Measuring Spiritual Progress

Clark Mumaw
6 min readApr 16, 2023

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Greeting fellow spiritual explorer. I do not know how much of my experience here is specific to me nor how much can be generalized to others.

Please take freely what benefits you and ignore what does not. I know I could not have written this in the first ten years of my journey.

We currently have no empirical tools to measure our spiritual state nor our spiritual progress. We do not know where we are in our journey. Without empirical tools to measure how do we know that anything we are doing is actually increasing our spiritual growth?

Confirmation bias is ever present and leads us to believe in things that have no basis on proof. Thus many spiritual seekers are self deluded and living a fantasy. Of course as much as I try to avoid this trap, I know I too have beliefs that are not proven. So this collection of words is useful only in as much as it helps you make progress.

Being able to channel is not, by itself, evidence of where a person is on their spiritual journey. Channelling does not define how spiritually advanced a person is. Neither does being able to heal define one’s spiritual state.

To be clear I’m not talking about knowledge or understanding that’s metal. I’m talking about BEING. I’m less concerned about measuring the ability to define patience than measuring the ability to be patience.

Understanding and knowledge is useful but do not confuse it with actual spiritual progress. One can attend lessons, lectures and discussions and never make one bit of progress on your spiritual journey.

Measuring spiritual progress? Some of my own examples are:

Am I more patient? Are I less judgmental? Am I more tolerant?

Do I have more self confidence? More self esteem? more faith? less fear?

Am I more authentic? Can I stay in the NOW longer and access it more easily?

I suggest comparing this year’s Me to last year’s me as the best objective tool I currently have to determine if I am making progress. Yet sometimes my time frame is decades not years.

Knowledge and understanding is not central to spiritual progress. One can be certified as a minister. But the certification is not a representation of your spiritual level. Certification only represents knowledge. And in some cases even less. My own online ordained minister certificate was received without any real life experience. It was so valuable I can no longer find it.

Now if your knowledge and understanding is focused on the esoteric practices that produce spiritual growth then it is directly relevant. For example if you learn the kriya yoga technics/practices from Self realization fellowship, and those practices assist your spiritual being to make progress (with being more patient). Then the knowledge and understanding of how those practices work is very relevant.

But understanding the law of attraction, the christian practices of prayer, or your vision of anything by themselves are generally NOT spiritual advancement. They make communicating about spiritual ideas easier. Ye by them selves please do not confuse your ability to communicate spiritual ideas as actually making spiritual progress inside your spiritual being. This ability to communicate only marks your facility with communication.

Other measures are: I have less triggers, I am more calm, I have less unresolved trauma, I have greater health and fewer health problems, There are less things that annoy me.

I’m focused on practical real world differences I and others can see. For example, my last eye glass prescription only required a small adjustment to my near sightedness. My prescription for far sightedness, did not change at all. This is a definite slowdown of my deterioration of sight. Now maybe that is only physical and it is not related to any spiritual progress.

I also find that I do not get sucked in and waste as much energy on problems that are not mine to address. For example, there was a time when out argue about politics and social policy like vaccinations and elections. Now I am more apt to walk away from those who want to argue and just let them be who they want to be and believe what they want to believe. I don't waste my energy trying to change them, partly because I am so busy working on my own inner being, … my own spiritual progress.

Is there is some general concept from my own experiences that would summarize how to measure spiritual progress?

Yes as spiritual progress is made, my observation that: order increases, entropy decreases, the physical body holds more light (assumption, not direct observation).

Work to do? There’s ego yet to detach from. I have this unconscious need to be right which causes me to phrase my thoughts and statements in more black and white and more judgmental than they need to be. I can inappropriately make others feel responsible for stuff that is obvious to my engineering brain that they do not see. It is hard for me to not expect others to see what is obvious to me. I forget that it is not obvious to others.

It is like someone having perfect pitch commenting on how flat or sharp your song was at different points but you can not hear it. It can hurt another’s feelings to hold them accountable/responsible for something they can not see/hear.

When I was deeper into the hurts of my stroke. I was automatically more compassionate all the time with my approach and phrasing with others. Now that I have reached 70–80–90% healing I notice I am less aware of my phrasing to avoid hurting others. Yet there is now a noticing, even as I say it, that my word choice is due to my own frustration not due to avoiding hurting the other.

Awareness is there and I think before my stroke this awareness was not present at all. So this is one I’m working on.

For those of you who would like one more hint. Here a different perspective. Measuring spiritual progress is more about noticing how you move through life differently/better/more smoothly than you used to.

Yes, this is partly due to having more understanding. But technically it is about having more wisdom. it is because you have had experiences to draw from. Not just definitions to refer to. I can understand what I can define. And beyond that, … maybe above that is wisdom coming from direct experience.

It bears repeating, that as I made progress on my journey others saw more compassion/gentleness in me. I had a greater ease/comfort with unknowns and other chaos.

I had less attachment to the world around me and it’s problems. I don't get sucked in and waste energy on problems that are not yours to address.

I am better able to discern what issues are mine and what issues are not mine.I am better ale to work on my own issues and help them dissolve.

Free will, both my own and others has becomes a bigger concern. Win-wins. Seeing how much both of us can get of our ideals.

I found I have better self-esteem and better self care. On the physical level little pieces of my body get better, more flexible, better balance, better able to cope with cold and heat, My digestion gots better, my tolerance for what used to annoy me improved.

I could better accommodate the the sensitivities of those around me without losing my self. Without giving too much. Without collapsing in tiredness. My stamina improved.

Measuring spiritual progress is less about what I know than how I can use it. I’m not impressed with anothers knowledge. I am impressed how they live their life. A spiritual life is one lived artfully. The artfully lived spiritual life defies description, but like your ability to see quality you know it when you experience it. There is a graceful flow to that life. Much like the beauty of watching a river flow down stream. It’s a dance of many separate moves, none remarkable by themselves, yet the totality is inspiring to watch.

ADDENUM: Bottom to Top — My healing had a theme of starting at the root chakra and progressing upwards chakra by chakra. As I write this in 2023 I still have 2 chakras to goThis could be felt by my internal observations of what became less tight. As each area was healing that area was accompanied by more flexibility and less physical stress.

This does not mean it was ALL in a straight line up. Not at all because all of the body is interconnected. I would get slight improvements all over my body which made it impossible to see this pattern at first.

I would recommend becoming familiar with the metaphysical issues associated with each chakra. That way you can see on a psychological level which chakra(s) you are working on. You are often working on several at once because they are interconnected.

A good example of this is, even though I was working on my root chakra back on 2009, I was simultaneously becoming aware of throat chakra issues like finding my voice, which did not mostly resolve until 14 years later.

I do not know of the healing journey of others follows this sequential upwards chakra path. But if you are interested in a natural unforced healing journey I suspect this bottom to top is the safest and most harmonious path.

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Clark Mumaw

ex-computer networking technician, post stroke survivor, metaphysical explorer, philosopher, interested in human psychology and spirituality