If you’re pursuing a spiritual path, then you’ve probably had your fair share of ups and downs along the way. Many people start a spiritual journey in order to overcome the challenges they face in their lives…but those who stick with it do so from a greater sense of purpose and calling.
Somewhere along the way, it’s easy get lost in the process, and forget to take a step back to see how marvelous the journey really is. In this post we’ll take a look at a few of the most common obstacles to spiritual growth, and how you can overcome them.
4 Obstacles to Enlightenment and Spiritual Growth
Believing You Are Not Worthy
Worthiness is a huge issue for many people progressing down a spiritual path. We have a tendency in our society to believe that true enlightenment is only available for a select few. We recognize enlightenment in the names of Buddha, Christ, Abraham, Muhammad, and a litany of saints and gurus, but many people don’t believe this aim is realistic (or even possible) for themselves.
To be spiritual, you don’t have to spend decades in a monastery, or add Guru, Sri, or Reverend before your name. True spirituality is everyday spirituality. It is accessible to everyone, everywhere, at any time.
When you learn to trust in your inner guidance, you will stop questioning your worthiness, and start living a more spiritual life.
Related Post: How to Become Free: The Path of Self-Liberation.
Thinking You Must Be or Do Something You Are Not
Another main obstacle to enlightenment is the idea that you have to do something to earn your growth. Enlightenment is not an “achievement.” It is a realization, or an awakening. It is a point of awareness that you adopt that exists beyond the personal self; it is not something that you must do with your physical self.
Thinking you must be or do something other than what you are prevents you from understanding your own true nature. Believing you are not growing spiritually keeps you from further growth. Instead, instill the belief that you are already perfect, already spiritual, and that you continue to expand in your spirituality.
That’s the essence of true growth.
Failing to Apply What You Learn
A third barrier to spiritual progress is failing to apply what you learn. We often have a tendency to learn things academically before we attempt to apply them to our lives. We strive to understand logically the core tenets of what it means to be spiritual, but we forget that spirituality begins with our actions right now.
Instead, we wait. We wait until we do just that one more thing, whether that’s something at work, at home, or even something as simple as thinking we need to read yet another spiritual book.
Instead, accept that you already know what your own spiritual path is, and begin to live that path, right now.
Thinking You Have Done It All
Lastly, a major obstacle to spirituality is a belief that you’ve “already done it,” or that you “already understand it all.”
This may sound like it contradicts the earlier point about not needing to do anything further, but the idea here is that we have a tendency to rest on past accomplishments, believing we have already gone as far as we can, when in fact we may simply be at a resting point, just before our next big revelation.
In his book, The Dip, startup and marketing expert Seth Godin describes this phenomenon perfectly. When you learn a little bit about something, you believe you’re an expert. When you keep learning, you feel like a beginner again, and when you reach true mastery, you understand how far you still have to go.
Thus, many spiritual paths talk about the importance of the beginner’s mind. When you understand this, you realize that even after you know you’ve had a spiritual awakening, you treat each moment with a fresh perspective, and see what further growth you can realize.
Continue Reading: How to Start Your Spiritual Journey: Modern Paths to Enlightenment.