The 3 Aspects of Self-Improvement: On The Spirit   1 comment

Introduction

The 3 Aspects of Self-Improvement: On the Spirit I will Discuss in More Detail The Goals You Have With Regards to The Spirit in Light of Ancient, Modern and Catholic Thought. This is A Continuation on the Self-Improvement Series, in this part I will be talking about the Spirit. I will be discussing the How and Why one should Improve The Spirit. Elsewhere I have written concerning my own attempts at Bodily Self-Improvement that,

“It was after the end of the first half of my first college experience that I began losing interest in Occultism and I discovered psychology going more in-depth then I had previously done before, in particular with interests of Carl Jung and the mythological studies of Joseph Campbell. I also ran into a few video documentaries by Michael Tsarion, in particular his video documentary, ‘Architects of Control: Program One’ where he shows the connections of Psychology and Inner World development with Esotericism and Spiritual Traditions. This turned me away from my old views on religion and spirituality, treating God like as if he was far away and foreign and something that I was at the same time, to realizing I am not God but rather in the process of becoming God-like and that the closest connection I have to him his within my own heart, which ought not to be interpreted as something sentimental, but rather understood as the spiritual center of man. “

– GOALS –

When it came to a time of reflecting upon what I will need to do in order to Improve and Maintain the Psycho-Spiritual Aspect of my being I came to 3 Goals that ought to be done, like the mind and body on a stable basis:

The First Goal Toward the Growth, Improvement, and Maintenance of the Spirit is To Increase One’s Personal Awareness. To be quiet frank, man in a state of non-spiritual living tends to be very “I”-Focused, in a word they are only aware of things as it relates to their worldly existence and their superficial sense of self. We can all testify to this fact of our condition, we are born and raised unaware of the larger picture and various perspectives, elsewhere concerning this I give my own testimony in my own life when I had written that when I was younger before really beginning this journey,

“When I went through my Sacrament of Communion, I felt nothing special both emotionally or psychologically, and spiritually … if it did have any special significance, had been lost to me, reduced to a mere formality that one goes through just to keep “the guy upstairs” happy. Also during the time of my religious education, by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession… Again at this time this Sacrament felt like a watered down formality that had lost its special significance, and I still felt disconnected to partaking in the Sacrament… After receiving the final Sacrament, of Confirmation, I still felt disconnected and even more so, because at least during the years of receiving religious education I felt there might be something… After receiving Confirmation I no longer went to Church and the disconnection that made a beachhead during my religious education years, had been advancing rapidly after those days had ended.”

Nonetheless, I digress in completing the First Goal one ought to strive To Establish Setting Up a Daily Practice of Being Mindful. Mindfulness defined by Psychology Today is, “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” To the more specific Christian context of this program however, it is called in Greek Nepsis or watchfulness, vigilance, and attentiveness of the Mind and Heart of Man, it is said by St. Symeon the New Theologian an early writer of the Church, in Volume 4 of the Philokalia that, “To speak generally, it is impossible to acquire all the other virtues except through watchfulness.”

The other two actions one ought to strive for in completing the First Goal of Psycho-Spiritual Development would also be to set aside time for retrospection and upon the end of the day to look at what you should be grateful for, what you ought not have judged, as well as what you could have done better. The final goal is most obvious yet most overlooked, and that is to, interact with people. We are social creatures, and in order to increase ones awareness one ought to either increase and seek out quality interactions with people or if one is interacting enough as it is, one ought to replace and seek out those more lowly and base interactions with more higher quality interactions.

The Second Goal Toward the Growth, Improvement, and Maintenance of the Spirit is To Improve in Virtues and Psycho-spiritual Health. We do this by way of working in unison with the Self-improvement of the Mental Aspect, through self-education in order to continue Philosophical, Psychological, and Theological Blending, education and reason is key to empowering the mind and thus taming the body and in effect protecting ones Psycho-Spiritual Health. The next act one can do in order to ensure the success of the this Second Goal is working in unison with 3rd Goal of the Bodily Aspect of Self-Improvement in particular To Abstain From Vices and the Sins of the Flesh, sin pollutes the psychology and spirituality of man thus it distorts him, seek out the information from that [particular Goal] in order to know more. Of course the final thing that any Christian desiring to Self-improve would be To Seek, To Knock, and To Ask God for the strength to follow through with this plan and to be constantly persistent and faithful in doing so, remember this done exactly to serve as a reminder that without God’s Help this program could not be followed through and thus realized to the fullest extent possible.

