THE DANCE OF PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH: SYNCING UP THE LEVELS
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
Growth is exciting; growth is dynamic and alarming. Growth of the soul, growth of the mind.
“Life is flux,” it is said, and change would seem to be one of the unavoidable hallmarks of life. I personally feel that one of the reasons we are here on earth, generally speaking, is to learn and grow, and I am a strong proponent of personal and spiritual growth. For this reason, I strive in my work with clients to provide insight that will facilitate their own process of unfolding, wherever they may be in that process.
I have a tendency to intertwine personal and spiritual growth, rather than segregating them, because I feel that it is difficult, in fact, to truly separate them from each other or, indeed, to have one without the other. We often view personal growth as perhaps psychological in nature rather than spiritual — working on our issues, for example. Because of this view, we may regard personal growth as a lesser priority because we see it as “unspiritual” or as unnecessary when we want to be focusing on what we perceive to be more spiritual pursuits. What I have come to learn, however, is that it is often the personal issues and stuff that may be clouding and impeding our spirituality, so that our personal growth (clearing away some of our “stuff”) may lead to spiritual growth. Hence, I feel that one (personal growth) will often lead to or allow us to open up to the other (spiritual growth). In addition, clearing away some of the dross of our “stuff” and growing personally shifts our energy from a denser vibration to a lighter one, syncing us up more to the higher, finer vibrations of a spiritual level.
I have been asked in the past what spirituality is. A tough question, that – although it is one that has definitely prompted me to think long and hard about it. I tend to view spirituality as a feeling of connection to that which is supposedly outside of us (or outside of the narrow confines of our egos) – a connection to others, to animals, to nature, to earth, to the universe, to other levels and realms, and to the Divine. Thus, spirituality, for me, is the sense of connection to the all (as well as to the All!). And spiritual growth represents the growth of feeling that connection, sometimes irrespective of our conscious acknowledgment of it. Openness may be one of the first prerequisites to that growth. Clearing the blocks to that openness and/or clearing our personal stuff that may be blocking our feeling that connection to what is outside of us can both pave the way for our spiritual growth, as well as allowing us to resonate more with higher spiritual energies. Conversely, rigidity and tight energy may tend to impede it.
Many of us have tended to approach our spiritual growth from a mental or intellectual perspective. We may be avid readers of books on spirituality and metaphysics, trying to cram our minds with an understanding of ideas about spirituality, whether learning about the religions of the world or contemporary theories of spirituality or prescribed steps to spiritual understanding or success. We may become quite learned about these ideas of spirituality, and this is a wonderful step toward spiritual growth. We truly grow spiritually, however, when we begin to live our spirituality as well, through experiencing it and exploring it experientially – when we begin to feel it and thus to know it on a different level. Growing and knowing on the level of feeling rounds out our spirituality, allowing it to permeate the different levels of our being so that it is integrated into our being. (I have previously examined this in my article, “Experiential Spirituality and Contemporary Gnosis.”)
So how do we maximize our growth and how do we pursue it? What I have learned through my work with clients, as well as from my own process, is that everyone’s path is different, that there is no set of rules for everyone to follow. I would like to say that openness is a prerequisite. However, I’ve seen those who were not exactly predisposed to being open go through growth or opening experiences. And our manner of growing may vary as well. Some may go through intense periods of rapid growth, while others may evolve more gradually over time, much like a flower slowly opening its petals to take in the nurturing elements of its environment. And for still others, both types of growth processes may be experienced at different points in their lives. (I also feel that it may not be for everyone to experience a lot of growth; some may be living lives in which they are to experience not growing.)
There may be different triggers for our growth, from a vague feeling of disenchantment or lack of fulfillment or that there must be something more to life; to more traumatic triggers such as the loss of a job or relationship, illness or accident, death of a loved one, a near-death experience, etc. We usually know, if we are aware of the growth paradigm, when we experience triggers such as these that we’re being asked to shift and change in some way. We may go through painful periods of change (which I often liken to being forged or tempered on an anvil), as well as pleasant periods of exploratory discovery. Both the triggers to and the ways of growing may be highly variable. When we experience difficult triggers, if we’re not clued in to the growth “imperative” we may resist and chafe under the pain or unpleasantness. As anyone who has moved past this resistance knows, our resistance to the growth process only prolongs our struggle, much as the moth caught in an ensnaring web.
I think it’s important to understand that there are no graven-in-stone rules to follow for growth. It may be more a matter of honoring our own process and looking for the signs and guidance given and available to us constantly. Self-awareness and self-knowledge, combined with openness, can be key. It may also be true that we can’t will ourselves to grow (“I’m going to grow now!”), as much as perhaps allowing ourselves to walk a balance between receptively looking for the signs and guidance around us and actively following through on that guidance – thus, partnering with the universe on our growth and unfolding, as well as being an active participant rather than an unwilling or passive recipient of energies.
