Spiritual growth: the mental challenge of modern times Growing spiritually in a world defined by power, money, and influence is a Herculean task.
Modern conveniences, such as electronic equipment, gadgets, and tools, as well as entertainment through television, magazines, and the web, have predisposed us to limit our attention mainly to physical needs and desires. As a result, our concepts of self-esteem and self-meaning are confused.
How can we find a balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives: To grow spiritually is to look inside. Introspection goes beyond remembering what happened in a day, week, or month. You need to look closely and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and motivations.
Periodically examining your experiences, the decisions you make, the relationships you have, and the things you are involved in provide useful information about your life goals, the functional characteristics you must sustain and the bad qualities you must discard.
Besides, it gives clues on how to act, react, and behave in any situation. Like any skill, introspection can be learned, just the courage and the will to seek the truths that are within you.
Here are some tips when you examine: be objective, forgive yourself, and focus on your areas for improvement. To grow spiritually is to develop your potentials.
Religion and science have different views on issues of the human spirit. Faith sees people as spiritual beings living temporarily on Earth, while science considers the mind to be just one dimension of an individual.
Self-control is a recurring theme in Christian (Western) and Islamic (Oriental) teachings.
The needs of the body are recognized but placed under the needs of the spirit. Beliefs, values, morality, rules, experiences, and good works provide the plan to guarantee the growth of the spiritual being.
In psychology, realizing one’s full potential is self-realization. Maslow identified several human needs: physiological, security, esteem, cognitive, self-actualization, and self-transcendence.
James previously categorized these needs into three: material, emotional, and spiritual. When you meet basic physiological and psychological needs, spiritual or existential needs follow. Meeting each need leads to the individual’s total development.
Perhaps the difference between these two religions and psychology is the end of self-development: Christianity and Islam see self-development as a means of serving God. In contrast, psychology sees self-development as an end in itself.
To grow spiritually is to seek meaning. Religions that believe in the existence of God, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, assume that the purpose of human life is to serve the Creator of all things.
Several theories of psychology propose that, in the final analysis, we give meaning to our lives.
Whether we believe that the purpose of life is predetermined or self-directed, to grow in spirit is to realize that we do not exist merely.
We don’t know the meaning of our lives at birth, but we gain knowledge and wisdom from our interactions with people and from our actions and reactions to the situations we are in.
In discovering this meaning, there are certain beliefs and values that you reject and affirm. Our lives have a purpose.
This goal puts all of our physical, emotional, and intellectual potentials to us, sustains us during stressful times and gives us something to hope for – a goal to achieve, a destination to be reached.
A person with no purpose or meaning is like a ship adrift at sea. To grow spiritually is to recognize interconnections.
Religions emphasize the concept of our relationship with all creation, life, and inanimate. So we call other people brothers and sisters, even if there is no direct blood relationship.
Also, religions centered on deities, such as Christianity and Islam, speak of the relationship between humans and higher beings.
On the other hand, science exposes our bond with other living beings through the theory of evolution. This relationship is seen in the concept of ecology, the interaction between living and non-living beings.
In psychology, the connection is a characteristic of self-transcendence; the most significant human need, according to Maslow.
Recognizing your connection to all things makes you more humble and respectful of people, animals, plants, and things in nature.
It makes you appreciate everything around you. This takes you beyond your comfort zone, reaching out to other people, and becoming a steward of everything else around you.
Growth is a process; thus, growing in spirit is a day-to-day encounter. We won some, we lost some, but the important thing is that we learn and, with that knowledge, spiritual growth is possible.