Spiritual Growth

It can be hard to judge our spiritual growth. As we practice meditation, we may find ourselves wondering whether we’ve made any progress at all.

It’s easy to get disheartened or frustrated and we may even feel that the whole thing is “not working” for us.

But meditation works! Trust me. It does what it’s supposed to do and it delivers on all the benefits it promises – I’ve seen it in so many people.

The problem is, we need to be patient because the results of meditation are subtle. The changes come gradually over the course of many months and years. 

Some people equate spiritual growth with visions, hearing voices or having psychic abilities. While it’s true that some people may experience these things, we shouldn’t measure our progress in this way. The best way to tell is in the small changes that take place in your daily life.

Of course, you will mostly look the same and seem the same to other people, but your inner world will have slowly shifted over the course of time. Some people may even pick up on it and comment on how different you seem.

So how do we know? What happens when you start to experience true spiritual growth? Here are 10 changes that might take place in your life as you make progress. 

(I also wrote about the yamas and niyamas here. These teach us how to live a spiritual life and may be of interest to you. You can also download the 30 spiritual practices below if you want to deepen your spirituality and improve your meditation practice)

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.   

1. You understand the importance of regular meditation

It’s difficult to make any sort of spiritual progress in our busy world without the aid of meditation. Meditation is a technique that quiets the mind and puts you in touch with your true, peaceful nature.

Usually we drown our true selves in an ocean of thought, worry, and activity. Yet when we quiet the restless mind, we begin to feel who we are beyond our thoughts. This is the start of our spiritual journey. Over time, that silence and stillness comes to the surface more and more in everything you do.

If you’re at the point where you understand the value of daily meditation, you can be sure that you’re making progress. In fact, it is considered very good karma to even have an interest in meditation – don’t waste it!

2. You’re interested in self-help or spiritual books and talks

Are you at the point where you read self-help books or listen to spiritual talks? If so, it means your consciousness has transformed to the point where you understand something crucial: you know that to be happy and free, you must change yourself, not the world around you. 

This is powerful knowledge.

Most people blame the world or feel that they are a victim of their circumstances, but once you understand that you can only change yourself, this is the start of self-mastery and deep wisdom.

For me, I started with self-help books and counter-culture documentaries. Eventually I moved on to deeper spiritual works, scriptures and Ancient teachings.

Once you start, you tend to go deeper and deeper down that rabbit hole. You want to work on yourself, learn, and take control of your inner life.

3. You start to control your desires

Spiritual growth is dependent upon desire control. We can’t make much spiritual progress if we eat what we want, drink what we want, and do what we want.

The path of hedonism (pleasure-seeking) leads to suffering and distance from spiritual truths. Our bodies and minds need to be clean and clear to make progress, and this requires moderation. Indulgence drains our energy levels, and makes us lethargic, moody, and weak.

When you start to avoid indulging in anything you want, you are probably on the right track. Perhaps you quit a bad habit, or start practicing moderation.  Living a healthy, balanced life will lead to great peace and happiness. This is what we’re aiming for.

It doesn’t mean you have to quit everything that is remotely bad for you, but that you begin to assert control over yourself and tame those sensual urges that pop up throughout the day.  

If you want to start controlling desires, download the spiritual practices below.

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.   

4. You take responsibility for the problems in your life

As mentioned earlier, many of us feel that others are to blame for our problems and challenges in life.

Our parents are responsible for our character flaws; the government is to blame for our lack of opportunity; our partner is to blame for our inability to thrive.

But when we’re making spiritual progress, we discover that we are responsible for it all and while that may be scary, it’s actually deeply liberating.

You are in complete control of your life path. Of course, there are external factors to some extent. If you’re fifty years old, you are unlikely to become an international football star. But for the most part, we are entirely responsible for choosing our destiny.

This is great news as it means that we are free to grow and improve, independent of anyone else’s thoughts, words or actions.

As we grow, we learn that the only way to change is to take responsibility and let go of blame.

5. You become less reactive and more even-minded

One day you might notice that something that used to annoy the hell out of you, doesn’t bother you at all any more. It’s strange when that happens!

As an example, maybe someone says something unkind, critical, or mocking to you. Your previous reaction would have been to defend yourself or snap back, but now you don’t mind; you’re happy in yourself, so you have no need to react or defend.

Instead, you respond in a smiling, peaceful way, maybe even joking with them. That doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you. In fact, spirituality gives you huge power in that regard.

But people quickly back off when you are unaffected by their words. You become like a mirror and when people are being unpleasant, they start to see their own personality reflected back at them. And often, they would rather not see, so they go elsewhere. 

