- Why did everyone start to hate the Russians if the U.S. did the same thing in Afghanistan, Iraq?
- What needs to be corrected in the management of Russia first?
- Why did Blaise Pascal become a religious man at the end of his life?
- How do I know if a guy likes you?
- When they say "one generation", how many do they mean?
Just like any other growth (professional, for example) – long-term purposeful work. Given the complexity of the subject, it is advisable to work under the guidance of a specialist. The choice of a specialist depends on what you personally understand by “spiritual growth” and who exactly you trust in this matter.
Spiritual growth is inevitably associated with an understanding of one's imperfection and, therefore, a willingness to listen to someone who is older and older, even if their instructions seem unreasonable or difficult to follow.
Everyone understands this phrase “spiritual growth”differently. Some people confuse it with general education, self-confidence, or even career development. But if you think that spiritual growth is exactly spiritual growth, then feel free to read this answer. If you need something more “mundane”, read the appropriate books, sign up for courses, or change your job to a more “cool”one.
Spiritual growth begins, first of all, with spiritual search. And that, in turn, starts with asking the right questions. There are five main ones in total:
Who am I?
What is this material world?
What do I do in this World?
What is the reason for the appearance of this World?
If this cause is intelligent and personal, then what is My relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
To even get to the point of asking these questions, you have to go through a lot. Often such thoughts appear after a serious illness, depression, loss of a loved one, unsuccessful love, or even after clinical death. However, there are very reasonable people who ask such questions from childhood and think about the meaning of life. So it is not necessary to come to the search for the Absolute Truth through suffering.
Read these questions again and think about it. If you find at least two of them interesting and would like to get an answer to them, then you will have to make some effort. You need to understand that spiritual practice is primarily work, nothing will be given to you so easily, and you should tune in to it.
First of all, you should reduce the “fussiness” of your life. If you are in the middle of a love maelstrom, spend all day with small children, have a serious illness, or earn money from morning to night, then nothing will work. Spiritual matters do not require much money, but they will require your time and a calm mind. There are two mistakes that beginners make: some believe that “I will not change anything and will make spiritual progress on my own”, while others go to the other extreme – “I will give up everything and go to a monastery”. Both are utter nonsense! The truth is that you will have to change your life, but you should do it step by step.
You need to read a lot of books. Start with the ones you've been planning to read for a long time, but you've always put them off. If you completed Step One, you should have two to three hours to read. You should read it, not listen to lectures and sermons or watch supposedly smart movies. Only books, only hardcore!
But you need to read correctly. First, immediately throw out the literature that does not say anything about the Five questions posed above, no matter how interesting and fascinating the book might seem. Take care of your time – this is your most valuable resource right now!
Second, THINK. You don't just have to “swallow” books, but understand them well – especially since your books will now become smarter every time. Before you start another chapter or page, think about what you've just read. Maybe you should immediately start a notebook where you will write down the read conclusions and smart thoughts in one column and your attitude to them in another column.
Third, read miscellaneous articles. You should not focus on the literature of one author or one philosophical / religious/esoteric / scientific direction, etc. You will be surprised to note that in different books, you will find similar thoughts, only considered from different angles.
Fourth, move away from the usual secular norms that good books must be sold in a prestigious bookstore or boutique, have a beautiful cover, good printing and a high price. As a rule, the opposite is true. Discover street ruins, flea markets, second-hand bookstores, neighborhood libraries, grandparents 'attics and grandparents' mezzanines. You will be amazed at what diamonds are hidden by the devils-where! Do not be intimidated by street / apartment book distributors, even if they look unusual, talk nonsense and invite you to their gatherings. Remember, your main task is to get a book from them, not to listen to them, sign up for their sect, or talk to them about the meaning of life. As a rule, such people have little understanding of what they distribute (although they like to talk about it), but in their books you will find deep answers to many of your questions.
Fifth, immediately get ready that you will not like everything that you will read-and this is normal! A Japanese proverb says: “If a student likes a teacher, then he is a bad teacher.” Another teacher (also from the East) said that you should beat your mind with a stick in the morning. Consider your books with this stick. By the way, you should read in the morning – so it is better absorbed. If you have to go to work in the morning, get up even earlier – you can even get up before dawn. It is better to go to bed in the evening, and wake up EARLY in the morning-it is more useful for spiritual life.
You will no doubt want to share everything you've read and understood with others, and you will also no doubt be surprised that no one needs it. You will find that your relatives are only genetically related to you, and not mentally related at all. Your colleagues and neighbors will twirl their fingers at your temple as soon as you try to give them a lecture on the Meaning of Everything. And your friends / girlfriends will advise you: “Masha, find yourself a man!” or ” Kolyan, let's have a drink!”. Don't be alarmed, this is normal 😉
If you have reached this stage, it means that you have “karmically outgrown” your usual social circle and you need to find and make new friends. This should be done for two reasons:
those who are also growing spiritually understand you very well and will not call you “abnormal”, but most importantly-they will “pull up” you to an even higher level
well, you still want to share the path that has already passed, your discoveries along the way, and find answers to some of the questions that you still have.
In general, the book is good, but live communication is no substitute. Now we have the Internet and social networks, so it's much easier to find friends. A few recommendations:
But just like with books, you'll have to break all conventions and realize that you're unlikely to find spiritually advanced people at a cocktail party or a governor's reception.
Your new hangout will consist of people of completely different degrees of advancement: from neophytes like you to highly educated and living in the “Heavenly World”. Try to connect with more spiritually “older” people, even if they are younger or poorer than you.
The worldly life and the spiritual life are very different. Perhaps you will meet an old, lame, poor, but very wise person. Spit on all the usual “values”, you didn't come there to look for a husband! Conversely, communicate with such a person for a longer time, do not hesitate to ask them questions and even help them. It will be better for spiritual growth, I assure you!
You don't have to go straight to your new sect, spend all day at the philosophy club, or move to an ashram. First, fanatical neophytes are almost universally treated with condescension. And secondly, you haven't been everywhere yet! 😉 Go back and forth, talk to different people. The author of these lines personally knew several people who went to various religious/philosophical organizations at the SAME time and at the same time felt quite comfortable.
Everything in this world ends. And sooner or later you will have to decide: either you go back to the “mortal world to carry the Good News to sinners”, or you “enlighten” completely and for real. If the difficulties do not frighten you and you understand that you are only at the beginning of the Path, then you need to find a spiritual teacher. Step Four is just that.
There is a good proverb: “If the student is ready, then the teacher is there.” This is a very serious choice and it will determine the rest of your life. So you should think very carefully. Another aphorism tells us, ” Choosing a spiritual master should be taken even more seriously than choosing a life partner.” But on the other hand, you will plunge into the spiritual life already “as an adult”, receive initiation and will be able to preach the Doctrine (and not “carry a blizzard”as before). If your group practices rites, rituals, ceremonies, etc., then after appropriate training, you will be able to participate in their conduct and become, in fact, a priest. Many people like this activity.
In general, the prospects of going “up the spiritual ladder” with the choice of a teacher increase, but there is also more responsibility. You will have to take some vows and forget your former worldly life in one way or another. Think carefully, do you need it? As a rule, there are several stages of initiation according to the degree of complexity. Vows are also different depending on the degree, as well as what denomination you are in.
There are even higher steps. Even to the point of becoming a teacher yourself. But first of all, the author himself is not yet at such a high level. And secondly, if you reach the Fourth Step and you have a teacher, then he will explain to you what will be best for you and how to achieve it.
I hope I helped you and inspired you at least a little. Spiritual life is not easy, but it is very interesting!