© 2002 In God We Trust
There are really only two kinds of people in this world when viewed from a spiritual perspective: those who are in the process of becoming enlightened as a consequence of their choice to live from the inside out, and those who are as yet unenlightened because of their choice to live from the outside in.
All other distinctions, including the biological distinction between the male gender and the female gender, are of only secondary importance when compared to this fundamental distinction. The color of your skin, your ethnic roots, your economic status, your political orientation, and even your religious affiliation Ė all of these things are relatively insignificant by comparison.
That this is indeed the case will be readily apparent to those who have become enlightened as a result of their choice to live from the inside out. However, for those who are as yet unenlightened because of their choice to live from the outside in, this basic truth will not be at all obvious.
In any case, it is important to recognize that this world has been designed in such a way that we must begin our lives as helpless infants who are totally dependent on our parents for our survival and who therefore have no choice but to learn how to live from the outside in so as to win their approval and avoid their disapproval. Once we have learned how to conform to the expectations of our parents during early childhood, it is then relatively easy for us to expand our orientation in later childhood so as to meet the expectations of our teachers in particular and other people in general.
If our parents and teachers are loving and kind and consistent, this process of learning how to live from the outside in can be relatively easy and painless. However, if they happen to be unloving or unkind or inconsistent, then it can become difficult or even traumatic.
The essential thing to understand is that, regardless of whether our childhood experiences have been harmonious or discordant, the crucial task which confronts us as we cross the bridge of adolescence from childhood to adulthood is nothing less than a radical reorientation of our whole way of life.
Whereas the key task of our childhood consisted in learning how to please other people by living from the outside in, the key task of our adulthood consists in learning how to be true to our innermost self by living from the inside out.
What makes adolescence such a challenging time for all of us is the fact that, in addition to the radical physiological changes which are activated at puberty, it also involves this radical psychological reorientation from winning the approval of others to following our deepest heartís desire. And before we can make this crucial transition from winning the approval of others by meeting their expectations to experiencing the joy that comes from following our heartís desire, we must first go through a transitional phase of adolescent rebellion which consists in finding the courage to be a nonconformist who refuses to conform to the expectations of others or even to the internalization of those expectations in the form of a perfectionistic ego-ideal.
The problem is that some people get stuck in this transitional phase of adolescent rebellion and then spend the rest of their lives rebelling against every form of authority, while many never even succeed in outgrowing their childhood orientation of living to please other people. What is more, the vast majority of human beings go through their entire lives without ever fully mastering the task of learning how to live from the inside out by joyfully following their heartís desire and courageously being true to their innermost self so as to establish and maintain their integrity and their sovereignty.
Needless to say, there is a very good reason why this is so; but it just happens to be the best-kept secret in human history right up to the present time.
The fact of the matter is that this polarized world of illusion which we know as Planet Earth has been specifically designed to serve as a schoolroom for the evolution of consciousness, the graduates of which are known as ascended masters. However, this polarized world of illusion is no ordinary schoolroom. Like the initiation chamber of an ancient Egyptian mystery school, it combines all the characteristics of a hall of mirrors, an obstacle course, and a labyrinth.
Like a hall of mirrors in a fun house, every relationship that we encounter gives us a distorted reflection of who we really are. Like an obstacle course, every step that we take along the path which leads to wisdom brings us face-to-face with formidable challenges and seductive distractions. And like a labyrinth, every fork in the road has the effect of requiring us first to make choices and then to experience the internal as well as the external consequences of our choices.
Whereas those who live from the inside out are characterized by the fact that they have made the courageous choice to be governed by love rather than fear so that they can then make growth rather than security their first priority, which allows them to gather wisdom by learning and growing from every experience, those who live from the outside in are characterized by the fact that they have made the disempowering choice to be governed by fear rather than love, thereby making security rather than growth their first priority, which effectively prevents them from gathering wisdom by learning and growing from every experience.
Whereas the former will develop a vertebrate type of personality which is love-based, open, flexible, and creative, the latter will develop a crustacean type of personality which is fear-based, closed, inflexible, and reactive.
And whereas the former will tend to experience life as an increasingly harmonious adventure because of their ability to keep a healthy sense of humor while maintaining a positive, light-hearted attitude of childlike wonderment, the latter will tend to experience their dream turning into a nightmare because of their negative choice to be governed by fear rather than by love.
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