The Spiral of Life

I just enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and was listening to one lecture where the school’s founder explains why they use a red spiral as their logo.

Spirals are found everywhere in nature… from seashells and our fingerprints, to the ocean currents, plants, our DNA and the galaxy. (and don’t get me started on this stuff..Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Ratio.. I won’t stop geeking out!)

But he also mentioned how spirals are found in the patterns of our life and experiences, and this really got me thinking.

Our lives move in a spiral pattern, just like the rest of nature. How could it be any other way? We are no different from the stars, the ocean currents, and the flowers… we too have spirals on our fingerprints, and in our hairline.

But what does it mean, on a more metaphorical level, to evolve and grow in an outward-moving spiral?

As we move through life, experiencing everything that makes us who we are, we fall into patterns. We will experience variations of the same thing, until we learn and integrate the lessons that will help us evolve. What may seem like an entire new situation or experience may well be an echo or spiraled reflection of a past lesson that we haven’t learned from quite yet. We may have momentarily changed from our past experience, but not truly integrated and evolved.

It’s not until we consciously make the internal shifts and step into a new way of being, that we can fully let go of this experience and move forward in our evolution.

So I was sitting with this… reflecting. Have I gotten so caught up in some of my recent experiences, that I’ve failed to notice that they are variations on the same pattern from my past? While I was struggling to move through a particularly intense relationship, did I fail to look back at the years prior, where I also chose romantic obsession over self-love?

As I jumped from job to job, seeking satisfaction, did I neglect to notice all the times I changed college majors and sports teams, trying to find “the right thing”?

As I wander the rural roads here in Manuel Antonio, seeking spiritual guidance and a solid foundation in my sense of self, my memories are drawn back into years of searching and seeking in Thailand, Bali, Prague and even back at home. Life is a spiral of experiences, each building on each other. With each round of the spiral, our character is made richer and deeper – yet we must integrate the lessons from each stage before we can move onto the next. There is no way around it. 

The search and the journey is always going to lead us right back to the center of the spiral… right back home. Where we started. All the seeking is just an illusion… we have everything we need with us, always. All the wisdom, all the insight, all the enlightenment. It’s just about stopping to tap into what’s waiting for our precious attention, right in front of our very eyes.

So as I sit here, writing amidst a gorgeous rainstorm in the lush jungle of Costa Rica, I soak into the delicious melancholy of my spiritual journey in this moment. Sometimes there is joy and bliss – and sometimes there is this – quiet reflection, deep knowing, stillness, a bit of heartache, and more than anything – now – the willingness and desire to open up, to understand, to integrate the lessons. To become who we’re meant to become – because we chose the path. We chose the challenge. We chose to get off the couch and run out into the rainstorm, in a foreign country, whether that’s literal or figurative… the foreign land of our greatest depths… the spiraling essence of our soul.