How do I know when I am advancing on the spiritual path? What is a “sign” of spiritual maturity?
I would answer that question as many spiritual teachers like Jesus did when questioned…with a question of my own.
Must everyone believe as you believe in order to accepted by you?
Must you insist that what you believe is right which, by implication, means others must be wrong?
When you suggest that you, and other enlightened folks as yourself, “just believe the Bible” are you aware that what you are really saying is that you believe your “version” of the Bible and that equally devoted followers of the Bible frequently interpret the same Bible differently but just as sincerely as you do? So, can you not be honest enough to admit that you, and others like yourself, might be wrong yourselves?
When you are able to make your “truth” claims with passion…with sincerity…but draped with love…humility…and room for others to believe and so hold to equally meaningful “truth” claims, you…my friend…are advancing in the direction of spiritual maturity…true enlightenment.
It is time that we live with Christ-like humility…Buddha-like respectfulness. It is time for greater openness…for conversation…for contemplation…for introspection.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he suggested, “The sign of first rate intelligence (I would say, the sign of first-rate, spiritual maturity) is the capacity to hold two opposing ideas in one’s mind and still be able to function”…(I would say, “still be at peace”).
Make it your spiritual ambition to give up your believing in your beliefs. “Beliefs,” as my spiritual mentor always loves to say, “are a coverup for insecurity. You only ever believe in the things you do not know.”
When you “Know” something, what is there to believe in?
Make it your ambition, therefore, to know God – this is faith. Do not be content with knowing “about” God – this is the “belief” stuff…which is just believing in the words you say about God or that someone else says about God.
No, know God for yourself instead.
“How?” you ask.
Start from the premise that you know God already.
Because you do.
“What do you mean?” you ask.
If you did not know God already, why would you bother to ask the question?
Give up looking for God.
God cannot be found. You will NOT…I repeat…you will not find God in a book of religion.
When you stop struggling to find God, that is grace…real grace…the Biblical kind of grace.
Grace is the inner realization that God has found you already.