that we work through it and learn what gifts are being presented.
Remember, ‘what we resist, persists’.
Or as they say on Star Trek, ‘resistance is futile!
What does ‘what we resist persists’ mean?
It means what we continue to think about consciously or unconsciously, will continue to remain in our lives.
So, if you feel as if you are stuck on a certain rung on the Ladder of Life, a certain place, and can’t seem to feel as if you are moving forward; check what you are thinking about. What are you saying to yourself? Watch your conscious AND unconscious thoughts and behaviors.
What is showing up in your life is what rung you are standing on…is it a strong rung or is it a little worn?
Thoughts of lack, for example, come in many forms…. instead of “I can’t afford that” we could say, “that is not is my budget at this time.”
Instead of “my illness…whatever it may be” say “this body is whole and complete, disease free.” Or, “this body is afflicted with….” If you must mention the illness.
We do not need to claim the affliction and Myrtle Fillmore would agree. When she stopped believing of the family illness of Tuberculosis, she began turning it around and cured herself.
And we can do that and more also. Just take the steps necessary…that first step may be a hard one, but we all know after that first step, it gets easier.
I found these steps, no author noted, of 5 steps on the Ladder of Life, to improve yourself daily,
According to the writers, you only need one thing to improve your life: determination.
You need to improve yourself in order to be happy. But then they break it down into five keys to promote your own personal growth.
1. The first step to improving yourself: stop being permeable.
If you’re strongly affected by criticism, you are permeable. When you get carried away by what others say to you, recommend, or suggest without considering your own opinion first, you are permeable.
If you’re the kind of person who feels overwhelmed by the negativity of those around you, by their toxic or limited ideas, you are permeable.
To stop it, you need to protect yourself…. begin by visualizing a wall. Next, internalize a very simple concept: no one will be able to cross that wall. That is where your dignity and self-esteem are stored, and no one can violate that boundary. To protect this boundary, be assertive. Learn to say “NO.”
2. Second step: deal with what’s hurting you
The second phase to improving yourself and climbing the ladder of life is solving what hurts you.
You feel disappointments, failures, and lies throughout your life that make you feel as if you’ve achieved nothing. You need to heal those wounds and stop dragging them around behind you. Disappointments do hurt, but they can be overcome by being aware that the entire world and people within it can’t be exactly as you desire.
You must assume that people fail, and that you too will fail from time to time. Understand that this all becomes a part of your past. It becomes of yesterday and there’s nothing that has happened that you can change.
This is where you experience the meaning of the situation or relationship, learn the lesson and then move on.
What you can change is yourself. The past is past, not happening NOW. So, climb up one rung of the ladder once you’ve resolved those wounds.
3. Third step: not resisting
There’s that ‘resistance is futile’ again!
If you want to excel you need to start practicing the “no resistance” approach. What persists, resists.
If you’re an indecisive person, let yourself go. Everything that you want and dream of is beyond this psychological barrier.
Fear is what will be most able to freeze you in place. The fear of failing, the fear of not being what others expect of you, or the restlessness that comes from having to search for your dreams can bring you disappointment that is a common occurrence among humankind.
The law of non-resistance can be applied in a variety of ways. One way is by accepting others as they are. Don’t expect to be able to change them. You can only change you and how you see and understand what is around you.
Another useful strategy is to practice self-knowledge. If you know who you are and what you want, you need to break free from what holds you back and what forces you to persist in suffering or sadness. It is of no use to you, we choose to suffer. Only you can choose to not suffer.
4. Fourth step: personal freedom
By personal freedom, we don’t mean dropping everything and leaving. Freedom demands responsibility.
You have the right to be free and to choose what you do and do not want in your life. You can also choose who you do and do not want by your side.
This fourth step above all implies being courageous. It’s time to leave behind what no longer serves you and climb the most complicated rung of all: that of conscious choices.
5. Step five: embrace love
To embrace love is to fight for what is worthwhile and to know how to keep it. The top of the ladder of life is being able to hold onto what makes you happy.
There’s no doubt that there are people by your side whom you love. They are the pinnacle of your experiences: appreciate them.
Similarly, in this final goal at the top of the ladder of your life is your personal fulfilment. Here is where your self-love shines and where you glow with the calm of understanding how you feel and realizing your true self.
Getting here is not easy. As we said in the beginning, you need determination. But you’ll always have people by your side assisting you onward, giving wind to your wings.
They come in all living forms and are here for you as you need them and as you ALLOW for them to be in your life.
They are the magical beings that soothe the soul and become an intimate part of your personal journey.
Be grateful for all those who have helped you to and through your journey thus far….
And do not give up. The journey is worth it…just look inside to that blessed part of your soul, that connection to Spirit you have and keep working on keeping that connection burning…it’s all you need to Know the Truth, and that Truth will set you free.