QueerJoe Spiritual Progress

Validating Spiritual Progress

Everyone and every situation in the world needs your understanding, not your criticism.

– Jon Schreiber


Is this a correct direction? What assures me this is true (or not true)? What ways do I have of validating spiritual progress?

Validating Spiritual Progress – How Do You Know?

Years ago, when I was taking flying lessons, my instructor asked me if I thought I was going to heaven when I died. I liked this guy a lot and thought this was a great question.

Until I realized his pastor had put him up to it. Turns out he was only trying to proselytize his evangelical religion.

But the experience left an important question in my head all of these years.  How do I know if I’m heading in the right directions when it comes to the core of who I am.  What is the bedrock on which I can assay any progress. Or digression?

I was pretty certain my flight instructor’s pastor’s answer wasn’t right for me. I couldn’t find my answers in the bible.

But my last blog post started an answer. More importantly, so did the response. My favorite example of responses was from someone I have come to respect and like a lot in the knitting community, was a simple message:

“I really really appreciated your latest blog post about being nice.”

I realized that this commenter demonstrated exactly what I was talking about. By encouraging behavior they wanted to see instead of critiquing behavior that didn’t, it was incredibly affirming.

My trusted spiritual advisor said something that made everything fall into place for me.

“When you do something that creates more harmony, you’re going in the right direction.”

This seemed so simple and obvious once he said it. But it still gave me a way of validating progress that I hadn’t been doing (at least consciously) until he said it. In conjunction with friends’ feedback, this advice seemed like a huge leap in the direction of waking up.  In the grand scheme of things, it’s an infinitesimally small “leap” forward. But comparatively, it seemed huge.

Thank you to all who reacted to “being nice.” It helped move in in the direction of being a better human.

Current Knitting

I finished up another infinity scarf.

Universe Infinity Scarf 03-09-20 01a

Except for a few ends that still need weaving in.  While I was on the sock knitting machine, I decided to finally finish the second green sock.

Green CSM Sock 03-09-20

The second sock wasn’t quite as flawless as the first. So, I’m doing some post-cranking fixes to a couple of dropped stitches. They should be ready in time for St. Patrick’s Day. I took them for a test-spin.

Green CSM Sock 03-09-20 on

Finally, I made some additional progress on the “Splongs.”

Splongs 03-09-20 01

I added a few inches to the left leg, added the ribbed edging and even made some progress on the right leg.

2 comments on “Validating Spiritual Progress

  1. Lots to think about here. The “create…harmony“ quote resonates with me today. I tend towards criticism, starting with myself. Most recently I’m learning that “being nice” also has to start with me. If I’m nice to me, I can be nicer to others. The paradox of selfishness and selflessness: we are happiest when we do good things for others, but we have to be good to ourselves first. Then there’s the Buddhists who simply say there’s no self. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

    You recently mentioned Marilyn. I used to follow both you and her in the heady blog reader days of yore.

    Love the green socks and how well they fit you! They look like my go-to CSM and handknit sock: 1 x 1 rib, then 3 x 1 rib.

    And the “Splonges” are great! They remind me that my mom used to make our underwear on the flatbed knitting machine using cones of Orlon from a small shop in Somerville, MA (~1960). Thank you for the walk down memory lane.

  2. I too love the advice to be kind. If more of us managed that more often, it could lead to such good things.

    I do have to say, though, that the last thing I would want to discuss with a flight instructor would be dying!

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