“ Systematic depictions of spiritual stages can make it seem as if the path is simple, linear, and progressive, as if spiritual life were a step-by-step development of oneself over time. In one way, the maps are correct, and we do gradually purify, open, release, and stabilize over the years of spiritual practice. But whatever happens does not happen in a straight line. Whether in the monasteries of Burma and Tibet or in the accounts of Christian, Jewish, and Sufi mystics, we almost never see anyone whose path is simply linear.
The unfolding of the human heart is artful and mysterious. We might wish the path to enlightenment were orderly and predictable, but the ways of the heart are a landscape discoverable only in the journey. We cannot capture freedom and place it in time. For the mature spirit, freedom is the journey itself. It is like a labyrinth, a circle, a flower’s petal-by-petal opening, or a deepening spiral, a dance around the still point, the center of all things. There are always changing cycles-ups and downs, openings and closings, awakenings to love and freedom, often followed by new and subtle entanglements. In the course of this great spiral, we return to where we started again and again, but each time with a fuller, more open heart….” excerpt from from the book, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield