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10 Signs You’re Spiritually Mature

10 Signs You’re Spiritually Mature

We all mature physically whether we want to or not. On the other hand, spiritual maturity is not guaranteed. While you’re most likely to encounter the term “spiritual maturity” within the Christian context, the principles of spiritual maturity can be found in all religious and wisdom traditions. Spiritual maturity may be defined as:

The gradual process of developing healthy and life-giving ways of relating one to oneself, to others, and to the environment.

Most of us desire to develop the right ways of relating to ourselves and to others so that all may experience connection, peace, and lasting joy. Spiritual maturity doesn’t just happen. It requires intention, time, and effort in order to realize its benefits.

Not sure what it takes to be spiritually mature? Here are some signs that you are on the right path.

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1. Your life is guided by a core set of principles and values

Too often we go through life without examining the beliefs, values, and assumptions that guide our actions. The spiritually immature live their lives without being aware of the underlying spiritual forces influencing them. The spiritually mature consciously and carefully chooses to develop life habits consistent with values such as: love, compassion, empathy, selfless giving, dignified living, etc. They avoid all things that promote negative values. Through self-awareness, they seek to live out these values in all areas of life.

2. You are slow to hold on to grudges and quick to forgive

Nelson Mandela once said that resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping for the other person to die. The spiritually mature take this seriously since they are not interesting in taking the life of either themselves or others (literally and metaphorically). They learn to safely release the poison of resentment in order to forgive those who hurt them. They recover more quickly and move on with life in order to free themselves and others from the chains of unforgiveness.

3. You care deeply for the poor, the marginalized, and the downtrodden

All the great spiritual traditions promote caring for the needs of the less fortunate. As we live our hectic lives, it is very easy to tune out the voices of the weak. The spiritually mature person is constantly aware of the needs of the poor and is inspired to take action on their behalf. They understand that for a society to be healthy, it must care for the weakest among them.

4. You maintain your childlike sense of wonder

Too many of us stop being amazed by life as we grow into responsible adults. The spiritually mature see wonder and beauty in everything they do and experience. Familiarity is not a friend of the spiritually mature. They see new things where others see the boring routines. Every moment is treated as a gift, one that they are careful not to squander through negativity or ungratefulness.

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5. You are wary of the dangers of excess but you have an abundance mindset

These two things may seem in conflict with each other but on closer inspection, you will see that they are not. Among the spiritual traditions we see a healthy balance with the environment. The spiritual masters of every age have warned about the dangers of overindulging in material and spiritual pleasures. They take what they need without hoarding. They also give joyfully from an abundance mindset. They do not give from their excess but from their hearts, trusting that there will always be enough.

6. You defer pleasure

Everyday we receive the subtle and not so subtle messages that instant gratification is an inalienable right, that it will lead to happiness, and that it will help you forget about your problems.

Spiritually mature people know that anything worth doing requires that you do something you would rather not do now in order to get a result you want later. This this the essence of delayed gratification. Studies demonstrate a correlation between between delayed gratification and success in multiple areas of life.

The spiritually mature also have an added layer to this principle. They are able to discern that sometimes we simply don’t get what we want either because the timing is not right or because what we desire may not be good for us in the long run. They know that not all pleasurable things need to be pursued, even the seemingly harmless ones.

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7. You are joyful

All too often, being stressed out, reserved, and even unhappy are seen as status symbols. The hidden message is this: “If you’re busy and stressed out, you must be important. If you have no problems, you must either have no responsibilities or you’re lazy.”

There is another layer to our collective suspiciousness of joy. Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, calls it foreboding joy, “or the paradoxical dread that clamps down on momentary joyfulness.”  It’s commonly referred to by the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

We’re afraid of celebrating joy in our lives either because we’re afraid it will be taken away or because we feel unworthy of our joy. Foreboding joy, according to Brown, is our way of minimizing our vulnerability to disappointment. How can someone be disappointed when they are in a state of “perpetual disappointment.”

The spiritually mature know that in order to combat foreboding joy, gratitude must also be present (this was demonstrated in Brown’s studies). Consistent joyfulness flow, not from naivety or a lack of problems, but from practicing gratitude. The spiritually mature may not always be happy, but they are ever joyful.

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8. You practice personal responsibility

If you’re spiritually mature, you’re more likely to engage in self-reflection as a regular practice. This allows you to examine your actions in light of your values and often hidden motivations. You’ll also be less likely to blame other people or circumstances when things go wrong.

9. You are dependable

A spiritually mature person knows that their word means everything. They are seldom quick to take on new commitments, but take time to discern whether it is consistent with their values and if there is time and energy to devote to something new.

10. You are at peace with what cannot be changed

The spiritually immature worry themselves to death over things they cannot change. The spiritually mature learn to let go of what cannot be controlled in order to focus on what can be influenced.

 

There is one more truth about the spiritually mature: They never arrive. They know that one must work everyday to live up to their highest ideals. But they also know that the joy is in the journey.

Featured photo credit: Sunlight Forest via pixabay.com

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Cylon George

A spiritual chaplain and blogger who writes about practical spiritual tips for busy people.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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