What is it to grow?
Everything is changing within and around you. The whole movement and essence of life is change. If it doesn’t change then it is not life. If change is inevitable then knowing the direction of change is of paramount priority. If the change is in the right direction, it constitutes growth; the same change when it is happening in the wrong direction, it constitutes degradation.
Growth is the only measure to understand the direction of change. As long as you are growing, physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spirituality you are moving in the right direction; the change is happening in the right direction. But, this is a growth we are all familiar with.
Growing in competence is clearly visible and recognizable by people around you. Hence you are constantly reminded to keep growing in the direction that is acceptable to the world. There is another type of growth that is completely internal. There is a growth that can be recognized by nobody else but you and that is the true growth worth pursuing.
This growth is the movement from instinct, to emotion, to intelligence, to awareness. There is no other form of growth other than this. All other growths are temporary except for this. True growth is all about climbing the ladder of your inner being through the muddled and confused zones of your thoughts and emotions.
Spend some time observing how you react to situations to get an understanding of your current level of growth. If you respond to situations instinctively, without thinking or reflecting on why you are doing what you are doing, then you are at an instinctual level. This is the lowest level of human potential.
If you are able to draw from the richness of your past experiences and you are able to respond to situations by weighing your emotions, then you are at an emotional level. Emotional level is one level higher than instinct. While instinct does not provide you any space to think and reflect, emotions offer an option to slow down and reflect.
Intelligence is of course higher than both instinct and emotion. Intelligence provides you a lot more time and space to move around before you respond to situations. Also you can draw from not only your personal experiences of the past; you can draw from the experiences of others as well. Intelligence allows you to look at things objectively before reacting. In fact when you act out of intelligence, you are no longer reacting but acting on your own.
The highest level of growth you can reach to is awareness. Awareness is the ability to simply be in the moment to respond to situations creatively. When you are in this state of awareness, you have complete control over your thoughts, emotions and actions. Movement from instinct, to emotion, to intelligence, to awareness is the true definition of growth.