For those of us on the spiritual path, personal growth is a must. We may not like it at times, but as fire purifies gold, we emerge as stronger and better people. Personal growth becomes a priority because it allows us to bloom into our authentic selves. The more authentically we live our lives, the happier we will be with ourselves, with our relationships, and with our surroundings.
Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. When we take the time to examine ourselves ontologically, we realize we are part of something much larger than ourselves. If we are to find meaning in our lives, we must examine who we are in relationship to this larger existence. Life is what we make of it; we are active participants in the creation of our lives.
If we are to experience change in our outward lives, we need to examine our inward lives. Going inward is not a selfish act; it is a sacred act, no matter what your spiritual inclination or belief system is. Whether you practice a spirituality that is atheistic, agnostic, religious, secular, or theological, going inward opens doors to the expansion of our overall consciousness and awareness about our place and purpose in the world.
Here are seven benefits of going inward.
1. Self-awareness and self-knowledge. As we examine our inner world, we come to know our thoughts and feelings, needs and wants, hopes and fears, strengths and limitations, and gifts and talents. We come to know our personality; we develop an identity unique to us.
2. Inner strength and resilience. Life will throw some challenging and difficult times at us. How we handle them will determine the outcomes. Going inward helps us to tap into our innate wisdom. Here we find the guidance to help us respond creatively to difficult and challenging situations, turning crisis or tragedy into an opportunity to bring about change.
3. Love and relationships. As cliche as it sounds, love is the energy that makes the world go ’round. Without it, nothing grows, and relationships can not survive. Love allows us to value ourselves and one another. It allows us to grasp another’s personal world as if it were our own. It teaches compassion and motivates us to display goodwill toward others.
4. Sensitivity and responsiveness. As we come to understand ourselves, we grow in our understanding of other’s needs and wants. We realize the importance of keeping our word. Our lives become filled with gratitude and appreciation. Music, art, and literature move us to deep emotion, reflection, and/or action, as does poverty, innocent suffering, and injustice.
5. Ideals and aspirations. As we get in touch with ourselves, our dreams, goals and visions make themselves known. Our creativity unleashes itself as we pursue those dreams. We come to know the depth of our beliefs and values, and use them as a compass for our future.
6. Seeking and striving. As we discover our connection to a bigger reality, we seek to be the best we can be. We seek meaning in our experiences and allow that meaning to influence our lives.
7. Reflection on your experiences. Reflecting on our experiences, choices, attitudes, values, and beliefs gives us perspective and provides a platform for moving forward in our lives. It allows us to make adjustments when needed and gives us the confidence to improve ourselves.
Traveling the spiritual path calls for authentic living. Living authentically requires going inward on a daily basis, be it through prayer, meditation, contemplation, journaling, or any other method that helps us find our center. The more we know ourselves, the more authentic our lives will be.
Thoughts? Please feel free to share below.
I’m taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013.