What is 'spirituality'? What do you mean by 'spiritual development?
To me, "spiritual developement" is equivalent to "intellectual development" or "development of the abilities of the MIND" - in contrast to the physical body.
Development of the MIND is accomplished by increasing our UNDERSTANDING of everything around us, starting with our everyday life and ending with the entire Universe. We need to discipline ourselves to THINK until everything that we perceive MAKES SENSE.
From my own experience, it is very difficult to make wise choices in life, without having at least SOME idea about "The Big Picture" and without defining our personal FINAL GOAL in the Universe. This includes making choices about tools and methods for "spiritual development".
Focus on your FINAL GOAL and you will see every obstacle in the TOTALLY new perspective... Choose to THINK and DO whatever makes sense to YOU.
Most importantly - be prepared to improve your choices tomorrow, when you will understand more...
My spirituality has been with me for as long as I can remember. Understanding it and living it has taken longer.
I had a horrific childhood and have worked hard to get through all the garbage of the past. My inner light has brighten over the many years of letting go.
When I was told to let go i had no idea what was ment by it. I had to physically tense my body a little at a time to do this. Now my feelings of peace and serenity are constant. Meditation gives me control over my mind, my mind doesn't have control over me.
Dear Tom, In regards to intelligence. You seem to place a great deal on this Tom as to advancing the Soul.
I take offence to this as whereas I don't consider myself to be an imbecile I certainly am not a great scholar, nor do I have the ability to process thoughts that involve great technical understanding nor can I manage to grasp information often after one telling....in fact I would probably be a great nuisance in your classes Tom having to be told things about 3 times sometimes before I understood.
Thao and the Thaoori mention that Spirituality is our prime aim. Indeed some of our lives when we reincarnate must surely involve physical bodies that have brains that are not particularly intelligent but we may gain more from spiritually. For instance we may be a beggar in one life and a Leading Academic in another but as a beggar we killed ourselves saving a child from a fatal car accident and as a leading Academic we discovered how to split the atom and indirectly caused many deaths through nuclear fall-out and weapons of destruction! Sacrificing ourselves for others does increase our spiritual advancement but I doubt that all our intellect is transferred from one life to another????????
Any comments Tom, perhaps I have a problem with the definition of intellect, I don't know?
To me spirituality is equivalent to developing the abilities of the MIND. Specifically, the ability to make CHOICES and learn from their consequences. Intelligence is the facility of the MIND that enables us to make CONCLUSIONS from our mistakes and modify our choices and motives. Non-intelligent people keep repeating their mistakes and complain about their bad luck.
It is not WHAT we do, but WHY we do it. Not apperances, but what is BEHIND them is the most important.
Consider this. Begger may rescue a child in the expectation of the material award. Scientist may study Atom, because he truly wants to Understand the Designer of the Universe.
I haven't heard of any real scientist who deliberately uses weapons. Don't POLITICIANS manipulate people to kill one another?
Everything, TV, media, atomic energy, kitchen knife CAN be misused against people. MOTIVES and conscious choices make all the difference. Spiritually evolved people just make different CHOICES because they have different MOTIVES and different PURPOSE in life.
No matter what you do in Life - farming, raising family, writing books or making inventions - focus on MOTIVES for your choices. Motives make all the difference.
See my recent (Dec 2022) lecture on Spirituality and Universe