Waking Up vs. Growing Up
In the summer of 2017, I was focused on developing my character and well being. So I did what any 21st century American does when they want to improve their life. I signed up for two online courses.
One was a 6 week personal development course called StryvX. It’s a module based course developed by Zander Woodford Smith, founder of Stryv. Stryv is a personal development software company and it offers a program for transformation via a structured approach based on several personal development theories, including Ken Wilbur’s integral theory of reality.
I also enrolled in an 8 week video course called “The Power of Presence“. It was taught by the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle. I’ve been a big fan of Eckhart Tolle. I really connected to his book, The Power of Now, in which he lays out a more contemporary description of the path towards spiritual enlightenment.
Being in Stryv X and The Power of Presence at the same time was a weird experience. In one program I was learning to reach for my goals and build a life that I want, while in the other I was being told that this was all ultimately an illusion, and that everything I needed was already here and now. These two concepts seemed to be competing, at first. As I moved through the modules of each program, however, this contradiction began to make more sense.
In Stryv X, I was given the tools to take control of (my) reality and practice the skills to alter aspects of my self in order to vertically develop and create a “me” that is capable of handling more and guiding my life to wherever I see fit. The program also supplied me with practical tools to better plan my goals and visualize my progress.
In The Power of Presence, I learned to practice living in state of presence. Through learning practical methods to enter and reenter the state of presence, such as focusing attention on my inner energy, I am able to stay grounded more and more in life. I can stay what Zander describes in later modules as my peak performance state.
Through taking both courses, I can see now how both concepts are two sides of the same coin. Growing up gives me the tools to navigate this reality. Waking up gives me the perspective to make healthy, grounded decisions on what to do next.
In Stryv X, Zander Woodford-Smith describes the difference between Waking Up and Growing Up. The former being related to “states of consciousness” (dreaming, waking reality, etc.) while the latter is concerned with “stages” (developing values, changing perspectives, etc.). (For a more in depth explanation on the differences between waking up and growing up, check out this article)
Understanding the difference between Waking Up and Growing Up resolved a great deal of inner conflict for me. It showed me that the two paths were not competing, but were in fact parallel and complimentary paths. While the ideas of seeing the world as an illusion and yet striving to build a life of your dreams are somewhat paradoxical, understanding has helped me take more charge of my life in a healthy and sane way.
In the past, I felt torn between two hemispheres. One part of me longed for escape from the endless illusory cycle of life, my spirit. The other part of me wanted me to make choices, take action, accept responsibility, and engage the world. In other words, one side of me just wants to wake up, while the other side knows I have to grow up.
I now realize that there is a middle way. That life is about having as Eckart Tolle states, “a balance of being and becoming”. True fulfillment comes from living out your life from a state of presence. I can go through the stages of life without clinging to the temporary success and challenges of this world. I can accept the challenges of my life more fully.
By realizing that I am separate from the illusion, that I am the dreamer in (and) the dream, I can better engage in the world. I can set goals with clear intentions and proactively make progress.
I can consciously grow.