Spiritual Awakening, Growth, and Enlightenment/Feeling lost...

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QUESTION: I have been going through a rough couple of months and feel as if I am going through a transition to a new beginning. I hope! I am almost 30 years old...I look younger for my age. I had such a rough childhood, a rough start and graduated when Wall Street crashed and wasn't able to find a job two years later. I had to take a job that I didn't like and go up from there. I been at my new job for about a year now...and they hardly pay anything. I work extremely hard and I see this job as a stepping stone to something way better.
I have a good relationship with GOD but I just don't know why things take so long. I feel like I am falling behind while everyone else is flying forward. I get opportunities but they keep getting delayed or disappear. I am poor and I ask GOD when will it be my turn?
I know this is not my life since I know my mission and why I am here.
I pray to GOD everyday and I meditate visually when I can.
When do I feel like I am falling behind and I don't get the opportunities like everyone else gets? I hope my time will come.
Thank You for reading.
Alison

ANSWER: Hi Alison,

I am sorry you are feeling what sounds to me like frustration and despair. I don't have exact answers for you, but I may be able to share some perspective for you to consider.

First I find it interesting that you connect your chances for worldly success to spirituality and God. I believe our religions do harm when some of them assure us that having the right kind of faith or strong enough faith will insure that our worldly desires will be met in this life. No matter what we may mean by the word God, I am sure that God's values are not exactly the same as our sometimes overly human ones. And our personal human goals may not coincide with the greater good , whatever that may be. So, for example praying for a better job may or may not result in that goal being met because it may not fit in with a greater good that we are not permitted to perceive. It may be that we are instead being called to grow in some way as a result of the struggles we meet in life. I don't believe those who have it easy are necessarily more blessed. In fact, I believe we have to grow beyond seeing worldly values as the ultimate good if we are to mature spiritually.

But our personal struggles may at some level result from some way in which we are supposed to grow. They may represent challenges assigned to us because of some lesson we are supposed to learn. I have no idea of the financial conditions where you live, or what field you work in. But you might consider what could you do, what kind of effort could you expend to help things go your way? Is there another phone call you could make? Could you perhaps present yourself better when you apply for a job? Whatever you do, you don't want to develop a defeatist attitude "I never get what I am hoping for" because that I believe will assure that that is exactly your fate.

How about visualization? You said you meditate visually. Usually when a person uses the word meditate, they are not referring to something they are consciously arranging, but rather opening themselves up to the collective consciousness, to the universe, to God, or whatever term you want to use. It means they will welcome whatever messages, realizations, connections, and effects arise from the meditation. In contrast, I would use the word visualization to mean something you consciously do on purpose. In your case you could consciously create an image of yourself in that new job, having a comfortable bank account, loving the work you do, whatever. I do think we can influence our reality to some extent through purposeful visualization. Having a positive image of what we are trying to create allows us to take the steps that are necessary to get there.

And the way I see it, this is very different from prayer, where instead we are giving up the intention to make something happen in our lives, and instead turning it over to God (or whatever term you may prefer) to bring about the greater good. I believe prayer of that sort and meditation and visualization are all effective avenues to use, and a given person may be the best one to decide which mix of those avenues is most comfortable for them. (If I haven't made it clear by now, I don't believe just praying - in the sense of asking God to bring you a better job - is as effective a technique. I believe we need to act . If you will forgive me for mentioning this, I am suddenly reminded of a story, and am feeling led to share it here. I don't know if it has any relevance to you or not - but here it is: http://epistle.us/inspiration/godwillsaveme.html.)

I wish you well in your life, and hope you find more peace, either through attainment of the worldly success you are hoping for, or through acceptance that your path is meant to lead you to down a different path.

Sincerely,

Margaret
 

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hahaha...I love the little story you sent me. Made me smile. Thank You! Very true and I sometimes feel like we get so frustrated & discouraged that we do miss opportunities & signs. I know even the most strongest people will have their weakest moments and crack. As long as you get back up then you will be fine. I have my weakest moments but I always find a way back up and keep on moving forward. I know what my destiny is and that I will make a HUGE difference around the world and for future generations to come.
I drew a drawing back in college of a hand with a pole bleeding through it...I wrote on it and it says,"Suffering for others." Meaning in order to pave a new path for others to walk on that individual must be strong...very strong to handle that most can't handle.
Thank You for sharing and I gave you my website and you can read my BIOGRAPHY if you like. You can also google my name.
www.AlisonMidstokke.com
Blessings,
Alison

Answer
Dear Alison,

Well, I certainly enjoyed your website and reading your story. I can see you are quite artistic, and also have a flair for motivational speaking. I wish you happiness and fulfillment in whatever avenues you choose to pursue.

Peace and blessings to you,

Margaret  

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Margaret Placentra Johnston

Expertise

I am particularly interested in answering questions about the stages of spiritual growth, faith development, religious stages. The term spiritual growth or spiritual development can have many different interpretations. In some cases, it refers to the ability to have para-normal or mystical experiences. Others use it to describe the ability to communicate with beings that are not present here on earth with us at this time, such as dead people or our own prior lifetimes. This is not where my knowledge and expertise lie. The type of spiritual growth questions I can address concern here and now issues about religious belief versus non-belief, the stages of religious development and spiritual development where spirituality is defined as living deeper than the surface things of life, knowing there is more to life than the latest new car, questioning the deeper meanings of our existence.

Experience

For at least the past twenty years I have been a serious student of the various spiritual development theorists. The concept of spiritual growth occurring in stages throughout our lifetime is a vitally important factor that, if more widely known, could help decrease a lot of the religious intolerance and societal tensions we are putting up with today. My book of stories about real people growing beyond the need for traditional religion was published by Quest Books in October, 2012: Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.

Organizations
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation(and many others unrelated to this topic.)

Publications
www.mpjauthor.com Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.(Quest Books, October, 2012.) http://www.exploring-spiritual-development.com http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-placentra-johnston/

Education/Credentials
Four college degrees, including an undergraduate degree from the Catholic University of America where required theology and philosophy courses formed the equivalent of a college minor.

Awards and Honors
GOLD WINNER of the 2013 Nautilus Book Award in Religion/Spirituality.

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