Spiritual Growth | Top 7 Practical Benefits

by Alex

in Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Lifestyle, Spirituality 101 | For Beginners

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spiritual-moon(Photo: h.koppdelaney)

So what is Spiritual Growth, and how can it help your life?

When you hear about Spiritual Growth, you might think it’s all about the white-bearded guru sitting in a cave, or some hippie earth mother with braided hair. For others, “growth” will have a rigid interpretation assigned to it by a particular holy book or tradition.

Obviously the term is much too complicated for one superficial, all-encompassing definition. What I’m going to talk about is a fluid interpretation of spiritual growth and its practical application in our daily lives.

How does this growth benefit us? Well, here’s my list of the top reasons (if you have others, I want to hear them.)

BENEFIT 1. YOU GET TO SEE LIFE FROM A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW.

“People find life entirely too time consuming.”
- Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, Polish writer

When you’re in the thick of daily life, it can be hard to see clearly. You take the world personally and you feel responsible for things you can’t control. With spiritual growth, you begin to free yourself of the burden of thinking that you’re the driver and the world is your car.

spiritual-flowers(Photo: courgettelawn)

BENEFIT 2. YOU GET MORE CONTROL OVER THE THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL.

“You can not always control circumstances, but you can control your own thoughts.”
- Charles Popplestown

You become a stronger person spiritually and emotionally. You’re better prepared to influence the things you can influence. And you’re much more chill about the things you can’t control.

spiritual-drop(Photo: ania316)

BENEFIT 3. IT QUIETS YOUR MIND, WHICH MAKES YOUR MIND STRONGER.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”
- Hans Margolius

You start to get rid of the incessant buzzing that keeps echoing your head. You know what I’m talking about… when you lie down to rest and all the events of your day and all your to-do lists come flooding into your brain.

When I say spiritual growth helps quiet the mind, I mean that you’ll start to have more impromptu moments of the kind you have after meditating (or performing any activity where your entire focus is taken up BY the activity). You’ll be training yourself to get to these quiet places more quickly and easily – just like you train a muscle.

spiritual-rocks(Photo: Mr. Theklan)

BENEFIT 4. YOU CAN DEAL BETTER WITH SORROW OR GRIEF.

“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
-Carl Jung

We all deal with sorrow at some point, and it comes in varying degrees, but with spiritual growth we not only learn to deal with it, we learn to embrace the positives. You might ask, “What positives?” But every type of adversity or challenge has a lesson, even if we can’t see it at first.

One of the best examples of how spiritual growth can help ease sorrow is this powerful and thoughtful letter written by Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) to the parents of a daughter who was murdered. Even with that kind of unimaginable grief, there can still be something to take away.

spiritual-waves(Photo: somebody)

BENEFIT 5. YOU HAVE PATIENCE & TOLERANCE

“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”
-Chinese proverb

Here the practical benefit of spiritual growth is to learn to let life’s daily indignities slide off your back. And I’m not talking about faking indifference and bottling up anger and resentment. I’m talking about reaching a point where what other people do or think no longer bothers you. Where, as Wayne Dyer puts it, “you’re independent of the good opinion of other people.”

Anger and resentment come from this fear of what others might do or think. We also experience negative feelings when someone violates our own unwritten, internal set of “rules and regulations”, the ones we expect the rest of the world to live by.

Spiritual growth is not about being uncaring. I’m talking about having a calmness and thoughtfulness that permeates your being, and that allows you to view life with more detachment.

spiritual-tree(Photo: Premasagar)

BENEFIT 6. YOU BECOME COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN.

“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.”
- Anonymous

With spiritual growth, you no longer think about playing catch-up with all the people who are doing “better” than you.

You stop worrying about that and you realize (as many have said) that it’s not about being better than anyone else, just being better than you used to be.

spiritual-drops(Photo: Cesar R)

BENEFIT 7. YOU GET HAPPY.

“There is no duty so much underrated as the duty of being happy.”
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Spiritual growth helps you realize that your happiness won’t come from the outside, but from within. Great! It’s cliche, and what the hell does it even mean?! It means you stop wishing for “stuff” to make you feel complete. A new car, a new house, a fancy hat. I know it’s been said to death, to the point where it might not resonate any more. Money doesn’t make you happy… blah, blah, blah.

