Spiritual Growth and Emotional Enrichment (edited from an article by Frank Rose, published in the Upper Chamber)
WHAT IS THE SPIRIT?
People have a basic knowledge of their own body, at least its surface features. They might have rudimentary knowledge of the skeleton, and some sense of the various organs in the chest and trunk. But what of the spirit? We could define the spirit as including all of the thoughts and feelings that go on inside us, including our hopes and dreams, our memories, our secret urges, and especially our driving loves. In a sense, you could say that consciousness itself is a matter of the spirit, not the body, as we can see from the fact that we can direct our consciousness to various aspects of our body and mind.
A simple working definition is to say that the spirit is the mind, and the mind is the spirit. This is another way of saying that the spirit is the essential person, including everything that goes on within and beyond our consciousness.
The mind has been compared to a house, or even a mansion, with many different levels, and on each level many rooms, hidden passageways, remote corners, a mansion too large to explore in one lifetime.
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL GROWTH?
From the moment of birth, our bodies are subjected to various germs and viruses that invade and threaten our health. The body learns to defend itself by developing the immune system. The defense mechanism can learn to recognize certain invading organisms and defeat them.
There are similar battles going on in the mind. Here, the invading force consists of negative thoughts and feelings. Learning how to cope with this mental invasion of negativism is one of the main ways in which we promote our spiritual growth.
Throughout our lives we are growing. The body reaches a peak of physical perfection somewhere in our twenties, but the spirit continues to develop throughout life. Normally, we begin to learn even before birth and go on learning up to the moment of death. We not only learn, we also grow internally in many ways. This is spiritual growth.
Spiritual Growth does not always proceed in an upward curve. We have many times during which we feel as if life is going downhill, and we are losing our ability to cope. What can we do to cooperate with our spiritual growth and help it go in a positive direction?
There are many parallels between physical and spiritual growth. The human body develops at its own rate. We really do not have to work to make it grow. Evenso, there are many ways that we can promote or interfere with that growth. Exercise and nutrition are important factors in our physical growth. On the spiritual side, there are many ways that we can strengthen our spiritual well being. We can do it through participating in rituals, nurturing family and friends and strengthening family relationships. We benefit our spiritual life through taking responsibility for being useful in society. These aspects of our spiritual life are analogous to exercise and nutrition in our physical lives.
We are all progressing spiritually as we go through life. This growth will take place despite what we do. So why should we be interested in working on our spiritual growth? In understanding this inner process of spiritual growth, we must picture ourselves as under two sets of influences–one negative and one positive. By understanding that these forces naturally invade our consciousness, we avoid the mistake of thinking that we are somehow inherently negative. We come to learn that we are just human individuals who are subject to both good and bad pressures in our lives and have some choices to make about how we react to these negative influences.
Here are some tools to help you deal with negative forces and grow spiritually: