Can spiritual progress be measured?
In the material world, all successes are known by their tangible, though often short- lasting, results. But in the spiritual path all results, being primarily psychological, are intangible.They are real, nonetheless, and everlastingly beneficial. spiritual results begin as subtle transformations in the consciousness of the inner being. They are to be measured according to their peace- giving qualities.
It is very difficult to measure your intellectual progress each day, each week, or at the end of each year. But spiritual progress, unlike the intellectual accomplishments, is so subtle that it is very hard to ascertain its exact development in people.
Criteria of Spiritual Consciousness
To be spiritual is not to be an angel with wings, but something infinitely greater– one who is in touch with God.You must live differently than the ordinary man, who is in touch only with sense consciousness. Spiritual consciousness lies in absolute victory over human consciousness. Now, spirituality does not mean only to meditate; it embraces a very wide field of controlled existence. However, meditation is the best foundation. It is the greatest way to be spiritual, the simplest way to spiritualise consciousness. It will bring in to your life all the good you have ever dreamed of acquiring. But to meditate, on the one side, and be angry or lead a desultory life on the other, is like putting your feet in two boats going in opposite directions. You must not only meditate, but also learn to behave.
If you know that you are progressing spiritually, mentally, and physically every day, you can be happy ; but if find that you are becoming touchy, finicky, or gossipy, you may know that you are going backward. The best test is to analyse yourself and find out whether you are happier today than you were yesterday. If you feel that you are happier today, then you are progressing; and this feeling of happiness must continue.
The greatest evidence of spiritual consciousness is seen in a person’s real inner effort to go upstream against old wrong habits toward real, lasting happiness.
Seek God for His own sake.The highest perception is to feel Him as Bliss, welling up from your infinite depths. Don’t yearn for visions, spiritual phenomena, or thrilling experiences. The path to the Divine is not a circus!
Selections From The Wisdom Legacy Of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda