You are not your job. You are not your material possessions. You are not the clothes you wear.
I think we can all agree on that. Though we may choose to identify with those things, the truth is that they are not us.
Now, let’s take it a step further.
You are not your culture. You are not your personality. You are not your past. You are not your thoughts.
This is where it gets trickier. Someone who is not familiar with any form of spirituality will probably find this inconceivable.
After all, who are we if not the environment we grew up in, the way we think, our outlook on life, our mind? But it turns out, those things are not us either.
Once you understand, once you reach this truth (through meditation or any other spiritual practice), you have two options.
You can either feel intimidated or feel powerful. You can choose to believe that you are everything — or pure nothingness.
You may feel lost, or you may, perhaps for the first time in your life, find yourself.
Spiritual expansion: meaning
“Spiritual expansion” is the realization that you are more. When you experience spiritual expansion, you are no longer limited to your body, your mind, your personality, or any other form of identification; you become pure awareness, pure energy.
That would be one of the common definitions of spiritual expansion, and the way I would define it personally.
Keep in mind, anything that has to do with spirituality can be interpreted in so many different ways.
Spiritual expansion may have a different meaning for you, just like the words universe, soul, or enlightenment. Different doesn’t mean better or worse.
Spirituality itself has no real meaning but the one you choose to give it.
Now, consider the following (this is a quote from Osho):
Man is like an onion, exactly like an onion, with layers and layers of personality; and behind all those layers is hidden the essence. That essence is like emptiness, void.
It is more like non-being than like being, because being has a limitation, a boundary to it. But that innermost core has no boundary to it, it has no limitation, it is just a freedom, a free flow of energy, infinite in its dimensions.
Unless one goes on peeling one’s layers of personality to the very end, and rediscovers the essence, one remains sick-minded. Sick-mindedness is being stuck somewhere, frozen somewhere. Sick-mindedness is being blocked.
Spiritual expansion = non-identification
You can visualize what Osho refers to as a series of concentric circles; you are the center, not the circles.
The issue is, you have been learning to identify with all these circles, all the outer layers, for decades — your entire life.
Spiritual expansion happens when you no longer identify with them; in simple words, when you realize you are not them, but something bigger, so vast it has no limitations.
Spiritual expansion is the expansion of your energy, your identity. It can be a profound experience, and a liberating experience.
Think about your own mind. If the mind is you, so are your inaccurate or unhelpful thoughts. So is your negative self-talk.
But meditation shows you that you are not your mind, that you can go beyond it, that you don’t have to be trapped in it.
Unhappiness often arises from the feeling of being trapped in certain circumstances, a certain career, relationship, belief, or problem in your life.
Happiness is the opposite: a free flow of energy. Your energy — you. The real you, the “innermost core” is limitless. The real you is happiness.
Everything is interconnected
Anything that is limited is unhappy. Anything that is limited is incomplete.
Separation and duality lead to suffering and craving. Oneness, nonduality, being totally complete leads to peace.
Spiritual expansion can also be the realization that everything is interconnected, that you are in harmony with the entire universe.
We get a high out of feeling better than others. We like to label people and things. We like to be different, independent, separated from everything else. But then we are disconnected.
The more you work on your spirituality, the more you practice spiritual expansion, the more you become one with the universe.
The separation between subject and object gradually disappears. What you see and perceive becomes you, and vice versa.
This, again, can only come from a state of relaxation, a state in which there is no tension, no identification with the “outer layers” whatever they may be.
Spiritual expansion never really ends
Your spiritual journey may have begun a year ago, or yesterday, or today. You can say there has been a beginning. But there will be no end.
For me personally, spirituality is all about awareness and understanding. Understanding who you are and why; what life is and why.
Spiritual expansion is, in a way, expansion of awareness.
The more you become aware of the center, what’s left once you remove all the outer layers, the higher the level of spiritual expansion.
It’s a journey, a path, a direction. Your awareness, who you are becomes bigger and bigger. As vast, as immense, as infinite as you want it to be.