Step Ninety-Seven


Step 97. I Do Not Know What Fulfillment Is.
Is this statement an admission of weakness? Is it a resignation to hopelessness? No, it is not. It is the beginning of true honesty. When you realize how little you understand and yet realize at the same time the great offer of Knowledge that is available to you, only then will you seize upon this opportunity with great encouragement and dedication. You can only imagine fulfillment, but within you the Knowledge of fulfillment lives and burns. This is a fire that you cannot put out. This is a fire that exists within you now. This represents your greater yearning for fulfillment, for union and for contribution. Far beneath all of your hopes and fears, beneath your plans and ambitions, this fire is burning now. Relinquish, then, your ideas concerning fulfillment, but do not be hopeless, for you are placing yourself in a position to receive the gifts that are intended for you. You have brought these gifts with you into the world. They are hidden within you where you cannot find them.

You do not know what fulfillment is. Happy stimulation alone cannot be fulfillment, for fulfillment is a state of quietude. It is a state of inner acceptance. It is a state of total integration. It is a timeless state expressing itself in time. How can even the happiest stimulation give you that which can abide in any circumstance and which does not cease when the stimulation is over? We do not wish to deprive you of happy stimulations, for they can be very good, but they are momentary and can only give you a glimpse of the greater possibility. Here we wish to take you directly to the greater possibility by cultivating the great resources within your mind and by teaching you a way of seeing the world so that you may learn of its true purpose.

Therefore, upon the hour today, repeat today’s idea and consider it seriously in view of yourself and the world around you. Today, in your two long practice periods, once again spend time seriously considering this idea. Remember to think of your own life in these practice periods and apply today’s idea to the plans that you are aware of concerning your own fulfillment. These thinking meditations require mental work. Here you will not be still. You will be investigating. You will be exploring. You will be actively using your mind to penetrate things that you recognize exist there. This is a time for serious introspection. When you realize that what you thought you knew is only a form of imagination, then you will realize your great need for Knowledge.

You must understand what you have in order to learn to receive more. If you think you have more than you actually have, then you are impoverished without even being aware of it and will not understand the Great Plan that has been created on your behalf. You must start from where you are, for in this way you may proceed, each step certain, each step forward, built upon the step before. There will be no falling back here, for you will be firmly established on your path to Knowledge.

Practice 97:
 
Two 30-minute practice periods. Hourly practice

Here you will find the entire book free for download http://stepstoknowledge.com/

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.

March 20, 2013 Round One: "When you realize how little you understand and yet realize at the same time the great offer of Knowledge that is available to you, only then will you seize upon this opportunity with great encouragement and dedication."

This statement speaks to me today and indeed fills me with great encouragement. However, fast on the heels of this realization came the thought that even if I do not become aware of true fulfillment in my life, I am content with the fulfillment I feel so far. This does not mean I am giving up or sitting back on my laurels, it just means I have no expectations, no false hopes, no idealism (or, better to say, these things are lesser and I see them for what they are) and I am beginning to feel that state of inner acceptance and integration. I clearly realize my great need for Knowledge, it is my beacon, and I wish to reclaim it as fully as possible while I am able.

October 20, 2014 Round Two: Today I say that I am not content with the fulfillment I feel so far. Don’t get me wrong, I am content on one level, but I see how far I still have to go. I was struck by the following this time:
"You must understand what you have in order to learn to receive more. If you think you have more than you actually have, then you are impoverished."
This struck me, because I realized that recently I have been thinking that I have more than I actually have. I am realizing that I am not as far along the road as I sometimes think I am. This is precisely what I need, this humbling realization that there is still much more work to be done. I am not there yet, but if I continue on with dedication and perseverance, I will reap the benefits of the great offer of Knowledge that is available to me.

I am holding onto the thought that “within you the Knowledge of fulfillment lives and burns. This is a fire that you cannot put out. This is a fire that exists within you now. This represents your greater yearning for fulfillment, for union and for contribution.”

I did the first 30-minute practice while out for a walk in the woods this morning. We are having our first freezing temperatures, there is a sprinkle of snow on the ground, and the stream that runs through the park is frozen. Very early this year. A brisk walk in the cold air was very conducive to the mental work, investigating, and exploring this Step calls for.

What came to me was the following: I am but one small, miniscule dot in this vast universe, a tiny dot of light, and not even that bright compared to many of those around me. But this does not deter me, in fact, knowing that my contribution is small, barely, if at all, perceptible spurs me on, for that means I have more to do. Indeed, how can I possibly know what fulfillment is? I am not even trying to know any more. I understand my need for validation. I have often thought how wonderful it would be to have someone (I think of a woman) older than me, further up the spiritual spiral, with much greater awareness and experience to tell me how I am doing. Someone who sees me and knows me. But I realize this is wishful thinking and rather egocentric. Still I think many people have the desire to be validated.

The only contribution I can make is to share my personal experience, however small and insignificant it may be. I have no grand illusions about this. I cannot know what fulfillment might be, I can only go on doing what I feel called upon to do. It is something very small, barely perceptible, but somewhere, at some time, it might make a difference. I have no great hopes and plans, all I know I need to do is take the next small step.

While reading the Step again before doing the second practice, I was very drawn to these sentences.
"…fulfillment is a state of quietude. It is a state of inner acceptance. It is a state of total integration. It is a timeless state expressing itself in time."
After my time of serious introspection I read this again and thought, this is so perfect! When put like this, how can I possibly even try to know what fulfillment is. It is certainly nothing I can come up with in my own limited thinking and imagination. So I am content to let it go, let it be a state of quietude, a state of inner acceptance, a state of total integration, a timeless state expressing itself in time. So it is.

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