April 18, 2014

Navigating Our Way in the Dark: 4 Keys to Surviving the Growing Pains of Disenchantment. ~ Nitai Mitchell

navigating the dark

I shared this thought on social media as a reminder to those experiencing the growing pains of their personal journey, that these are all just phases. One of the most challenging of these phases is disenchantment.

“On the life long journey of personal growth, an individual experiences a number of critical phases. This may include disillusionment, disenchantment, and moments of clarity. There is no need to shame or cling to these phases. They are like the cycle of seasons, each one bearing a gift. Be where you are and allow others to be where they are. This is how we keep growing.” ~ Nitai Mitchell

Anyone who has been on the journey of personal growth and/or spiritual awareness has likely encountered a point in their growth which can be described as disenchantment. We may perceive flaws in a particular teaching or with a teacher that at one time appeared like the portrait of perfection. Perhaps the community where we once found growth and support has become stifling. Whatever the reasons may be, this point on the cycle of personal growth is universal. Recognizing the necessity of this phase in the cycle of our growth can be helpful to moving beyond it.

Below are 4 Keys to help us navigate through this challenging phase.

1. Congratulate yourself for completing an important phase on your journey.

Disenchantment generally follows a phase of disillusionment. It’s the part of our journey where we are left to analyze what we’ve learned in our exploration and discard what isn’t serving us. What is left are the pearls of wisdom that we can apply to the day—to—day challenges of living.

Those moments of bliss, exaltation, and peace were not for naught. Opening our hearts to love, deeper connection, and understanding unleashes the flood gates for life energy to come rushing in. It can feel great. Intoxicating. But we are not meant to remain static, in a perpetual state of bliss. Disenchantment arrives as a gift to keep us moving and evolving. An addiction to bliss is like any other addiction. Eventually it fails to gratify.

As we come to accept disenchantment as a phase, we release shame and anger around our moments of disillusionment. Instead, we recognize ourselves as a growing, evolving beings. Our willingness to keep moving is the only perfection we need on our personal journeys.

2. Be mindful of judgmental thinking.

One of the biggest pitfalls of disenchantment is to fall into judgmental thinking. The inability to forgive ourselves for errors in our old way of seeing/behaving can cause judgmental thinking to arise. Any person or teaching we believe to be connected to our old way of thinking can become prey for the wrath of our shame. This is projecting. When we are able to recognize the pearls of wisdom that we took away from our experience, we are able to recognize that others are also collecting their pearls of wisdom, even as they may experience disillusionment.

Give others the same respect for the experiences on their journey as we would have them respect us on ours. Recognize too, that adopting jaded thinking as opposed to a naivety is simply trading one blind eye for another. Our vision is not going to be anymore clear than it was in our disillusionment, if our perspective is now clouded by judgment.

We could say that disillusionment and disenchantment are two sides of the same coin. But wherever we are in our cycle of evolution, we are never separate from the universal intelligence that flows through us, as us.

3. Take personal accountability.

There is the saying, “Don’t mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon.” Teachings are available as guides, but we and we alone must unveil our essential natures. It isn’t out there in another person, teaching, or group. It isn’t an entity separate from us. If your time with a teaching has run its course, give thanks for the wisdom you’ve received, and carry on.

Blaming and shaming hold us in place. It keeps us connected to the outworn structure that can no longer contain you at this stage of growth. When we begin to take personal accountability for our personal growth, no one teacher or teaching has the power to hold us back.

The most empowering step we can take on our journey is our own. No matter how insecure our footing may be, when we begin to live the wisdom we’ve uncovered on our unique path, clarity begins to shine through. We are no less or more a part of universal intelligence than any other being, past or present.

4. Stay fluid and open to the experience.

Encountering disenchantment on our journey can cause us to become rigid and unyielding out of fear of betrayal. Our minds want to protect us from future disillusionment. But shutting down creates bitterness and attracts unhealthy ideas and company. Aligning with ideas and people who help to keep us disconnected from our true nature may give us the false feeling of superiority over weak—minded individuals (who are really just a projection of our rejected “self”).

Staying fluid involves a willingness to question our judgments from a place of healthy discernment. And it is from this place of fluidity that the right guidance or step in our personal journey may appear. Humility is one of our greatest allies. Without it, we sabotage our chance for further growth when it presents itself to us.

These 4 Keys are offered as a humble invitation to explore during a challenging phase on your personal journey. Thank you for reading.

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Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Muyskens/Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: courtesy of the author

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