Ep. 77 Spiritual Peaks & Troughs

In this podcast episode, we’re talking about the peaks and troughs we all face in every area of life. C.S. Lewis called it the law of undulation and said that the closest we can get to constancy is this idea of undulation: “a repeated return to a level from which we repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.” Click through to listen in or to read a recap of the episode!

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Ep. 77 Spiritual Peaks & Troughs

In this episode, we’re talking about the peaks and troughs we all face in every area of life. C.S. Lewis called it the law of undulation and said that the closest we can get to constancy is this idea of undulation: “a repeated return to a level from which we repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.

We often think our personal growth should be on a straight upward trajectory, always ascending and improving, but in reality, things are continually in flux despite our best efforts.

Kristin shares her current experience being in a spiritual trough and the learning that is taking place because of it. And we share our ideas about how to accept these phases of life without so much resistance in hopes to strengthen our spirituality.


Links Mentioned In This Episode


Recap of Episode

We often think our personal growth should be on a straight upward trajectory, always ascending and improving, but in reality, things are continually in flux despite our best efforts. C.S. Lewis calls it the law of undulation and that’s what we’re chatting about today. Click through for a recap of the episode!

What’s the Law of Undulation?

C.S. Lewis called it the law of undulation and said that the closest we can get to constancy is this idea of undulation: “a repeated return to a level from which we repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.”

These represent the spiritual highs and lows we feel throughout life.

These represent the spiritual highs and lows we feel throughout life.

This is usually what we think life should be like, but actually it’s not!

This is usually what we think life should be like, but actually it’s not!

But really life is filled with peaks and troughs. highs and lows.

what life is usually like

Maybe we can have an upward progression within the law of undulation. So the peaks get higher than the last one. And the troughs are still there, but maybe the troughs don't go quite as low as they used to. Hopefully, we can manipulate it so that even though we have the ups and downs, it is on a general upward progression.

This is what we can aim for!

This is what we can aim for!

Wouldn't it be interesting if we could find the joy in that? Instead of being frustrated that we aren't on this slow incline all the time to progression? How could we treat those troughs with joy in some way the same way we do with the progression?

I want to remember that these ups and downs are totally normal and to not be surprised when they happen. Because the resistance, frustration, and being self-critical is not helpful.

The Law of Undulation

The biggest question to ask yourself

Are you only willing to continue your spiritual practice if you get something in return from God?

Why would we continue doing a spiritual practice if we weren’t getting something out of it?

The answer is to continue progressing, to continue working our own personal transformations. We’re trying to become somebody, we’re trying to improve our lives and get to the level of development we believe is possible for us. Keep achieving progress.

Even when you’re feeling that detachment from God and not enjoying the connection with Him you want. We’re supposed to still look for it, even if we’re not necessarily finding it.

“I hope that it helps me the next time I feel that lowering, the feeling that I'm down again, because I maybe I can skip the part where I'm so frustrated with myself and annoyed or frustrated even with God a little bit. I can just say, “Oh, right, this has happened before. I know that that's normal. It will happen again, and it's okay.” And maybe there are things I can keep doing in the meantime.” - Kristin

Our Favorite Expert from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

(He’s talking about how God makes His presence felt to us — these are the peaks.):

“He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs — to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best…. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.

[The devil’s] cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do [the Father’s] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." - C.S. Lewis


How To Navigate Your Spiritual Highs and Lows

Lead from your heart!!

Ask yourself, “What gets my heart in the right place so that right action flows from it with ease? What does it look like to have my heart in the right place?”

I've noticed when I have those spiritual peaks and when I feel like I'm in the right place, I'm leading with my heart. And I feel drawn to it.

If I believe that doing the things will align myself with God, then I'll do the things that align myself with God. And then even if I don't feel like the connection every single day, I'm still practicing the belief and I'm still doing the things. And I know that the reward is feeling the alignment, not necessarily that I’ll feel the continued presence of God every day. And that's okay.

In this podcast episode, we’re talking about the peaks and troughs we all face in every area of life. C.S. Lewis called it the law of undulation and said that the closest we can get to constancy is this idea of undulation: “a repeated return to a level from which we repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.” Click through to listen in or to read a recap of the episode!

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