I received an email the other day with the most intriguing subject line: “Are you revolving or evolving?” It occurred to me that many of us don’t know the huge difference that an “r” can make:
The concept of evolving is a bit “woo-woo” to most of us. It’s that spirituality thing. We tend to shy away from it because it is distinctly different from religion: the rules, regulations, rituals, readings, and restrictions that grow from a peoples’ belief of what God is and what God does. Many religions discourage thoughtful consideration or questions about the mandated beliefs and issue deadly and diabolical threats to those who don’t share those beliefs.
By contrast, spirituality invites questions. It makes us think much bigger thoughts about a much bigger God. Its very nature is evolutionary; it’s about growing in awareness of the everpresent nature of God, rather than trying to establish a relationship with a judgmental, angry, hard-to-please God who is far away. Spirituality teaches us how to be consciously aware of God’s immediate presence so that we can leverage it to guide our steps, and it teaches us to trust God’s presence so that we are not shaken by economic downturns, relationship upheaval or even the death of physical bodies. Spirituality gives us a greater understanding of ourselves as human and spiritual beings and provides context for everything that happens in our experience.
Are we evolving or revolving? The question reminds me of the time I went to Northern California with my “wasband.” (It rhymes with husband; I borrowed that term from Rev. Vici Derrick. Don’t you love it?)
My ex is a car fanatic–one of the reasons we had four fine automobiles. As a kid, I had a fascination with cars, too. Detroit didn’t produce a vehicle that I couldn’t identify by make and model year; but that’s about as much as I wanted or needed to know. By contrast, when my spouse was a kid, he read encyclopedia volumes, cover-to-cover. (Yeah, I thought that was weird, too.) Even as an adult, this guy loved books. If we were in a mall and somehow got separated, Maiysha and I knew to look in the nearest bookstore. He was always there, reading some car magazine.
One fine day my car fanatic wasband decided that we should experience the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, up close and personal. Whoo hoo–until he said that he also wanted to attend a drag race in a nearby town. Strolling through the lovely shops in Carmel and gawking at the array of fine vintage automobiles amid the heart-stopping beauty of Pebble Beach golf course was right up my alley. Watching some guys going nowhere at death-defying speeds, making more noise than my earplugs could silence–not so much.
Finally, the moment I’d dreaded for weeks was almost upon us. That morning’s brunch felt like the Last Supper. After I’d played with my meal as long as I could, I had to face the inevitable.
As we walked out of the restaurant, I asked that annoying girl-question: “Do you know where we’re going?” Tsk, tsk was the essence of his response. After all, EVERYONE in town must be going to the race. We’ll just follow someone.
And so we did. The guy in the 700-series BMW, who was exiting the restaurant parking lot ahead of us became our designated leader. Of course, this guy was totally qualified to show us where to go: He had a luxury car, which meant he was smart and successful like my wasband; his car also had California license plates (but so did our rental car), which meant he knew how to get there quickly.
So, off we went, away from Monterey’s traffic lights and street scenes, heading directly into the Northern California countryside. And I mean countryside. Every 15 minutes, my wasband declared that we must be close because it was almost race time. Pretty soon I noticed that nobody was behind us. Where were all the other race car fanatics? I wondered. Mr. BMW must have been wondering what was going on, too. There was a car tailing him–with two black people in it. No matter what he did, he couldn’t shake us.
Nearly two hours passed, and we were halfway up a mountain, nowhere near our desired course. I was too relieved to be disgusted. When our lead car turned onto a very long winding trail and sped toward a farmhouse, the guffaw that I’d been squelching for hours finally burst free.
Mr. BMW probably darted down that path to get away from us, and I wouldn’t blame him. But now what? How would we get ourselves off of this mountain? I wondered. We passed a gas station, but my wasband refused to stop. When we passed it again, he was finally ready to ask for directions. Too late. It had closed.
Finally, we ambled down the mountain toward civilization, heads bowed, tailpipe tucked between our legs–and we actually made it to the track. But the traffic was going the opposite direction. The race had just ended. God is good!
It occurs to me now that we had been presented a wonderful lesson about evolving and revolving. Everyone’s lessons aren’t so in-your-face definitive; consequently, we must be more attentive and inquisitive, no matter how smart we are.
That could be a problem. Most of us have an aversion to asking the right questions to the right people get the right directions. We choose the folks we’ll listen to, even accept their answers and beliefs, even if they are inconsistent, implausible and illogical. We make judgments about what others can do for us, based on their superficial trappings.
Is it any wonder that we keep revolving around the track, making the same mistakes, repeating the same lessons, and meeting, dating, even working with the same type of people? Every situation, every person has value, but we don’t look for it. We complain, but we don’t ask why we attracted them into our lives or what they came to teach us.
When we live like this, we revolve unconsciously. By contrast, it’s absolutely impossible to evolve unconsciously. We are always fully aware when we’re growing and living with spiritual guidance. We know that we are evolving–heading to a higher plane on purpose (and not playing follow the smart guy in the BMW)–when we begin to take responsibility for the people that we attract into our lives and for the situations that we create or encore ad nauseum. We know that we are evolving when we actively seek directions from within.
Taking responsibility for our lives and our outcomes is as simple as asking: “Why did I create this? Why did I attract this person? What is the lesson my soul wants me to learn from this situation, this person, this bank account balance, this job loss, this mortgage foreclosure? What growth opportunities lie within this?” Evolving is like traversing a spiral staircase: No matter what the speed, we are constantly ascending and never encountering the same challenge twice.
This economic climate is gifting us with some awesome opportunities to evolve or revolve. Are we ready to ask the questions that can lift us to the next level? Or will we be satisfied with someone else’s answers, even if they don’t take us where we want to go?
Your path is not the same as mine or your parents, siblings, friends, neighbors or coworkers. There are no cookie cutter answers, affirmations, denials or treatments for your life challenges. Your path is unique and so is your mission and your lessons. Those who claim that they can tell you how to live a better life in five, eight or ten easy steps might mean well, but they are not equipped to guide you the way that your Higher Self can. They don’t hold your answers. Only the God within you knows why you are here and what path you need to take and what decisions you need to make.
You have free will, and every decision has its natural consequence. Will yours be evolutionary?