It’s very interesting what happens when you start paying attention to living and growing more consciously… The dividing lines that you might have between “spiritual”, “personal”, and “practical” begin to fade away.
I define spiritual as giving attention to your inner world and to your connection with the Universe/God.
In talking about being religious versus spiritual, being religious is very driven by submitting to organizations that are focused on scripture, doctrine, and structured worship; whereas being spiritual is seeking to know one’s self, Universe/God, how the Universe works, and how you relate to it. In being spiritual, you relate to the Universe/God directly instead of indirectly.
So once upon a time, I thought about spiritual growth in terms of getting to know God and being more loving and aware. And I thought about personal growth in terms of practical skills like verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills based on listening and interacting positively and constructively with other people.
But now I know we are primarily spiritual beings – that is beings of consciousness – even though the “real world” of separate material objects dominates our immediate view of the world. Underneath the illusion, however, we are interacting with a world and universe that are made primarily of consciousness. Even matter arises from consciousness. Therefore, our thoughts, emotions, and feelings and how we control them are everything.
The more you grow spiritually, and the more you grow personally, you begin to realize that personal growth is ultimately spiritual growth. In the early stages of conscious growth, you will perceive spiritual and practical aspects as very different, but in later stages you will increasingly grow to see spiritual and practical as the same in essence.
When you begin to live more consciously – that is, increase your awareness of yourself and the world around you, and you learn how to control your thoughts and feelings – you automatically grow spiritually and practically. You become more effective in understanding yourself and in interacting with the Universe (i.e., the world and the people within it). So you receive all the benefits, both spiritual and practicabotl, that come from operating more effectively.
If you are on the path of conscious growth, you might be becoming aware of this. On the other hand, if you have not thought too much about spiritual or personal growth, you may think there is a huge difference between the two. If that is the case, you are not wrong; it simply says you are at a particular level of conscious growth, and your depth of understanding will continue to evolve with time.
All growth is good, but it comes in stages, and in each subsequent stage you interpret yourself and the world differently. Basically, you will reach new and higher levels of understanding and insight at each new stage of development.
Spiritual practices, such as attention to awareness or meditation, help you grow spiritually and practically. Personal development techniques, such as learning to be happier and developing healthy habits, help you grow practically and spiritually. And a topic like developing a more holistic perspective can be applied in both practical and spiritual domains.
There is definitely a need for both personal development and spiritual growth in having a successful life, and I talk about both types of personal growth on LiveYourSuccess.com and in my blog posts.
When you grow personally, you grow in consciousness. Strive to grow consciously, and you will be on the right path.