“Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” – Morpheus
Neo chose to take the “red pill” and began his path to enlightenment regarding the world outside of the Matrix. This journey culminated in an epic battle that was won only by Neo recognizing that he had to integrate both aspects of himself (Neo and Mr. Anderson) in order to transcend the rules of the Matrix. Knowing the path, and then walking that path, is one way to explain the process of spiritual unfoldment.
Spiritual unfoldment describes the gradual stages of development on our journey to both know ourselves as a unique Soul, as well as understanding that we are one with Spirit. Unfoldment can manifest as changes within the individual, changes regarding how an individual relates with their community, and changes in the individual’s understanding that they are not isolated but connected to a greater sacred force.
There are multiple models of unfoldment, evidenced by most religious faiths. There are also different models that can exist in the same faith (Buddhism has several models depending on the sect). Unfoldment can be a sudden occurrence, an instant moment where someone attains enlightenment through a pivotal deed or act (Siddhartha under the bodhi tree). In other traditions, it can be described as a painstaking effort requiring years of suffering, such as the many trials of Job in the Bible. There are also models, like that of reincarnation and karma, where an individual is unable to attain a return to Spirit in any one lifetime. Therefore, unfoldment isn’t always modeled as a vertical ascent, some faiths describe it as ascending and descending, or winding and curving as in the Buddhist unalome.
An important factor to remember in every model of spiritual development is that a person’s unfoldment is related to their level of consciousness development. Each stage of consciousness development impacts what an individual will notice or can even become aware of in their view or perspective. This is where a person’s faith comes into play. Your chosen belief system/religious tradition provides the lens to one's entire way of interpreting, reacting to, and taking initiatives in the world. The development of consciousness is your awareness, your intuition, and your ability to connect to Spirit.
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