The Third and Final Goal is To Either Begin or Continue in the Search for Finding and Knowing God and Growing in Living Faith Toward Him. The first thing that one could do is develop an active prayer life, this means both praying and yet also contemplating on God, His Word, and those Theologians, Saints, and Mystics who came before us who were blessed enough to come to develop a profound relationship with Him in this life, it is good to contemplate both on their writings and their own lives as well. The second thing one could do is actually to Follow through with this whole program, to seek the Improvement of the Body means to be able to be a better master and controller of ones bodily movements and health and to seek the Improvement of the Mind means one can be better learn, express oneself as well as to transcend the limitations one has on oneself and in effect appreciate God and Creation. The Final act you can do in this search for the provider of Psycho-spiritual Health is quite simply to find, organize, and develop a community of Philosophical and Spiritual Christians in and around your age and perhaps actually determine to Join the Church. Again, a Spiritual Family, is a Spiritual Support Group and if you know that others are out there doing the same thing or similar things to what you are doing you are more likely to hold strong when anything tries to disturb the work.

I have one more video from Father Barron that both would summarize well the aims of these Spiritual Self-improvement Goals as well as the other levels or aspects that I have written about. Father Barron, talks more about Dreams as he offers a commentary on the film “Inception” however, when he starts talking about the search for God as it pertains to the inner world of man we begin to see something much more related to this Self-improvement Series:

– REASONS –

You’ll need to create Good Reasons to continue this work especially when you are feeling down and discouraged, these reasons you set for yourself must be designed to save you from falling into despair and giving up on the whole thing. I want to share with you now, some reasons that I could think of that have an important Psycho-Spiritual side to them that may allow you to not fail but to endure.

The First Reason is more of a psychological reason and it is that, one ought to naturally desire to grow increasingly more aware of the subtleties around oneself. We need to admit into our lives the fact that there are forces out there that are both unseen and yet influence every aspect of our being, upon admitting this we must grow aware of their movements around us. The Second Reason is also more psychological, but slightly social as well and it is that, one ought to transform there rebellious behavior against God and in effect who they really are called to become over and against the world and all the superficial and life-denying things it stands for. Some of us Rebel because we can’t help but feel swept up unaware by it, some us do it with great pride and intentionality, either way it is time to do so but on the world, for contemporary society is largely unnatural more so then any other point in time.

The Third Reason is something existential and spiritual that One Ought To Always Try To Know What It Means To Be Truly Human, in trying to realize an ideal we find satisfaction, in being a citizen of a world yet to be is indeed truly amazing feat for any human to undertake in their life. This is also a call to transcend and rise above the world in which you were born, raised, and conditioned under, and this will fulfill the First Reason that I mentioned above. The Fourth Reason is existential and spiritual as well and it is perhaps the most Noblest and Purest Reason, and that is one ought to develop a need to Know and Commune with God in this Life, and to Understand Your Place in Light of His Life. This sole desire is what allowed me to be who I am, allowed me to know all that I know, and have all that I have to this present point in my life, and it has been rewarding whether it is the good or the bad. Elsewhere I had written about this pure, genuine, and natural desire to have God in My Life when I said that,

“It was in the middle of my junior year of high school when, after losing my first job by my own hand, that I while in my bedroom one day got on my knees and in much humility and some weeping began to cry out to God, asking in one last thread of hope, that ‘I may Know You!'”

– DISCLAIMER –

Finally like the Body and Mind I must offer you a disclaimer in this work of Psycho-spiritual Self-Improvement, these disclaimers however are slightly different then the previous two aspects, because unlike Body and Mind, the Spirit is My God and the God of All Christians, therefore the disclaimers are the following:

(1) One must live a balance between this current world of ours and the other world. I know that I desire to be free of this world and all its responsibilities but I also know that I still live in it. Therefore, boundaries must be set in order between giving to God what is God’s and giving to Cesar what is his, in one respect the responsibilities in the world are perfect opportunities to follow through with Ones Primary Responsibility to God.

(2) Despite this balance that must be struck, this is the most important aspect to practice improving upon, we can see physical results from Bodily Self-improvement and see the effects of Our Self-improvement of Our Mind’s, but we will always be tempted to feel or believe that Psycho-spiritual Self-improvement will yield no fruit whatsoever, this however, is not something originating from within us but suggested to us from outside. By focusing on God as the Highest Ends then we become Single-minded rather then scatter-brained, and thus the success of this work becomes something natural and spontaneous with little effort, rather then something with much stress and frustration. Keep in mind, this is a Spiritual Warfare that the Christian fights against but it affects all levels of ones being.

(3) Finally consider that because of the Infinite Depth of God and Revelation, any and all Theological and Philosophical Implications must be approached with a sense of long-suffering and receptive humility. In a word, do not expect instantaneous results, like the Self-improvement of the Mind and the Body it will take time to become what you are called to be, the point is to begin the journey and keep on the Path, rather then be caught up in speculations and other illusory mental imagery. To be humble and honest with who you are, what you are capable of doing, and what you have done as well as what you truly long for must be discovered and made know so that it maybe at the heart of this work.

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One response to “The 3 Aspects of Self-Improvement: On The Spirit

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  1. Pingback: Happy New Year Continued: A Word on New Year Resolutions « Reality and Illusions

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