A Simple Guide to Spiritual Growth
If you’re looking for change in your life, a way to add peace and blessing, there are a few steps you can take to obtain spiritual growth. To grow spiritually does not mean by the spirit (or inner self) alone.
It’s the concentration of the entire being. It’s both a person’s outer and inner life as well as the way he or she affects other people. The outer life is a manifestation of the growth that takes place on the inside.
When a person grows spiritually on the inside, he becomes more self-confident, kinder – more positive and more generous in the desire to help others. This outer manifestation then attracts back blessings or good things in life.
The first step in this type of growth takes place when the attitude is changed. If a person’s attitude is to look out for number one, to be ungrateful or have a strong self-focus, begrudging what he doesn’t have (rather than focusing on the good he does have), then good is often repelled by that.
Take a few minutes out of every day and engage in the act of meditating or praying and thinking about what’s good in your life. Some call this having an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ Some find it helpful to keep a journal of all of the things in a day to be thankful for.
Step two for spiritual growth is to develop a sense of personal introspection. It’s a time of examining what you feel and think. Some people refer to this as self-examination. The purpose for this exercise is to focus on your thoughts and actions and see where changes need to be made.
For some people, this step can be emotionally painful if there are situations in the past that have wounded them and need to be put down. Dragging around emotionally baggage only wearies you. Deal with whatever has slowed you down spiritually, release it and walk in freedom.
Step three is to stop running from hard situations. Whatever is in your life right now that’s causing you to feel a disconnect spiritually, deal with it. It won’t get better until you do.
This might mean letting yourself deal with emotions (like grief or anger) that you’ve been pushing down for awhile. Holding onto negative emotions can block your inner calm and stop you from achieving a spiritual peace. The energy and the power are within reach if you want it.
Last but not least, spiritual growth is a step of maturity. It’s getting healing for your spirit – it’s bringing together again all of the pieces of you that were lost. Whether they were taken by a difficult childhood, a heartbreaking relationship or stress overload doesn’t matter. You can be whole again. It’s within your reach.
Understanding the Definition of Spiritual
For some people, the definition of the word ‘spiritual’ means ‘having to do with the spirit within themselves.’ For others, it means a connection to a religious belief – such as attending church or taking part in some form of worship ceremony.
One of the best ways to understand what spiritual means is to understand that it can’t be physically defined. It’s simply something that you know in your innermost self. You can’t see it or touch it, but you can feel it with your emotions. You can feel it in the deep satisfaction and peace that it brings once you do experience it.
The meaning is vastly different for each person and can’t be pigeonholed into a box. What is spiritual for one person might not be spiritual for another. The word spiritual itself means having to do with the spirit.
Spiritual links can be made through the gathering of a group and sharing an emotional connection. Spirituality can be found through music – what leads your soul to find peace and refreshing calmness. Your consciousness can lead you to discern the level of spiritual searching that you have within. For some people, this is a larger part of their life than it is for others.
The definition of spiritual to one individual might mean feeding one homeless person while to another, it might mean making the world a better place through acts of involvement in global efforts like raising funds for third world countries.
It might involve going on humanitarian trips to third world countries. Those are large outer manifestations of having an awareness of the spirit within. Other people might not have a larger showing of spiritual self, but simply feel at rest deep within – as if there’s none of the pressure of feeling caught in a rat race to them.
To have a spiritual mindset means that you embrace something other than yourself in this universe. You trust in something other than yourself to feed your spiritual needs. We are all spiritual beings regardless of religious beliefs (or non-beliefs). We seek ways to restore and renew ourselves and we seek ways to get relief from the questions in life that seemingly have no answers.
We can get a concept – an outer picture of who we think we are. What others think of us only adds to that concept. Yet deep down at the point where our true self resides, we long to be better people than we are – we long for happiness, rest and to be at peace with one another and ourselves.
Being at peace with yourself is one of the greatest things you can ever do for your spirit. Whether you find that peace and inner joy through reconnecting with your spirit on a retreat or through religious beliefs or meditation, your life will grow to become more enriched than ever.
How Can a Spiritual Retreat Help You?
Regardless of what you believe about religion, you can benefit from a spiritual retreat. Taking a retreat is an act of coming back together. It’s a means of uniting yourself with what you believe in.
It’s a time to withdraw from the normal routine of your days and get off alone or with a group of like-minded individuals. The purpose is to get refreshed, to find some time alone from the normal rush of life, and to contemplate who you are and what’s going on in your life.
