The Spiral Path Toward is a system of self-improvement that is based on the concept of a spiral and the paradoxical idea of walking along a spiraling path in order to get to one’s destination. At first, this should seem absurd. Isn’t the fastest route to a point always a straight line? Not, perhaps, in walking the path toward change. Rather than taking a simple and direct route, the spiral encircles its starting point, moving outward incrementally but consistently. With every sweep around, you are brought closer to the destination, but only by building on the progress already made. The spiral is relentless in its determination, and yet it is not over-eager to move outward.
Similarly, changes in the mind cannot come about by the fast and easy road. True growth comes through repeating the same practice mindfully. However, it is impossible to repeat the same cycle in exactly the same way. With every pass, something new is noticed, the way becomes more familiar, and our confidence and resolve grows. When the goal is achieved it will not be too soon. It will not be a temporary state. There will be no sliding back to the beginning. You will come to the destination prepared because you have carefully, mindfully, taken every step to get there.
The Spiral Path towards is an application of ancient philosophies (most notably Stoicism and Buddhism) and evidence-based psychotherapies (including Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and some insights from Positive Psychology thrown in for good measure). Simply put, the Spiral Path Towards advocates change based on promoting healthy, beneficial beliefs, small daily practices, and an exploration of your own human values. This method can be applied to any number of positive changes as long as these changes occur in areas that are under your control. You can change many things about your own thoughts, behaviors, efforts, and situation—but certainly not all. We are unable to change what others do, say and think.
The areas that I will be applying the Spiral Path to are: Happiness, or the relative freedom from exaggerated negative emotions, Excellence, or the development of a personal philosophy that satisfies the conflicting demands of human life, and, Self-Actualization, or your ability to meet your needs as you work towards fulfilling your potential. The Spiral Path can also be applied to Mastery—that is, you can use it to get better at any skill. This path, however, will be unique for each person. As an example, I will share some of my thoughts on applying the Spiral Path to Creativity (an interest of mine). These paths are never fully achieved—you will never attain the end of the Spiral. But you do not need to achieve perfect Happiness, Excellence or Self-Actualization in order to benefit from the path. Those distant points will serve as guiding stars as you seek to find contentment with where you are. That is the paradox of walking the spiral—you can achieve contentedness even as you work towards a distant goal that you may never reach. But in striving you will change the way you live your life here and now. ‘Life being all about the journey’ may be a cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Though the journey will be long, it will not be tedious. The Spiral Path will help motivate you and keep you moving forward. It will also help you clarify your personal philosophy (your beliefs) and the values you want to live by. These, in turn, will inform the selection of your own goals, which you will work on slowly, deliberately, and mindfully. This blog will be dedicated towards the steps of the Spiral Path and the philosophies, techniques, and ideas of compatible thinkers and schools of thought. There will also be articles that pertain to the SPT, occasional daily exercises, and of course, motivational memes (this is still the internet after all). It promises to be a rewarding journey. Come with me.