But the best way to think about it is to ask yourself:

How did we come into this world? EMPTY HANDED.

How are we leaving this world? EMPTY HANDED.

So the stuff we acquire in between doesn’t technically have any effect on the inside, but knowledge does – on our mind and spirit. We were born with all the “gear” for true happiness.

spirituality-happy(Photo: Donna Cymek)

PARTING THOUGHTS

This list represents what to me are the key benefits of spiritual growth. I’m sure I’ve missed some and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As I said, spiritual growth is hard to define, and it means different things to different people. But the thing that’s true across the board is that spiritual growth brings a deeper understanding of what people believe. When you come to understand your fellow human (the fears, the aspirations), it’s very freeing.

You come to relate to other people around the world in a more personal way. And even if you feel your personal religious tradition is “best” (for lack of a better word), you can’t truly say you have a deep understanding of your own religion if your own religion is the only one you know.

As you taste new things, there will be aspects of some religions that you like and of other traditions that make you cringe, but exposure is an integral part of spiritual growth and maturity.

And a deeper understanding of what spiritual life means to different people will give your mind a freedom that will make you smile.

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Posted on Saturday, July 4th, 2009

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie August 24, 2008 at 5:11 am

Great post. I really enjoyed number 5.

Nidia August 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Great post! I particularly love Benefit #5. It’s so true that you can eliminate a lot of stress from your life by letting go of all those negative feelings about what other people think and what other people SHOULD do. Not that it’s easy…I’m still working on it! : )

Sandi P. Sudduth March 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm

This is good stuff to read

Eileen June 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

I enjoyed reading these! I especially enjoyed #5. I have to really work on not getting my feelings hurt when others don’t do what I would do. I need to realize that my rules aren’t everyone else’s rules.

Alex July 6, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Thanks Eileen, I appreciate the comment. Yeah, its true. If you expect the world to live by your rules, you’re always going to be upset or offended by something someone does. There’s never a shortage of things to be upset about :)

Gerard July 9, 2009 at 5:21 pm

That Jung quote is great too.

Alex July 9, 2009 at 6:26 pm

@ Gerard – thanks, appreciate it! Jung is a great thinker. I like him a lot.

DEBRA July 11, 2009 at 9:34 am

WOWSA! LOVE THIS…very soothing peace-full energy, thanks ALEX!

Alex July 11, 2009 at 10:36 am

@Debra – thanks! I really glad you liked it :)

Joseph Bernard July 11, 2009 at 11:48 am

Alex, This is a Beautiful and Insightful blog. Thank you so much for sharing your consciousness with the world.

Joseph
http://www.explorelifeblog.com

Alex July 11, 2009 at 12:05 pm

@Joseph. Thanks Joe!

John Reilly July 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Great article Alex. Really enjoyed it.

Beth NoLastName July 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Wonderful! I just sent it to my facebook page.

Alex July 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm

@John – thanks man.
@Beth – thats great, thank you for the love :)

Steve July 12, 2009 at 8:36 am

You also get to be brainwashed by stories of pure fantasy, which then twist your reality into a distorted mess. You also get to be manipulated by the upper hierarchy of that particular cult. As well, you will then be extremely close-minded to anything that your fantasy land doesn’t say is true.

Hey, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are spiritual too.

Alex July 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

@Steve. Thanks for the comment Steve. I think its important to distinguish two “tools” from each other (for lack of a better word).

The first is a “tool” for growing your inner life, relating to people, and beginning to make sense of existence and purpose.

The second is the “tool” for power, control and political gain.

I don’t think there’s anyone who disagrees with taking issue with the second.

Check out my “What is spirituality?” article, so you can see how the term “spirituality” is parsed out to differentiate between religious and non-religious.
http://spiritualmind.com/2009/07/spirituality/

Thanks again for your comment :)

Tania July 20, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Alex – thanks for sharing this post and for starting this blog. I hope it comes at a good time for all who come across them,

Letting go of suspicion, fear and external perceptions of you (outside forces) is very liberating and helps you concentrate on helping to reveal the goodness inside you to the outside world. Without letting go of these external forces, you can’t release enough pressure to cultivate the inner forces.

