Posts Tagged ‘spiritual growth’

Take a Cue from the Chinese Bamboo Tree

December 15, 2010

Chinese bamboo trees

Spiritual growth and immediate gratification are mutually exclusive concepts. You must perform your spiritual practice with infinite patience. God will respond in God’s time, not yours. Just because you have not yet attained the ultimate goal of self-realization, in which you blissfully melt into oneness with the divine, does not mean you are not making significant progress.

In the Summer 2007 issue of Self-Realization magazine, a quarterly magazine devoted to healing of body, mind and soul, Swami Smaranananda, Joint General Secretary of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, offered this analogy.

When the Chinese bamboo tree is planted, it is watered and fertilized, but for four (more…)

The Barn Burned Down

November 21, 2010

In her book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Pema Chodron wrote:

I have a friend dying of AIDS. Before I was leaving for a trip, we were talking. He said, “I didn’t want this, and I hated this, and I was terrified of this. But it turns out that this illness has been my greatest gift.” He said, “Now every moment is so precious to me. All the people in my life are so precious to me. My whole life means so much to me.” Something had really changed, and he felt ready for his death. Something that was horrifying and scary had turned into a gift.

I have heard this story in so many different forms over and over again. Heidi von Beltz, a former championship (more…)

When We Are Most Ourselves

June 30, 2010

View your spiritual growth as a work in progress. Take great satisfaction in how far you have come, but recognize that the more you learn, the more work there is yet to do.

You are neither the child you were, nor the old person you will become.

Inevitably, life’s day-to-day demands will distract even the most dedicated of seekers. Not to worry, just try to keep the lapses brief. The longer the detour, the more difficult it will be to steer back on course.

He who interrupts the (more…)

The Pain of Discipline

June 29, 2010

Spiritual growth requires daily recommitment. Great changes will occur when you resolve to be a little more positive, a little more loving, every day. A daily spiritual practice can elevate your consciousness, instill a sense of harmony with life’s rhythms, and promote a subtle but enduring state of joy and gratitude.

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?
Albert Camus

The operative word is “daily.” You cannot maintain a higher consciousness by meditating, chanting, praying, or reading inspirational content sporadically. You might as well prepare for a career as a concert pianist by playing ten minutes of Mozart every other day.

We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or (more…)

Tolerance and Intolerance Can Coexist

November 11, 2009

black-hand-white-hand-prayingA paradox: Spiritual growth will simultaneously render you more tolerant and less tolerant.

It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are, the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.
Joseph Addison

You will be more tolerant because you recognize that God is present in all and that the next person you see may be delivering a life-altering message meant just for you.

Everyone is God speaking. Why not be polite and listen to him?

The greater your tolerance, the less (more…)

Work Through Your Relationship Grief

September 27, 2008

Last summer, my marriage ended. I didn’t want it to, but the gap between our lifestyles kept widening, and splitting up soon became the obvious course of action. I was heartbroken, but from the start I recognized that there was great value in my grieving process.

I’m sharing what I went through in the hope that the process that helped me recover relatively quickly may offer some comfort to others who are hurting. It took me four months to heal, which is far better than four years . . . or forever. You can recover from a broken heart. You can heal. You can be whole again.