Maturity is difficult to gain and difficult to maintain. We may think we have arrived only to have some unexpected and frustrating life turning show us how immature we can still be. We may be very mature about some things some of the time, and perhaps a few things most of the time, but not about everything all the time.
The slow maturing of mind and heart, soul and spirit is a hidden yet unstoppable process each of us is constantly undergoing. We are not the same persons we were six months ago – and so it shall always be. We are here to mature.
Becoming fully mature has long held a fascination for me. I am more mature than I used to be, but not as mature as I want to be. And by maturity, I do not mean “elderly” or “old”; I mean attaining that seasoned way of being where serenity is not only something prayed for but actually lived, where you are able not only to talk a good game but humbly play it, where your inner person is no different than your outer person.
I recently wrote a “gold standard” of the essential elements of spiritual maturity:
“To accept failure as willingly as success, and to be determined or deterred by neither… this is spiritual maturity.
“To give yourself to love without seeking to control or possess or direct love’s course… this is spiritual maturity.
“To relinquish the results of your labor to forces beyond you in the comforting conviction that being true to yourself and your values matter most… this is spiritual maturity.
“To find your reward in the task itself and not its consequences, loving for love’s own sake and not for the response of others…this is spiritual maturity.”
Spiritual maturity concerns your gaining a satisfying, solidifying sense of life’s meaning and purpose. It integrates the entire sweep of how you see the world and your place within it. Spiritual maturity is the process of gaining wisdom; and wisdom is knowing through experience how the world works, and how to do things that are at once both effective and ethical.
The world around you is not spiritually mature. And sadly the immature outnumber the wise. Most of us cannot willingly accept failure without feeling lessened; few of us readily relinquish the desire to control and direct our love relationships. Nor can we long resist the incessant drive to accrue only good results; we act as if the results are more important than the efforts, the product more valuable than the process.
True wisdom is the calming acceptance of your own limitations. You cannot do everything, know everything, be everything to everybody; you too, too, too, are people. When you can embrace in heart as well as head that this is as it should be, that you are not defective or diminished by feeling alright about not being or having it all, you are drawing near to maturity of spirit. When you are able to do what is both your best and what you believe to be the best without fearing the reaction of others, you will have gained real freedom.