This article is shared by William Cottringer
We are evolving to a point in life and work where personality power and even character power no longer suffice in helping us get to where we are going. What we are all in the process of developing now is authentic spiritual power. The Prosperity Zone is where such power, or in modern self-help terms, permanent “cheese,” is stored. Our evolution is taking us to this ultimate cheese factory.
There is a common journey we all make in remembering where this place is. Typically, there is a powerful life-changing event that has to get our attention first before we start the initial journey back to the cheese zone. This event is what I call the “brick wall phenomenon.”
The brick wall is a paramount situation in your life that demands a cure, but the more you try to control it, the more out of control it gets. The maddening frustration that results from all your failing efforts takes you to your own version of Dante’s Inferno where you reach the very edge of faith, hope and sanity.
My own brick wall was mid-life unemployment. I was at my peak professionally, armed with a Ph.D., world-class training and over 30 years of management experience in a variety of small and large work settings. I had just about everything a person could possibly want to be happy and content. Then because of some bad personal choices I made in my insatiable desire to chase greener pastures, I suddenly ended up jobless, homeless, penniless, humorless and hopeless. This was a dismal, cold place with no light or warmth whatsoever.
The more I tried to get out of this self-dug hole, the deeper it got. Nothing I had learned in 50 years of education, training, professional experience or living was of any help at all. All I wanted was some relief and my patience and efforts certainly deserved that much.
Using the reserves of my own intelligence, creativity, perseverance and flexibility, I was certain I could regain control and get to where I wanted to be. I expected some results, because I wasn’t asking for anything that much (just to get back to the surface) and I wasn’t giving up. But I was making a courageous effort that was in vain. The hole just kept getting deeper and darker, because without knowing it, I was digging more.
I can never be sure what the turning point actually was in my particular situation, but I think it had to do with relearning the notion of responsibility. I had always thought that we are responsible for all that we do and all that happens to us, but this time the experience went from my head to my heart to my soul, and finally to my hands (my behavior). My “recovery” involved the inescapable truth that I was responsible for this undesirable predicament in which I was drowning. The more the reality of this realization sunk in, the more the brick wall started to magically dissolve.
In looking back, I think I woke up to the fact that my approach to life wasn’t correct. I was either trying to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or I was trying to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Another critical insight I had involved learning the difference between what my mind wanted and what my soul needed. My mind wanted a job to feel useful, some money to pay a few bills, a comfortable place I could call home and another person with which to have a personal relationship. What I now know is that my soul needed something a little more important- the opportunity to express some compassion, love, understanding and creativity with the rest of the universe.
I believe this brick wall experience is designed to frustrate us to the point that we finally give up and give in. What we are giving up on is the illusion that we can control our material world and do certain things to get certain results. After all, that is what we have been educated, trained and told to do. What we are giving into is the next stage of our evolution, which is spiritual development.
This next stage of development leads us to an entirely different viewpoint. We go from focusing on external things we think we want, to turning inwardly to learn what our soul needs. This is the process of growing up spiritually. This is when we begin to accumulate the only authentic power there is- spiritual power. This is permanent cheese.
Such power helps us get better timing. With better timing, we finally learn to slow things down to a dead halt to see and hear something very simple but profound. What we hear are the “Sounds of Silence” sung years ago by Simon and Garfunkle. What we see are the “visions planted on our brains,” or the many choices and consequences that we have before us each and every moment.
Spiritual power helps us become more aware of the simple process of Karma. When we make positive choices, there are positive consequences and when we make negative choices there are negative consequences. I made too many negative choices and ended up in a negative place where I never want to visit again. When I started making positive choices, I gradually started to hear and see positive consequences. The only thing I can’t figure out is why it took me so long to learn this critical lesson. I guess some of us just have to take the long way home.
When you locate your prosperity zone and tap into the unlimited supply of spiritual cheese that is waiting for you there, you begin to understand the original choice which keeps coming back again and again until you finally make the right choice. The right choice is always the one where you do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons, which has the right consequences.
The only choice is between continuing to use ineffective, disgenuine personality power to increase the bottom line of your external world or try effective, genuine soul power to express compassion, love, creativity and understanding to make life just a little better for everyone. This really isn’t much of a choice when you see and hear the consequences. Personality power results in a nagging void, superficial happiness, short-term success and a feeling of dissatisfaction and incompleteness. Soul power heals and leads to wholeness, real happiness, genuine long-term success and blissful contentment.
The goal of our spiritual development is to remember the secret contract we made with life before we were even born. This is the ultimate responsibility we have to assume. In exchange for our life, we agreed to accomplish something of value and importance that only we could do. This is our unique, special purpose for being here on earth. Spiritual power facilitates the understanding of this “contract” and the development of our special talents to carry out this purpose. All the experiences we have are all aimed at helping us remember this sacred responsibility to which we agreed.
During my personal journey, I was always intrigued with a paradox I have renamed to be “You can’t have your cheese and eat it too.” I mistakenly took this to mean that I couldn’t have both what I thought I wanted and what I actually needed. I knew it had to be either one or the other with this and all the other either-or dilemmas. I never succeeded at disproving that myth until I realized my approach to the problem was entirely wrong. I wanted to get what I wanted before I was willing to accept what I needed. I had my priorities reversed. The carriage was before the horse and the tail was wagging the dog.
Here is a great secret revealed: We are all destined to be able to have our cheese and eat it too. There is an unlimited supply and variety of cheese in the Prosperity Zone. All we have to do is slow time down enough so we can begin to hear the whispers and see the shadows that will help us remember the responsibility we have with the many choices that confront us moment by moment.
The biggest choice always has and always will be whether to continue searching for ways to exercise our personality power to achieve what we want or to accept soul power to understand and fulfill the needs of our soul and the souls of others so we can get on with our highest priority, which is accomplishing our primary purpose. When we truly see and hear the consequences of these two paths, it is impossible to not make the right choice. Then the two paths become one and there is nothing but cheese all around us.