To Fulfill Your Mission You Must Balance the Horizontal with the Vertical

Hidden in plain sight within the Christian cross is a vast and powerful teaching.

First, we see two lines drawn at a right angle to each other – two axes – one vertical and one horizontal. The horizontal refers to “the world” or “creation” and the vertical to “God” or “Source”. One shows us the relevance to our incarnation here on earth (the horizontal) and the other to the importance of our connection to what lies above and beneath us, to knowing our place along the vast ray of creation (the vertical).

To master ones self and to truly complete one’s mission (or life purpose, calling, aim), one must learn to balance the two.

This has been an extraordinary challenge for me. I see within me two tendencies: one is to over emphasize the horizontal and focus on the world: money, relationships, logistics, creative projects, my dog’s health, you name it. It is very easy to get lost in the various ways in which we toil away in the world, forgetting our divine nature and infinite connection to source (and the wisdom which flows from that), and our calling or purpose for being here.

Overly focusing on the horizontal is where the bulk of humanity falls. Most walk in a hypnotic trance of eat, sleep, earn, repeat. There is very little concept of anything higher, which is why those elements that could be referred to as “lower” (The environment on Mother Earth, plant life, the animal kingdom etc) are in such dire condition. We, mankind, have lost our vertical connection.

On the other hand, I have – at times – over emphasized the vertical, and have convinced myself that there is no need for focusing on the ways and means of expression and creation in the world – “God will do it”. These are times where I lose sight of the relevance of my life and physical expression, the importance of being active and creative, and mistakenly desire God to create for me (rather than through me, or – even more true – AS me).

In these instances, I’m usually running from deeply help beliefs which have wrapped themselves around very painful past experiences and trauma usually related to worthiness. The invitation in these moments is to dig into these shadows and clear them, not to run in fear.

This tendency pulls me away from the world and into a passivity which fundamentally does not align with the reason for being alive, for having selected earth as a place to experience, learn and grow. Taking time away from the world for introspection and deep reflection certainly has a relevance for anyone on the spiritual path but these should be treated as temporary moments of retreat and renewal, but one should not reside here for too long. This becomes a form of spiritual hiding, a cave which is closely guarded by the most toxic of human traits: pride.

In other words, this is where laziness and irresponsibility masquerade as “going with the flow”.

I also see many others on this spiritual path who are deeply challenged in having the impact they so long for in the world largely due to a similarly flawed passivity. Those more naturally biased towards the vertical tend to be hyper-sensitive (an asset, by the way) and can find it enormously difficult to step into the powerful forces of the world. Yet, when we abnegate this responsibility, we are left with a neutered and under-expressed life purpose or calling which generates immense dissatisfaction, disillusionment, depression and pain.

In these cases, we might find ourselves hyper-focused on the feeling of source-connection – and thinking “that’s enough” – when in fact there is a whole flow of creation that longs to come through your vessel, expressing itself in action. Unfortunately, this flow can be blocked by deeply held beliefs and patterns which hijack its expression.

My thesis, and my current focus, is on balancing these two very powerful perspectives into one that both honors my sourcefulness while also bringing my powerful gifts into creation. On the one hand, we need to be connected and on the other, we need to honor that which wants to come through.

If we want to fulfill our mission here, if we to experience the deep satisfaction of completing our aim, of building or creating a thing of true value to others, we will need to be deeply interested in both the horizontal and vertical axes. Balancing these, and even obtaining a level of some mastery, will be of primary importance.

It’s about being in a state of flow, and allowing that flow to emerge into some form of expression – unpolluted and clear. This might mean then looking deeply into the body, chronic pain, stress and tension which needs to be cleared (these things are always reflections of deeper-held contractions which block the true flow of Source). This might mean learning various tools which I can leverage to be more expressed and useful such as creating a website or public speaking, or looking at my diet or other physical habits or addictions (smoking, for ex) which generates toxicity and the build-up of mucus and other blockages.

For me, this is the ultimate challenge. My tendency is to overly focus on the horizontal, and become obsessed with details, logistics, planning and the like. In the last year or so, I’ve been perhaps too balanced in the other way: hoping that “source would take care of it” and that I don’t need to be so active (God will do all) forgetting that I am an aspect of God, my mind and body are included in that gorgeous, massive entity of beingness.

The ultimate experience for me is: being aligned with the true flow of Source, and allowing that flow to permeate every fiber of my being arising into an uncommon action and expression, one that truly serves and uplifts. If I want this, I must seek mastery of both axes. I must both deeply care about my sourceful connection while also seeking to express this as honestly and transparently as I can. This means being open to inspiration, and empowering those impulses to appear – no matter how odd or uncomfortable this might make me.

It also means doing some planning and preparation around creative projects which might appear, in order for those expressions to boldly arise within a world that often functions in a logical manner. So, if you wanted to drive from Miami to Seattle, having a map, a credit card to secure hotel reservations, stopping periodically for gas – these would be wise actions.

But, can we along that drive, allow for inspired detours, to gawk at the awe-inspiring nature of the sunset on the prairie, to sing with our fellow passengers, to marvel at the stars in the sky?

This is the art of life. To be open and available to a higher force, but also to be so wise in the world so as to offer this force smooth passage into creation. This is what it wants, and what we want too.


Stephen is a writer, artist, entrepreneur, partner and daddy. He has also been known as Stephen Nash, and even Playboy or PlayboyLA (long story, though thanks to Neil Strauss for writing it). He has always been fascinated by spirituality and the urge to create epic, awesome things. This blog features content related to both topics and, often, their convergence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *