Human growth entails not only physical maturity, or emotional/mental ripening, but also and more importantly, maturation in consciousness or spirituality or awareness. The last one appears as the hardest to attain and most likely to be overlooked in the development process. When was the last time one was taught to be more conscious/spiritual? This process entails a drastic and even painful break from traditional and learned thinking, which usually tend to be inflexible, too structured and patterned, and most of the time static to a point that it is not open to creativity and tolerance. Putting one’s stakes to tradition means feeling safe, secure, and sure. It usually is the easier path to take rather than the tortuous and oftentimes confusing path of creativity. The former makes it easy on the conscience and mind, and easy to rationalize to an inquiring mind. It also makes it easy to dismiss a petulant mind. Admittedly, one cannot give a workable definition of what this level of spirituality/consciousness is. It does not lend itself easily to words. Or more honestly, because one’s abilities to express are typically not sufficiently honed to enable one to reduce thoughts to words.
It necessarily involves or brings into play one’s spiritual faith. Its seed is initially implanted and nurtured during one’s youth, going through similar but more profound growing phases as one’s physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects. Through our voluntary and conscious efforts, we must probe into, first of all, its existence, and secondly, arrive at a determination that we can rise above that initial level by our own efforts. Of necessity, this requires arduous preparation like serious reading and introspection. Any empowerment attained will be achieved through our deliberate and purposeful efforts and not something taken for granted such as our physical growth.
During childhood, most of what we do and think is purely for selfish motives. We are instructed to do things primarily because of the good that we directly derive from them. In fine, all for our own self-preservation. Very little altruism is involved in our childhood activities. To mature, we should graduate from this pupal stage into a much nobler stage.
It should start with man’s gaining control of himself and his surroundings. His sense appetites which are geared toward whetting his baser nature must be kept in check. Spirituality commences or is enhanced with his ability at self-denial. The initial conquest must be one's own body.
Heightened awareness of surrounding physical and intangible realities can lead to more effective control and/or handling of them, in keeping with their avowed purposes and reasons for being. Maybe this is what is inferred to by the biblical passage about man exercising dominion over all things created.
Some random thoughts about why this spiritual growth is of paramount importance to man’s being true to his noble nature and his destiny.
A. Learning to think beyond one’s self and welfare, taking into account the impact of every act on others; and finally, acting always based on that judgment.
B. Giving a spiritual/metaphysical bent or flavor to most, if not all, of the things that we do and think. To be in the world, but not of this world.
C. Developing a healthy disregard/disdain for earthly life, to a point where one is not saddled by the burden of the prospect of death, nor fearful of death itself, and positively, to a point where one is able to entertain the prospect of surrendering one’s life for a worthy cause if and when the need arises.
D. Nurturing a positive frustration/impatience at the myriad of hedonistic trivialities presently inundating all facts of human living, especially in the more developed societies. A deep longing and aspiration for the more basic and real Christ-like values of daily living.
E. The possible attainment of some form of human perfection in one’s own life. Christ exudes/possesses great powers (as gauged by our present human standards) because he is human perfect, too. He has absolute and complete control of his human self. To illustrate, when he got angry, it was not because he allowed the situation to control his emotional response, although it was definitely beyond the shadow of a doubt warranted. Instead, he willed to exhibit the emotion of just anger. If we can only approximate that level of human perfection, it would be safe to assume that we would then also possess powers beyond our wildest dreams. This would be in consonance with the circumstance of our creation, that we are made to the image and likeness of God. Because we are God’s image, we are endowed with a very complex nature. We must therefore allow the notion that there is still so much to be learned about it while at the same time, it continues to evolve and grow to higher levels. How much then of the inexplicable occurrences around us can be attributed as paranormal rather than as supernatural? The theory of an ever expanding universe hints at how finite boundaries are continually being shattered as our minds probe and explore beyond the known realities. In a true sense, there is no limit to reality in the same way that there is no limit to what we individually and collectively can think of. Creation is a continuous process, and those already created are in constant evolution from day to day. Every human act and thought adds to that pool of creation. God made us such that this creative power comes to us naturally. Philosophers postulate that reality is what we “think” it is. And in the final analysis, all creation owes it continued existence to the Godhead, who must at all times be fully aware of its existence.
The foundation of our faith is anchored on our belief that God revealed Himself to man in the Bible. I submit that man on his own can come to a realization of the existence of God, but being limited and finite he cannot fully comprehend the extent of God. All this is consistent with our understanding that God made man to his image and gave him free will. Nor has many fully grasped the full scope and extent of his own human nature, its capabilities and potentials for growth.
One problem is immediately encountered in accepting THAT basis of our faith. Why did God reveal Himself only to us Christians? What makes us very special? Could he not reveal Himself to all men throughout human history in a special way so that the opportunity to understand and worship Him would be available to everybody in a fair and just way? If we accept this premise, then differences in our perception and understanding of Him would be attributable to the level of awareness/spirituality each one of us will have attained, which as stated previously, is largely voluntary and optional.