The spiritual journey consists of several phases.
Phase 1) Searching happiness ‘out there’.
Peace, joy, and fulfillment seem to be out there in the future, if we could just get that new job/car/partner/house/child. But the happiness found in the achievement of a new goal is fleeting at best.
Welcome to the human condition.
Phase 2) Searching and finding happiness ‘in here’.
This is an inward movement. Downsizing outer distractions like TV or social activities and withdrawing into the metaphorical cave for meditating.
This phase involves a painful stripping away of the attachment to the former personality (see my post about the Dark Night of the Soul).
Eventually, we find the unconditional Source of peace and joy inside of us. Job/car/partner/house/child may still be there, but they are no longer a requirement for happiness.
Phase 3) Returning to the marketplace
During this phase, the inner peace is tested while being active in the marketplace of life.
Walking through the rings of fear
For me, this phase is about sharing the insights of the spiritual journey. Getting out there and becoming visible, open, and vulnerable. It requires me to leave my comfort zone.
As of summer 2012, the usual chain of events in my experience goes like this:
At first, there is a call by the universe that I need to share in a particular format (anonymous in a forum, for starters, but with full name in a blog later). That call is delivered via the inner voice and is usually enforced by outer signs.
If I resist because of fear (which I usually do), I experience a strong sense of guilt and then there is a talk by my spirit guide. At first a gentle coaxing which turns into a stern lecture later.
If I still resist (which I usually do), there are dreams which tell me that I am procrastinating and which soon turn into warnings (“Share, or else…”).
And if I still resist (which I sometimes do), there are consequences like clogged drains mirroring my resistance, or even health problems.
Relief from the guilt and fear is found, once I yield and do what Source wants me to do.
Recently, I was told by my spirit guide to speak and share in a video format. After the usual battle of resistance (including health issues in the throat chakra region), I finally gave in and recorded this short video about the phases of the spiritual journey (1:30)