Click for audio: The Truth About Spiritual Growth
The Jews marveled at it, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15).
In her book, Lessons in Truth, Emilie Cady discusses two types of learning: intellectual and intuitive. Intellectual learning is the study and memorization of facts presented through things like books, the internet, or teachers. This is the most common and practical approach to developing skills and gaining the type of knowledge necessary for the workplace and for navigating through everyday life, especially in this age of the computer. Intuitive learning is not so straight forward, for it involves a direct, experiential knowing that the fact-hungry intellect finds difficult to trust.
In our quest for spiritual understanding, nearly all of us start with the intellectual approach of gleaning information from external sources. In my own case, it was Cady’s book that opened my spiritual eyes. Or so it seemed. In truth, the ideas contained Cady’s book actually confirmed an internal knowing that had been nudging me beyond the spiritual “facts” I had been given up to that point. She articulated what I knew was true. I simply lacked the intellectual skills to put it into words.
When our soul is aroused by something we read or hear of a spiritual nature, a kind of circuit is completed. We’ve intuitively arrived at a truth that is intellectually confirmed. In other words, you and I know more than we can say. We do not randomly respond positively to certain ideas. We respond to those ideas that we, in the quiet of our being, have already embraced. We may be reluctant to speak of them, for perhaps we do not yet know how to express in words what we know in our heart to be true.
Spiritual growth is not as much about adding new information to your stockpile of facts as it is about remembering what you already know at the deepest level. Your intuition has, in fact, been the guide that has brought you to this present point in your understanding.