Navel gazing in the form of self effort cannot generate spiritual life or spirituality. If one wishes to become spiritual, and derive the benefits, one must look outward, and receive spiritual life from outside oneself.

No Amount of Navel Gazing Will Make You Spiritual

beautiful butterfly has completed metamorphosis
This butterfly has completed metamorphosis. Beautiful, huh?

# 29 on my, 99 Life Tips – A List is: No amount of navel-gazing, self-reflection, or self-help is Spiritual. That is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

Let’s begin with a few simple definitions so we can understand each other. That’s tongue-in-cheek because there is actually little agreement about what constitutes spirituality. I use the term spiritual to refer to those realities that are nonmaterial, bodiless, and having no measurable physical substance. I also use the term to refer to those resources, energies, or powers that do not derive from human sources. This is the key point. Navel gazing in the form of self effort cannot generate spiritual life or spirituality. If one wishes to become spiritual, and derive the benefits, one must look outward, and receive spiritual life from outside oneself.

We humans have a spirit (in the same way we have a mind and a body) and can certainly become spiritual, but the purpose of the spirit is to apprehend the spiritual world, in the same way the purpose of the senses is to apprehend the physical world. Similarly, the purpose of the mind (not to say ”brain”) is to engage in the immaterial, unseen world of reason, emotion, and will. 

Like communicates with like

By design, the parts and functions we enjoy and employ communicate and interact within their own respective spheres. Minds communicate with minds. Bodies with bodies, And, likewise, spirit with Spirit. Like always communicates with like. Therefore, one cannot become more spiritual by looking inward, by any physical exercise or activity whatsoever, or by a heightened awareness of mental processes, or emotional states.

If you accept those statements, it becomes evident that one cannot become spiritual by looking within. For one, with what instrument does one look? With the mind of course, not with the eye or the visual interpretive functions of the brain. And second, what is the object of observation? If it is merely mind observing mind, then once again, we’ve aimed at the wrong target and unfortunately, hit it. Where is one to find Spirituality, if not within?

If not within oneself, where is Spirituality to be found?

No, true spirituality is found outside ourselves. One becomes spiritual by contemplation and meditative focus on another Source, another Power, altogether.

Belonging to the Christian tradition, I find the answer in this verse: 

But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

~2 Cor. 3:18

This verse declares that it is by looking at the glory of the Lord, that one is transformed into that same image by the Spirit of the Lord.

This transformation (which in greek literally means metamorphosis) does not happen by looking at oneself. It does not happen by focusing either on one’s successes or failures. Nor does it  come about by self-diagnosis, self-help, or self-effort. No amount of navel gazing will make you spiritual. A spiritual life comes by a persistent gazing upon the perfections and glories of Jesus Christ himself. 

And where does one see these glories? Scripture presents a view that is the equivalent of looking in a mirror. The image in a mirror is not the thing itself, but only a replica. But in this case, the replica is sufficient to bring about spiritual change.

I hope this helps.

1 thought on “No Amount of Navel Gazing Will Make You Spiritual”

  1. Pingback: 99 Life Tips – A List : Greg Proffit Writing

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