I agree that following a particular faith does not make you spiritual and that everyone should take the time to understand and take the best from a variety of faiths. However, a spiritual life is essential regardless of the religious structure one chooses to pursue.

Thanks again for sharing this with the world.

gweneet August 2, 2009 at 5:20 pm

i totally agree with this, especially points 1 and 2!

years ago, i read this quote somewhere that went something like… “the sun will rise and set without your assistance” and i felt this undefined burden lift right off me like some heavy bird and i think i might sighed in relief!

Michael Green August 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Wow! Thank you!

Carol October 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Very happy to have found this site ! I look forward to more!

Virginie Coossa Nue December 18, 2009 at 4:04 am

any content coming ?

wakeupcall December 31, 2009 at 3:56 pm

What we really are never changes, and belief in the idea of spiritual growth prevents seeing that. Believe in spiritual growth and wander in confusion, or see what you already always are and end the search!

Wayne Pike April 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

There are two INDESTRUCTABLE pillars on which God, in His wisdom, has chosen to relate to man: PRAYER AND GOSPEL. While these cannot be destroyed, they can, unfortunately, be perverted. Both pillars have at their foundation ACTION. Prayer is the CONTEMPLATION OF ACTION while Gospel is the CONSUMMATION OF ACTION. It is clear that any sane mind contemplates prior to consummating. This is what separates men from animals. Wise men act out of contemplation, fools and animals out of instinct. Always remember this adage: PRAYER PRECEDES PERFORMANCE ! ! ! The close link between Prayer and Gospel and their correct order is depicted on the pages of our website. Be reminded every time you log on. Prayer must go to all nations prior to the Gospel going to all nations. That is why our initial goal is to build towards 1,000,000 Prayer Partners to pray for the nations. Jesus quoted Isaiah, the prophet, “. . . my house will be called a house of prayer for ALL NATIONS” (Isa.56:7). Similarly, referring to a time of the end Jesus said: “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to ALL NATIONS, and then the end will come” (Mt.24:14). It is our inspired belief that NEITHER TRUE PRAYER NOR TRUE GOSPEL HAS YET GONE TO THE NATIONS. That is why the church is so weak ! ! ! That is why there is so much sickness and pain ! ! ! That is why Christ has not returned in power ! ! ! In our dissertation on Prayer Misunderstood leading to an understanding of True and Complete Prayer, it was made clear that we frequently participate in “praying amiss”. With that in mind, make no mistake about it: IF WE PRAY AMISS, WE ARE CERTAIN TO PERFORM AMISS. If we contemplate a lie, we will consummate a lie. So, let’s proceed to get a true understanding of GOSPEL. ( Note: If you have not studied our work on prayer, it would be advisable to do so at this point, prior to proceeding ).

GOSPEL is the translation of the Greek word “evangelion” (ev or eu meaning “good” and angelion meaning “message”). Sometimes evangelion is translated “Good News”. There is no discernable reason why one or the other translation is used but, regardless, if you read either gospel or good news they are the same thing. We should first correct a common misunderstanding. THE GOSPEL IS NOT THE BIBLE ! ! ! . . . The Bible CONTAINS the Gospel but it is not synonymous with it. Having corrected this error, let us move on to a fuller appreciation of the Gospel. Continue HERE:
http://www.prayeramid.org/gospel-characteristics.html

Imogen July 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Beautiful share.
Thanks!

Crystal | Why did I choose him August 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

How beautiful and so very well said! Great article! Thank you for sharing!

Vinnie October 4, 2010 at 11:29 am

AWESOME! I just love this post. This is something I have been thinking about lot lately. Reducing stress by letting go things not in my control is so cool …. made life so easier.

Mark Kincaid November 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I just wanted to ‘add’ that I’ve had an equally profound experience meditating..

And what I especially like about ‘meditation’ in light of interest in Spirituality,

is meditation gives us a chance to experience the pure essence of Spirit.

So, instead of just thinking about it, and pondering and contemplating…

We go to that place, deep in side where spirit dwells…

Experiencing that, then, gives us intimate knowledge and wisdom about IT!

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