“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the big problems we face as practitioners of the inner path is measuring our progress.
How do we know if we’re actually developing, or just standing still?
We can’t look at the weight on the bar, or our scoring average, or our income to measure our progress.
There are no hard numbers we can chart on a spreadsheet.
And if we can’t measure our progress, how do we know whether or not our strategy is working?
I hope you can see how big a problem this is:
Practitioners can spend years treading water while thinking they’re swimming miles.
So here’s a simple way we can think about our progress:
Inner development expands outwards.
As we develop…
Care expands outwards from ourselves to others to the world as a whole.
Purpose expands outwards from short-term desires like food, money and pleasure to long-range global missions.
Personality expands outwards from tense and rigid to open and expressive.
Even our physical body expands from tight and contracted to relaxed and free.
(my first QiGong teacher once said that our development can be measured by the amount of tension in our body)
Of course, this is a long-term process.
But the more developed we are, the more long-term we think.
(the beginner tracks progress in days and weeks, the practitioner tracks progress in years and decades, and the master tracks progress in lifetimes)
And over the long-term, if you find your care, your focus, your purpose, and your sense of freedom expanding outwards…
…Well done, and keep on going.
This path, after all, is for life.
P.S. Pair today’s lesson with this 5 minute clip from last year’s retreat about how life purpose expands outwards.
And stay tuned:
On the first day of our retreat this summer, we revealed a system called Spiral Dynamics that feels like x-ray vision for inner development:
It shows us exactly what level we’re at, what the next level is, and how to get there…
And might be the most useful overall tool I’ve ever come across for making big progress, quickly.
The full Spiral Dynamics session will be released with our retreat recordings soon (and I’m sure we’ll post a few clips on YouTube as well).
If you’re interested, hit reply to let me know.