By: April Carson
"The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning." - M. Scott Peck
Spiritual development is the process of shedding wrong and unreal ideas, concepts, thoughts, and beliefs in order to become more conscious and aware of our inner being. This reveals the spiritual essence that has always been there but was hidden from view by the ego-personality.
Every moment in our lives provides an opportunity for spiritual growth, but it is difficult to notice these opportunities unless we have chosen a spiritual path of some kind. It can also be challenging if the ego-personality refuses to let go and to keep up with this process of growth.
Spiritual growth is the development of a person's spirit. - awakening to who you are, so that you can live your life in the light of awareness. It's about becoming more conscious and aware of our inner being. This reveals the spiritual essence that has always been there but was hidden from view by the ego-personality.
Spiritual growth doesn't happen automatically. It requires spiritual work; spiritual practice; spiritual knowledge and understanding. Spiritual growth requires dedication to self-study, self-awareness and being prepared to question everything.
There are three stages of development in this process of growth.
The first is the awakening to our essential nature: we realize we are more than just a physical body and personality structure composed of memories, personality traits and habits. We see that we also possess an inner Presence, which has been with us all along, but has been obscured by the worldly conditioning of our thoughts and emotions. We see that it is possible to be aware of this Presence at any time, even in the midst of worldly activity.
We begin to think less about ourselves as a physical-emotional entity, and more about ourselves as an awareness living within a body. We come to know ourselves not by how we feel or what we think, but by the awareness that witnesses all of these things.
The second stage is letting go of the psyche's worldly desires. The transition to this stage is often heralded by experiences in which we become aware of our own inner nature, and realize that it is not limited to the demands of worldly life. We may begin to feel that there is something infinitely more significant than what we have previously thought was important. Our focus gradually shifts away from externals and our preoccupation with worldly life. We begin to sense the inner depth of being, which not only exists within us, but also extends beyond us into all existence.
The third stage is the realization that separateness ceases to exist in moments of deep spiritual awareness. As we become more aware of this inner depth of being, we begin to realize that it is all-inclusive and limitless. We may feel a sense of oneness with all existence, a blend of both external and internal realities. We may even experience this as an inflow of energy from something beyond us.
If you're interested in spiritual growth, start by asking yourself the following question: "What does spiritual growth look like for me?" Write down your answers. Study them; meditate on them; think about their implications and relationships to each other. And then act upon those ideas. Only when we take concrete actions in the world will we actually grow spiritually.
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