What is Spiritual Growth?

Posted by Roberta Grimes • November 18, 2023 • 27 Comments
Jesus, The Source, The Teachings of Jesus, Understanding Reality

I am weak but Thou art strong.
Jesus, keep me from all wrong!
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee.
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea!
Daily walking close to Thee.
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Traditional, from “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” (1800s)

We talk so often about spiritual growth that I get emails now from people who want to know what the term “spiritual growth” means, precisely. And what is the process of spiritual growth? These are such great questions! But they are difficult questions to answer until we understand what reality is all about. And when we do finally grasp what spiritual growth is, and how we can best accomplish it, the truths that our answers reveal to us about Jesus, and about what He must have known about reality in order to have been able to formulate His teachings so they work so brilliantly to elevate us spiritually, turn out to be flat-out astounding! As you will shortly see.

Soon after I published The Fun of Dying in 2010, while I was giving talks about that book in bookstores, people first began to ask me what spiritual growth is. What on earth was I talking about? So I started to think that I ought to try to figure the process out for myself. Or more specifically, I thought I should test-drive the teachings of Jesus, to see whether they might work to elevate us spiritually. This was four years before my Thomas first came out to me through a medium and introduced himself as my spirit guide. I didn’t know back in 2011 who or what it was that was prompting me to decide to do this. I had no thought back then that these ideas that I was getting were coming from Thomas in the way that he much prefers to work, which is subliminally, without his having to talk to me in words. So I thought that this was all my own idea back in the summer of 2011, when I set out to try to figure out how the teachings of Jesus actually might work to elevate us spiritually. But what happened to me in just a few weeks’ time that summer was extraordinary. Thomas gave me some spiritual hacks to try that I thought must be my own ideas. And by the fall of that year, I arrived at a point where, incredibly, I was no longer feeling bothered by anything.   

I still can vividly recall the moment when I first noticed how completely I had been changed. A Unity minister had invited me to lunch. On the way there, someone had cut me off in traffic. I used to be a lethally combative driver, a literal lunatic on the road, but I arrived at the restaurant that day thinking casually about the fact that I just had been cut off in traffic by some nutcase who nearly had killed us both. But… now nothing. I was not bothered by his actions at all. For the first time in my driving life, I was noticing this peculiar zone of peace in which I was living now. Very oddly, I had forgiven that lunatic driver so easily that what he had done had only barely registered on my radar screen. Since my luncheon companion was a minister, we talked about it briefly, but I didn’t yet really understand what was happening to me. But, no wonder the Lord’s disciples were so often baffled by Him! Two thousand years ago, Jesus knew things about reality that modern-day scientists have not yet managed to unravel, nor even to begin to try to understand.

I can see that summer so clearly now, in long retrospect. And I can tell you with the wonderment of certainty that in the summer of 2011, I spent six weeks in an intensive effort at living the teachings of Jesus, and that six-week effort was all the time that it took. In all the twelve years since that summer, I have not felt anger, hatred, fear, or any other negative emotion. Instead, I feel only an ever-growing and ever more deeply centered peace and joy. It is as if I have been spiritually bubble-wrapped. I still can see it all, and I feel compassion for people who are in the throes of feeling themselves being damaged by the world, but I am removed and above it all, and safe. Turn the other cheek? No problem! I could turn a hundred cheeks if my doing that were needed. I could forgive seven hundred times seventy times, dear Jesus, if my doing that were for some reason required.

And it is not as if nothing has gone wrong in my life in the past twelve years. To give you one example, a world-class swindler is currently serving a long prison sentence for having stolen a preposterous and life-changing sum of money from my husband and me a few years back, and I have never been the slightest bit angry about that. Seriously! But the best, and the sweetest part of it all is that six or seven years ago, my Thomas told me out of the blue that I have now raised my personal consciousness vibration to the point where this has become my last necessary earth-lifetime. And I know that would never in a million years be true if in the summer of 2011 I had not set out to try to live the Gospel teachings of Jesus.

And so, my beloveds, I now feel at least somewhat qualified to explain to you what spiritual growth is, how it works, and how you, too, can make this lifetime your last necessary earth-lifetime. What I am having trouble understanding, though, is how Jesus understood it all so well even two thousand years ago. Because His teachings turn out to be a mechanical process which your mind can use to act on the very fabric of reality itself. “Love” and “forgive” are not just platitudes! They are not make-nice words, and they certainly are not only aspirational ideas. They are instead the very core and driver of your own fundamental spiritual growth. And the fact that Jesus was born on earth already knowing what reality is and how it works is the most certain evidence there can possibly be that He is precisely who He claims to be. He is the Son of God, born from out of the Godhead. Jesus told us that the truth will set us free (see JN 8:32). And here is the truth about spiritual growth:

