The Nautilus is a sea creature often used as a metaphor for spiritual growth. The Nautilus forms a spiral shaped shell. A cross-section of the shell will show the cycles of its growth as a series of chambers arranged in a precise Golden Mean Spiral.The Nautilus fills out its present size shell. when the Nautilus finds itself cramped in it's living space the Nautilus extends an additional larger room. Next the Nautilus moves into the new room and seals the door behind. That closed area is used for buoyancy but not for living. Your spiritual understanding is always growing and developing. You create new space for expanded ideas closing off old ways of understanding. This can be gradual - or shatteringly sudden.
Below are three common types of spiritual transitions people report experiencing.
Developmental Spiritual Growth
Many times your spiritual growth is similar to the Nautilus experience. Religious or spiritual ideas taught in childhood are embraced at a child developmental level. As you move through normative developmental changes you build onto the earlier stage ideas but broaden the concepts and the contexts. All seem connected and cohesive. But you never go back.The chamber is sealed off but offers historical "buoyancy".
Lateral Shifts in Religious or Spiritual Ideation
Similar to developmental expansions of your belief system would be a shift from one religion to another. You leave one set of defined beliefs for another set of defined beliefs. Or perhaps you move from a more conservative expression of your religion to a more liberal expression. Both the developmental and lateral shifts utilize the Nautilus concepts. You outgrow or feel cramped by your current spiritual understanding. You strain to create a framework that holds your growing ideas and emerging beliefs. You move into that new space. While never going back you utilize the previous ideas for balance.
However, often there are major spiritual shifts where you suddenly find yourself morphed into something without a shell. You feel skeleton-less; external or internal. People have written about "the dark night of the soul" to give words to the lostness and groundlessness they feel. It can be likened to depression but it is not depression. You feel lost, alone and anchor-less. While once you had a good handle on most of life's questions - suddenly you know nothing. You are in that space between spaces, one you knew, the next is unknown, undefined and for the moment "wall-less". All framework of knowing seems benign and useless. Many people have been there before you And while it is similar to other transitions in life - this one defines your very soul.
Using a guide through spiritual transitions can provide an emotional connection as you explore and rebuild your spiritual framework. The spiritual coach can open up ideas for exploration that can bring clarity and a transformative understanding out of the confusion you are experiencing. You will "shift" regardless. As humans we create a framework we can understand to bring meaning to our experience. "God is dead" is a shift. However, that shift may not transform your life into something that provides growth, fulfillment, peace and joy in life.
*The Golden Mean is represented by the Greek letter phi, (with the decimal representation of 1.6180....) is one of those mysterious natural numbers that seems to arise out of the basic structure of our cosmos. Phi appears regularly in the realm of things that grow and unfold in steps just as the Nautilus shell grows larger on each spiral by phi.
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