There are many spiritual schools and many people who follow their paths and try to improve themselves, but so few make any significant progress. This is the topic I would like to discuss.
Having spent most my life in the pursuit of perfecting my Being, and in that search having been to many schools around the world, I have found that the largest and most popular ones are focused on finding happiness.
That sounds great, and seems to be what everyone seeks in life, but yet, it remains elusive to many. This article is about spiritual growth and why that is not really being attained.
If you follow a path of meditation or spiritual school with prayers and chanting or whatever the practices, for the purpose of finding happiness, it implies that your life has too much suffering. Your true goal is not really spiritual growth as much as it is in ending suffering. They are not the same thing.
Taking the analogy of an olympic athlete versus an average person. The average person goes to the gym and exercises so they are not weak. They want to get stronger because they do not want to be weak or overweight, meaning the purpose of the exercise is to alter something that they do not like.
The olympian trains their body so they can be the best in their sport. One is to compensate for a lack of something and the other is purely for the sake of improvement.
This is the key to success in spiritual growth or relationships, or anything at all really. What is the reason you are doing what you do? To alleviate suffering or to pursue perfection for the sake of being the best you can be.
The other factor which inhibits progress is motivation. And this is a key factor to success. If you have no or low motivation, then you will not put in the full effort required. If your motivation is to end suffering, then as soon as there is some improvement, your motivation wanes.
Basically, your motivation increases with your suffering. The less suffering, the less motivation. This balancing out is why we start things with great motivation, find some benefits and then drift away. The goal was reducing but not entirely eliminating suffering.
Total elimination of suffering requires constant and increasing effort, not slacking off when things get better. The other issue is the purity of the effort. This means if you are pursuing a spiritual path which by definition means the perfection of your being for the sake of awakening, but you are actually doing it just to eliminate suffering, there is a touch of hypocrisy.
The subconscious mind knows the truth, and it knows when you are lying. Truth builds motivation and lies destroy it. This is why we say that the most important part of ones life, be it in spiritual growth, relationships, self-esteem, really, every aspect of life, all depends on ones honesty. Lies to others cause us to be self-conscious and live in a touch of fear of getting caught out.
BEING ABLE TO FOCUS
Lies to yourself are far worse because they cause your mind to become distracted and prevent focus. That is how we deal with our self-lies, by avoiding seeing the truth. Prozac and other antidepressants use this method to eliminate depression. Those drugs effect the mind so that you cannot stay focused on anything for more than some minutes.
The cause of depression is that you repeat the same thoughts again and again and focus on them which gets you depressed. These drugs prevent you from focusing so you forget so quickly you cannot stay depressed.
If you believe you are a reliable honest person who never takes advantage of others or uses people, but yet you do all those things, a very common human situation, then you are lying to yourself. Your lie could be that you are very reliable and always on time, but yet the fact is you are always late and do not honour your commitments.
These are some examples of self lies which prevent your mind from being able to focus. If your mind cannot focus then you cannot meditate. And so, the beginning of true spiritual practice is to stop lying, especially to yourself.
TRUTH BUILDS ENERGY, LYING DESTROYS IT
The only way to actually progress spiritually is to eliminate self lying and all lies. Only then will your mind be able to calm enough that you can focus on doing the things necessary towards altering your being and becoming more awake both spiritually and in life in general.