What prevents people from spiritually growing is their closed minds. The Universe can never force growth, so if a person himself doesn’t want to open to something new, he will remain stuck.
Growth often entails discarding old beliefs and being open to concepts going against your current beliefs. That’s the reason most people don’t grow – it’s just too hard for them to become flexible enough to be able to let go of that which no longer serves them and to open up to that which they never considered before.
As you probably know very well, spiritual growth in the society is very rare. The masses are stuck with their culture, their current beliefs and their current way of life. The media, the family and the friends maintain those life standards and rules, and some individuals are not strong enough to rise above them. So they remain the same as everyone around them, spiritually growing little, if at all.
Sometimes the masses seem to go backwards and not forwards in their spiritual growth. That’s really painful to witness and by observing the masses in such a state you get to witness the power that the opinions, culture, traditions and the media has over the society.
Some people are mistaken about their spiritual progress because of false new-age spirituality ideas. There are many individuals just going with the flow and doing what they feel like, without any structure and discipline in life, thinking that they progress simply because they do what they like.
They remain children, thinking themselves quite advanced. Spirituality is about balance. What eventually happens to those who follow new-age ideas is that they become so used to easy living that they are no longer capable of working anymore. So in extreme cases they end up homeless, or join religious sects so that their lives are totally controlled, so that they don’t need to think about how to feed themselves or where to sleep.
So balance is important. You cannot simply do what you feel like. Easy living doesn’t make you grow, it makes you regress. You must have some sort of structure in life, and you must provide value to the society and in turn receive income to continue living. People can spiritually progress when holding normal jobs as well, it’s really not about quitting the world that makes you go up the levels of spirituality.
And when I write about spiritual progress and different levels of it, I don’t even consider this the right way of putting it, because one shouldn’t be focused on any levels to reach anyway. The whole life guides you and makes you spiritually progress, so there’s no need to set some sort of spiritual goal to achieve. You simply need to allow life itself to be your teacher, and you will spiritually progress whether you consciously have this goal in mind or not.
But what happens is that people refuse to learn. They have a certain limit which they do not want to cross. And a lot of that has to do with their beliefs. Some beliefs are too strong, they have invested in those beliefs too heavily, and when those beliefs are challenged, they refuse to entertain a thought that they might be wrong. That’s the reason people don’t spiritually progress.
Religious, spiritual, social ideas that they subscribe to also serve as blocks to spiritual progress. Of course, they don’t have to. They can serve as learning steps. But many people are stopped by them. Many Christians refuse to see anything wrong or inconsistent with their faith; many new-agers refuse to acknowledge the need for restrictions of any sorts; many people refuse to go against what their particular community stands against. Thus, people remain stuck in those invisible structures, remaining imprisoned though thinking themselves free.
Because of the wrong understanding of what spiritual progress is (mainly thanks to new-age ideas in these times), as well as due to these invisible structures, most people never spiritually progress. Their bodies grow, the mind is also allowed to develop but not fully, yet when it comes to the spiritual growth, it’s almost non-existent in the world today.
I see those who are awakening trying to be spiritual but they are still not progressing, they are just searching for the way. So they become disciples of gurus, they become more religious or they read new-age books.
It’s important to understand that such actions do not show spiritual progress. Those people only have awakened. Such actions of theirs show that they have started searching – it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have started spiritually progressing.
They are still materially-minded so they search for spirituality in books, from teachers or from religious structures. But if they continue with their search, the time comes when they start realizing that life itself is the teacher, and that if they remain true to themselves and not to any religious structures or beliefs, they will start spiritually progressing.
So no matter who you are, no matter where you live and what you do, you can spiritually progress if you are honest with yourself and allow life to teach you. How far you will spiritually progress will depend on how many of your wrong beliefs you are willing to discard, and whether you will choose the truth over something that’s dear to you and which you heavily invested in.
Even greatest truth-seekers stop somewhere in their search if something dearer than the truth cannot be let go of, like money, social status, the love of those around him. So only those who value God, Truth, Spirituality more than they value the comforts or the approval of the world, would finally understand what spiritual progress really is.
Others will remain searching for spirituality in books, from gurus, in religious institutions or in the feel-good activities of the new age movement. Deep inside they may know that they are lying to themselves, and that they cannot let go of certain precious beliefs or structures. But that’s between them and God, the only thing that I can do is to point this out.
So it’s important not to deceive yourself about your spiritual progress. To progress you must be honest with yourself and you must be willing to sacrifice all beliefs, cultural ways of being, societal norms, religious structures, the trends and beliefs of this century, and everything else man-made that gets in the way. This is very difficult for most and that’s why the masses don’t even start on this road.
So when the urge to become better than you currently are comes, when the need to make your life more meaningful is felt, let that inner impulse lead you, and you will surely start spiritually progressing. Never betray that inner urge for money, status, societal approval or anything else. If you don’t, it will slowly but surely lead you to the true spirituality, guiding you from a mere potential to a true divine creation that you are.