By Bill Harley
In Jean’s and my first book (Now That I’m Here, What Should I Be Doing?), after surveying the Holy Books of the major world religions and studying the Watchman Parable, we concluded that life on this earthly plane has been designed by an all-loving creator as a spiritual growth labwith tailored experiences for each of us to foster our growth. Many of us are not using life this way, but our first book makes the case for why we should be. Our second book, TRANSFORMED:How to Make the Decisions That Change Your Life, introduces Compassionate Consultation—the decision-making and problem-solving methodology that can maximize our individual and collective time in the spiritual growth lab of life.
What is a lab? It’s a productive workspace where deliberate experimentation and scrutiny take place in the search for knowledge; and careful actions, reflection, learning, deductions, intuitions, testing, adjustments and advances are consistently made. When utilized, a lab accelerates learning and growth.
Optimally navigating the spiritual growth lab of life requires an approach both spiritual and scientific; an orientation both mystical and practical; an engagement of both heart and mind. It’s a challenge to walk this path on one’s own. Our books and blogs (see www.billandjeanharley.com) are resources to assist people so they don’t have to walk this path alone; and here is an idea for another resource you can create to support your growth goals.
Recently, we launched The Growth Lab for people in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota. It’s a monthly space where those navigating the spiritual growth lab of life can come together to cross-fertilize learning, and share tests, difficulties, discoveries and victories. It’s a space where our individual paths intersect for a while so that we can better recognize and understand the Wall-Seeking dynamics in our lives, become more skilled at Compassionate Consultation decision-making, and renew our vision and energy for growth.
Many of you don’t live in this geographic region; but there is nothing to stop you from creating your own Growth Lab with people who want to study these two books and put into practice the principles they contain. Some people are doing this in their own homes by starting a book club with neighbors; others are surrounding themselves with a cadre of supportive people to discuss and apply these principles; some are scheduling regular meetings with their significant other—at home or in a coffee shop—to share ideas about applying the principles while enriching their relationships as well; and some are choosing a key friend to meet with regularly to reflect on the growth dynamics in their lives, extract learning and plan new actions.
In all these settings, and in new ones you might create, people can better align themselves with the true purposes of life, become more skilled at navigating their own growth, learn to make decisions and solve problems in transformative ways, and help others do the same. And in the process, each of these groups of people is creating a nucleus of advancing civilization.
Jean and I commit to sharing with you the learning from our Growth Lab in future blogs; we hope you too will commit to sharing with us the learning from yours. When your nucleus of advancing civilization combines with ours, we call that spiritual/social fusion. We know from science that fusion releases huge amounts of energy—energy enough to change the world.