After reading the last few blogs on the ever-important theme and discussion on spirituality and spiritual growth and awakening, many of our valued readers have asked this one question—”What is the best tool to achieve spiritual growth and awakening?”
As much as I would love to answer this question by saying it’s very easy and simple, the reality of the matter is spirituality is very personal and spiritual growth and awakening is a multi-layered and complex process. With that said, meditation is considered by far the most effective tool for spiritual growth and awakening.
In today’s time, many people have resorted to meditation to reduce stress and gain vitality. Many of them often report the experience had served them beyond these initially sought purposes. Meditation has helped them to reach an elevated state of inner-peace and connect with their inner-being and soul. Many say, although they are not entirely sure when but somewhere along while practicing meditation their spiritual discovery and journey were initiated. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as from ancient times across many cultures and religions, meditation has been the core segway of leading people towards spiritual growth and awakening.
With meditation becoming increasingly mainstream in recent times, many of us may readily acknowledge the fact that meditation offers many additional emotional, psychological, and physical benefits, which go well beyond reducing stress and gaining vitality. That said, how meditation helps in the spiritual growth and awakening process is not something that can be readily found. Here are some ways how meditation enables spiritual growth and awakening.
1. Empowers mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply being fully aware of the present moment. It’s about observing what we are experiencing at this very instant without applying any judgment and the foundation of meditation is built on this simple yet powerful idea.
One of the primal characteristics of spiritual growth and awakening is we neither dwell on the past nor do we become anxious about the future. Fully being present in “the now” dissolves the past, present, and future in this precious one eternal moment—the only place where our soul truly resides at any given time.
2. Expands or shifts consciousness
At its very core, spiritual growth and awakening is simply awakening beyond the limits of our ego (the “lower-self” or, the “I” or the “self”) and known material and the physical domain of our existence. This awakening, which consists of a deep sense of connectedness and abundance, requires an elevated level of consciousness and practicing meditation is known for attaining an elevated level of consciousness.
Many of us have a very limited field of vision. Either consciously or unconsciously many of us think or assume that we know everything and our awareness simply entails what we see, hear and feel. With this low level of consciousness, many of us could be found busy living our lives on autopilot and being a servant of their emotions, thoughts, and desires.
Meditation unlocks a new and elevated level of consciousness, which goes far beyond the day-to-day consciousness. During meditation instead of thinking or assuming, we simply observe without reservation. We become a neutral witness of our very own selves, which helps us decode our habitual patterns. Flaws and limitations of our old consciousness level start to come on the surface. Clarity starts to emerge and we start to recognize how concentrated our thoughts and actions (consciously and/or unconsciously) are on the “I” of ourselves.
This shift in consciousness serves as a wake up call for many after which they open themselves to new possibilities and the fact that something bigger than us exists. Often this higher level of consciousness entails a deep sense of connectedness and abundance. Remember, the ego is always thinking and duelling while the spirit knows and accepts.
3. Let go of attachments
Spiritually awakened beings know that we are eternal and we exist beyond the realm of the eye-soothing materialistic world and physical body to which many of us are deeply attached to.
“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” —Dalai Lama.
Many of us pin our identity with the external world. Whether it may be a relationship, finances, social status, job title, car, house, living style, pets and so on. Think about it, how often we hear and/or say statements such as “I’m in a relationship, I’m popular, I drive xyz car, I’m a yogi, I’m spiritual, I live in xyz neighbourhood, I work at xyz company, I’m vegan” and so on. Beyond this many of us also attach our happiness and peace to the external world.
Being so dependent on the outside world is the primary reason, why so many of us constantly suffer and live an unhappy and unfulfilling life. We are so attached to the external world that we often find ourselves unhappy and disappointed if the outside world isn’t the way we want it to be. We are deeply attached to things on which we don’t have real control over, which is a recipe for pain.
Under the influence of attachments, we are often caught in the storm of our very own thoughts and patterns, which immensely limits our perspective. We constrain ourselves so close that our focus is fixated on ourselves.
Meditation frees our mind from these bindings by releasing and settling our thoughts and emotions. It enables us to gain new perspectives, as well as our existing perceptions, become elevated. As we spend time in silence and solitude we start to turn within and connect with our inner-self through which a considerable reduction in inner-noise and wandering thoughts are experienced. Our old (auto-pilot, unhappy and unfulfilling) system slowly gets replaced by a new awakened and conscious system, which conduces inner-peace, meaning, and happiness. We start to recognize everything we need resides within us. The need and dependency on the external world start to slowly vanish, which triggers the detachment process on our way to attaining spiritual awakening and freedom. As a side note, detachment doesn’t mean not owning anything instead it means nothing owns you. It’s a state in which inner-peace and joy continue to remain untouched by the unravelling of the external world.
To conclude, today let’s take the first step of our spiritual growth and awakening journey by welcoming the practice of meditation in our lives.
Remember, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience instead, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.