We all grow naturally. Without much effort, we see bones develop from infant stages into adult hood, from soft pliable material to hard matter. We see muscles grow and we feel ourselves getting stronger with time. All of this occurs naturally, as we eat, work, and play. But what does it take for us to grow spiritually? Spiritual growth requires a conscious effort of introspection and analysis.
If we want to grow spiritually, we need to be by turning our thoughts in instead of out. Instead of focusing on what is around us, we need to examine our hearts. Why do we do what we do? Why do we hang out with the people that we hang out with? What are our good traits and how did we attain them? What are our bad traits, and how can we get rid of them?
Introspection teaches us to consider how we act and it motivates us to change how we behave on a daily and moment by moment basis. But introspection requires great courage. Many people never look inward because they fear that they won't like what they see, and ultimately they don't want to change what they see.
When you grow spiritually, you take hold of the potentials you've been given. You consider what you can do, and you grow even more by reaching beyond what you think you can do and thus developing more potential.
Science and religion have been at odds for decades now when examining the human spirit. For example, religion sees human beings as just spiritual beings that move on this planet momentarily, and science sees the spirit as just a part of the whole individual. People grow spiritually when the recognize what they must do enhance growth: their beliefs, morality, experience, and good works form the foundation for spiritual growth. Ironically, the psychologist James Maslow theorized that if a person can meet his physical needs, he can meet his spiritual needs as well.
Ultimately, when we seek to grow spiritually, we seek meaning in our lives. And that's where faith comes in. Religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam teach that their followers will find meaning through serving a higher being, a Creator. And psychologists theorize that we find meaning through ourselves, that we determine if we have meaning in our lives. But ultimately, finding meaning means realizing that we live on this earth for a purpose, and once we realize that, we put all of our desires and actions into focus with that purpose: we live for that purpose.
Finally, growing spiritually means understanding our connection with the world around us. Doing so will lead to a greater respect of the things and people around us. And whether we find that connection through faith or psychology, ultimately we grow spiritually because of that connection.
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