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The 7 Stages Of Spiritual Growth

So much emphasis is placed on the physical that many people neglect their spirituality. Others tend to think that spirituality is found in subscribing to a particular dogma and never tapping into what lies underneath. One of the benefits of attending retreats or working with a spiritual counsellor is that you begin to move through the seven stages of spiritual growth and enjoy a greater sense of wholeness. Whether you choose to attend leadership retreats or spend some time attending personal growth workshops & retreats, here are the stages that you can expect to experience over time.

1. No Awareness or Personal Connection With Your Spirituality

Many people begin the journey with a firm belief in only what they can see, touch, or smell. Nothing other than what is physical has any real existence. Even emotions are explained by referring to physical actions occurring in the body. At this stage, something like a spiritual retreat workshop is likely to be approached with more than a little skepticism. It may take some reading on what others have derived from spiritual growth & self-realization retreats before you are ready to move on to the next stage.

2. Realizing or Reclaiming Your Sense That There is More Than the Tangible

Maybe you once believed there was more than just the physical. Perhaps you never really had a sense of life outside what was tangible. Now you are beginning to wonder if there really is something else. It's at this stage you may be more open to attending personal development workshops with an open mind, or approaching corporate workshops and retreats with a resolve to find something- anything - that will be useful.

3. The Desire to Connect With and Learn More About Spirituality

Many of the sacred writings of the world's great religions contain a key idea related to spirituality. While stated in various ways, the basic concept is that even if you can no more than desire to believe right now, let that design work in you. There's a hunger to learn more about spirituality in general and your own in particular. At this point, you have a good chance of learning quite a bit from a group retreat. Even leadership retreats may provide some food for thought that helps you connect more with your growing awareness of your spiritual self.

4. Intentional Study and Exploration

Desire can lead to intentional study and exploration. Some of it you will likely do on your own. Sessions with a counsellor will also provide insights that help you grow. Add in workshops & retreats designed to help you shape your studies and guide your explorations, and you may be surprised at what a difference this awakening to the spiritual will do in terms of influencing your sense of the physical. Continue with more spiritual growth & self-realization retreats as a way to expose yourself to more ideas that ultimately help you explore more aspects of your spirituality.

5. Developing a Healthy Spiritual Practice

Spiritual practices should motivate you to connect and feed the spirit. They can be as simple as meditation in a quiet room or be structured with intentional readings or focusing on a specific idea. You'll learn ways to develop healthy spiritual practice habits at a spiritual retreat workshop. Personal development workshops will also help you discover practices that help to feed your spirit and in turn enhance your emotional well-being.

6. Acceptance of Self and Others

The spiritual seeks to reconcile rather than divide. At this stage, you are more accepting of yourself and others. It's not that you are now blind to things that seem to hold you or someone you know back. It's just that you now sense the inherent worth in each person and seek to connect with it. Corporate workshops and retreats help you appreciate others as well as yourself. A personal group retreat with an inclusive gathering of people will also do the same.

7. Spiritual Maturity

At this stage, you've learned a lot. One of the things you've learned is there is much more to learn. You spend more time sharing with others and allowing others to share with you. You now see the interconnectedness of all creation, including your own connection, much more clearly. While there are still questions, you have a sense that the answers will be discovered in time.

If you yearn to connect with your spirituality, make the decision to try counselling, group encounters, and even leadership retreats. While you may find it necessary to let go of some things, what you gain will more than make up for what you leave behind.

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Ken is a certified psychotherapist that specializes in a powerful approach called Gestalt Therapy that focuses on building a person's awareness, self-esteem and mind-body connection.

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