Process of Spiritual Maturing

The process of spiritual maturing

The spiritual path means to come ever closer to Divine Gnosis, Divine Love and Divine Goodness. This is a path towards becoming an individual loci for the Divine. The Divine is the true Seed of every self-being, and this Divine Seed seeks to become more complete and more fully actualized.

This is the meaning a 'completed' human being. Though whether there is a final completion or final omega, or whether the process of actualization never ends in any final point, is a matter of speculation for us, since we could not know about a final end unless we reached it. It is probably more honest to simply speak about a process of becoming evermore complete, or divinely actualized, rather than assume there is a final end to the process. Nonetheless, there is a goal, which we can think of as a completion or as a greater actualization of our Divine Potential, or as a spiritual maturing process of our self-potential.

So the spiritual path can be understood as a maturing process of the self, a maturing of the self's potential. This might seem to be a psychological theory, since now we are speaking about self and maturing, but this is also part of spiritual psychology because the Divine is within our self. The Divine is not out there somewhere; it is right here and we are it. The Divine can be understood, psychologically, as the great potential of our self. And the Divine Goal is to actualize this, or mature it. But the actualization of this potential is not necessarily guaranteed, nor determined. So the human self is in a potential process of actualizing, maturing, evolving.

Now when we normally think of human maturity, we often limit the notion of maturity to a set of psychological and behavioral standards, such as having a sufficient degree of self-control, rational thinking, and socially cooperative behavior. Yet from the spiritual point of view, or from spiritual philosophy, the notion of self maturity is greatly expanded and there is much more asked of us.

For example, in normal psychology a predominately selfish, self-centered and economically greedy person might still be regarded as a mature adult. In some standards, a boy is finally mature when he can kick someone's butt, and a girl is finally mature when she can cook and produce a baby.

The spiritual notion of maturity goes beyond these limited ideas. For in spiritual maturity, one is realizing the spiritual reality behind the veils of appearance, and also one is expressing the finest Qualities of Divine God/Being. Of course though, this is quite a lofty aim. So we need not be concerned whether we perfectly reach it or not; but rather, our concern is whether we are at least on the path, or in the process of becoming spiritually complete.

One is coming into the completion of who one is meant to be. This completion is the fulfillment of one's divine destiny. It is the fulfillment, or completion, of what is divinely Intended for us, or what is God's Will. It can also be understood as the fulfillment or completion of our natural true being. For just as the plants and animals have their respective design for completion, the maturation of what they are in essence or what they are meant to be; so too do humans have their respective design for completion. Though the human design, or destiny, is much more open-ended and less fixed in its details, especially in respect to desires and character expression. In other words, the human design for completion is much more general than any other living species. Nonetheless, there are general principles to be fulfilled that we can rightly regard as being divinely Intended, or as our true spiritually-human destiny.

What is spiritual maturing? That is a big question. It would be better to keep the question alive and find the answers on one's own. There are so many facets to this, such as greater knowledge of one's true being and refinement of one's character, but there is much more to say as well, such as considering the needs of others and caring more about others, and not getting engrossed in one's own little desire/demands or our reactions to that which is not congruent with what we want. We need to be evermore loving. This is the essence of spiritual maturity.

We need to embrace more of the world in our heart. We need to be more full of Divine Spirit and more full of the Divine Qualities. We need to actualize the Divine Qualities within us. This is completing and actualizing the Divine within us. We also need to be more present in life, and deal rightfully and beautifully with the people and circumstances we are in. We need to improve on our love and skillful love in the world.

From small ego to expansive self

The spiritual (and moral) maturing process begins from an ego that is constricted, dwelling upon its own self-importance and its own small concerns. Yet this self can grow and mature into a self that is expansive in its love and evermore universal in its realization. The self can be in a continuing process of growing up and coming into maturity - or self-completion.

This maturing process is from a small self-ego to an ever-greater expansive self - which embraces and includes more of Life in empathy. First, the human needs to develop a self-ego, which is a loci of self-knowing and self-will. This begins very small and weak, but then develops larger and stronger. And this is all good, at this stage of human maturing process. But this strengthening ego can become self-engrossed, myopic in its interest, and willfully demanding. Unless along side the ego development is empathetic love and an expansion of consciousness. The maturing process should not become stagnant in this limited sphere of self-ego, though sometimes it does. Ultimately, we are spiritual meant to become evermore expansive in our realizations and awakening to all we really are - in potential.

So in this process of spiritual maturation, the self begins as a small awakening and gradually grows into an ever-larger awakening. This is an awakening of oneself, an awakening of our true self. It is also an awakening to the world around us and to our relationship in the world. In other words, we are expanding our understanding of our self, the world, and our inter-relatedness with all that is. We are gradually embracing the world in our heart and consciousness; thus expanding our empathy with all the world in which we live.

