20 Interesting Ways to Test Your Spiritual Development
Test Your Spiritual Development
Test Your Spiritual Practice
How do you know you are developing spiritually? What are the ways to tell if your spiritual practice is in full flow, strong and growing? How can you test your spiritual growth? Unlike other types of personal development, such as fitness, weight loss, financial growth, skill development, etc., which have clear yardsticks for measurement, evaluating spiritual growth and testing the strength of a spiritual practice is a much more subtle game. After all, in this case we dealing with the sublime business of silence.
In this article I would like to reveal to you some indicators which show that your practice is doing well and that you are developing spiritually. I have divided this discussion into two categories. The first are the obvious benefits you get from any serious spiritual practice. They have also been discussed in more details in the following articles: 10 Profound Benefits of Meditation Practice & Top 10 Health Benefits of Yoga. The second are the more interesting developments that are signs of a strong spiritual practice.
You may also notice that I am interchangeably using strong practice and spiritual growth. So in essence, I am more or less implying that if you have a strong practice, you are going to be enjoying spiritual development. So the signs that indicate you have a strong practice going are also indicative that spiritual growth is taking place.
10 Obvious Signs of a Strong Spiritual Practice:
Here briefly are the well known benefits of a solid yoga, meditation or other serious spiritual practice. Essentially, more of the following are good indicators that your practice is going well and good.
- Improved Brain Function/Intelligence
- Psychic Powers
10 Interesting Signs of a Strong Spiritual Practice:
Now let’s get into the second category of indicators that let you test if your practice is doing well and if you are well on your way to becoming a master meditator or supreme yogi .
1. Length of Practice:
I have found that one of the clear indicators that my spiritual practice is going well, is that I am practicing more, practicing longer. In fact, I would almost say that the length of your practice is very likely one of the best indicators of how strong it is.
It is interesting to note that even great yogis and masters, who get involved with setting up institutions, teaching, writing, traveling, etc, often realize one day, that their own development was stalled, once their practice took the back seat. So regardless of how much you get involved in the business of daily living, even if it’s related to the spiritual sciences, if your practice has evaporated, it is quite like that your spiritual growth has halted as well.
So no matter what, and I know how hard it is to do, keep that practice a priority and keep it going regardless of the daily hustle and bustle of kids, job, school, bills etc.
2. You Speak Much Less About Yourself:
This is another interesting change that happens when you are practicing well. It is really because when you are not practicing much, it means you more entangled with your ego and it’s world. Feeding it, giving extra importance to it’s demands and generally more lost in the world of ambition, pleasure and achievement. A strong spiritual practice though, means that this aspect of the mind is simply not being catered to endlessly, and so it starts to wither and weaken.
A natural consequence of this de-emphasis on the ego, is that you become a much better listener, and a giver. By not being engrossed excessively in what you want, you end up being available to others to help them with what they want and need. This lends itself to making you an excellent listener and source of support and love.
3. Others Notice Changes In You First:
These changes that other will notice in you will be changes that even you may not yet have noticed. Such overt changes to your presence, personality, demeanor and character are a sure sign that your are living and breathing a practice which is at a high level.
4. You Become Charming:
This is perhaps due to the sum affects of all the other aspects that a developed spiritual practice are bestowing, but it is also quite an unmistakable marker. Being at ease, happy, strong, confident, compassionate and giving, all put together, make for quite a presence and personality. The emergence of such magnetism means you are on not only on the right path, but you are also quite a ways down it.
5. Disenchanted With Materialism:
Here I want to say that it is not that you don’t enjoy the nice things of the world, it’s more that you do not crave them and are fine without them. In other words, you are not attached to these things, even though you may possess or enjoy them.
6. Drawn To Nature:
This goes hand in hand with the material detachment you may be experiences. You may start to feel a strong pull towards nature and simple, wholesome living. I guess this would explain why so many Yogis flock to the Himalayas .
7. How Much You Witness:
Another sign that your practice is going well and that you are developing spiritually is directly related to how consciously you are living; how mindful you are throughout the day.
One additional note I want to mention with regard to being mindful, being a witnessing consciousness, is the residing in such witnessing when upsets occur. That is a true test that your practice is starting to take hold and you are developing spiritually. This is the hardest time to stand apart and witness; when anger is boiling up; when upset it taking place; so if during this time you are able to remind yourself to remain a dispassionate witness, your practice is starting to run deep and strong.