You may also find yourself panicking and worrying less. Of course, you will still react in an emergency, but in a calm, balanced way instead of freaking out.

6. You are less attached to your possessions and ideas

The things we own really have little or no value in themselves. They will all be gone in the blink of an eye.

As we walk the spiritual path, we begin to understand the impermanence of things. You find yourself more able to let go of your possessions, give them away, and even give money to charity.

You realize that serving others is the only thing that matters and the things you own will never bring true joy. So we learn to let them go.

I recently let go of my huge book collection. It was a big moment for me, because it’s not just that the books were precious to me, but also that I had formed an identity out of being someone who reads a lot of books. My desire to be seen as an intellectual was tied up in that collection. So I let it go. 

As we practice, we feel less attached to our identity, our ideas, and beliefs. The mind is a powerful tool and its ideas can be dangerous. We saw plenty of evidence for that in the 20th century.

We become less attached to being right or defending our ideas and our ideologies. Of course, we still have our opinions. We just no longer feel the need to convert everyone else to our way of thinking.

7. You feel increasing contentment and gratitude

Spiritual growth

As we meditate, there is a growing sense of contentment with life. That isn’t to say you feel full of joy all the time – life still has its challenges of course.

But you have moments where you feel like everything is in its right place, that there’s no need to worry, and over time, that feeling grows and grows.

You may even find that you feel deeply contented and appreciative for no apparent reason. This can happen particularly in deep meditation. You feel like you are complete, like you need nothing outside of yourself. This is a very beautiful experience. 

We also become more appreciative of the blessings we’ve received in life: our family, our friends, the moments, and the memories. Gratitude begins to fill our hearts and the more we appreciate life, the more there is to appreciate.

8. You want to help and serve others

As we meditate and do our spiritual practices, we may feel a growing desire to help others.

We get out of our little pit of ego – filled with worries and problems – and expand our consciousness to include others.

We feel a sense of connection, a growing sense of oneness with other people and with the world around us. This manifests most powerfully in the desire to serve people. 

Karma yoga is the spiritual practice of service, where our desire to serve people becomes strong enough that we begin to take action and give our lives to others.

Some people are born with this desire to serve. It indicates that they were already spiritually advanced when they came into this life.

If you feel that urge to help people, you may be more advanced than you realize.

9. You think about higher ideas

As you practice, you may spend less time thinking about how you look or where you are going for dinner, and more time considering deeper things like the nature of the Universe, reality, or even God.

You start to ask questions about what is beyond the material world. You may develop an interest in occult topics that penetrate the surface of the world: astrology, reiki, alternative medicine, yoga, tarot, meditation and more.

Spiritual practitioners become less satisfied with superficial discussions because they know that there is something deeper going on. 

You may also become more aware of the sacred and divine aspects of life and begin to see divinity in places you never would have thought. 

 

10. You feel increasing love and devotion

As we open our hearts in meditation, we tune into the deep love and devotion that is a part of who we are.

This may manifest in empathy for others, randomly crying with love or joy, or you may even get more tearful when watching movies.

You begin to feel a sense of devotion to something higher. When this happens, you are experiencing spiritual growth. 

This is a wonderful experience and it is worth actively practicing devotion in prayer and meditation.

It takes us deeper into spirituality.

Never Give Up

Spiritual growth is a long and winding road. It’s often a case of two steps forward, one step back. But the more you want to grow spiritually, the more you will find yourself evolving.

The important thing is to keep going and never give up. You don’t need to go into deep meditation every time you sit. In fact even if you rarely go into deeper states, the practice still has a powerful effect on your consciousness.

If you’re meditating every day, have faith that you are making progress on the path. Of course, continue to seek support, improve your practice, and consciously develop spiritual qualities.

Based on the fact that you’re here, you’re reading this, and you’ve made it this far, I’d say you are more than likely on the right track.

Each of the changes I have talked about here develop as a result of spiritual practice and spiritual growth. However, if you practice these behaviors, you will find yourself growing spiritually as well. 

In the same way that when you smile, you immediately feel happier, when you practice “being spiritual” you find that your spiritual growth will excel and your meditation practice will improve as well. Download the 30 practices below if you want to start practicing spiritual ideas in your daily life. 

There are many other signs of progress that I have left out: greater clarity and purpose, finding a spiritual teacher, awareness of subconscious tendencies, becoming more creative, and so much more. 

What other signs did I leave out? What are some signs of spiritual progress that you know of? Leave a comment below. 

RELATED POST: YAMAS AND NIYAMAS: TOP 10 TIPS FOR LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

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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