Many people experience spiritual growth after they face a crisis or tragedy in their life. They are then motivated to reevaluate the path they have been following. Some have described their passage through brokenness and surrender as their “Dark Night of the Soul” (St. John of the Cross.) They experienced a questioning of their being but now assume that most of the pain is behind them. Unfortunately, that isn’t what “earth school” is like! Alcoholics Anonymous has the following saying: “Pain is the touchstone of all Spiritual Progress.” Pain is nature’s way of identifying problems blocking your spiritual growth. You need to confront and remove fears, resentments, guilt and unforgiveness if you are to move toward unconditional love and reach higher levels of consciousness. The journey requires you to have courage and self-love. Passing thorough pain and suffering gives you empathy and compassion for others. This journey must be traveled alone. No one can carry you. You must love yourself enough to extend yourself toward spiritual growth. Pain comes as your power shifts from your ego to your soul. The pain of loneliness occurs because there are few people who experience this journey with you. When you love more, you are asked to serve more and this leads to exercising spiritual power. Pain can result when you have a higher level of awareness because you are conscious of how your decisions will affect other’s lives. Pain also comes from asking questions and searching for Truth. You are in the midst of a never ending self-examination deep within. You constantly expose yourself to criticism and the pain of revising your Map of Reality. This criticism is painful but when overcome will make you strong and healthy. Why do this? One must love and understand himself before he can love and understand others! The process of spiritual growth allows one to become an agent of God’s grace. Dr. M. Scott Peck said the ultimate goal of spiritual growth is unity with God while preserving consciousness.