Two Steps From Bliss

Am I Making Spiritual Progress? 7 Powerful Ways to Tell

(Deepen your Meditation Podcast)

Am I Making Spiritual Progress? - Listen Now

Spiritual Progress Transcript

Introduction

Today’s episode is all about spiritual progress and how to know if you’re making any.

The effects of meditation are subtle and they take place over months and even years. But trust me when I say they are very real and very powerful.

But sometimes it feels like we’re not making much progress at all. We get impatient and feel like we’re not getting anywhere. And a lot of people start to worry that they’re wasting their time.

And some people even quit, which is terrible. Don’t quit!

It reminds me of that picture where a guy is mining for diamonds. And you see him give up when he’s two centimetres away from the treasure.

So keep going. Trust the process because if you’re meditating consistently, you are making progress. It may be rapid or it may be quite slow, depending on how deep your meditation is. But the more you do it, the better you’re going to become. 

Meditation is evolution, all the activity and worry of daily life makes your soul kind of stand still. It needs silence to evolve.

Mystical Powers?

spiritual progress

Now, you might be thinking that I’m going to say that you’re making progress if you develop psychic powers. Or have mystical experiences or levitate off your bed in the night.

While I don’t doubt that these things have happened to people, they’re not the mark of true spiritual progress. And to be honest, they can actually get in the way, especially when the ego is involved.

It’s like, “Hey, I can read your mind. I’m all powerful,” and then you start getting a Messiah complex. And it’s all downhill from there.

So seriously, don’t worry about all that stuff: seeing lights, hearing stuff. Forget it; focus on the subtle improvements in your life and in your daily feelings.

I made a list of 30 spiritual activities/exercises that you can do to evolve your spiritual progress. It’s based on the Yamas and Niyamas. These are the do’s and don’ts of the spiritual path.

This list is going to help you move forward. You can download it by filling in the form below.

Let’s take a look at seven ways to tell if you’re making spiritual progress.

30 Practices: Yamas and Niyamas 

Download these 30 practices now to turn theory into reality in your life. Includes 30 practical processes for deepening your peace, joy and spirituality. That is 3 processes for each of the yamas and niyamas.   

Spiritual progress sign # 1: You've developed an interest in meditation and spirituality.

So if you’re here, listening to this, which I happen to know that you are, then well done. You are at the very least showing an interest in meditation. Yogananda said that it is very good karma to even have an interest in spiritual practices.

Maybe you’re reading some books, watching some videos, or listening to spiritual podcasts like this one.

And that’s a sign that you’re already pretty well evolved on the spiritual path. Many people are just not into it.

They’d hear this stuff and be like, “This is annoying”, and they’d turn it off. They’d turn the football on or something.

But you’re here working to learn and improve yourself through spirituality. And that’s a good sign that you’re on the right track.

Sign # 2: You have a regular spiritual practice.

So if you’ve started meditating and you’re doing it consistently, then you’re in like the top 10%.

Many people have an interest in spirituality. They read about it. But how many people are actually doing it every day?

You can read all the books you like about driving a car. But until you get into that driver’s seat, you don’t have the experience.

So once you get to a certain point, you understand that your life is not the same without meditation.

If I go a day, without meditation now, I start to feel kind of sketchy and gross. Because I’ve become accustomed to a life of feeling pretty content.

And when I don’t meditate, that’s taken away, and it’s replaced by anxiety and some edginess.

So if you’re meditating every day, you’re on the right track. And also yoga, prayer, chanting, these are all good indicators of spiritual growth.

Sign # 3: You've become kinder and more compassionate

spiritual progress

On the spiritual path, we start to feel this basic unity with others and so we feel more connected to them. We operate less from self-serving and become kinder and more empathetic towards others.

This means that you may have a greater desire to serve and less of a need to always work for and please yourself.

I find that teachers tend to be a little further along in their evolution. Because teachers are doing something quite hard and serviceful for little financial reward.

They understand the value of service over personal gain. It’s almost like a kind of sacrifice. So if you’re becoming kinder, softer, and more loving, that’s another good sign of spiritual progress.

Sign # 4: You realize the importance of controlling your senses

Indulging in the desires and sense pleasures of life is a part of being here. Its fun, it’s enjoyable and it’s important.

But unfortunately, indulging too much in sense pleasures is a poisoned chalice. It comes at a price.

Too much food and drink can wreck your health and your physical well-being. Sugar damages your teeth. Meat affects your stomach. Alcohol destroys your mind. And too much sexual activity depletes your energy, your vitality.

“A most important way to eliminate fatigue is to conserve the sex vitality. The single person should be fully self-controlled, and married couples should be moderate in their sexual relations.” [Yogananda 1993:184]

Now, I’m not saying that you have to commit yourself to a life of renunciation. But are you taking steps towards controlling your desires? Do you watch your sugar intake? Are you wary of what you eat and drink?

Spiritual practitioners often don’t drink alcohol, eat meat or drink coffee. They have a purified consciousness. And these things (alcohol etc.) disrupt our energetic equilibrium and take away from our inner peace.

Sign # 5: You start to confront the challenges in your life

Another part of this is that you may start to take on the challenges that life throws at you.

When we start taking spirituality seriously, it’s like God decides that you’re ready. So He  throws some challenges at you. You stop hiding from all those underlying issues and you start to face up.

Maybe before, you would hide away in drinking alcohol, watching TV, or anything to distract you.

But when you get on the spiritual path, you realize that you need to confront these things if you want to be rid of them.

And that can be scary!

You may realize that you have anger issues. You may notice that you’ve been suffering from anxiety for a long time, but you didn’t even realize. That happened to me.

You may need to stop drinking because it will begin to cause too much suffering in your life.

When you start to make spiritual progress, you will  be confronted with difficulties. And it may take a short time to overcome or it could take quite a long time.

These challenges are a good sign that you are making progress. Because now you’re ready for them; now you’re strong enough to confront them.

Sign # 6: You stop reacting all the time

Most of our lives is a series of reactions that come from habit patterns formed in our youth.

And it’s almost like, we’re possessed. I find myself reacting to situations and then I’m like, “What just happened? Who was that beast that came out?”

Well, that isn’t me. That’s not the true me. That’s the conditioning that I’ve learned over the past 33 years.

But we don’t want to keep reacting through conditioning and habit patterns.

When we’ve been on the spiritual path for a while, we become more able to control our reactions to take a step back.

So instead of snapping at loved ones and damaging relationships, we take a step back. We take a breath and we refrain from reacting.

And in that second, transformation takes place – big transformation.

Not long ago my kids were eating a cake in the back of the car. I turned around and saw the massacre that they’d made of the back seats.

I breathed in. And on the exhale, I was going to let loose. It was going to be an eruption of angry expletives.

But right at the top of my inhalation, a millisecond away from this outburst, I stopped. I took a breath.

I realized what was about to happen. I was about to react from conditioning, not from my highest self.

And really, what does it matter anyway? I mean, I just brushed the crumbs out of the car later on. Problem solved.

It isn’t that important, but I could have done damage to my kids through being angry and unkind.

Meditation gives you that millisecond, that moment where you can breathe and control the reactions.

Eventually, we’ll live most of our lives from this calm, non-reactive presence.

Sign # 7: You feel a growing sense of love and gratitude

Meditation opens the heart. It helps you to feel one with other people. And it helps you to appreciate stuff more.

When you calm your mind and stop all the thinking and worry and stress, you’re more tuned in to joy and appreciation.

You may be walking down the street and realize that instead of judging people mentally as you may have done a couple of years ago, now you’re feeling love and compassion for them and wishing them well.

And this is a beautiful experience when you start to feel that growing sense of connection and love.

It helps if you write down lists of things that you’re grateful for. I’m sure you’ve heard about gratitude lists. I do find it’s useful. 

It helps to practice that state of appreciation. Then, you’re more likely to notice those things that you’re grateful for throughout your day. Later on, you may write those down in your gratitude journal.

But as you move forward, you’ll feel more connected, more loving and grateful for all that you see around you.

Am I making spiritual progress? Review

We know that we’re making spiritual progress when we:

1; Develop an interest in meditation and spirituality.

2: Have a regular spiritual practice.

3: Become kinder and more compassionate.

4: Realise the importance of controlling your desires, not indulging all the time.

5: Take ownership for the challenges in your life. You start to take responsibility and face up instead of hiding away.

6: Stop reacting from habit patterns and start to live from a higher, loving perspective.

7: Feel a growing sense of love and gratitude.

So my friend, thank you so much for listening, I recommend you download the 30 practices.

These are spiritual practices to help you move forward. You can hit the link below and you’ll be able to download these 30 practices on the Yamas and Niyamas.

So take care and I’ll see you next week.

30 Practices: Yamas and Niyamas 

Download these 30 practices now to turn theory into reality in your life. Includes 30 practical processes for deepening your peace, joy and spirituality. That is 3 processes for each of the yamas and niyamas.   

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