Coming of age means different things to different folks. The word ‘maturation’ carries myriads of meanings also. All living creatures progress through various stages of growth; and some even literally metamorphose physically from one creature into another, with remarkable transformation in appearance.
Baby mammals grow at astounding rates to reach reproductive maturity, while life cycles depend on achievement of adulthood. Without it, the species cannot flourish, let alone propagate future generations. The maturation process is driven at both cellular and energetic levels to become SELF RELIANT; to assume responsibility for one’s self and contribute to the welfare of the herd, pack, community, etc. Maturation is inevitable… no getting around it.
Every generation redefines its criteria for passage into adulthood and what it means to grow up. Initiations into adulthood can be found in every culture, with the archetype of the fool launching on a quest. Of course, other stories of ‘failure to launch’ and traumas of childhoods being stolen by violent homes and hardship of taking on responsibilities early in life make the heart bleed. Many of us spend lifetimes processing and releasing the pain of such experiences. And yet the strength gained from tackling the world by summoning strength is a tool sharpened by harsh experiences. This is part of ‘Coming of Age’ for many of us and it is not a pretty sight.
So, what of the maturation of consciousness? We observe the development of our children with wonder, but do we ever ponder the trajectory of human consciousness? Is the development of consciousness associated with spirituality?
Now, if we zoom out the lenses a lot, to where we see civilization as a whole, or the human race developing over the ages, there are no straight lines making the maturation of humanity. There are blossoming of advances in art, technology and philosophy, with sages and wise ones trying to offer ‘pointers’ to perennial questions.
But they generally agree that it is up to the individual to mature, one soul at a time. In other words, each soul must mature spiritually of its own accord. Of course there is support! Of course there is guidance! But there are also those who would subtly seize power from those who willing give their personal power away in the name of faith, trust and free will, which dictates the sovereignty of each individual.
So, what does it mean to grow up psychologically? This is actually very simple in concept; To develop integrity is to take personal ownership for every thought, word, and deed ~ to stop deflecting or blaming others for one’s circumstances, and seek new vantage points for solving old problems. It also means to own one’s own power for making the wisest decisions possible, instead of looking to others to ‘take care’ of us. It means making decisions with integrity and take the consequences of our choices.
This simple concept is ever so difficult to implement in daily life. Some live many years and do not master ‘knowing oneself.’ This is because spiritual maturation is a process of conscious living and growing into self reliance and then into self sovereignty, where we live together as in equilibrium.
This is where my series, The Temple Chronicles, hopes to addresses this process. The narrative addresses some of the challenges of seeking self sovereignty. How does one break the shackles of victim/perpetrator paradigm to allow the light of maturity to shine through the smoke and mirrors of a dysfunctional world?
The medieval world blossomed with individual spiritual growth, mostly within the church, along with the birth of the merchant class and new technologies for benefiting the welfare of all Europe. And then, at the end of the 13th century, medieval Europe began to decline; interestingly, affected by some of the same factors that are destabilizing our modern world. Loss of confidence in institutions, that had worked well for two centuries, gave way to ambitious authoritarians brutally quashing freedom of choice with force. Monarchs consolidated power, seized land and oppressed all independent thought.
The Dalrymple youths of my story embark on a dangerous, yet necessary journey to discover what they are made of and grow beyond limitations. Obstacles came from all sides, and yet they found a way forward. It was about being ready when opportunities arise, doing the work at hand, and then allowing the larger forces to work toward the highest good. It was also about being wiling to take just one more step into the unknown.
So perhaps 21st century humanity is also ready to grow up and learn to live as global citizens. Perhaps there is great hope for our collective future! Somewhere in the middle road there is balance between the extremes, where each of us finds our center and lives each moment in the ‘NOW.’ When we are ready to know ourselves more fully and we embrace the possibility, the universe takes us seriously.
I am ready to grow up! How about you?