Spiritual Growth: the
Spiritual Challenge of Modern Times

To grow spiritually in a world defined by power, money, and influence
is a Herculean task. Modern conveniences such as electronic equipments,
gadgets, and tools as well as entertainment through television,
magazines, and the web have predisposed us to confine our attention
mostly to physical needs and wants. As a result, our concepts of
self-worth and self-meaning are muddled. How can we strike a balance
between the material and spiritual aspects of our lives?

To grow spiritually is to look inward.

Introspection goes beyond recalling the things that 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 engage in provide useful insights on your life goals, on
the good traits you must sustain and the bad traits you have to
discard. Moreover, it gives you clues on how to act, react, and conduct
yourself in the midst of any situation. Like any skill, introspection
can be learned; all it takes is the courage and willingness to seek the
truths that lie within you. Here are some pointers when you introspect:
be objective, be forgiving of yourself, and focus on your areas for

To grow spiritually is to develop your potentials.

Religion and science have differing views on matters of the human
spirit. Religion views people as spiritual beings temporarily living on
Earth, while science views the spirit as just one dimension of an
individual. Mastery of the self is a recurring theme in both Christian
(Western) and Islamic (Eastern) 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 blueprint to
ensure the growth of the spiritual being. In Psychology, realizing
one’s full potential is to self-actualize. Maslow identified
several human needs: physiological, security, belongingness, esteem,
cognitive, aesthetic, self-actualization, and self-transcendence. James
earlier categorized these needs into three: material, emotional, and
spiritual. When you have satisfied the basic physiological and
emotional needs, spiritual or existential needs come next. Achieving
each need leads to the total development of the individual. Perhaps the
difference between these two religions and psychology is the end of
self-development: Christianity and Islam see that self-development is a
means toward serving God, while psychology view that self-development
is an end by itself.

To grow spiritually is to search for meaning.

Religions that believe in the existence of God such as Christianism,
Judaism, and Islam suppose that the purpose of the human life is to
serve the Creator of all things. Several theories in psychology propose
that we ultimately give meaning to our lives. Whether we believe that
life’s meaning is pre-determined or self-directed, to grow in
spirit is to realize that we do not merely exist. We do not 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. As we discover this meaning, there are certain
beliefs and values that we reject and affirm.  Our lives have
purpose. This purpose puts all our physical, emotional, and
intellectual potentials into use; sustains us during trying times; and
gives us something to look forward to—a goal to achieve, a
destination to reach. A person without purpose or meaning is like a
drifting ship at sea.

To grow spiritually is to recognize interconnections.

Religions stress the concept of our relatedness to all creation, live
and inanimate. Thus we call other people “brothers and
sisters” even if there are no direct blood relations.
Moreover, deity-centered religions such as Christianity and Islam speak
of the relationship between humans and a higher being. On the other
hand, science expounds on our link to other living things through the
evolution theory. This relatedness is clearly seen in the concept of
ecology, the interaction between living and non-living things. In
psychology, connectedness is a characteristic of self-transcendence,
the highest 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. It moves you to go beyond your comfort zone and reach out to other
people, and become stewards of all other things around you.

Growth is a process thus to grow in spirit is a day-to-day encounter.
We win some, we lose some, but the important thing is that we learn,
and from this knowledge, further spiritual growth is made possible.

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Diane Higgins

"Be your authentic self it's the path to success."-Psychologist Diane Higgins has authored numerous papers and has lectured extensively helping people find their authentic self, learn to be being purposeful and develop positive thinking. Diane is the author and/or editor of our Self Help Section.
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