The Vertical Ascent

Growing Our Soul

Spiritual growth is like scaling a mountain. It takes time; it’s hard work; it’s challenging; it requires discipline, self-control, perseverance, and will. When we begin our ascent up a challenging mountain we don’t know if we’ll actually reach the summit but we can expect that the difficulties inherent in the journey will evoke many tides of shifting emotion. How
we deal with those emotions determines the success or failure of our climb. Of course, there are also considerable differences between spiritual growth and mountain climbing. For starters, we can’t see the mountain we must climb in order to grow our soul. That mountain is not in front of us but within us. This means we can’t chart the path to the summit, judge the difficulties and dangers along the way, let alone prepare for them, or calculate how long it will take us to reach the pinnacle. The path to the summit of consciousness is essentially unknowable. All we can do is take each step as life presents it to us, clear our toxicity so we are not detoured or defeated by self destructive emotions, work to build an inner center and establish soul contact, and have patience and faith that in due time the way forward will become clear to us. (If we are patient our lives will always flow in right timing and opportunity will knock on our door at the appropriate

Transformation and Growth

The first requisite to making the vertical ascent is to clear the toxic emotional blocks from our subconscious. If we don’t clear our toxicity everything else we do to enhance our spirituality will be in vain. We may feel good temporarily, like one does after a good yoga class or a peaceful meditation, but a real and lasting transformation will prove elusive. Fortunately, when we clear our toxicity we come into balance emotionally. Emotional balance has certain
signposts. These include an empty feeling in one’s solar plexus; a deep sense of peace; a feeling of buoyancy; a clear mind; a sense of humor that either increases or emerges; and a newfound delight in life. Peace and balance are not only highly desirable in and of themselves but they are of paramount importance in the vertical ascent. They are the platform for all future growth and the prerequisite for establishing soul contact.


As we make the vertical ascent our soul must become the conscious master of our life, not our fear and not our ego. Fear and ego die hard. They persist until we overcome the emotional toxicity or karmic blocks hidden in our system. If we insist on holding onto our unconscious toxicity we will have a toxic life; one that is full of resistance, effort, suffering, lack, and unhappiness. We will hold onto grudges that we find impossible to let go of. We will be the eternal victim and display a highly reactive personality. We will take everything personally, finding slights where none occurred, creating conflict where none existed. That’s a depressing way to go through life yet countless millions do just that. Living an unconscious life is a painful experience. To live without peace is to invite conflict to be our constant companion.

Emotional Reactivity

The world we live in is highly reactive. Emotional reactivity creates instability, uncertainty, and increasing danger. It leads to polarization, rage, conflict, and destruction. We all lose when the world becomes as reactive as it is now. The only real answer to the dilemma we face in the world is to turn within and make the vertical ascent. When the soul becomes dominant in life it is easy to let go of anger; the right decisions become clear and obvious; events occur in right timing; and abundance will find us rather than our having to struggle to succeed. When we clear our toxicity and the Soul becomes the true master of our life inner resistance ends and everything we need comes to us in the right time. In closing, let me share a few lines of wisdom from a small pamphlet called “Verses on the Faith Mind” by Sengstan, the 3rd Zen Patriarch.

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.
If you wish to see the truth
Then hold no opinion for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
Do not search for the truth;
Only cease to cherish opinions.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
Nothing in the world can offend,
And when a thing can no longer offend,
It ceases to exist in the old way.

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