Why You’re Failing At Spiritual Growth… and What To Do Instead
Some people think they are too bogged down in the task of everyday living to nurture spiritual growth. So, they get away from their everyday lives to create space. They go somewhere–a retreat center where they do things, a workshop where they learn things, or perhaps it’s out in nature to find inspiration. Sometime it’s about being alone in the woods.
These things can help. Yet until you go within and get in a place of peace with what you find there, whatever you find outside will be a distraction. It helps until the next time that old unease creeps in again.
“You” are not “out there.” “You” are in here. Finding yourself happens when you are able to see yourself. It happens when your inside matches your outside.
So many people build an outside that looks like what they think it’s supposed to look like. When success looks like having a big house and a nice car, they pursue that. If they think that being peaceful means being vegan and meditating every day, they do that. If their vision is about following in the footsteps of someone they think has made it, they do that.
That’s the danger of checking in with parents, experts, and gurus. While they may have nuggets or whole buckets of wisdom, they are not you. Their walk is not your walk.
Having a mentor has benefits. Learn skills and get ideas from your coaches, therapists, and mentors while you walk your own walk. Avoid getting derailed by learning from their mistakes. Then take their good ideas and make them your own. Use them to pick yourself up when you’re down.
But don’t become them. Emulating someone else makes you into someone else.
And don’t idolize them–even if they encourage it. Putting someone on a pedestal means that you have to be beneath them. You are not subordinate. You are a divine creature who is already whole and perfect. You’re just waiting to awaken to it.
If you reach the level of someone on a pedestal, it creates this illusion that you’ve arrived. You have nothing more to learn and mistakes are no longer possible. This attitude keeps you from growing. If you’re breathing, there is always more to learn. I don’t care who you are. So no pedestals, okay? Not for your heroes. Not for yourself.
Start where you are. I see a lot of people who project that they are much further along than they are. Or they want to get ahead by skipping the stuff in the middle. If you can’t astral project or speak in tongues, don’t take that as a sign that you are not spiritually awake. It’s just not where you are today. It may not be where you ever are. And that’s okay. Everyone is not the same.
If you start where you are and stay present, you will never get ahead of yourself or leave yourself behind. Skipping ahead means you miss out on creating a strong foundation. Just look at the stereotypical younger generation. (Sorry if this is you). This is a classic case of skipping ahead.
People under 35 are a pretty pampered. Many don’t know how to cook, clean, manage time, earn, work, handle emotions, create and sustain healthy relationships, and so many other things. They don’t know it because they didn’t have to do it.
They grew up in a world where everyone had to give them stuff vs. earning it. The climate inside is always “comfortable,” so they aren’t acclimated to the outdoors. They got prizes for showing up, so they don’t know how to handle disappointment. Additionally, they haven’t learned to persevere and finish things.
Growing up with spell check means they don’t know how to write. They spend so much time in the virtual world that they don’t know how to be intimate with real people.
This is what happens when you skip ahead. So slow down. Be here now. Life is not about being comfortable. It’s not about making the most money in the least amount of time. It’s not about ascending to the spirit realms. Your life is about being your true self. That’s it.
Here’s how to get started building your solid foundation.
M- meditate. By meditate I mean get quiet and be. How ever you do this is fine. Move, chant, breathe, sit in silence. Just don’t do anything. Be.
M- be mindful. Mindfulness and meditation are often confused. Mindfulness means to be present. If you are not present in your meditation, you are not meditating. But, you can be mindful without meditating. You can be present as you are driving, eating, making love, or having an argument. The more time you spend observing as you participate in life, the more connected you will feel.
M- mastery. Mastery is about cultivating skills that help you through life. The more skillful you are, the fewer problems you have. How? There are three types of events: incidents, problems, and crises. The difference between the three is the level of skill and resources you have. If you have no skills and no resources, your life probably looks pretty chaotic. If you have mastery, you’re probably pretty calm most of the time. So develop mastery.
M- minimize. If something isn’t growing your life, remove it. To illustrate the value of this, consider this. Let’s say you need to get across the river. You spy a raft and use it to get to the other side. Once there, do you say, “Wow, this raft was so handy! Let me carry it along with me in case I need it again” or do you keep going on your journey and leave the raft behind? Too many of us are carrying a raft, an old relationship or two, a closet full of clothes we don’t wear, debts, grudges, old hurts, and other useless garbage. We’ve accumulated so much physical and emotional baggage that we can’t move! Let it go. Create space. Minimize.
E- exercise. The human body needs to move. No movement creates disease. Keep in mind though that moderation is key in all things. Over exercising is not great either, so choose balance.
D – diet. We are people. People need fresh, alive food to sustain themselves. You can’t eat junk and think that you are going to be your highest and best self. Everything is energy. Junk food gives you junk energy. Healthy food gives you healthy fuel.
S – sleep. Lots of people think they are spirits. Our true, eternal nature is spiritual; however, we are physical beings. Physical beings need sleep. So practice good sleep hygiene. If your life is too full that you have to sacrifice something, let it be something other than sleep.
S – social. People are social creatures. We need each other to thrive. Choose company that uplifts you. Invest in these people. Leave them feeling better than when you found them. Be the type of person who energizes and inspires people.
S – spirituality. Connect with the eternal part of you that is pure energy. Connect to the thing that is bigger than you. If you don’t have that sort of belief system, you’re going to have a hard time living your life purpose. Need a suggestion? Practice gratitude, help others, or spend time daily in nature. Care for the environment. Grow something.
That’s some really different advice for finding yourself than the typical guru would give, isn’t it? MMMEDSSS will create a huge base from which your spiritual life will flow. We are physical creatures. We need to connect to the physical. The bigger your physical base, the more support you will have for spiritual growth.
Most people tend to think of this backward. They think if I nurture my spiritual side, the rest of my life will fall into place. My suggestion is that you start at the foundation and grow upward. It’s natures way. After all, we don’t grow from the leaves down. If you do this and get grounded in the simple every day tasks of living, you won’t have to find yourself. You’ll just have to be yourself.
To join my free Meditation Mondays group, see my website at https://lauragiles.org/events.
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