For most people, life is a series of repetitions and coincidences, a daily, weekly, yearly and even lifetime struggle to make sense of circumstances and situations we find ourselves. For most people, too, life is a bitter disappointment because our answers are neither tangible nor explainable to an understandable level. The query begs – How is this even possible? Can anything under this sun ever be figured out?
Gladly, it’s not about the answers. It’s about a whole different animal – knowing oneself. See, if you understand and know yourself, then you will automatically have control of what goes on in your immediate surroundings. And this in turn ripples through every other “larger” aspect of life. “Larger” in quotes because, from reality’s standpoint, there is NOTHING bigger than you. Well, at least until you allow it to be.
What I’m saying is that everything starts and ends with you – your body, mind, and spirit are all under your control as a “human being.” As you’re being human, you “make” life happen accordingly by your daily feelings, thoughts, and actions. Note that no human affiliation, religious or political, is afore-mentioned!
1. DEFINING SPIRITUALITY
Now I know this is some really precarious territory we are venturing around, what with the myriad of personal ideas or dogmas on what this is, how to live the life, and its relationship to you and I in the grander scheme of things. But I will not hesitate to start by saying “Life is indeed WHAT you make it.” I am not in any way claiming that “life events” affecting humanity are self-engineered, but in the same measure I would be a fool not to agree that our reactions to these “life events” are indeed, self-engineered. Why else would two people facing the same exact event react differently? Now that’s spirituality.
Permit me to wade deeper. Whatever event life brings at you is not and will never be up to you. You found yourself in this world and as a human being you are engineered to adapt and thrive. Naturally. But still, even that is up to your personal choice. You respond to life as you see fit, depending on what’s INSIDE of you. An interesting definition I came across once of spirituality is “that process of realigning your sense of self with something you may never have thought was within you.” Curtly, spirituality is a journey of self-discovery. It is the path to enlightenment. This journey is BIGGER than us, and extends beyond our births and deaths. It is, indeed, as vast as consciousness. And it is called “growth” because all that is possible is just growing into higher levels of it with no end goal other than enlightenment, which also is infinite in its nature.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SPIRITUALITY
One of the first things you can do to grow spiritually is to let go of any preconceived ideas you have about spiritual growth.
1. Being spiritual is being religious or pious:
Spirituality is NOT religion – it is the knowledge and proper application of universal laws that are as real as they are invisible. Let me explain. “Religion” as a word is said to originate from the Latin phrase “Re-ligare” or “Relegere,” which in itself has alternate meanings depending on grammatical placement in language and who’s talking.
The 1st, “to bind/tie/hold back,” literally means that – to keep one in a certain place and/or prevent one from moving forward with something, or to remain within a certain boundary of conduct for a specific reason or purpose. Used this way, religion as an event tends to hold one back from their spiritual journey.
The 2nd points at the act of “going over literature, or re-reading,” which still keeps one in a state of repetition and doesn’t imply progress – rather, indoctrination. A probable inference would be that both definitions are talking about stagnant being, for lack of better terms. Of course, it could go both ways with this. One could be positively “held back” from negative actions and living, or negatively rooted in that negative state of mind that inhibits personal self-discovery, spirituality. Religion, having its main purpose as a fetter, will sufficiently keep some from negativity, just as well as it will hold others back from their inner growth and knowledge, depending on what doctrine or discipline one chooses to allow into his/her life. Either way, it’s up to you to assess whether your religion (if you have one) is helping you or keeping you from discovering yourself with its “guidelines.”
The 3rd scenario, which came later from Roman philosophy and anthropology, denotes it as “re-attach” or “re-link” oneself to a higher power and in the process find oneself again. This throws in a twist – is there a true kind of attachment which helps you find yourself? Is there a false religion that could and would keep you from discovering who you really are and what your purpose is in life? It is very possible to be totally religious and yet not spiritual whatsoever. A diligent piece of information for those ascribing to Christianity/Judaism can be found here.
2. Spirituality has an end/ finish line:
Spirituality as a goal is NOT targetable – you can NEVER be fully spiritual. This is one of the biggest markers of someone who has no clue it’s a journey. It’s not a destination. So you can’t possibly say you are satisfied/content with yourself as a human because you know you always have room to improve and better yourself. And so long as you have that reality in mind, you will never catch yourself being “self-righteous” and self-sufficient; not even the most successful person in life can dare say so because there’s always something “missing”!
Now for a small dose of reality. “Enlightenment” is defined as being “very skilled at holding and radiating light.” It is not a place you reach where you stop growing and are perfect. No matter how high you go there are higher and higher levels you can reach. Being enlightened simply means you have tools and resources to handle all the energies of life in such a way that you add clarity, harmony, and light to everything around you. Since energy is ever-changing, there’s then NO LIMIT to the growth that is possible!
On another note, there are MANY paths to enlightenment, keeping in mind there is ONE destination – finding yourself and your place in life and the universe at large. Choose the path that is most joyful to you and in alignment with YOUR values. Now you may choose one path at one time and another one at another, or many paths concurrently, but go toward those disciplines you are drawn to. Don’t feel like you must pursue something that doesn’t appeal to you just because others say it is the “right” way to grow.
3. Spiritual growth requires Religious activity:
While you may be able to align yourself with a positive religion that helps you with proper tools and resources for self-discovery, it is not necessary to be able to do these things to be highly enlightened. You may have heard that enlightenment, the destination of spiritual growth, involves having past-life memories, ability to meditate for hours, ability to live in states of continual bliss, among others.
However, many highly spiritual souls have no past-life memories, don’t spend their days meditating, and have no “superhuman” abilities. On the contrary, you will find many of them working in every possible area to lift the condition of humanity, raise consciousness, and bring more light into their areas of service. They are doing many practical things with their lives and creating many positive results. Their work acts as their meditation and provides their opportunities for spiritual growth. They have learned to focus upward while they are focused outward in service. They don’t need superhuman abilities to accomplish their higher purpose, and neither do you.
4. Spiritual growth is Difficult:
Herein is a huge bone of contention. It has been said that the process can be quite painful, considering as we mentioned before it involves letting go of preconceived ideas that you may have about what it involves. Again, “life is what you make it.” If you are coming from a religious, cultural or politically “correct” standpoint, then it definitely will be the elephant in your room since you have to learn about you from a higher perspective. You may very well be harboring “layers upon layers of old beliefs, habits and thought patterns that are toxic… tearing down walls.” If this is you, facing those “demons” can be quite a heinous task which will most likely be painful to you as you start and even further down the journey.
It is ultimately your choice how you will grow though. You can choose to grow with joy rather than struggle! Your mind is a wonder – what you believe, you receive. Do you believe that growth comes from struggle? If so, you will create crises by which to grow. So do yourself a huge favor and dissolve any negative pictures you have about growth. Give yourself permission to have valuable and worthwhile things, such as your spiritual growth, come easily. It takes far less time and energy to grow through joy than through struggle. Understand that you do NOT have to work hard day and night, feel exhausted, or surmount incredible odds and obstacles to have worthwhile achievements and grow spiritually.
Some people worry when things get “too easy.” As you increase your vibration, things WILL get easier. The challenge, truly, is not in how hard things are, but in how expansive you can make your vision and how much can be accomplished with economy of joy, energy, and creative intent! If you have a situation in your life right now that is less joyful than you want it to be, realize that is is teaching you important lessons – maybe how to reach into the deepest part of your being and gaining a new strength and courage. You can choose to learn from these lessons and gain these qualities with joy. Just comfort yourself in the notion that things may not change overnight, but they WILL change.
Once you begin your path – seeking, learning, exploring the greater being you are, and uncovering the mysteries of the universe – you will never be the same. You may stop for a while or decide to slow down, but after you experience the joy of growing you will not want to stand still for long. In fact, as many of you are aware, you may never want to stop!
5. Spiritual growth is a step-by-step process:
No, it doesn’t have to be. It can be instantaneous. Think of some quality you would like to have right now, such as inner peace, greater focus, or more self-love. How long do you think you’d have to wait to acquire these qualities? Say to yourself, “I accept more of this quality into my life. I am NOW more peaceful, focused, and loving to myself,” or whatever fits the quality you choose. As you say these AFFIRMATIONS you increase your experience of these qualities.
Understand that your subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is true and what you THINK is true. So use the present tense in your affirmations – “I am now peaceful” instead of the future “I will be peaceful,” so you can reprogram your subconscious mind to accept these thoughts as your reality. As it does it will create changes in your life to match this inner reality.
6. Spiritual growth is alien to & separate from everyday life:
Nothing can be further from the truth. Spiritual growth is discovering YOURSELF. That in itself is reality in no better terms. In fact, making your everyday life work is an important part of your spiritual growth. Paying your rent, taking good care of yourself, and being self-sufficient are as important to your spiritual growth as meditating.
Growth for humanity comes from living life fully, not from avoiding life and going off to a cave to meditate all day. You are here to learn from each person, each situation, and every challenge you have. You are here to learn to be fully present and aware of what is happening around you, adding more clarity, harmony, and light to all you do.
Spiritual growth is learning to make your life work in every area, from your relationships to your career. As you put your spiritual light into everything you do, bring awareness and love to all your activities, and turn every experience into an opportunity for growth, you are indeed being your spiritual self. In the beginning you might just focus on it occasionally, but as you continue on your path, it will become an increasingly important part of your life.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
More than you can ever imagine!
The spiritual path can be one of immense play and deep inner joy. Spiritual growth gives you the tools to make your everyday life work and bring increasingly higher levels of order, harmony, clarity and love into EVERY area of your life. Your growth is the single most important thing you can focus on if you want a joyful, peaceful and loving life.
As you grow, you will be able to see the bigger picture of your life. As you link with the Higher Force you ascribe to that works within you, you will gain more awareness of humanity’s evolution and your part in it; you will discover your life’s work and the tools you need to carry it out and create real results in the physical world.
Your life’s work will make a useful contribution to people, the plant or animal kingdoms, or the earth itself. It will be something you love to do! You can thereby do what you love all the time; your work can be your play!
Your growth will greatly contribute to your mastery of living, allowing joy, love and aliveness. The more you work on your growth, the more easily you will manifest what you want. Every moment spent loving others, growing, and expanding your aliveness will create enormous gains. Think of it as a great gift to yourself, a wonderful treat you deserve to have, and believe you can reach your enlightenment in this life – and you will.
HOW TO BECOME TRULY SPIRITUAL AND AVOID SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS “CORRECTNESS.”
Finally! As we wind this conversation down, I would like to sincerely thank you for hanging on this long and hope it has been beneficial to you.
There is, within every one of us, a certain state of spiritual “nothingness” (you can call it a void) where you can go into for several realistic purposes – to expand beyond your current limits, let go of old things, and move to your next level of spiritual growth. Herein you leave behind familiar structures, habits, thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes, and go deeper within to create new ones that match your higher vibration. In this state, you can receive insights and do much inner work. It can last for minutes, hours, days, or even months. Guaranteed you will experience this void throughout your spiritual journey, and it is your ability to handle its obligations that will assist you in growing even faster and more joyfully.
By you having this experience, you are like a bird leaving a familiar jetstream to join a higher air flow. Since the conditions between the two air masses are turbulent and unfamiliar, the bird may lose flight and fall below the original path temporarily. However, those uncertain conditions teach the bird much about itself, flying and the conditions that can affect its flight. After all that it stabilizes and flies easily in the higher flow.
In relation, your void occurs when you are letting go of an aspect of your personality that no longer fits who you are becoming. Though you may not know what to do or how to react at those points, understand that EVERY void is marked by issues of the heart. You will find yourself asking deep questions – “Who am I? Am I lovable? Can I have what I want? What would I want to do with my life?” It is essential to know that it is only when you stop knowing in your “normal” way and experience the “not-knowing” that you can connect with new knowledge. The void gives you many choices and new possibilities!
Which brings us to the real issue – to become TRULY spiritual, you have to learn how to Lift The Veils Of Illusion! Lifting the veils of illusion means being able to remember who you are and what your higher purpose is. It is learning to see the world in the eyes of your spiritual self, knowing what is truth and what is illusion. Reality and Truth depend on your rate of vibration. The higher your vibration, the more you are able to love yourself and treat others with compassion. For instance, at one vibration level, revenge may be a way to handle the feeling of being wronged – revenge would be that person’s truth. At a higher level the person may understand the spiritual law of Cause and Effect, and instead forgive the wrongdoer. As you increase your spiritual vibration, your truth will expand and the veils of illusion will disappear.
Illusions promise to give you one thing but actually give you something else. Here comes religion (false at that), culture, and politics. You experience this when you get something you wanted and it doesn’t give you what you thought it would. Judgments stop you from seeing things as they really are, so you have to really let go of your judgments to see beyond illusions. Learn to observe without comparing, projecting your thoughts onto others, evaluating, or making up stories about what is happening. When you judge others, you are actually projecting your thoughts about reality onto them, and these thoughts may not describe them accurately at all (Parents yelling at their children in the store doesn’t mean they are bad – they might be tired, under pressure, or doing just what is perfect for their children at that moment).
Watch people without making any judgments about who they are, and you will sense more about them. Find something beautiful about each person and concentrate on that. You cannot serve others when you separate yourself from them by judging them! Learn to see the bigger picture of who people are by looking beyond the roles they play. It is an illusion to think that if you’re spiritually evolved you must be famous or highly visible as a spiritual leader. Fame and wealth do not indicate one’s enlightenment; both spiritual and unspiritual people have fame and wealth.
Also, mass agreement that things are a certain way can create illusions. Illusions come from accepting other’s thoughts and beliefs WITHOUT questioning their value to you. If you will create new possibilities and bring about higher truths to your world, you need to see the world clearly. Don’t accept things just because others do. Question what you are hearing and reading. Learn to go beyond what is commonly held to be true and discover your OWN truth. You will need to learn your truth and come from your Integrity, which is an important part of spiritual growth!