For these reasons, self-knowledge can maximize our process. Learning how to access and listen to guidance can be key, as can finding our inner voice and learning to tap into it.
There are many, many modalities that can facilitate. I would like to think that my work with clients helps in this process. Other helpful modalities include meditation, energy healing, rolfing, affirmations, therapy and counseling, touch for health, heart-opening exercises, acupuncture, massage therapy, crystal healing, color therapy, astrology – and the list goes on and on. Certainly books that expand our understanding can be immensely helpful and can even trigger “aha” experiences of realization, as long as we read with a discerning eye (or gut).
Once we begin to grow personally and spiritually, there is often no turning back. We may begin to recognize some of the lessons we’re undergoing, as we realize that we’re being asked to go to new levels of trust, surrender, patience, and flow, among others – those states of being that can maximize our sense of partnering with the universe and with the Divine. We learn that there is indeed more meaning to life than just the superficialities our five senses allow us to experience. Our growth and unfolding – our dance of personal and spiritual growth, if you will – can be addictive as we reap unexpected rewards of heightened fulfillment and peace (once we travel through the tunnel of pain to the light). And we often realize that we wouldn’t want to go back to our former modes of being. Much like the butterfly that sheds its cloaking but limiting garment of the cocoon, we find that our new lighter state allows us both more freedom of being and the ability to feel the light of the sun as we fly more unencumbered to higher levels.
There are gardens spiritual in the universe where the air, water, fire and subtle combination of permutation of his life and made it there. The Earth is an incredible spiritual Gardens temporary stay for different types of individual life experience spiritual progress and the effects of greed, attachment, hatred and fear.
Balloons endless planets of the spiritual world to stay for the different types of individual life formed. Each of the planets do not have air, water and land needed for food and growth of life formed. Some of the globes of the planets in the spiritual world, are just globes of fire and carry out continuously self-destruction and not spiritual healing. Many of the planets is air, water and soil mixed with fire, but unsuitable for growth, health, healing life formed. Many of the planets is air, water and soil mixed with fire for the growth, health, healing life formed, but not in form, spiritual nourishment and spiritual enlightenment of life formed.
In the midst of spiritual gardens formed the spiritual gardens of the Earth is a temporary hotel incredible gardens for different types of individual life to experience spiritual growth and spiritual enlightenment and the effects of self-destruction of greed, attachment, hatred and fear. In the middle of the formation of Earth, the different types of individual life with great technological development, growth and the colors / styles of life of spiritual health. These different types of life, with great technological development, growth, have a lot of names are legion. Activities karma repeated with the wishes of spiritual progress and desires of greed, attachment, hatred and fear. of these different types of life are taken into account by the Court of true divine name of God without form. Tribunal true name of God is eternal and formless divine true name of God is eternal formless.
These styles of different types of individual life have come to this land of spiritual temporary hotel garden for the promotion of moral and spiritual development and experience of the effects of greed, attachment, hatred and fear. In this hotel gardens of the earth, physical activities of individual life complete with the sense of sight, hearing, taste and smell, and thoughts of greed, attachment, hatred and fear of many subjects and objects form. or thoughts of spiritual progress. In the spirit of the gardens hotel on earth, the physical activities of the different types of individual life conducted with different desires in the wisdom of thought, are calculated accordingly by a courtyard divine and eternal.
Vision of the unity of God without pure form leaves its mark on the effects resulting from the wishes of the individuals on their thoughts, to be accepted as the fate of seeds that meets the individual in the later incarnation. A person who has matured in his mind the desire (virtuous or bad) and the person who came to the liberation of desires (virtuous or evil) in mind, are considered by the Court of the divine name of God, the true knowledge of the facts. My dear, consider these saying of Guru Nanak., Founder of the Sikh religion and venerated by Hindus and Muslims and make a serious plan to play this short life in this stunning gardens of the hotel life on earth.
No Karma life physical activity is virtuous or sinful. Physical activity of the different types of individual life to be virtuous or sinful thoughts in mind as when I played. All activities carried out with the goodness of the thoughts of reducing the suffering of others or any other kind of life, sowing the seeds of goodwill in the subconscious. All activities carried out with ideas to enjoy the suffering of others or any other kind of life, sowing the seeds of desire in the subconscious habit.
All the activities they perform, or desire, but simply following orders from the unity of God and conscious desire to plant the seeds of liberation in the subconscious. Any donation or pilgrimage to religious retreats to win any popularity leads to self-destruction and spiritual thoughts vice win, so they are useless. Any expression of kindness, in order to alleviate the suffering of others, or religious pilgrimage humbly to any Win spiritual growth retreat. Earn virtues thoughts, making them useful..
