Spiritual Growth and cultivating some quiet time for it.

The term “spiritual growth” can be quite a misnomer as our spirit which is our true essence is already perfect and does not need to grow.

It is a term that describes a journey of self discovery to our true essence. It is a process of becoming more aware of what and who we are and relating to and accepting our beingness in this universe. It is an important inner process and it very personal and unique to each individual.

Spiritual growth is the process of getting rid of wrong concepts, thoughts and beliefs about who we are and about the world in which we live. Through this process, we increase our awareness of our true inner being, the true spirit that we are. It is a process of looking inside us, shedding our illusions and uncovering our true essence, which is always present, but hidden beyond the ego-personality.

Spirituality is a lens through which we perceive the world. It helps us to explain our reality and can provide a guide for living. For many of us, spirituality also speaks of how the universe works and tries to explain what are our role in the world is. Therefore, spiritual growth must be the progression of how we see the world. It is the evolution of our consciousness.

It is growing to look at our life and circumstances from a different, more detached point of view, and of putting things into the proper perspective. It is a process of shedding negative and limiting habits, thoughts and beliefs, and letting the inner self within us shine out.

As human beings with free will, our spiritual awakening is a very personal experience. Some people may find spiritual nourishment in religion, or perhaps, in meditation, hobbies or a new age movement. We are all essentially different people, and therefore there are many choices when it comes to faith and Planet Earth is a very diverse planet; no one looks the same, and we have many different races and cultures. Being a spiritual person is to accept everyone as they are and not attempting to change them. We all walk a unique path in life, and it is not up to us to judge another. What we believe and have faith in today will probably change tomorrow, as we are constantly evolving. Change is a part of life. Our understanding is always increasing, through our experiences and learning. Keeping an open mind is important, because what we believe in today may change in the future.

Spiritual growth is of paramount importance for a better, happier and more harmonious life, free of tension and strain, fear and anxiety. People growing spiritually are generally calmer, nicer and more balanced. In spiritual growth, we develop detachment which leads to inner peace, we learn not to let outside circumstance affect our moods and states of mind, we become more patient and tolerant, we learn to rise above frustration, disappointment and negative feelings, our inner power and strength increase, we become more grateful and happier, our intuition gets sharper, we develop wisdom, compassion, strength and hope, we become better citizens of the world and our understanding of our inner essence, what we are, and why we are here grows.

Spiritual growth can be achieved through positive thinking, reading spiritual literature, reading spiritual quotes, practising concentration, meditation and other inner training techniques, acknowledging the fact that you are a spirit with a physical body, not a physical body with a spirit. looking inside you, finding out what it is that makes you feel alive, reflecting and learning from past experiences, not allowing circumstances and situations dictate to you how to feel or think, focusing your attention on everything you do and in the presence, trying your best to be tolerant, patient, tactful and considerate, keeping an open mind and constantly learning and thanking the Universe for everything that you get.

If you’re convinced that a daily quiet time is necessary for spiritual growth, it is good to consider the four essentials elements:

1. Start with the proper attitudes – why you do something is far more important than what you do. When you come to meet with God ( or Higher Consciousness) in the quiet time, you should have these proper attitudes:

Expectancy – Come before God with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to have a good time of fellowship with Him and receive a blessing from your time together.

Reverence – Don’t rush into God’s presence, but prepare your heart by being still before Him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the world.

Alertness – Get wide-awake first. Remember that you are meeting with the Creator. Be thoroughly rested and alert. The best preparation for a quiet time in the morning begins the night before. Get to bed early so you will be in good shape to meet God in the morning; He deserves your full attention.

Willingness to obey – This attitude is crucial: you don’t come to your quiet time to choose what you will do or not do, but with the purpose of doing anything and everything that God wants you to do.

2. Select a specific time’

The specific time has to do with when you should have your quiet time and how long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best! Give God the best part of your day – when you are the freshest and most alert. Don’t try to serve God with your leftovers (leftover time). Remember, too, that your best time may be different from someone else’s.

Doctors tell us that the most important meal of the day is breakfast. It often determines our energy levels, alertness, and even moods for the day. Likewise, we need a “spiritual breakfast” to start our day off right.