8. You Become at Ease with Life:
Along the lines of becoming a witnessing consciousness, you also learn to go with the flow and are at ease with life. This sense of ease is there even when life is not going exactly how you would like it to, and seldom is life able to disrupt your composure or poise.
9. Have More Enlightenment Experiences:
Maybe this should have been number one on the list of signs that your practice is strong. In my experience this has been remarkably predictable. The more involved I am with my practice, the more I will enter and experience the non-dual reality and have transcendental experiences.
As your practice grows you start to realize that you have everything you need to awaken yourself already. It is all up to you and you start to reach a point where although others can still inspire you, there is not much more you need from them any longer. Such independence and aloneness is another sure sign that you are well on path to Self-realization.
Summary of Signs to Test Your Spiritual Growth:
The objective of this article is to give you some feel for the sights and sounds you experience as you move further along the path to awakening. To give you some indicators which allow you to test your spiritual growth. You don’t have to experience all of the above, and in fact the landscape might be quite different for you. There are also other phases which one tends to go through, such as a cleansing phase etc, which I will discuss in later articles, but for now the above twenty signs are plenty to help you evaluate your spiritual practice.
If you have input on what are some other good signs of a strong spiritual practice and spiritual development, I would love to hear your thoughts below.
Its really great review on Spiritual Development.
I think this list makes a lot of sense, and yes, even the ” being more charming” part. When you are closer to God, you are better, in every aspect, which reflects even phisically. You know you are on the right path if you are becoming more joyful and more charming, if people tend to like you more, you are less stressed, less crazy, more energetic and harmony seems to surround you, you sound more intelligent and you actually are more intelligent :) and more creative and simply become more “alive”. And yes, you can also become richer, since all these positive attributes and good energies around you are bound you give you a better life standard, while at the same time, you are more compassionate and like to help others. God is really good! :)
Glad you include compassion in your signs of spiritual development. Too often it’s all about self. Not so sure about ‘charming’! Thanks
I feel enlightenment is a journey, a laying down of burdens, becoming lighter – more light.
I enjoyed this article and feel that it highlights well the
signposts to ” moving towards the light “.
I would also like to say that I find in my life there are times when I focus more intensely on my Spiritual development and times when my focus may be more
practical and earthly – like earning money and caring for my parents. At these times the spiritual groundwork that I have done in the past stays with me at all times and my practise becomes like a divine pool that I can dip into to refresh and restore me. I love what you are doing and the site you have created.
For me the barometer of spirit is a sense of ecstatic joy that makes my heart swell and a tenderness toward all things. If I begin to lose that feeling it’s time to meditate.!!
And it puts sparkles in the eyes !!
Thankyou and love to everyone !
These are not signs of enlightenment, these are only indicators that you are still clinging to forms and ideas-
Who can be so full of Ego to proclaim they are enlightened and show this attribute or that one…ABSURD!
Great to have you stop by. Yes I like your points too. I went with length of practice, simply because it is such a specific indicator I find. I like Less Greedy also. Good stuff.
Greater effort, less greed, I will drink to that ;-).
It was nice to get your newsletter in the middle of a busy day, and take some time to follow the link here.
Perhaps 1 could also be restated as “Effort in practice”, or at least that could be added as a factor.
Also 5 could be restated as “Less greedy”. I’ve been reading Bhante Gunaratana and he shows how greed motivates so much of what we do. It came as a revelation. It never occurred to me that lust was greed. Doh!
2009 is shaping up as the year of greater effort and less greed in everything.
Nice article. Thank you very much.
Nice listing. I see my own practice filled with these. I blogged about this article in my own new blog ). Thanks for sharing.
Awesome post, insightful and inspiring as always. So enjoyable to read. Thank you!
Another good sign I’ve noticed in my life is my increased ability to laugh at the absurdities of the dramas we create for ourselves. It’s a natural on-flow of being able to witness life I guess, eventually you just start to laugh at how silly some of it is – while still appreciating and enjoying it. (I mean fashion – absurd! But oh so enjoyable.)
More laughter, gotta be a great one :)