Before constructing your Spiritual Path, you will need to reflect not only on its anticipated ultimate destination, but also on its moment-by-moment destinations.
The goal of Phase 2 of the Spiritual Self-Schema (3-S) development program is:
to identify one's unique Spiritual path and to transform it into a carefully-constructed and well-maintained Path that is readily accessible in daily life. This Path is referred to in the 3-S program as the "Spiritual self-schema"; it is a habitual pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to be developed during the course of the 3-S program that will provide increased access to the experience and expression of one's Spiritual nature -- as defined by each individual.
Overview of Phase 2
In Phase 1, you became more aware of the paths you take habitually in your daily life -- the habitual self-schemas that take you seemingly automatically through each day creating the illusion that they reflect who you really are, when, in fact, they are actually preventing you from fully experiencing and expressing your true nature. In Phase 1, you also stated your strong intention to take a different path. In Phase 2, you will design and construct this path -- your Spiritual self-schema -- that will provide you with increased access to the experience and expression of your Spiritual nature in your daily life. Phase 2 has four sections, as outlined below:
A. Designing the Path.
In this section, you will be creating a "blue-print" for the design of the new Path. On this blue-print you will identify not only the anticipated ultimate destination of your Spiritual path, but also the Path's moment-by-moment destinations -- the Spiritual "ideals" that will serve as the building blocks of your Path. You will create cognitive scripts and behavioral action sequences that will serve to keep you consistently on your Path, and you will develop the guidance and support systems that you may need along the way. You will also create multi-sensory cues-to-action that will help you to access your Path in daily life, and you will design the signs and warning signals that will provide feedback on your progress.
B. Acquiring the skills and tools for Path construction.
In this section you will ensure that you have the personal skills and tools needed to construct and maintain your Spiritual path. In Buddhist terminology, these are called the 3 Trainings that make up the Noble Eightfold Path. These trainings are universal, non-sectarian, and appropriate for individuals of all faiths. The 3 Trainings are (1) Moral/ethical practice (sila) -- to travel a Spiritual path, one needs a code of conduct or foundation in ethics that above all seeks to do no harm to self or others, in speech, action, and livelihood; (2) Meditation practice (samadhi) -- to travel a Spiritual path, one needs the ability to direct and control one's own mental processes; this is accomplished through the practice of meditation, which requires appropriate effort, awareness, and concentration; and (3) Wisdom (panna) -- to travel a Spiritual path, one needs to acquire the insight into one's true nature that purifies the mind; such insight requires right thought and understanding.
C. Clearing the site.
In this section, you will clear the site in readiness for construction of your Spiritual path by reducing the automaticity of any habitually-activated self-schemas that are incompatible with your Spiritual path.
D. Construction of the Path.
Phase 2 will require diligent and consistent effort, as does the creation of any habitual pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
The foundation of a Spiritual path is moral practice. This requires doing no harm to self or others in speech, action, or livelihood.
Without your conscious awareness, the incessant chatter of your ongoing thoughts can quickly create a detour leading back to your habitual self-schema.
Using the materials you identified and collected earlier, and the meditation, mindfulness, and visualization skills you are continuing to improve, begin construction of your path during the coming week.