  • Consciousness is all that exists. We know now that energy underlies and makes up all of reality, and consciousness is in fact that base creative energy. Nothing else but consciousness exists. The greatest physicists of the 20th century came to this same conclusion when in 1931 Max Planck said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.” Albert Einstein said, “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing.” And the British physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans, who was their contemporary, said, “the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a machine.” How supremely right they were!
  • Consciousness vibrates. And it vibrates according to and resonates with emotion. The universe is God’s own continuous and emotional thought. At its highest and most rapid vibration, the consciousness energy which all three physicists realized also can present as matter is perfect love, while at its lowest and slowest vibration, consciousness is hatred, anger, fear, and all the other negative emotions. God is at the highest vibration of consciousness, and all the other emotions are somewhere in between its highest and its lowest vibrations. So all these emotions that we think of as trivial and ancillary to our daily human experience in fact turn out to be central to the creation and the maintenance of the solid-seeming reality that we believe exists around us.
  • Consciousness is the base creative force. Our emotional minds are all part of that same emotionally vibrating consciousness which is all that exists. And insofar as we can determine, everything that we believe exists is created instant-by-instant by the same creative force which we experience as consciousness. When I was in kindergarten and I was first taught to recite my address, I recall that someone taught me to add beyond my teacher’s finishing with “…State of Massachusetts,” and “United States of America,” also “the earth, the universe, and the Mind of God.” I think we can guess who that someone was. And for us now to envision all of reality as a continuous thought in the mind of an emotional God whose only emotion is perfect love is right-on accurate.
  • So your own spiritual growth consists in lifting your personal consciousness vibration farther away from fear and ever closer to more perfect love. Yes, it really is that simple! Various methods have been suggested for you to use in order to accomplish this task, and we will talk about that in a moment. But the farther you can move your emotional set-point away from fear, hatred, and anger and toward ever more perfect love, the more you can be said to have grown spiritually. And once your own spiritual set-point reaches about the midpoint of what we call level five (out of seven) of the aggregate afterlife levels, you will be able to continue to grow spiritually without the need to experience any further earth-based stressors. So then you can cease to incarnate on the earth altogether. What we from here call the afterlife is in fact the link to our real life, so you might say that you will then be spiritually developed enough to be able happily to complete your spiritual growth without again leaving home.

Please read those four bullet-points again, and even two or three times or more if that feels necessary to you. This is all so extremely important! For us to move away from what had been our belief in a solid earth-based reality and a solid universe here is essential if we are ever to take charge of our own spiritual growth. No, in truth nothing in this universe is solid matter. Our loved ones who have gone ahead of us insist that the home they have returned to is their real life. And this earth-life, and the universe of which it is a part, as amazing as perhaps this concept may seem to us now, truly is just an insubstantial dream.  

For much of world history, following Eastern religious traditions has been what many people have thought was the primary way to develop spiritually. But what Buddhism, Hinduism, and related Eastern religions have had on offer to help us to grow spiritually has involved meditation, chanting, and years of effort, and few people in the West really understood how any of that worked. What may have been even worse for Christians, though, has been the fact that those traditional methods were attached to foreign religions, so there was a vague sense of heresy about them for Westerners, a feeling of religious betrayal, so aside from a brief moment in the sixties and seventies when they were in vogue, they never have much caught on in the West. Some members of Christian religious orders have used their own versions of meditation and chanting to try to reach their own altered states, but they never much have offered their practices to the Christian laity at large. And the teachings of Jesus have always been seen just in moral terms in any event, and not so much in spiritual terms.   

Even more to the point, it really has been only in the past twenty-five years or so that we have first come to understand what spiritual growth even is! Because it is only in these past few years that we have first come to realize that our reality actually is consciousness-based. I own an embarrassing number of books, to the point where my poor, long-suffering husband has begun to joke that either some of them will have to go, or they might crowd us out of this house altogether. And when I lately checked the pub dates of some of my dozens of books that have “consciousness” in their titles, it seems that our bloom of consciousness awareness did indeed begin soon after the turn of this century. So even though putting the two-thousand-year-old teachings of Jesus together with a cutting-edge view of reality that is only less than twenty-five years old is not the first idea that might come to your mind, it does in fact make sense. And it proves to us for a certainty that Jesus is indeed God incarnate, since He always has known the true makeup of a reality that is beginning to dawn on us only now.   

Of course, I am coming to realize that my notion of out of the blue spending six weeks attempting to lift myself spiritually by using the Lord’s teachings, as I did twelve years ago, could not have been my own idea. No, it must have come from Thomas. I am more grateful to him than I can say, because I never would have done any of it otherwise. And the fact that it all worked so well just further confirms for us beyond question that Jesus knew two thousand years ago how reality works, and He knew how His teachings on love and forgiveness would work for us now, in the twenty-first century. Jesus gave us His teachings long ago so we could have a glorious spiritual next stage for humankind once Roman Christianity’s fear-based run neared its end.

