There is no official and exact definition of spiritual growth. I, and indeed many others, use personal spiritual growth as synonyms for other terms like e.g. personal spiritual development, to develop higher awareness or to develop higher consciousness. The key to this for me however is the use of the word ‘Growth”.
With a broad understanding of spirituality, and the definition I like to attribute to it, namely, an acceptance of the unknown, one can also define personal spiritual growth as way to integrate spirituality to a higher and higher degree in our daily live. Personal spiritual growth, or awareness and consciousness, is the mindful present awareness of what is happening on a daily, hourly, minute by minute, basis
We can compare human development especially with the achievement of virtuosity in a particular activity (for example making music, sport, handcrafts etc.), as being achievement, but is it growth in a wider and perhaps deeper sense. For many of us our existence can be socially led, e.g. money and social status, and these can be drive us in a way whereby we automatically act according to these goals without thinking about them too much. We refer to goals as needs and wants and desires and we often have deeply unsatisfactory returns on these goals. We are left feeling hungry for more and more without satisfaction.
Spiritual/ personal growth however has a different feeling tone. If we are able to develop an ability to follow things with awareness or consciousness, growth will lead to us developing simple needs that will me more than satisfying.
Let’s use an example. If you see yourself as a bright lamp and that this represents your level of awareness or level of consciousness: then our body represent the lamp which is lit ever more brightly as our awareness (consciousness) increases. The brightness of our awareness (consciousness) lights up our surroundings so that we can see more and hence perceive additional aspects of ourselves and our surroundings. Through mindful present awareness we are able to see the dark corners that we perhaps don’t like illuminating, and we can see the path we should tread more clearly.
The light fully illuminates a space around us which means that while we are still at the centre of things we can see others more clearly and we can bring both the head and the heart into play. The use of the ‘lamp’ model serves as model for our spiritual level or spiritual growth: We can clearly perceive everything within the sphere with our common sense or our intuition. Outside the awareness sphere (consciousness sphere) the brightness of our lamp is no longer sufficient. The further away something is from our sphere the less easy it is to perceive it, but if we practice self-reflection and polish the positive parts of our psyche we will me better able to radiate more light.
We can possibly define personal spiritual growth as follows: Personal spiritual growth is the personal development to enlarge the diameter of the above-mentioned sphere of consciousness and as such, personal spiritual growth is an integral part of our purpose of life. To bring our light to the world.