There is no other real definition of growth than the dissolution of the Ego.
Like everything else, like all other definitions, actions, thoughts, this definition too, can come from either of the two centers. One, real and one false. The false center is the center of the Ego. From that center when you define growth, all that growth means, is obviously the growth of the Ego. And that is our prevalent worldly and social definition of growth.
When do you say, that a person is growing? When do you say, that you are growing? Have you noticed?
You say you are growing when your accumulations increase. Only the Ego is interested in accumulations. So, coming from the false center, all that growth means is that the Ego has grown. Also, notice that the way we usually refer to growth or progress is always the way of the crowd. You say that you have grown, only when your growth is acceptable and certified by somebody else and to somebody else. Your growth must be visible to the other, impressible upon the other. The others must see that the growth is happening. Hence, the growth has to be in relation to the other. This is the false definition of growth. In this growth, all that is growing is falseness, illusion, and consequent suffering.
Then there is the real definition of growth. The real definition of growth or maturity is freedom from ‘otherness’. You have grown when the other, which is the world, which is everything and everybody that you see around you, does not have an impact so deep upon you that he is able to define your self-worth. Just as a kid is called to be growing when he is able to walk on his own legs, decide and discriminate using his own intellect. Similarly, a human being is grown when he can start abiding in his own self, in his own soul, in his own heart.
When you are truly centered in yourself, then the other stops and ceases to be a menace. Now you know that because you are not dependent on the other, hence the other cannot harm you. You are no more afraid. And because you are no more afraid, hence you can afford to go close to the thing that appears, as the other. It is a delicious contradiction. When otherness is lost, then the other becomes available to you. When you have started knowing that your being is not dependent, contingent, on the world, then the world, is no more a threat, just as it is no more a temptation. Now you can touch the world, now you can feel the world.
Read the complete article: Why are love and intimacy painful?