Definition Of Personal Growth Versus Spiritual Growth
As a writer on the stages of spiritual development, I like to point out to those interested in such development that there is a difference between stages of personal and spiritual growth. One aspect is not to be considered better than the other.
Each is needed, and there is a paradoxical relationship between these two aspects of personal and spiritual development. Paradoxically speaking, the number one energy is spiritual. But the development of spirituality happens within a well-developed sense of the individual.
The most effective way I have discovered to outline these two distinct sides of personal and spiritual development is through the system I describe as the Way of the Chakras. This is a universal map of personal and spiritual development. In this map, there are shown to be seven main Chakras or energy centers.
Developing an Integrated Personality:
Generally speaking, the first of the three Chakras is involved in developing an integrated personality. This integration involves the work of becoming grounded in the body. It involves the integration of opposites within oneself and the ability to use the personal will in the service of the ego.
This is that aspect of the work of personal development focused on establishing clear ego bounds. In the second part of the human journey, the individual can invite the Divine to move and, more and more, inform one’s life purpose and direction.
Heart Chakra: The Bridge
The heart Chakra lies between the lower and upper Chakras. This is the bridge between the personal and the universal. With clear ego boundaries, one starts to expand such boundaries. This is achieved from a sense of letting go and letting Love be the driving force that empowers the person’s life. The ego is not then the enemy.
The ego becomes an alliance of the will with the willingness to become all that Creation created the person to be. There isn’t a sense that the ego is considered something that needs to be gotten rid of. We see the absence of clear ego boundaries within people with major mental illnesses.
There may be a problem with the ego only when the individual over-identifies with this aspect of who they think they are. Focusing on their individual self can become an addiction in such a situation. Then the work of personal growth can, in many ways, become a compulsion instead of an expansion into higher stages of spiritual development.
When Does Personal Growth Become Spiritual Growth?
Personal growth moves into spiritual growth when the individual moves deeper into a process, not of attainment but of surrender. The higher stages of spiritual development are stages of deeper trust in the process of surrender that expands the ego into infinity.
This process is where the dewdrop of individual consciousness merges with the ocean of Oneness. I like to think it is where the Ocean of Oneness merges with the dewdrop of individuality. That seems much more magical, mysterious, and miraculous.