Spiritual maturity occurs when spiritual experience accumulates and flourishes

by Monica Dascălu

Any yogi is aware of the changes that occur due to spiritual practice. Through persistent efforts and spiritual practice, periodically the so-called “spiritual leaps through accumulation” appear. After a consistent spiritual practice for many years, the numerous experiences accumulated during the spiritual practice crystallize and generate results, making us reach a state of maturity spiritually. This however is not true for every yoga practitioner. What matters is the quality of the practice, not just the quantity, and also the authenticity of our spiritual engagement. There is a great number of mediocre and shallow yogis who remain sometimes even after 20 years of yoga in a state of spiritual infantilism or simply of opacity and indifference. 

The fruits of spiritual practice appear in time

For any organism or being, maturity results from natural processes of growth and is achieved when the body develops its full physiological potentials. Physical maturity expresses the integral development of all body systems and functionality and is typically expressed through the ability to give birth to other beings (to procreate) since the reproductive system develops later in the biological structure. Amongst others, a condition of maturation at the physical level is overcoming dependencies, for example from parents, in order to ensure your own survival. On the other hand, emotional maturity expresses an inner balance, a certain affective autonomy. There are many human beings who never achieve real emotional maturity.
A plant reaches maturity when it bears fruit. An animal reaches maturity when they are able to give birth to offsprings. The human being is more complex and maturity expresses not only the completeness of the physiological functions. For a human being, maturity also expresses autonomy, independence, responsibility, as well as the ability to support and guide others.
Spiritual maturity, from one point of view, can be understood starting from the same idea of giving fruit, of fruitfulness. Spiritual maturity is reached when our spiritual practice flourishes – not only for ourselves, but we can give to others from these spiritual fruits which we now pick due to our appropriate spiritual efforts. It involves a certain degree of autonomy, because at this late stage of inner development we become able to relate directly to key aspects such as the principles of truth, we can make our own judgment and take wise decisions.

Crystallization of spiritual experiences

Spiritual maturity is the result of an accumulation of experiences and spiritual practice and usually requires years of diligent and careful spiritual practice. This involves the accumulation of deep benefic and varied spiritual experiences as well as a certain inner crystallization of these experiences, the ability to experience them synthetically, to use them creatively and learn from them.
Some rare human beings that gained this experience in their past lives and efforts were now born with the ability to remember and quickly update this experience, but for most yoga practitioners maturity occurs after years of careful, proper and persistent practice. Among the qualities that accompany spiritual maturity we include wisdom, discernment, detachment, aspiration, generosity, love, devotion, humility.

Passing the tests, a test for maturity
 Spiritual maturity is proven when the spiritual aspirant passes successfully the spiritual tests that he comes across on his spiritual path.    However when the aspirant repeatedly fails the tests that are necessary for him to face, we can not speak of spiritual maturity. We can realize that we have reached a state of spiritual maturity when we are able to choose without hesitation what we know is good for us and for our spiritual evolution, and we firmly reject what we know is bad, without feeling at all the need to justify to ourselves or to others. True spiritual maturity involves full and deep harmonization of the whole being. The spiritual path we are on, integral yoga provides us with sufficient appropriate techniques to fully harmonize and develop at all levels of our being: vital, emotional, physical, mental, relational, erotic, and spiritual. It is important to understand that it is not wise to neglect any aspect of our being, but to integrate all of them in a unitary and balanced way.
Spiritual maturity also involves being able to assume responsibilities within the group or spiritual school we belong to, to understand current priorities, and future prospects – the consequences of the events that happen in the present, the consequences of the fact that we choose to act  with discernment or choose to do nothing in certain circumstances. When we give our lives to noble ideals, spiritual maturity is what inspires us to assume an active role in their achievement.

A few landmarks
How can we recognize the state of spiritual maturity?

We can say that we have reached a state of spiritual maturity when:
– For us God is truly first in our lives.
– To report to the divine will, to follow the divine will is for us something spontaneous and natural.
– We are willing to transform and eliminate from our being all that hinders our spiritual development and is not divinely integrated.
– We understand through direct experience the necessity of transcending the ego and we make the necessary efforts in this direction.
– It is very clear for us that we were not born to have fun or to waste our time.
– We have the ability and willingness to make the necessary spiritual efforts to reach the spiritual goals we aim for.
– We successfully pass the spiritual trials (tests) facing us.
– We are able to honestly admit our mistakes and learn from them.
– We manifest exemplary the states of detachment and humility.
– We are able to love people spontaneously; we express our generosity spontaneously giving them exactly what they most need to grow spiritually.
– We boldly assume certain responsibilities toward the others and toward the spiritual group to which we belong and we can meet them successfully.
– We are autonomous and independent; we actually understand that we can never be “autonomous” to God, but we can get to be completely melted in God.
– We seek the Divine Truth with an open heart without issuing and maintaining personal judgments and opinions about no matter what events, beings or aspects of reality.
– The relationship with the spiritual guide is more open, direct, and sincere, because only now we begin to truly realize the exceptional importance of this relationship. Although apparently we no longer need guidance at every step, like at the beginning of our practice, the relationship with our Spiritual Guide is naturally for us the cornerstone of our inner evolution and implies an indestructible, permanent, freely consented relationship between our souls.

February 2013

Also available in: Română

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