So Jesus has asked me to start to teach the process of spiritual growth using His teachings, as Thomas first taught it to me. After twelve years, it is clear beyond question both that Jesus’s teachings work rapidly in a literal, mechanical way to raise our spiritual vibrations enough to make this our last necessary earth-lifetime, and also that the effect is – or at least that it easily can be – permanent. I feel as if twelve years ago I inadvertently opened a door into humankind’s next amazing stage, when fear is no more and we are only love! But I also feel so inadequate to this task that I am first taking a course in how to create and teach such a course. And wow, there is a lot involved in doing this right!

We expect our first course to begin in February, and to be three months long. If this sounds like something that might interest you, just send me an email and we will include you on the offering list.

When my feeble life is over,
Time for me will be no more.
Guide me gently, safely over
To Thy kingdom’s shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea!
Daily walking close to Thee.
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be!
Traditional, from “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” (1800s)

Roberta Grimes
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27 thoughts on “What is Spiritual Growth?

  1. Dear Roberta,

    While repeating the statement by Max Planck remains very powerful, you may want to read how scientists are (finally) catching up with his insights.

    Happy weekend!
    Blessings from Adrian

    1. Oh my dear Adrian, I do subscribe to several popular science magazines, always looking for signs of life, and asking my husband – who has more time for reading – to scan those magazines more thoroughly. But sadly, we never find any! If you spot anything, I would love to see it.

  2. Dear Adrian, As a scientist myself who has been trying to explain to materialists for about a decade how immaterial consciousness is the fundamental stuff of existence, and failing without any successes, while there are more folks coming to the conclusion that materialism is wrong, we are a definite minority.

    Roberta wrote, ” The universe is God’s own continuous and emotional thought.” That is a conclusion that I have drawn from my own nonreligous research.

    However, the description of consciousness as a form of material energy owning differenrt levels (that is how Einstein correctly equated matter with energy), is at best an analogy, and not a truth. Consciousness is not the sort of energy we observe/measure in our mortal existence. So, if consciousness may not be equated to energy, or any vibration frequency of its matter equivalent, then what is “consciousness?”

    Consider how we define terms; we ordinarilly define terms iby refering to other terms–but there are important exceptions. When defining a perceptual color, we cannot, for example, define “blue” very well by saying it’s sorta between some other colors. “Blue” (without refering to its electromagnetic spectrum vibration level) is a “primitive” term. It does not help to define it by using other terms. Another example is the fragrance of a sweet rose. “Consiousness” is a primitive term not amenable to defining it using other everyday language terms. Instead, we may explain it as Roberta has: ” The universe is God’s own continuous and emotional thought.” Given that we cannot possibly fathom God’s mind as mortal, we might say that His thought is the consciousness that this world is built from, without referencing the consciousness that God creates, that is the essence of God, by employing our ordinary language. “Consciousness” is a primitive, undefinable term. Consciousness does NOT correspond to the energy-matter equivalence that Einstein demonstrated by his brilliant analysis, backed afterward by empirical research in matter and energy of this material world.

    Re spiritual growth, may I suggest that that may be accomplished by ordinary folks w/o any particular Man-Made religous orthodoxy. Here is an example from my own experience.

    As a Freshman physics major at Carnegie Tech, the intro physics course was of course important. Our prof had been teaching a couple years, and was working from his unpublished text as he was writing it. He was failing professionally, as he was not publishing research, so he was frustrated. We had no text to study, but had to take notes as he rapidly scribbled on the blackboard.

    We had only one test before the Christmas holiday break. I got a D. He held a feedback session after delivering the test grades, and there was a long line od students complaining. Not being pushy, I was at the end. By the time he got to me, he was worn out from arguing and did not want to bother with my challenge that I got the right result by using the right method, so his grading was wrong. He just huffed away.

    I stayed for Christmas at my frat house, since I did not have the money to travel from Pgh to my home in Milford, Conn. I spent day after day roiling in hatred, imagining how I would hurt him. Then one day it occurred to me that my behavior was self destructive. I was never going to physically hurt him, and would not even be disrespectful in class. My hatred only hurt me– it was stupidly self destructive. I then also realized that he was hurting, and was unlikely to be promoted,so I felt sorry for him. After that, I could not hate anyone. I could still get mad, but never could hold any grudge. This is not to say I became saintly, which I did not, but there surely was spiritual growth from that experience and my reaction to it.

    1. “This is not to say I became saintly, which I did not, but there surely was spiritual growth from that experience and my reaction to it.”

      Hi Jack,

      That is how I am forcing myself to look at situations that bring out my ego. Every interaction is a learning experience. I appreciate and love the people that test me. They give me the opportunity to learn and grow. I can go back to see what I did right and what I did wrong. It’s easier to not take offense when you understand what is happening.

