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A Primer on Spiritual Development (Part 7)

Yesterday we discussed the relevance of spiritual development to our personal and social life. Today we investigate its relevance to our religious life.

18. Besides our personal and social life are there other areas of our life to which spiritual development has relevance?

Yes, besides our personal and social life, there are other areas or aspects in our life to which spiritual development has relevance. Other main areas or aspects are our religious life, our economic life, and our political life.

19. What is the relevance of spiritual development to our religious life?

The relevance of spiritual development to our religious life is that spiritual development gives substance or meaning to our religious life. It is also the bond which unites all the groups of different religions in the world. Unless our religious life is accompanied by spiritual development it is merely following a set of doctrines and practices. It will have no lasting, beneficial effect on our way of life. Unless we develop our spiritual life the different groups of religion will always be fighting one another on grounds of teaching and practice.

We are all born into a society which has a definite set of religious beliefs and practices. As we grow we imbibe these beliefs and practices. These define our religious identity, our religious life. For most of us we do not question these. If we are Christians we believe in God and in Jesus Christ. If we are Muslims we believe in Allah. If we are Hindus we believe in Brahman and his diverse manifestations.

But if we do not grow in our spiritual life we take these beliefs and practices for granted. We do not question them nor do we internalize them, we do not make them our own personal beliefs and practices. We believe in them and do the things we are told to do by our religion because we simply think that those are expected of us. And because we have not internalized these beliefs and practices they do not really influence our lives. They are as it were a covering which makes us appear so to others but deep inside we are not what we appear to be.

I will take an example from Christianity. In Christianity we are taught to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. We find this in the Christian Bible, particularly in Matthew 5:44. A Christian can memorize this and agree to this. But as we all know, not many Christians have internalized this teaching and practice. The two world wars were begun and waged by people who professed they were Christians. In our own society we know that so called Christians do not in general love their enemies nor do they do good to those who hate them.

The reason for this is because they have not really developed their spiritual life. They may have developed their religious life. They go to church regularly, read their bibles, give to the support of their religious leaders, etc. They do this not because they have internalized the teaching of their religion, but because they think that this is what is expected of them.

The second relevance of spiritual development to our religious life is that it is the bond which unites all the religious groups in the world.

There are around 20 major religions in the world. In the course of history up to the present time these religious groups have disagreed with one another, sometimes violently. Even Christian groups have violently disagreed with one another, persecuting those who did not believe what they themselves believed in. Wars have been fought in the name of religion. Countless lives have been snuffed out because they professed heretical views in the hearing of their judges.

But if we develop in our spiritual life we will realize that all of us are deeply united in spirit, no matter what our religion is, because it is the same Spirit who gives life to us, who guides us in our life. We will realize that there is an infinite variety in the expression of the life of the spirit, even as in our physical world there is an infinite diversity in the forms of life. We need not fight concerning the manifold expressions of this Spirit.

Tomorrow we will discuss the relevance of spiritual development to our economic and political life.

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Here are your links to download the e-books for FREE. To download a copy of A NEW CHRIST by Wallace D. Wattles click this website To download a free copy of A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle click this website I hope that you enjoy reading these free e-books and profit much from them, as I have also profited greatly from them.

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