17 Positive Ways Spiritual Growth Is Impacting My Life
It’s been an amazing journey to uncovering my true self.
Spiritual growth can be one of the most confusing, lonely, and yet beautiful and blissful paths to follow.
Back in 2019, you could call my life anything but good. Yes, I was in a good college, and yes, I was running my own startup. But the future looked bleak.
And when the future looks bleak, it doesn’t matter how good the present is. There were investor conflicts, politics, and startup deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
All that came crashing down like a house of cards in a few months and I felt utterly confused about my life.
This is when I’d started meditation and came across Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
A year later, I was meditating up to two hours a day and was the disciple of Yogananda.
This year was nothing short of a roller coaster. In a short span of time, my spiritual life changed completely, I started another startup, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I graduated from university, I worked with a startup and soon left them, and of course, I started writing religiously.
Apparently, my life went through a long series of changes almost all at once.
This is what happens when you start to grow spiritually. I’m not saying that life will all be good and you’ll live happily ever after.
But life will surely become more exciting, adventurous, and joyful.
As I look back, here are the subtle ways in which my life changed as I started growing spiritually:
I Started Questioning Assumptions
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” ― Isaac Asimov
One of the best things that laid the groundwork for my life ahead was the habit of questioning assumptions.
Why do I have to take a job after college?
Why can’t I write and make money while working 20 hours a week?
Why can’t I meditate for 2 or more hours a day?
Why do I have to stay in one place all my life?
Why can’t I have a business and a job?
These are just some top-of-the-head, perhaps weird examples. But you get the point.
When you grow spiritually, a part of you tastes the infinite potential of your soul.
You realize that all the limitations the world imposes on you are not real. They’re illusory at best. Your job is to break those boundaries.
And that change has to come from deep inside. It can’t be because of a superficial advertisement of a Lamborghini or the desire for fame.
These changes come when you know you’re in fact happy with yourself. That apart from basic necessities, you don’t really need a lot to live a good life.
From that feeling of self-satisfaction comes the fearlessness of questioning the assumptions that others take for granted.
I Worked to Find My True Purpose in Life
“To follow God, one must be a little ‘out of their mind’ (and ‘into their Spirit’).” ― Donald L. Hicks
Soon after coming on to the spiritual path, I took the PIlgrim’s vow of intention which is part of the renunciate order established by Swami Kriyananda.
The vow goes like this:
I understand and intend from now on to live by my understanding, that life is a pilgrimage, of which the final goal is to find and merge back into God. I will endeavor resolutely, therefore, to direct all my thoughts and actions toward that end. I will offer up all material desires for purification in the fire of divine bliss. I will offer up all attachments for purification in that cosmic fire. I will search my heart daily for any lingering desires and attachments, and will offer them to Thee, my Cosmic Beloved. I will strive to be an example to others of a pure, discriminating, and noble life. I will offer the fruit of all my actions and labors to Thee alone. Bless me, and direct my footsteps ever to the summit of Thy holy mountain.
You may scoff at this, but the purpose of life is finally clear to me.
Every other thing I’ve ever wanted — material success, happiness, fame, etc — is only a subset of the joy I’ll know when I find God.
This is why Jesus said — “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
I Made a Change in Friends
Since my inner environment went through a massive change, my outside environment had to comply.
I started spending more time with spiritually inclined souls and meditators. I didn’t cut ties with any of my existing friends, but I just didn’t hang out with them that much.
When you find yourself growing spiritually, you want to remain in that kind of consciousness all the time. Anyone who exhibits a lower level of consciousness becomes less attractive.
There’s a common slang that everyone keeps in mind while hiring for their startup (or even bigger companies) — “A players like to play with A players.”
Perhaps that’s true for spirituality as well!
I Started Seeing Through Maya
“If a shopkeeper gives you exactly what you ask for, you will just take it and come home. If he says, ‘I don’t have exactly what you ask for. But I have a substitute.” Then a conversation will start between you and him; an attachment will start forming between you and him; you will go to him again and again.’ Maya (Space-Time) is that shopkeeper. It never gives you exactly what you want.” ―Shunya
When you start to find a whole world inside you, you cannot help but question the nature of reality.