Retreats can be a time of great peace, a time of inner quietness and settling your spirit. Some people who go on retreats are searching for some form of spiritual enlightenment, some are searching for some type of healing emotionally and many are looking to reconnect to the truth of finding themselves again.
Life can be tough on even the strongest of us and if not careful, we end up losing ourselves, losing the person we once were until we don’t even recognize the person looking back at us in the mirror.
We can end up becoming people who live life on autopilot and getting away, plugging back into ourselves can bring deep refreshing and wholeness. While you don’t technically have to travel to engage in a spiritual retreat, finding solitude usually doesn’t happen if you stay in your normal routine.
There are too many distractions – the television, telephone, computer, friends – and before you know it, you’ve slipped right back into the same pace and the same place inwardly. You need to go away before you fall apart. If you’re not renewing your inner person, you risk burning out – not just in your job or with your family – but with yourself.
Not all retreats are going to be quiet. Some retreats are groups where people get together and share conversation and experiences, where connections are made and we learn that we’re not alone in our struggles.
We draw strength in knowing that others are living lives they want and we draw comfort from those who have gone through the place where we’re at emotionally, physically or spiritually.
No matter how hard you try, even if you take a day off from work intending to get in touch with yourself, distractions are going to crop up and ruin that plan. A spiritual retreat – taking that time to care for the spiritual part in you – can help you find wholeness.
It can give you a chance to contemplate and to get in touch with your deepest core – a chance to quiet the outer noise in order to connect with the innermost part of you. This self-awareness will help you to move forward with the assurance that you’re in touch with your spiritual being.
How Can Spiritual Meditation Enrich Your Life?
Books on the topic of enlightenment, prayer, spiritual awakening and positive affirmations are flying off the bookshelves. They continue to be among the top selling publications of all times.
This is because now more than ever people are searching for a way to find the balance with their inner beliefs – their spirit. There are many ways that people seek direction on a spiritual journey. Some seek it through chanting or through prayer. Others seek it through spiritual meditation.
Meditation brings calmness, and it restores order to a frazzled or disconnected inner being. It adds power and energy. But there are health benefits to meditation, too. Meditation can minimize depression and bring nourishment to the soul by cutting down, in some cases even doing away with stress.
Some people use prayer beads during meditation, others recite quotes or perform a spiritual cleansing by letting go of things that we unconsciously attract into our lives. For example, negativity attracts negativity, self-defeating actions attract defeat and so on.
Spiritual meditation involves reaching a mental position that rises above the plane of consciousness of everyday life. Usually, your brain is on overload with all of the day-to-day responsibilities.
There’s the job, family, taking care of finances, the pet, making sure the physical needs are met for yourself – and on and on it goes like a hamster wheel. When you try to simply think of things that attract good and light into your life, you can often push the distractions from your mind temporarily. But like annoying insects, they’re hovering still right at the edge of your consciousness.
In order to reach a state of mind where peace, calmness and joy are achieved, there must be strict concentration. It’s a method of concentrating that doesn’t allow the things that affect our consciousness to even have an audience in our thoughts.
Meditation calms the mind in a way that nothing else can do. It silences all of the worrying, nagging tapes that play in your mind (have to fix the car, take the dog to the vet, turn in that project, get to the kid’s ballgame, pick up the dry cleaning). Some people see meditation as a type of prayer, while others see it as faith exercises and still some see it as a guide that helps them awaken themselves spiritually.
Besides giving people health benefits (lower blood pressure and less stress), spiritual meditation can open up a sense of core wellness that allows all of the positive emotions we want to flow freely.
It often works hand in hand with spiritual healing that can restore all that negativity has taken from you. Healing can’t be done through the body alone – it should also be done in the emotions and spiritual self as well.
Do You Need Spiritual Healing?
Spiritual healing (sometimes called energy healing) is a journey about self in which you are healed from the non-accepting ways that your life is out of harmony. So many things can throw us out of harmony within ourselves – sickness (whether physical, mental or emotional) is one part of life that wreaks havoc with the abundant, peaceful life we were meant to have.
You can tell if you’re out of balance with yourself by taking a moment to get alone – away from any noise or distractions – and see if there’s turmoil within your heart. You will know if there’s turmoil by the anxiety that causes butterflies in your stomach – that dreaded sense that something is wrong. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything that actually exists – it could be something we’re afraid might come to pass.
Sometimes we have anxieties (worrying thoughts) that can be mental blocks that keep us trapped in a cycle of negativity about life and what happens to us. We compromise in life – we don’t accept the fullness of who we were meant to be.
