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On “Growing Up, Not Just Waking Up”

I've recently been introduced to the phrase "growing up, not just waking up". Now, to my ears it's a strange sentence, which doesn't immediately make sense.

So, I asked Chat GPT to explain it. Here's what it said:

The phrase "growing up, not just waking up" is often used in the context of spiritual teaching to emphasize the importance of personal development and growth beyond spiritual awakening or enlightenment.

While spiritual awakening is seen as a profound and transformative experience that can bring about a new level of awareness and understanding, the idea behind "growing up" is that it is not enough to simply have this realization. Rather, it is important to integrate this understanding into everyday life and continue to work on personal growth and development.

This can involve confronting and working through emotional and psychological issues, developing healthy relationships, and taking responsibility for one's actions and impact on the world. In essence, "growing up" is seen as a lifelong process of learning, evolving, and becoming more fully realized as a human being.

In summary, "growing up, not just waking up" is a reminder that spiritual awakening is just one part of a larger journey of personal growth and development, and that it is important to continue working on oneself in order to fully embody the wisdom and understanding gained through spiritual practice.

Chat GPT

I'll tell you where I'm at with this below. But first, how does it sit with you?


It's one of those things that makes perfect sense to people who've been immersed in groups that use it, and can be kind of triggering to people who haven't!

I think it's a great example of how something can take on a meaning of its own in a spiritual group, and lose touch with the common-or-garden meanings.

At essence, you don't need to "grow up". But there might be things in your behaviours you'd like to address, or things you'd like to learm, coming from a perspective of wholeness and integrity.

I've nothing much against personal development as a field, of course. It's something that matters to a lot of people. I'm just always intrigued by how words are used and how the meaning change. And by what the spiritually inclined can do to make language accessible (without being over-simplistic).

With Love, Sara

  • Sara Priestley
    These days I hang out with my little cat colony, drink a lot of coffee, help clients solve life problems, support people who have been hurt by cult-like groups, host my local poetry society’s online gatherings, read, write, teach nonduality, and play with this expanded understanding of who we are and how it shows up. And it’s so simple. But simple doesn’t always come easy when we have a lifetime of conditioning on top. So, I’m here to help you uncover that simplicity, and reconnect with life.

    You can find me at sarapriestley.com

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