The guy plays spiritual life without any hatred or subject to any kind of life, without any hatred or attachment to the location of any thing or place in the universe and that the time is bound to reach the destination of spiritual growth, spiritual healing, spiritual health and spiritual enlightenment and live this life with joy, even in worse physical condition.
To follow are the degraded types of life and are generally sowing the seeds of vice in the desires of the subconscious and needs to do more serious plan to play this short life. People with immature minds involved in intense darkness of thought in the mind. The robber carrying out the thoughts of food and other goods belonging to persons leaving the thoughts of the imposition of the enduring strength. People, who have killed many mercilessly, and carry out the thoughts of their murders. The bad guys who bear the thought of sin and disappear after the execution of the repeated acts of sin. People who are fraud and are engaged in false and are thought to turn on falsehood. Many people involved in critical thinking and accused of living the thought of criticism in mind.
Plan your activities for self improvement karma, spiritual enlightenment and liberation from the effects of greed, attachment, hatred and fear. If you have no desire for spiritual enlightenment, is not yet ripe for it.
There are degrees in religious studies and in various aspects of preparation for the ministry available online as well as in the classrooms of seminaries and Christian universities. If your interest is in comparative religion, you are better off exploring the options at a traditional university – which by next fall may be offering those courses online as well, given the pace with which traditional colleges are adopting distance learning.
There are several options offered by respected, accredited institutions. The bachelor’s degree programs generally mix a fairly broad choice of academic disciplines mixed in with classes on spirituality and on Christian theology. The result is a baccalaureate in Christian Ministry or in other cases, in Theology and Ministry.
Some schools are offering graduate degrees in the field as well. Liberty University has a mix of twenty two master’s programs that are a mix of MA, MAR, and MDiv degrees. Those are a Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Religion, and Master of Divinity respectively. Generally, an MAR degree is recognized as qualification for status in the lay ministry and preparation for further study. The Masters of Divinity is meant to convey status as a graduate who is prepared for ordination into a Christian faith.
The Master’s of Divinity options include such areas of focus as Church Ministries, Discipleship Ministries, Evangelism and Church Planting and Biblical Studies. The graduate degrees closest to lay studies are the master’s degrees in theology, in professional counseling, and in worship ethnomusicology. Liberty’s online options cover differing degrees of focus on the evangelical profession, broken out into an interesting mix or specialties.
There is a college in Philadelphia offers online courses in the Jewish faith, and one in Los Angeles that has a distance learning School of Buddhist Studies. There are schools with online courses in Hinduism and Islam as well, and there is a directory for comparative religion courses that has developed recently. Religion has come to the world of digital education, just as every other avenue of learning led to distance learning.
A myth is essentially a guide; it tells us what we must do to live more richly.
As early as people could communicate, they developed stories to explain their relationship with the world and cosmos beyond what they could see. They wondered at the divine mysteries in their surroundings, venerating them in their daily lives. From the beginning, people seemed to appreciate that there was something more beyond their experience of daily life.
With the development of communication, cultures developed stories which gave life and meaning to the mysteries which surrounded them. These are myths which date back in one form or another to the earliest civilizations. These days, we tend to think of myths as stories which are untrue. The original meaning was stories which put into words the larger context for human, animal and plant lives, indeed the lives of the earth and the universe. They were not meant as literal facts but as a reverent way to speak of our home and beyond.
The Koran and the Bible were both initially handed down through oral tradition and eventually published. This makes it difficult to know what was revealed as editions have changed over the years. Just one brief example. In current versions of the bible, the Angel Gabriel is said to have greeted Mary with the words, “Ave Maria”, or in English, “Hail Mary”. The Greek version which predated the Latin presents the angel’s greeting as “Kaire, kekaritomene” or “Rejoice, you have found favor.” Before that was the oral tradition in Aramaic.
Versions of religious stories appear to have changed over the centuries to reflect the civilization in which the great religions were practiced. We now take for granted, at least in the United States, separation of church and state which until several centuries ago was not even a consideration.
Since the industrial revolution, we have moved toward scientific explanation of everything in our world and away from a mythical explanation which took into account our values, emotions and personal experience of the world. Many religions have also taken the position that they are the one true religion and the others are of no account. God has not ruled on this debate, at least not yet.
The major religions have also suffered distortions of their teachings to justify inhuman treatment of each other. The crusades and inquisition are historical examples. The jihad which is geared toward killing random civilians is a more recent example.
When we return to the core teaching of all religions as originally intended to be followed, we find that the common denominator is to treat others as we would wish them to treat us. The challenge now is to return to the basics of our various religions or commonsense beliefs among people of no particular religion. We can treat each other with compassion although this requires us to release our hatreds, rivalries and competition with each other on a human level.
Life Lab Lessons
Decide how you would like to be treated by others.
Try treating others that way.
Be open to how others would like you to treat them.
Try acting in a way they would like you to act.
Be aware of the brotherhood and sisterhood of your fellow human beings.