The Spirituality Scale is the most direct assessment of your spiritual beliefs and experience. It has items that ask about your belief in a Higher Power and your actual experience of divine love and joy. In addition, it inquires into your interest and willingness to serve others.
This dimension was added to the LFI because it taps an important quality that is often missing in relationships: the desire to serve your partner. Many relationships go astray because people become too absorbed in their own needs and desires to the exclusion of their partner. When individuals become too self-centered and believe that their partner should be there to “make them happy,” then problems are sure to follow.
This scale explores if one feels connected to a larger sense and meaning of life and has a desire to care for others. Selfishness, the familiar domain of the ego, is not the recipe for success if you want to become the type of person to attract a healthy, loving relationship. The ego divides us, the soul unites us.
The original research with the LFI found that those scoring high on this scale also stated more satisfaction in the following areas of their life: Friendship, Love Relationship, Work Relationship, Job, Self-Esteem and Ability to Love. Paramahansa Yogananda said that God should be relevant to every aspect of our life. It follows that our spiritual awareness and experience should also be relevant and integrated into every aspect of our life.
The LFI is grounded in the belief that our ability to be successful in developing and sustaining intimate relationships is based upon the depth of our inner development. Our success in loving is not a function of our wealth, material possessions, or intellect. Our capacity to connect, bond, and sustain a relationship is based upon less material things and more a function of our heart and soul.
The depth of our spiritual realization can enhance every aspect of our life. The nature of spiritual reality is oneness. The love that we experience from the Divine, helps us to expand our world to include others. Jesus told the disciples: “Love one another; as I have loved you.” It is not easy to love others who appear different and hold different interests and values. It is also difficult to love those closest to us when conflict arises. The pain of clashing ego’s has ruined many relationships.
Our spiritual awareness and experience provide a path. True spiritual realization results in an ability to rise above our ego and sustain a more peaceful, unconditional loving heart. We become a better partner when we are filled with the love of God and genuinely care about the best interests of others. Simply wanting to be a more loving person may not be enough. It takes a devoted and concerted effort to change and evolve. However, the experience of Grace that blesses the sincere devotee, will open the heart and provide more direct access to the depth of the soul. This can happen in an instant!
Do you have to be “spiritual” to be in a loving relationship? NO. How you define spirituality is not the issue. Certainly, what you experience is more important than what you believe. Look at your life. How do you treat others? How unconditional can you be? How do you accept adversity? How peaceful is your inner life? How much integrity do you bring to your daily life? Are you able to move past sensual desires to feel a deeper, more elevated soul connection with another? Of course, our scale does go beyond belief and considers your actual experience.
Take a look at your score on the Spirituality Scale. If it is high, then, you have some inner resources to help you. If your other scale scores are not as high as you would like, then, you might need to do some work on a psychological level to become a more available partner and integrate your spiritual awareness and values into your daily actions and behavior.
If your score on this scale is lower than you would hope, then, perhaps it is time to become more serious about your spiritual development. Find a spiritual path that speaks to you. Develop a daily meditation practice and ask God to help you. Invite God into your heart and life.
We have discussed the importance of “surrender” on the path. The processes of surrendering to God’s will is not a passive process. Surrendering requires a fine attunement with divine will and the strength and determination to follow it. Attunement requires dedicated effort.
Paramahansa Yogananda provides some sage guidance on this topic in, The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You, vol II, pages 1108-1109.
Along with deep, sustained meditation, there must be devotion and surrender to God. It is when the devotee casts the next of unconditional love again and again in the depths of meditation that God can be caught as a willing captive. Becoming steadfast in repeated experiences of God-contact, and with the aid of the guru’s blessing, the devotee receives at last ultimate emancipation and irrevocable union with the Infinite Beloved.
For addition ideas on how you can develop your spiritual life, please refer to the Further Growth and Development section. There are some good suggestions there.