The small self, the ego at the beginning of the spiritual maturing process, is limited in its self identification and engrossed in its small concerns. Yet a healthy small self-ego is still open and sensitive to new expanded knowing and empathy. It is still open to the greater spiritual reality, however limited in this process of knowing. The small self-ego can still grow spiritually, if it keeps on being open, empathetic and assimilating.

But at some point many people cut off their spiritual maturing process, which creates an ego that closes off from further empathy with the world and further understanding of its spiritual essence. This disrupts the spiritual maturing process. There are those in the world who are grown up physically, but who have closed off from further spiritual growth. Parts of ourself are this way. So we have to regain the sense that we are still in process of growing up. For once we think that we are already mature, the process is halted. The reality is that we all are in an ongoing potential process of greater maturity, spiritual and moral maturity, just as we are all in an ongoing process towards greater knowledge and wisdom. The ego mistake is to think that one is already mature, already complete, when in fact one is not.

So the first key to ever-greater spiritual knowledge, maturity and completion, is to realize that one is still in the process, or still on the journey. This also requires humility. The moment you think you are already there, already complete and perfect in every way, is the moment when you have closed off from the process of learning and refinement. But in contrast, one who realizes they are still on a journey or in a process of maturing, as a person, is the one who can still awaken to more of who they are and become all they can be. An other part of this process is learning from others and learning from the natural world. See everyone and everything as potential teachers and guides.

Divine realization and expression

Spiritual maturation is the process of realizing and actualizing one's spiritual potentials – similar to how a seed can mature into a flower. This could also be called spiritual self-completion.

This process essentially involves two complimenting aspects. One aspect is the realization of spiritual completion, which is to consciously realize the all-pervading Presence of Divine Being, through oneself and through the whole world. This can also be called God-Realization. It is knowing the God-Divinity of oneself and also through others and the world. This spiritual realization may not be fully complete for us, but if we affirm it as one of our greatest goals and also work at waking up to our spiritual Reality; then at least we are 'in the process' of completion – at least then we are moving towards realization, because it is one of our great purposes in this life. Spiritual realization is a process – from a limited perspective to a more expansive perspective, all the way to the full Universal perspective.

We begin this journey from a small egocentric perspective in viewing our self and life. The journey of maturation then leads out of this little self box and widens evermore towards the full comprehensiveness of a Universal perspective. The final viewpoint is of God/Being, whereby the Qualities of Divine Being are known comprehensively and so is the Divine Will and Purpose. In other words, the self-maturing process involves an expansion of spiritual knowledge, or an expansion in the self-knowing of Divine Being. This is the aspect of greater realization.

The other aspect of spiritual completion is actualization (or expression) – of the Divine Qualities inherent us. These are the Divine seeds or potentials in us, which are meant to be cultivated and matured; as for example, love, compassion, peace, wisdom and beauty in action. We must cultivate and develop the Good in us, the Love in us, and all of the great Qualities of Divine Being. Our goal here is to be more God-like in self-expression, to be a living expression of the Divine Being on Earth; as best we can.

To be fully and completely God-in-expression may seem out of reach; but at least we can be on a path towards this – which is to become ever-more complete and mature in our Divine expression, in our thoughts, in our actions, and in our character. This is spiritual maturation. We may not reach a point where we can honestly say "I am God walking on earth," or "I am the Christ," or "I am a Prophet of God," or "I am the Enlightened Buddha,". But we can make this our Aim, and we can at least approach this Aim, while at the same time being honest and realistic enough to not walk around in a spiritual arrogance of “I'm so great”.

Our goal is to be in this process and to keep approaching towards these aims of realization and actualization. Our goal is to approach an ever-higher degree of spiritual expression, in which Divine Love is shining through us, and other Divine Qualities are expressing though us. So we can have a lofty Aim to be God-like knowing and God-like expressing; but not expecting to be absolutely perfect in this. We are not looking for a final perfection, nor expecting a final perfection. But we are hoping for and working towards more perfection. In other words, the spiritual path is a path of perfecting; but without getting stuck in any definite idea about what is exactly perfect. It is the moving towards that is important.

The expressive aspect of this process involves a greater perfecting of the Divine Qualities (inherent within) in our self-expression. Essentially, this is an unfolding and perfecting of the Love within us. It is a refinement of Love in expression. This is no small matter, no small feat.

First, the Love has to be found within us. Second, it has to be brought out from the heart. And third, the Love needs to be complimented by wisdom in how to express it.

This wisdom aspect is not always easy, because different situations often require different ways of expressing the Love, and this can only be learned with maturing experience. So even if our love is ready to flow out expressively, we still need to know how to express this love in the most effective way for the good. This is wisdom, or called 'skillful means', which develops with practice and experience. So part of the expressive aspect of spiritual maturation must also involve a maturing of wisdom and the skillful knowledge of how to best express Love for the greater good. To some extent it is possible to guided by a Higher Wisdom from beyond us, which seems as a spontaneous wisdom that comes through. But we can only rely upon this to some extent. Ultimately we have to rely on our own development of wisdom, though we can only do the best we can with the knowledge and experience we have.

