Are you looking to find your peace and happiness through spirituality?
Are you striving to better understand your place in this universe?
Do you question what role you serve in the grand scheme of things?
One can learn quite a lot by looking at the experiences of others who have walked the roads before us, leaving signs to help find the way. Tapping the knowledge of others to expand and deepen our own spirituality is something best done indirectly. The best teachers tell you where to look, but not necessarily what to look for.
1. They understand that everyone walks their own path.
Life can be a complicated mess of responsibilities and stress. Everyone handles life in different ways, at different speeds.
A spiritually mature person understands that everyone is an individual, and that what is best for them may not be best for others. This colors the way they offer support or advice to other people.
They really take the time to look at the other person, their perspective, their needs and desires, and try to help that person find solutions themselves.
That doesn’t mean that they never offer guidance or direct advice – sometimes it’s necessary to get someone on the right path! But that’s not what they default to. Instead, they want to see a larger perspective that can help the other person find a solution that best fits their path.
2. They aren’t concerned with the religions of others.
Passionate religious and spiritual beliefs tend to be forged in a way that is hard for other people to relate to. Not so much other practitioners who can find common ground, but the personal relationship one has to the universe and creation.
People may come to religion because they are trying to understand their place in the universe or have a moment of recognition and awakening that draws them closer.
But someone of deep spiritual maturity is going to be aware that a person’s religion really doesn’t matter.
Kindness, consideration, forgiveness, and love are all qualities preached by nearly every religion and many spiritual paths. And you don’t have to be religious to embody and practice these qualities regularly. Tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others builds bridges and understanding.
3. They regularly practice kindness and charity.
Defining the range of love is well outside of the scope or capability of this article. But, one small piece of love is action.
Love is not just something to be felt, it’s something that requires work and effort. And sometimes it can be challenging to choose to practice love, to extend kindness and charity to people who may be less fortunate or struggling, particularly if you’ve had bad experiences because of it.
Not everyone appreciates kindness, understanding, or charity. Some people don’t care at all or try to take advantage because they perceive kindness as weakness. But kindness is not a weakness. Kindness is strength because it’s easy to be cold, distant, and aloof in this chaos we call humanity.
4. They understand that they must love themselves as well as others.
Love is not something that we only give to others. The spiritually mature person will also practice healthy self-love.
What does that mean?
It means understanding that it is okay to have boundaries and limits; it is okay to not allow yourself to be treated poorly or walked on; it is okay to put your needs ahead of the wants and desires of others.
People that genuinely care about you and your wellbeing are not going to want you to turn yourself inside out for them. And a spiritually mature person is going to view self-love as a necessity.
Self-love is not just about self-esteem or feeling good about yourself. It’s also about actively limiting the amount of damage someone else can inflict upon you.
The idea of selflessness is romantic, works well in movies and books, but it doesn’t work so well in regular practice. Trust, but verify. And be skeptical if something seems off or doesn’t feel right about a situation.
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5. They are aware that there are many truths and perspectives.
The spiritually mature person knows that no one can have all of the answers to this puzzle we call existence. Most people don’t even have a fragment of the answers.
A doctor may go to school for 8-10 years, spend time interning, and have a long and illustrious career on their chosen path. That knowledge and perspective counts for a lot! But, even that body of knowledge that they’ve built may not be applicable to the challenge you face.
A spiritually aware person understands that there are many truths in the world, and no one can possibly know them all. Not only do they know that they cannot promise that to others, but they cannot expect it either.
6. They don’t waste their time being angry or pointlessly bickering with others.
Anger is a valid human emotion. It’s also not a very useful one unless it is used to fuel some meaningful, beneficial action.
What’s the point of anger or arguing with others? Does anyone’s mind ever get changed by someone yelling at them? Does indignation directly benefit anyone? Sometimes, but not usually.
Presence can be just as powerful as anger. Spiritually aware people understand that anger is something that needs to be constructive. Otherwise you just wind up bitter and jaded.
7. They are aware that love and compassion are not always light or happy.
There is a lot written about the warmth and light of love and compassion. There is not so much written about the dark sides of love.
Loving and caring about anyone means there will be pain and sorrow to navigate. Life is difficult and it often throws us unexpected challenges that can cause us harm.
Love is also sitting in the darkness with the people that you care about, and them doing the same for you.
Why is that?
8. They understand that love is more than a feeling – it’s a choice.
And sometimes it can be a difficult choice to make.
Other times, we choose the wrong person to extend it to because that person does not choose to give it to you. That is not to say we choose who we have brilliant, warm feelings of affection for. Most of the time you can’t really choose that.
But what we do choose is who we are willing to suffer alongside of and why. The why doesn’t even need to be complicated.
We, as a society, have blown love out into this massive rollercoaster of fairy tales, happiness, and happy endings; but it’s not. Acts of love do not have to be grand. They can be as simple as putting the needs of literally anyone else before your own wants.
A spiritually aware person understands that choosing small of acts of love can make a tremendous impact on another person’s life, whether it benefits them or not.