For different people having various faiths, spirituality can mean very different concepts. However, we commonly agree that spirituality is about connecting with soul. It is a sense of awareness going far above average thinking. Among pathways to spiritual growth are particular worship, meditation, and contemplation.
Spiritual growth refers to the process of trying to understand the meaning of life, death and the reason for existence. No wonder, it may take years of awareness and practice to reach spirituality. Practicing all the activities that lead to a spiritual path overnight will not automatically bring you to your destination. In fact, every person has his or her own pace to develop spiritually.
When a crisis bumps, all of us need an ability to transcend ourselves at least to have ability to hold on to something higher than our crisis itself. People healthily affiliated with a particular religion usually are familiar with this concept although spirituality is actually different from religion. However, those with or without any religions need to develop spirituality because this is the only way to keep human survival, particularly when facing big crises. If you wish to grow the spiritual element of your personality, you need to look deeply into yourself and start to listen to it more often.
As one embraces a disciplined Spiritual Path, he or she will experience several levels of growth. Here is a brief synopsis of those stages and what to expect in each. According to many spiritualists, spirituality normally connotes a progression through 9 steps:
- The egocentric or the first awakening step
This is the first stage of spirituality related with the search to fill the void after the fulfilment of self, basic instincts and desires. As we grow older, typically some needs of pleasure as well as other self-serving habits such as foods, sex, fame, or drugs begin to dwindle and lose their thrill of excitement. They may start to think about the idea of spirituality, by trying to enrich themselves with something above worldly things for themselves. Unfortunately not all are lucky enough to recognize this stage. Worse, they are just get stuck here and thus, they are unable to enter the next level of spirituality development or to produce any of the spiritual growth.
- The believing or honeymoon step
At this second step towards spirituality, people may acknowledge the power that creates them. Unfortunately at this point their minds are still undisciplined, while they know just a too little about divine creativity, which could be quite risky. It is because people may have opened their minds to new ideas, but they don’t relate it with the discipline of the mind. As the result, this situation often leads them to the third level, the first disillusionment stage.
- First disillusionment step
This step is when many people who start believing begin to give up at the same time resulting in pessimism. These people doubt whether their thought about spirituality is going to work. Actually what is really happening on is that it is the best time for these people really learn about real spirituality from reliable sources. This stage is like someone who falls in love but suddenly the reality makes his or her feeling starts to sink in. This is why it is important to note that spirituality is not simple and actually requires a lot of discipline.
- Realization step
People are lucky enough to reach this step as they realize that spirituality is not a problem, but they are. However, still there are many pitfalls. Although now people begin to enjoy reading as many spiritual books as the can, attending many spiritual-related seminars, taking spiritual teachers, or even creating contemplation session by their own, still they cannot find many answer in their mind. Only few people can free themselves from this stage to move to the next step.
- The conformist or agreement step
In this step people begin evaluating what spiritual teachers or books say about various spirituality paths. At some points they have to decide to agree or disagree with the ideas. They will agree to some ideas when they feel the points fit into what they think they already know. It is actually fine for them to feel they cannot take some ideas. It is however important to recall their past to see whether it is actually the cause why they cannot accept new paradigm.
- The push-back step
This step is when people realize that they get new information radically. It means the new ideas they get are totally different to what they have experienced and therefore, cannot fit into their current belief system at all. As the outcome, people push back (usually hard) what they have acknowledged about spirituality. Some people may leave their spiritual teachers while the rest try to replace the old teachers with the better ones, who will not challenge them too much.
- The early enlightenment step
For all of those who push back, a genuine spiritual mentor or guide can lead them to experience their first real breakthrough. The spirituality seekers can get a glimpse of what is going on behind the veil for real, and reach some rudimentary skills in altering his or her universe in a much real way. This is glorious but full of risks as at this early enlightenment step many people may leave their teachers or guides as they believe they have found what they are looking for. This could be a big mistake leading to major disappointment. It is important that people realize there are things they still need guidance to give them ability to do the next step of their journey
- The wall or mountain step
Those adhering their spiritual paths may eventually face their wall or mountain between their will and the spirituality goal. The wall or mountain here refers to a central issue, crises or challenge of one’s life. Only if someone is truly willing to grow and blossom, then he or she is not going to resist to get along with such issues as gift or grace, as hurt as it may look and as hard as it may seem. Crossing this wall or mountain is critical but difficult. Such bravery is what makes only a few people who reach this step can get over their life’s main problem.
- The paradigm shift step
After people can get over the wall or mountain, they will come to see all in an entire different light by entering the paradigm shift step. This stage is where actually they will have started to gain true skills in making the universe they wish to live in. They will start to realize that they are here and existed for a reason. They likely can see how whole past phases they have undergone for their spirituality quest as being unimportant allowing them to embrace the fullness of their humanity.
This paradigm shift step is where people can realize that spirituality is not just for them or their family, but for something bigger than that, and they have a task and destiny. By succeeding this step people will be able to reach the end point of their spirituality journey, which is also the goal of the spiritual quest. It is when people become fully integrated persons having a new understanding to welcome a whole new Universe. It is when at a very deep level people can have true joy regardless their situation.
Above all, spiritual growth is likely more than just believe as it is really talking about something deeper, our faith. It is faith that can help people in times of troubles. It is an anchor when times of fear, stress and uncertainty come into their life. Without faith, people will never have a place to turn when things in their life get rough or stuck.