Another way to understand this process of spiritual maturing is that God is in the Process of Becoming – coming into realization and expression – through individual expressions and into the world. God is in a process of becoming more fully realized and expressive – through the minds and hearts and actions of individuals – whereby the Divine Qualities are becoming more fully realized and more fully manifesting. This is the same as our own spiritual process at work, but from God's perspective.

Thus, the spiritual work (including our own spiritual work) is in a process of becoming, towards ever-greater completion and perfection. The world is not already perfect; but we each can develop and more perfectly express of our Divine Potentials.

So in this process, our spiritual potentials (spiritual qualities) can be unfolding in greater refinement, and we can be evolving towards greater spiritual expression and perfection. This process of perfecting can also be seen in sports, as one can develop a potential skill into an actualized skill. We can make efforts and practice, in order to improve our skills and reach greater refinement in the skill. This process of development, involving both realizations and actualizations, can be seen in any creative art. Spiritual, intellectual, moral, and creative evolution all involve a process of work and development, resulting in real evolution and greater perfection.

Thus, we are in a process of learning, development, and perfecting. This is what spiritual evolution and human evolution is all about. But rather than seeing this process as being determined by God, or controlled by a Higher Power; think of it as a learning and development process, whereby each individual is responsible for their own process.

In this process, each individual is free to make their own mistakes, then hopefully learn from these mistakes. The process is open-ended and undetermined; it is creatively free and advances naturally by learning. In this undetermined process of learning, each person is free to get diverted from the spiritual goal. In fact, learning from our mistakes is not even guaranteed, though it is always possible. God is not controlling this process of learning and development, nor deciding how things shall be. Rather, the process is organically working out, as each individual is exploring and developing their potentials from their own capacity and self-responsibility. Each individual must break free from their own limitations and learn from their own mistakes, in order to come into a greater degree of divine expression.

However, we are not completely alone in this process, because there is higher Help. God is not controlling or manipulating our learning process; but there is Divine influence in the process, which works through us from within. One way that Divine influence works within us is through inspiration – which sparks our spiritual motivation, wisdom and creativity. But this influence from within is not compelling nor controlling. It can be blocked and sidetracked by the self-centered and fixated ego. Mistakes and negative manifestations then result from this.

So it is possible for the spiritual process of unfoldment to be blocked or sidetracked. It is possible for particular undeveloped beliefs or behavior to become fixed (or even pathological), resulting in underdeveloped and spiritually immature expressions and distortions of our spiritual potentials. This is what causes many problems and mistakes in the world. But this is not part of some divine plan; it's just that mistakes can happen in the process.

Being empty for the Divine to shine through

So far this consideration has taken the position that the process of maturing and completion is ongoing and probably endless; that there is always more to realize and always more refinement (or perfection) possible in the comprehensive expression of Divine Qualities. We will not abandon this view. Yet let us consider another angle on this topic, which may show that a final completion of absolute realization and perfect expression is possible, in any lifetime or in any moment.

Consider the possibility of emptying oneself, becoming empty in heart and mind. When the self is given up, when it has become empty and there is no more self-identification, no more thought of self and no more desire in the heart (except for a desire to be one with God); then the Presence of God becomes transparently present in experience, or it could be said that our true Being-Essence becomes transparent. When self-identification is giving up, the Light of Pure Being shines. When we are empty of our self and only conscious of the Divine Presence or Spirit of God all around, then we are in Union, and then God expresses through us.

So it is by this emptiness that we become complete. For then, God can be complete in us. And from this pure realization of God, or this union in God, God can express through us. Through our realization of God all around, and our consciousness of only God Presence, love and healing flows through the space around us. The space has now become actualized with God, through this recognition or realization of God, as the ego-identification and ego reactive patterns have been dissolved. So in this sense, the very process of spiritual completion is completed by our self-abandonment and emptying. One ceases to obstruct the spiritual unfoldment by this self-abandonment, though the individual self as vehicle-for-God is still needed to respond to any moment-circumstance with Love-Wisdom.

There will still be a ongoing maturation of this response or expression, which is essentially a refinement or purification of the vehicle, yet the divine unfoldment will also depend on how empty we are of self-identification. Through self-abandonment and self-emptiness, God will then become complete in us and expressive through us, as the self empties into union with God. Because of this self-emptiness and the abandonment of identifying with the oneself, transformations will happen in the space and people around us, since there will no longer be an ego to obscure spiritual Beingness. Be empty and transparent enough that God moves through and shines through.