      1. Ah yes, my dear Thomas! And doesn’t it feel wonderful to be in control of your ego, and to feel everything that might otherwise upset you as instead an experience in spiritual growth?

    2. Wow, my dear Jack, this was beautiful to read on a number of levels – thank you for sharing it! This really is how spiritual growth happens. And now you have me feeling for your professor, too – I hope his journey has been profound and worthwhile in his own terms.

      I don’t understand consciousness. And I know nothing whatsoever about physics. But I do think that consciousness is in the nature of an energy, and it is what makes up reality. I seem to know that, although, as you know, I get a lot of this from Thomas.

    1. My beloved Erica, I kind of thought you would want to do it! We will be doing the sign-up process in January, I think – and of course you are on the list 🙂

  3. Please sign me up for the February course.
    If I cannot make it to any session, can I watch it later?
    Thank you Roberta!!!

    1. My dear Chris, I think it will meet once each week, and we will record it – I really don’t know much just yet, but we will be doing it more than once in any event!

    1. My dear Janelle, I think we must have twenty names by now! Amazing, and a larger class than we had planned. We will need addresses, too, since we will be sending everyone books. But what I plan to do is to give this course repeatedly, so no worries – and it will probably be even better for those who are not part of the first class. As I tell my children, it was unfortunate for them that they were my learner batch of children, and if only I could have raised a second brood, I’m sure I could have done much better with that second batch 🙂

  4. I have been one of your silent readers for the past several years and in that space, and from reading your books, have learned much. I would appreciate the opportunity to participate in the February course. Thanks!

    1. Oh my dear William, what is fun for me this week is that I am getting to meet some folks, like you, who have been my friends for awhile, but I have never met you before. Welcome to our little commenter community here, and I think the course is going to be enjoyable and enlightening for all of us!

  5. Hi Roberta,

    Wow, I would also love to be in the February course!!!! Seriously, I have learned a lot and would LOVE to learn more.

    It too, believe Jesus’s teachings to be far more superior and TRUER than anyone Buddhist teachings and or Hindu teachings.

    Some times I wonder if Jesus came here to have his message reach Eastern Religion too. Why, not?

    I love meditation and will do it 10 to 15 min a day only after prayer as a THANKS to Jesus and God for my blessings.

    But, I do not believe anyone has to put themselves in a somnambulism state of meditation to grow spiritually.

    Again, I would highly interested in your February courses!

    1. Oh my dear Litsa, I have been counting on having some of our tribe here be a part of it with me, so thank you for saying that you want to do it!

  6. I have also been a ‘silent reader’ for several years. Thankyou for your wisdom and that of other readers. I’d love to sign up for your February course although i’m in Australia. Elizabeth

    1. Welcome. my dear Elizabeth! You know, I think that we might well give two courses at the same time – one in the the US and one in Australia – because several Australians have inquired about the course. Good plan!

  7. Dearest Roberta,
    It is with delight that I hear of this course of spiritual growth via Jesus’ teachings. To me this is The Way. It’s the way I wish to go. Instead of attempting spiritual growth by my own reckoning – I can do your course as per Jesus’ guidance.

    Count me in, my dear. I too am enthused that I can be part of things from Sydney, Australia. This is amazing when you think about it. Internet tech has made the meeting of minds across the vast Pacific Ocean, quite possible.

    I await February 2024 with alacrity..

    1. Oh my dear Efrem, I am delighted, too, that the Internet has made this blue marble so small! I am coming to think that we might do two courses at once, one in the U.S. and one in Australia, since quite a few people in your neck of the woods have made inquiries. This course on giving a course that I am now taking will include how we first involve the participants, so please just stay tuned….

  8. Beloved Roberta,
    I’ve thought for a while now, that teaching spiritual growth via Jesus’ Way was a very, very important endeavor. You mentioned this a while back and the idea of collective learning would bring enriching results that gain a momentum of their own as a group force for change.

    Something extra happens when we do things together, doesn’t it? It’s hard to define but the resulting whole can become far bigger than it’s simple beginnings. In fact, it can become far bigger than the sum of its parts.

    Back in the day, when the brave Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, she ignited such a group force for positive change that it shook the nation and reverberated around the world.

    Honestly, I can’t think of anything as good in this world as learning The Way of Jesus with my fellows. Indeed, this must happen.

    1. Oh my sweet Efrem, I have felt called to do this for a while now. Years! But I feel so unequal to the task. I am so glad, though, that I am first taking a course on how to give a course, rather than just trying to wing it, because they are making me lay out the whole curriculum so precisely. It has been twelve years now since I did it, and I am becoming more and more confident that I can do a really great job of this!

  9. I have followed you now for a year or two, just taking it all in. I would also be a part of spiritual growth class. can you add me. what a amazing opportunity. Kimberly

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