Finally, in the morning our minds are uncluttered from the day’s activities. Our thoughts are fresh, we’re rested; tensions have not yet come on us, and it’s usually the quietest time. One mother sets her alarm clock for 4 a.m., has her quiet time, goes back to bed, and then rises when everyone else in the household gets up. Her explanation is that with kids around the house all day, early morning is the only time when it is quiet and she can be alone with God. It works for her; you need to select a time that will work for you. You might even consider having two quiet times (morning and night).

Whatever time you set, be consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as you would with anyone else. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with Him and keep it at all costs.

The question is often asked, “How much time should I spend?” If you’ve never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with seven minutes and let it grow naturally. You should aim to eventually spend not less than 15 minutes a day.

3. Choose a special place

The location where you have your quiet time is also important. Your place ought to be a secluded place. This is a place where you can be alone, where it’s quiet, and where you will not be disturbed or interrupted, where you can pray aloud without disturbing others, where you have good lighting for reading, where you are comfortable. Your place ought to be a sacred place. This is where you meet with the living God.

4. Follow a simple plan.

Keep your plan simple.

Have a notebook with you. Be quiet for a short while to put yourself into a reverent mood. and “Be still and know that I am God.”
Pray briefly to ask God to cleanse your heart and guide you into the time together.

Psychologists tell us that it usually takes three weeks to get familiar with some new task or habit; it takes another three weeks before it becomes a habit. The reason why many people are not successful in their quiet times is because they have never made it past that six-week barrier. For your quiet time to become a habit, you must have had one daily for at least six weeks.

Make a strong resolution (vow). You must always start with a strong initiative. If you begin halfheartedly, you’ll never make it. Make a public declaration by telling others about your decision.

Never allow an exception to occur until the new habit is securely rooted in your life. A habit is like a ball of twine. Every time you drop it, many strands are unwound. So never allow the “just this once” to occur. The act of yielding weakens the will and strengthens the lack of self­-control.

Seize every opportunity and inclination to practise your new habit. Whenever you get the slightest urge to practice your new habit, do it right then. Don’t wait, but use every opportunity to reinforce your habit. It does not hurt to overdo a new habit when you are first starting.

So you can see that spiritual growth is a progression of sorts. Specifically, it is the evolution of how we perceive the world and different situations. Furthermore, spiritual growth is all about what we do with those perceptions of the world. The trend is towards a more positive outlook on things, as well as the shift towards learning from experiences and also helping others.

As we grow spiritually, the emphasis on learning continuously increases. Everything becomes a source of knowledge; a way to refine our belief system. We stay flexible and open-minded so that we are always ready to take in new knowledge.

1) Holistic approach – Shift in attitude from traditional “spiritual viewpoints” to an all-encompassing view of spirituality and opportunities for growth in our lives. Physical, mental, and emotional experiences and processes start falling under the “spiritual umbrella” and can teach us new things. Each person in our life becomes a potential carrier of new knowledge for us as we cultivate humility and try to learn from every interaction.

2) Use of multiple “lenses” through which we view our lives – gaining new truths through multiple perspectives. Also, ultimate truths and core beliefs can be seen to run parallel in multiple belief systems and philosophies. Thus we learn better what is truly useful in our spiritual growth and what is essentially “fluff.” For example, the practice of meditation that is almost universally found in all major religions and philosophies throughout the world, demonstrating a common thread. Other principles can be found in the same manner, such as forgiveness or the virtue of helping others.

3) Emphasis on learning and constantly seeking new knowledge. “What can I learn from this experience?” We are driven to grow from every failure; from virtually any experience.

4) Turning seemingly “negative” experiences into either a learning experience, or a way to connect with others and help them avoid the same mistakes. In recovery, our previous failure can become a valuable lesson for someone else, provided that we share that message.

5) A shift from self-centeredness towards a genuine interest in other people’s well being. This is one of the great gifts in recovery, that we can experience real joy from being able to reach out and help other addicts.

The above writing includes extracts from articles by Remez Sasson and Rick Warren with appreciation.

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