How many times have you heard the phrase “spiritual growth” and wondered about it? Don’t you get confused every time you try to read and learn about it?
The problem is that there are many concepts about which we have only vague ideas, and many a time these concepts are vague themselves. So no matter how hard you try to understand them, they always seem to elude you. I think “spiritual growth” is one of such concepts.
I have been interested in the occult, spiritual practices, meditation and what not since long. I have explored many branches, and got disillusioned with most of them pretty soon. While trying to explore these ideas, one question kept nagging my mind all the time: how do I know if what I am reading, or what I am being taught, is valid and/or correct? The simple answer would be: try it and then see for yourself. But there is a problem with this advice too: who has enough time to go on trying out thousands of ideas, following hundreds of Gurus, and then see? I, then decided to use the critical and logical faculties of my mind to examine anything before I proceeded to try it out.
I like to think of myself as a logical, rational and critical human being. I have been to many international fora, and have locked horns with many people from all over the world. I have seen how the believers behave with those who try to question their beliefs logically. I have also seen that the so called rationalists behave exactly in the same manner as the believers when their beliefs(?) are questioned :). This statement would appear irrational, as the rationalists are supposed to be against all kinds of beliefs. But trust me, they are not! Most of the self-avowed rationalists are as touchy as any other die-hard believer about their own beliefs. For example, there is a popular page on the Facebook named “The pain of Reason”. It is actually a book written by one Trevor Karsdale who has create a page for his book on facebook. TK is an atheist (I am one too, by the way), and his book ridicules believers mercilessly. When I joined facebook, I came across his page, and “liked” it which allowed me to post comments on that page. Within a few days I found myself arguing against some of the so called rationalists and atheists on that page. It seems that the atheists “believe” in atheism as much, and as irrationally, as the believers believe in the heaven, hell and the afterlife. Funny, isn’t it? You would expect a rational human being to be willing to explore any new ideas, and change his if found incompatible with logic. In my humble opinion, a true rationalist would always be ready to change his ideas, and would be always in “explorer” mode. The Science has progressed so much because of such rational scientists; no one, including Newton or Einstein is beyond examination or questioning. No theory is considered as sacred. No proof beyond re-validation!
Anyway, a few days after I became active on Trevor Karsdale’s page, I was banned from posting any comments on it. Banned? Yes! Why? Probably because, they found me a bit difficult to handle! They don’t generally ban believers as they enjoy punching them to their hearts’ content. Many of the believers generally lack the knowledge of “Logic” or logical fallacies, and hence they are easy meat for the so called atheists or rationalists. But that was not the case with me. I am well aware of logical fallacies, and I know how to spot them in others’ arguments, and also how to avoid them. Trevor Karsdale probably got worried about the sale of his book, and hence banned me from his page.
I find it so hilarious that sometimes I have found myself arguing against both the sides in the same forum in the same thread (not at TK’s page, but other fora), and that people from the both the sides of the fence have used my arguments against each other in the same very thread!! LOL. Can you imagine my predicament?
I would give another example. I am an astrologer myself. I know enough astrology to hold my own against many astrologers. I have been, and still do, offer astrological advice to a very select few of my friends, all the time reminding them not to believe too much in those advices. And yet, I don’t fully believe in Astrology as a subject or Science. I have argued against many astrologers, and I have also argued against the people who don’t believe in it. On this very website, I have written an article which argues against those who don’t believe in Astrology. But, I don’t have any problems in accepting that there are many missing links in the subject of Astrology, and that there exists (at least to my knowledge) no astrologer worth his name who can predict anything with guarantee. Moreover, various statistical and scientific studies debunk the claims that Astrology works.
Let us come back to the topic of “Spiritual Growth”. I am a skeptic on this topic too. I don’t really know if any “spirit” exists within us, so how can I be sure of any “spiritual growth”? I am not saying that there is no ESP, or Spirits, or anything like that; I am just saying that I don’t know. All I know for sure is that we humans have thoughts (psychology), and emotions. Do we have any spirit, or soul? I don’t really know. So, IMHO, there can surely be a psychological growth. And so far I think, that the so called “spiritual growth” is nothing but a psychological and/or emotional growth . And Meditation is probably one of the best ways devised for such a growth.
I would like to make it clear that when I talk of meditation, I don’t mean “concentrating” your attention on something. What I am talking about is exactly the opposite: diffusion of our attention or awareness. One tries to become aware of everything that happens around him simultaneously. The attention is not focussed, as focus implies a choice. This form of meditation is what J. Krishnamurti called “Choiceless Awareness”.
I will expand upon this topic in the days to come.