“I read those long ago.” A fellow traveler this week who is in the self-questioning stage commented on some of the books I recommended for her transition. I believe her…I am sure she did read some of these books long ago.
People often ask me how long they can stay in the self-questioning stage. Clients who read spiritual wisdom books way back when wonder if they had been at the self-questioning stage then, and somehow regressed. As we all know, the stages look linear but the experience of them is not linear. A person can go forward, back, forward, one foot in one stage, one foot in another.Consolidating at the self-questioning stage requires more than knowing about the spiritual literature; it requires embodiment.
I remember in my early twenties I was reading books by Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Kahlil Gibran, Ayn Rand, and other authors examining consciousness. Those books meant something to me – they made me think, and in some ways they helped shape my identity. And even though self-questioning was part of the experience, I was undoubtedly not at the self-questioning stage when I was in my twenties. No embodiment yet.
Years ago, I read A Path With Heart, by Jack Kornfield. I also read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying around the same time. These books have been on my shelf for years. I recently re-read parts of them…guess what, reading them now is a new experience. In the self-questioning stage, they were my friends. And others were too. Now, they are still my friends, but even wiser than they were before.
So, if you feel you have been there, done that – you’ve read all the “transitions” books, the “spiritual” books, the “wisdom tradition” books – read them again, with your new eyes. Wisdom never dies, and as we develop, we get wiser and are able to see new things in rekindling a relationship with the books that have supported us on our path.