Let go of your preconceived ideas.  Frequently growth can be accomplished only by surrendering to old ways of seeing things, old ways of being, releasing the known so as to step into the unknown.

Real life is like that.  Whatever “real life” is, eh?

One idea we cling to is that things have to be one way or another…..there are two sides to an issue and you generally have to pick one.  The fact of the matter is that when we are presented with two sides, those opposing forces are an important part of our spiritual evolutionary growth as humans, the two sides calling us to see the value in both, to include them both in what we know to be “true”, yet to transcend them as we allow something “greater and higher” to emerge.

Being and Becoming are like that.

We live in a material world.  There is no denying that there is this physical realm out there all around us and inside us that are essential aspects to our overall sense of conscious experience.  Any attempts to deny the reality of this outer experience as some kind of illusion are met with the forces that can knock us off our feet.  We do and must live in this material world. We live, move and grow in this realm.  It is the realm of “becoming”, of experience, of going from somewhere to somewhere else.  Materialist like to claim that this world is the only reality, but they too are mistaken.

There is a realm of experience beyond the material world, the world of being.  We all live in a non-material, spiritual world as well. Just simply stop and think….that’s it, all you need to do….stop and think and then ask yourself “where are those thoughts?”  Further inquiries…..where is consciousness? what is consciousness?  what are dreams? why are there out of body experiences?  where does individual expressions of consciousness go when we “die”?  The materialist likes to offer explanations to these and similar questions….but that is simply an explanation that is found to be in alignment with their viewpoint that “all is matter” and in such viewpoint they cannot have such lingering unanswered questions.  Even when they admit that science cannot explain where consciousness comes from, they like to add words like “not yet” and “one day it will” and so on.

The fact is, we live in both a spiritual world and a physical world simultaneously.  We are both being and becoming.

Maslow’s hierarchy points out that we have needs in both realms.  The world of becoming is driven by physical, safety, security, belonging and self esteem needs. The world of becoming says we are lacking in something and we must “fill the hole”.  The world of being recognizes that we don’t really have needs but that we already have all that we need.  It is from this vantage point that we may be motivated by needs such as self actualization and self transcendence that attempt to give to the world and others from our sense of fullness.

It is the world of becoming that moves us through human experiences, growing, learning, absorbing the beauty and richness of this third dimensional world.

It is the world of being that says that at the ground of who I am, there is a constant, a soul, a spirit that is unchanging and perfect.

It is in the world of becoming that we seek to change the world, to create an outer expression of our existence that serves all.

It is in the world of being that we know that we do not need to save or change the world.

Of course, this is not an “either-or” thing.

At our source is our timeless unchanging state of being, yet we are also growing and moving and having temporal experiences in a world of becoming.  Both are true.

Just as the ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol represents the ever present push and pull of opposing forces, it also shows that the whole is greater than either side.

The light and the dark need and support one another.

The masculine and feminine only find their greatest expression in the dynamic tension between the two.

The physical life in our world only evolved when matter mastered its existence by both maintaining its autonomy of self yet simultaneous surrendered its autonomy to a higher purpose.  Atoms had to maintain their state of being an atom yet allow themselves to become a part of  molecules. Molecules had to maintain their state of being a molecule yet surrender to being a part of cells.  A similar state of dual expression was need by cells, multicell creatures and so on to allow the birth of something greater.

Therefore, the question becomes, “what gets birthed in us as a unique expression of the One (or if you prefer, God or Spirit) when we live our lives and see our true as emerging from both our state of constant unchanging being and our movement through the world in an experience of becoming?” What happens when we live knowing both are true?

Philosopher Ken Wilber says that a true “religion of the future” needs to incorporate both development of our states of consciousness via practices such as meditation (that is, develop our awareness of our state of being) and development of our stages of growth in this world (our states of becoming).  Those methods of knowing the truth…be they religion, science or philosophy…must evolve and integrate both trues developed via being and becoming.

Personally, I am still moving through these questions.  I can “get stuck” at times….stuck giving too much energy to simply “being” and denying my role in the world of form….or stuck giving too much time to “becoming” in this seductive world of material form and denying my spiritual truth.  I tend to flip back and forth.

Somehow or another, both inner and outer forces are pushing me and pulling me to find the right equilibrium and to create a physical-spiritual existence that co-exists in the realms of Being and Becoming simultaneously.

It is a work in progress as I seek to maintain my sense of personal autonomy yet allow myself to be a part of a greater and higher expression that I know my inner spirit is calling me to.

Mark Gilbert

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Photo by Mumes World on Foter.com / CC BY-NC