Spiritual Networks

The Seven Challenges that Transform Your Life


INTRODUCTION: Feeling the Power is Wisdom
The Introduction clarifies how the relationship between feelings, meaning, choice, and power culminates in wisdom. A lens that is the backbone of the book is presented. It forms the basis for understanding the core energetic and relational themes of each challenge. Once each of the seven challenges is identified, a spirituality of emotion is discussed.

Each subsequent chapter follows the same format. It begins with an explanation of the essence of the current challenge. Then the relational and energetic dynamics are explored. This sets the stage for an experiential investigation of each of the four core emotions. What follows is a description of the transformational process by which the experience of the current challenge awakens the next. Finally, the spirituality of the challenge is celebrated. Following the exploration of spirituality, a series of exercises are presented, known as Emotional Discipline. These provide the reader with methods for engaging in the process of learning from his or her own experiences.

CHAPTER ONE: The First Challenge, Trust
Trust is the safety that allows awareness to be fully open to each moment of experience. Its relational dynamic is appreciated in the connection between Receiver and Source, the former open to influence, the latter identified through self-expression. Trust is evident when information is flowing freely between them. The energetic dynamic of Trust is revealed in the cycling through experiences of pleasure and pain. The challenge is to learn to connect so that pleasure lasts and pain passes. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the spirituality of Trust.

CHAPTER TWO: The Second Challenge, Faith
Faith is trust in what lasts. Bonds develop through recurrent experiences of pleasure lasting and pain passing. The relational dynamic of Faith is in the recognition of need between the Believer and the Companion. The Believer remembers and misses times when needs were met. The Companion seeks to have needs met once again. The energetic dynamic of Faith becomes evident in the cycling through experiences of anticipation and disappointment. The challenge is to become responsive to needs so that anticipation lasts and disappointment passes. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the spirituality of Faith.

CHAPTER THREE: The Third Challenge, Dignity
Dignity is faith in my intentions. As I recurrently get what I need to be well, I awaken to the power of choice. The relational dynamic of Dignity is in the responsiveness of the Student and the Guide to what I want. As the Student, I am eager to learn better ways to get what I want, as well as what is worth wanting. The Guide knows how to actualize worthwhile intentions. The energetic dynamic of Dignity stretches between experiences of encouragement and frustration. The challenge is to learn from consequences so that encouragement lasts and frustration passes. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the spirituality of Dignity.

CHAPTER FOUR: The Fourth Challenge, Mutuality
Mutuality is the dignity of an equitable share in the power of choice. As each of us learns to choose well, we become capable of co-operation. The relational dynamic of Mutuality is in the faithfulness to agreements between the Follower and Leader. The Follower appreciates the value of the Leader’s initiative. The Leader contributes whatever supports the common goals. The energy of Mutuality flows in the dynamic between experiences of justice and injustice. The challenge is to reciprocate in ways that help justice to last and injustice to pass. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the spirituality of Mutuality.

CHAPTER FIVE: The Fifth Challenge, Creativity
Creativity is mutuality with my muse. I learn to co-operate with the inspiration that is given to me. Creativity’s dynamic renewal happens in the interaction between the Dreamer and the Pioneer. The Dreamer contemplates new and improved possibilities. The Pioneer improvises ways to realize these dreams. The energetic dynamism of Creativity pulsates between the poles of inspiration and disillusionment. The challenge to flow with the cycle of renewal so that inspiration lasts and disillusionment passes. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the spirituality of Creativity.

CHAPTER SIX: The Sixth Challenge, Intimacy
Intimacy is creating one from two. It means generating enough safety so that vulnerability my be reciprocally and tenderly shared. Intimacy’s relational depth is realized through the communion of Knower and Known. The Knower gently holds the vulnerability that is revealed. The Known risks making vulnerable information available. The energetic rhythm of intimacy flows between the polarities of closeness and distance. The challenge is to commune in ways that support lasting closeness and passing distance. The chapter concludes with an exploration of the spirituality of Intimacy.

CHAPTER SEVEN: The Seventh Challenge, Community
Community is intimacy with many. It means accepting responsibility for the wellbeing of the whole through service to its parts. Community’s relational dynamic is empowered through the activities of the Witness and the Provider. The Witness gathers into awareness the gains and losses of every member. The Provider responds to unmet needs so as to make all well. The energetic dynamic that nurtures Community brings forth the complementarity of harmony and disharmony. The challenge is to bless everyone in a way that promotes the lasting of harmony and the passing of disharmony. The chapter concludes with and exploration of the spirituality of Community.