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Primer on Spiritual Development (Part 1)

Today we begin a series of question and answer to serve as a Primer on Spiritual Development. Feel free to comment at the space in the bottom or ask questions about this topic.

1. What is spiritual development?

Spiritual development is the development of the spirit in us. Just as physical development is the development of our physical component—our body—and mental development is the development of our mental component—our mind—so also spiritual development is the development of our spiritual component, the spirit in us.

2. It is quite obvious that we have a physical component, a body, and a mental component, a mind. So it is clear that we can have physical and mental development. But it is not clear that we can have spiritual development. First of all, how can we know that we have a spirit?

We can know that we have a spirit by knowing the meaning of spirit and by reflecting on our own life to detect the manifestations or indications of the spirit in us.

3. What is this spirit?

The word “spirit” comes from the Latin word “spiritus”. This word “spiritus” (which in Latin means “breath”) in turn is a translation of the Greek word “pneuma”. Pneuma basically means the wind or the air in motion. Thus pneuma or spiritus or spirit is that component of the human being which cannot be seen, like the air, but which moves the human being to do what he/she wants to do, like the wind. Some think of the spirit as an invisible force which inspires people to do what they want to do.

But the spirit is more than a force, because force does not necessarily have a mind, like the typhoon, or the force of a flood. But as we will see later on a spirit can have a mind, can know, can love. The spirit can be a person.

Tomorrow we continue with this Primer.

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