As I talk about in my book, and as many philosophies tell us, this world is one big illusion. And in yogic science, we call this illusion Maya.
People better know it by the name of Duality. There’s a reason why it’s called that.
This world is filled with dual and opposite forces. Everything has in it an aspect of duality.
For instance, in your happiness, there is sorrow because the happiness will not last. And in your sorrow, there’s happiness because the sorrow will not last.
All things similarly have their opposites. Life is full of ups and downs.
But when you grow spiritually, you start to see through this illusion. You can gradually be in the center thereby not moving excessively to one side or the other.
You become like a resting pendulum, instead of a pendulum moving constantly stroked emotions.
I Developed a Desire for Solitude
“Seclusion is the price of greatness.” — Paramahansa Yogananda
Spiritual journeys can be lonely — but it’s not the usual loneliness that dreads others.
It’s solitude — where there are bliss and happiness.
Most people need something outside of themselves to make them happy. Even when they’re not with others, they look for quick distractions.
But the more spiritually advanced you are, the more you can remain content with yourself. Contentment really is the highest virtue.
With contentment comes non-attachment where you don’t want things to be one way or the other. You joyfully accept what is instead of wishing it was something else.
The two most harmful emotions we suffer from are fear and greed. But when you’re content with yourself, you neither fear losing something or long for that which is not yours.
It’s a truly powerful state to be in. I still have a long way to go before I achieve that state, but at least I’m on the right path.
I Began Sensing the Unhappiness of Others
The happier you become, the more you see the unhappiness in others.
I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t meditate. And I still wonder how people spend all their life without ever meditating or growing spiritually.
They may seem happy on the outside, but their eyes tell a different story.
When you grow yourself, you can see a proportionate sadness in others — partly because you were in their shoes too once!
This brings me to the next point.
I Grew More Compassionate
Spiritual growth almost always comes with an increase in compassion.
The main reason we start feeling compassionate towards others is we know they’re seeking happiness. But they’re looking in the wrong places.
They think money, sex, wine, fame, power, etc are going to give them what they’re looking for.
But those of us who know that these are nothing more than an oasis in a desert, feel it’s our duty to help them rise to their potential.
This is why saints love everyone. They see their potential — not their limited form and their ignorance.
The more you grow, the more you see that potential in even the worst of sinners.
I Heightened My Intuition and Synchronicities
It’s hard to describe intuition. I’d say, when an answer comes from your intuition, you just know that it’s true.
Unlike the intellect, intuition doesn’t “work through” things like joining the pieces of a puzzle. Intuition gives you fully-formed answers.
Think how the theory of relativity came to Einstein in a flash. That’s intuition.
With this intuition, you’re also able to observe synchronicities in life. It’s not that these “coincidences” didn’t happen before. But now you’re aware enough to notice them. You’re conscious enough to find an explanation for things that don’t make sense to others.
I Started Feeling the Oneness of Life
“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” ― Alan Watts
Some people understand that they’re connected. But it’s only an intellectual affirmation.
But the more you proceed on the path, the quicker you experience this reality. You know this deep within.
We all are fragments of the Whole. The earth also is just one giant living being and we are interconnected nodes.
This knowledge banishes all thoughts of separateness from your mind. It is the feeling of separateness that makes us do bad things to others.
You start to give what you have to others — because you’re giving it to yourself. You’re happy to see others happy — because it’s the same thing.
It’s a beautiful feeling, even if you can feel it for 30 seconds!
My Interest Dwindled in Material Things
It’s not uncommon to see spiritual people being relatively unattached to material things.
The choices that consume most people — what to wear, what to say, how to present themselves, what others think, which car to buy, which house to buy, etc — are inconsequential.
I’ve myself donated more money and clothes out of this dispassion for material objects. I like to stick to the simplest form of clothing available.
Further, my inability to think of others’ opinions of me surprises me given the overthinking nature of my past self.
A loss of interest in material things is one of the first symptoms of a more spiritually inclined life.
I Stopped Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster
Emotions loosen their grip on you. The more aware you become, the more you see emotions as information.
The worldly person says “I’m angry.” The spiritual person will say “I’m feeling anger.”