Instead, we are settling for what is rather than that nagging sense that there’s more – more to us – more to life than the now that we’re living in. However, sometimes that sense is closely related to accepting others’ expectations, others’ plans for our lives.
We’re living what our parents or family members or friends think is what we should be and because of that, we’re not being what we were meant to be. That causes inner discord, that nagging voice inside that tells us that what we are and what we have isn’t who we truly are.
Spiritual healing takes away all that’s in us that’s not meant to be there. It’s a stripping down, a stripping away of all the parts that don’t complete us. It’s realizing the truth about our purpose in this world and reaching for and achieving that purpose.
To be healed, we have to start with inner house cleaning – getting rid of all of the negative thoughts and vibes that have kept us trapped in a cycle of disharmony. Emotions play a huge part in whether we have inner harmony.
Holding on to anger, grudges and yes, even not being able to forgive can create a vortex of inappropriate emotions that keep us tied down and are stronger than any chains. Letting go leads to freedom.
You must address the cause of your hurt, the cause of what you perceive to be as failures and accept what may have been the negativity influencing your life. To do this means you must be completely honest about yourself – you must examine the reasons behind your choices in life. Regardless of what happens, you have the power to make changes – the power to be happy and healed from whatever binds you.
So how do you know if you’re in need of spiritual healing? Do you have emotional pain in your life that still hurts whenever it’s poked by a memory or a phrase or a place? That hurt is in need of healing. Without healing you won’t grow and when you’re not growing, you’re just going through the motions in life. You were meant for more.
Affirmative Prayer 101
Prayer is one of the major foundations of spirituality. No matter what your religious affiliation is, spending time with your higher being is an integral part of strengthening your faith.
If you analyze each sector of modern and traditional religion, the invisible workings of a higher power is a common theme. Examples of Jesus Christ praying to his father for comfort is one of the foremost examples modern Christians use today as a layout for prayer.
Other practices suggest meditation as a means to connect with yourself and the energy surrounding you. During this time, you’re instructed to visualize your inner peace with the hopes of gaining clarity.
Although prayer isn’t the focal point of meditation, stating your intention and relying on the universe to provide it is quite similar to traditional prayer.
One of the cornerstones of prayer is the acknowledgment that you cannot do something yourself. You’re humbling yourself before this spiritual being and putting your faith in their actions. It’s a beautiful opportunity that allows you to develop spiritually.
There are many forms of prayer that serve as guidelines for individuals to follow. Many of which are found in the ancient writings of the bible. One of the most popular prayer forms is called affirmative prayer.
What is Affirmative Prayer?
Affirmative prayer is a technique that is part of Alternative Medicine that believes if you pray for a positive outcome, that positivity will manifest itself into reality. For example, if a person is facing financial woes, they may pray that they’ll one day live comfortably. It’s with their hope that this prayer will come true.
Affirmative prayer is similar to intention setting. You’re directly approaching your god with something specific that you wish to happen. It increases your faith and spirituality because you’re placing your confidence and reassurance on your higher being.
How to Pray in an Affirmative Manner?
To begin, you have to make the connection between god and positivity strong. Acknowledge all that God is and has been. That is perfect health, just, kind and peaceable.
Manifest that into your personal goals. If you want to learn how to be peaceable, acknowledge that God is the perfect example of peace. This will help you pray affirmatively.
Next, find your own connection with God. When you understand that we are made in his image, you’ll understand that you have the ability to reach those areas of improvement. For example, since God is perfect health, praying for a speedy recovery shouldn’t be an impossible notion.
Explain to God your complete need for this outcome. Walk him through the intention and let him know how it makes you feel. This will strengthen your bond and make your relationship with him real.
In your spare time, make your own list of affirmations. Whatever it is that you’re praying for, say or jot down several “I” statements. For example, if your prayer is financial security, write down, “I am frugal. I am financially secure. I am able to reach my financial goals.”
This will sharpen your focus and subconsciously keep your goal at the forefront of your mind. You’ll find yourself making decisions that align with your goal without you even noticing it.
Give Thanks and Praise
When you notice that your prayers are being manifested into your life, don’t forget to offer praise for your blessings. Remember, we’re undeserving of godly spirit. Being imperfect in nature makes prayer all the more humbling.
By acknowledging that you accomplished this through the will of God, you’re more likely to reap more blessings in the future.
Affirmative prayer is an excellent way to draw closer to God and strengthen your humility. It helps you state your goals and get exactly what you want. Learning how to incorporate this into your spiritual routine is vital for your overall wellness.