Spiritual growth… what is it? What does it really mean when we say “spiritual growth”? Is it important for our lives? How important?
What place should spiritual growth have in our lives? And, how can we combine it with our other pursuits, such as making money? Is it incompatible with such activities? Or can spiritual growth and material pursuits actually feed into each other?
We’ll tackle each of these questions one at a time in this article.
What Is Spiritual Growth?
Spiritual growth means growing to be more and more in tune with your true essence.
You could say that it’s about integrating the spirit with the mind and body, and thereby growing into a holistic organism rather than a split and separate one.
But plenty of people are undergoing serious spiritual growth without necessarily referencing the concept of spirit in their attempts to do so. The spirit could be seen as just our “essence”, our “soul”, our “spark of life”… or maybe our sense of self, our creativity, or our “centre”. Zen, as well as other meditation traditions, are dedicated to cultivating spiritual growth, but don’t all make reference to the spirit itself. Sometimes, it’s not needed.
The spirit is what drives you to seek what can only be described as “something more” out of life. The spirit is also what gets expressed or shines out of you when you reach high levels of spiritual growth.
The spirit contains all that is healthy and beautiful about human beings, such as love, harmony, peace, health, and joy. Spiritual growth can bring us to those things, and is often initiated by a longing to grow towards these things or have more of them in our lives.
You discover what the spirit is as you go about your own path of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth itself is something which is likely to redefine itself many times as you go about changing your perspective. In the end, we can only say that it’s the path we take when an internal impulse pulls us towards that ineffable “something more”.
How Important Is Spiritual Growth
So, how important is spiritual growth? In a sense, I’d say it’s hard to answer that question. We are always growing spiritually, whether we want to or not. Our spirit or essence is always a part of us, and it’s always trying to get itself expressed in our lives; it’s always trying to get us to grow to be more spiritual.
However, people who are not aware of that “something more”, who aren’t seeking a closer connection with their essence, may be lost in their own pursuits and not interested in helping their spirit manifest itself. Spiritual growth, for these people, is often a long and gruelling process, with lots of resistance. Think of an old person who stubbornly resists learning to use modern technology. Eventually they’ll have to learn, have to grow, but their free will isn’t helping the process along.
I think it’s maybe the most key thing in our lives to make the conscious decision to help our spiritual growth along. I think that without consciously assisted spiritual growth, our lives are in danger of remaining stuck in a rather unpleasant pit of ignorance and suffering. This is “so much more” out there than this – just as you may have heard your spirit say to you, strongly and persistently.
What Place Should Spiritual Growth Have In Our Lives?
I believe that unlike a lot of concepts of spiritual growth suggest, ALL our lives are the backdrop for our spiritual growth. We don’t only grow spiritually while on the meditation mat, though I think that’s an important part of spiritual growth. We grow spiritually in and through all the activities of our lives.
What’s more, all situations in our lives are either symptoms of our current state of spiritual growth, or perfectly designed opportunities for us to grow spiritually. Naturally, they can also be both of these things at the same time.
Being poor can be a symptom of your current state of spiritual growth. A sense of lack inside can manifest itself as a sense of lack outside.
So if you’re poor and are tugged by the need for “something more” in this arena, perhaps this is your spiritual instinct at work. You may be able to grow financially and spiritually at the same time by healing the spiritual root cause of the matter.
On the other hand, some people may find themselves up against outer situations which don’t reflect their inner situations. You could be rich but have an inner sense of lack which pursues you wherever you go. Or, you could be poor but feel a creative abundance inside you that seems to directly conflict with the reality you’re experiencing. Either situation could be a case of the spirit trying to get itself discovered and expressed. Either situation, definitely, could be used as a way of growing closer to your spiritual essence.
So make spiritual growth an important part of your life. Or, if you already feel that tug towards “something more”, just admit that spiritual growth is an important part of your life. Get exploring. Explore how your spiritual essence pulls you to realise and express yourself in new and changing ways.
And if you have a problem in your life you want to solve, try tackling it as a spiritual problem. Solve it with spiritual growth.
To parallel the famous words of Hippocrates, “Let your life be your spiritual practise and your spiritual practise be your life.”