There’s a vast difference in both the statements. The latter shows that you’re not your thoughts or emotions. You’re the one observing them.
This detachment is what enables people to not act on every little impulse they might have.
And once you stop acting on these fleeting emotions, life becomes calmer and peaceful.
I Started Living Life Inside-Out
The only difference between a spiritual person and a material person is this — whereas a material person looks outside for solutions, a spiritual person looks inside.
We read a lot about self-help and transformation online. But a lot of those articles often fail to emphasize a consequent inner change of attitude and consciousness.
Physical habits are definitely important. But so is your attitude and mental habits.
Whenever I face a problem in my life, I’ve learned to look within and find the root cause of the problem.
Take, for instance, an argument with a family member. Most people think that they should “take deep breaths” and “control their tongue” to avoid conflict. And while these are good, analysing why you get those feelings of hatred is even more crucial.
If you can work on your compassion to eradicate those feelings of hatred and anger from your heart, you won’t need to use such tools. (This is also a subtle reason that I don’t read as many self-help books now).
The lesson is simple — before attempting an outer superficial change, aim for inner growth, Everything else will take care of itself.
I Started Living in the Present
Most problems in life vanish when you start living more in the present moment. Think about it. Most of our worries are either rooted in the past or in the future.
We either worry about what has happened or what will happen. There’s no tension in the present moment.
Mental rumination leads to suffering. It’s the number one way we’re killing our happiness.
The more you grow in your spiritual practices, the more you tune into the present moment. And the more you live in the present, the more joyful life is.
All that is happening in front of us is neutral. Our attitude makes them good or bad. Let’s work on shunning our negative attitudes and refine our perceptions by living in the present moment.
I Maintained a Desire for Self-Control
“The self-controlled man sleeps happily and awakes happily and moves through the world happily. He is always cheerful.” — Swami Sivananda
Self-control is something that people often struggle with. But those with some spiritual progress know that indulging in sense pleasures won’t give them what they want.
In fact, every sense of pleasure comes with a ‘low’. Sex brings tiredness. Smoking brings disease. Drinking brings a hangover. You get the point.
And even more than that, every sense of indulgence brings a guilt-trip — the guilt of not being strong enough to resist these temptations. The guilt of not living life to its full potential — that’s the worst kind of guilt there is.
Spiritual progress instills a desire to reach your highest potential — which is only achieved with self-control. It’s not uncommon for people on this path to soon give up their bad habits one by one.
I Found Myself a Guru
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” — Lao Tzu
This point is more important for those of you who are quite seriously on the spiritual path.
But if you do find a true Guru, know that it’s a deep blessing. When your desire to know God is strong enough, He sends you a true Guru.
When this happens, also know that your life is going to change forever, for good.
I Shined a Light on the Spiritual Eye
It’s more of an esoteric change, but as a result of my meditations, I see light at the point between the eyebrows — even during daily tasks.
This light is always accessible. Whenever I feel stressed or find myself inhabiting a lower level of consciousness, I try to close my eyes and focus on the spiritual eye.
It’s the point where the prefrontal cortex of your brain lies and deals with complex thinking and happiness. By focusing here, your thoughts automatically (but gradually) become more uplifted.
This is the place of the Agya chakra in the body. By concentrating there, you create a certain magnetism that pulls energy towards itself. And your consciousness is directly related to where your energy is centered in the spine.
The more you progress, the more you’ll feel a concentration of energy at this point.
I Reduced My Fear of Death
“Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic.” — W. H. Auden
Death is the most uncomfortable truth in our lives. It is almost a taboo subject to talk about and yet it’s the most important thing we should discuss with each other.
Everything works well when you’re aware of your own mortality. Steve Jobs said that death is the single greatest invention of life — because death gives everything its value.
Once you understand that you’ve come naked in this world and that you’ll leave naked, there’s nothing to fear.
When you progress on the spiritual path, you become detached from your own body. If you understand that consciousness and your soul will transcend the physical body, there’s really no reason to fear death.
This separation between the deathless soul and the mortal body is a crucial element of your spiritual understanding. And with this comes great courage, clarity, and humility.
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