When I first came to the spiritual path I felt like I was getting beat up by the world. I was stressed and tense and reactive. I was lost and suffering.

One day I woke up and realized that if I continued on my miserable trajectory I probably wouldn’t make it out of my 20’s. I knew I needed to change, but had no idea how to initiate that transformation, only that I couldn’t live a moment longer with that inner feeling of dissonance, anxiety and emptiness.

The need I felt within myself, the deep desire to grow and  to break free of my limiting conditions, began to attract spiritual teachings into my life. I was guided to books and teachers that turned me on to a philosophy and set of tools that allowed me to get beyond my tormented mind.

At the time, I didn’t know it was my desire itself that was the alchemizing ingredient. That realization came several years later when I encountered the teachings of Swami Rudrananda (Rudi). Rudi articulated this principle in a raw, powerful language I could understand and relate to. In Rudi, I found a kindred spirit. And a catalyst. His talks and transcribed writings had the effect of dumping gasoline on my inner fire.


It is often taught that desire can only lead to suffering. But what I’ve found is that if you take all of your desires, and you channel them into one deep, driving desire to grow spiritually, you are led to increasing levels of fulfillment.

Without desire, nothing happens. You remain stuck in your comfort zone, caught in an endless feedback loop created by instinctual and cultural conditionings.

I came to spiritual practice with a strong appetite, and that hunger has only increased over time. This need has brought me to my practice every day for over 25 years. It’s what allows me to get up off the ground each time I fail to open fully to what life presents.

The more I work, the more unresolved issues I discover within myself that I need to work through. But each time I do, I free up another pocket of stagnant energy and rise a little higher. Is there an end to this process? I’ll let you when I get there.

What I do know is that the people I have met who seem to make the most progress on the path are the ones who have tapped into their innate desire for growth.

Change only becomes possible when your desire to grow becomes stronger than your inertia, when the deep need to break free finally overrides the resistance to leave your familiar, stagnant state.


The wish to grow, as Rudi called it, is hard-wired within every living thing. It can be seen in a seed bursting forth from its hard shell and pushing through the packed layers of earth, and then up and out toward the light. Or in a baby learning how to crawl, then walk, then how to talk and express themselves.

This wish to grow is a powerful force inherent to your nature that you can learn to tap into and use as a catalyst for transformation. If you are just starting your journey this desire is the fuel you will need to develop a consistent practice. If you’ve been on the path for months, years, or even decades, coming back to this wish within you to grow spiritually will give you the strength and energy to continue the adventure.

You can tap into this power right now. Take a deep breath into the heart, gently hold it and internally say:

I wish to grow spiritually.

Bring all of your mind and emotion and awareness into it. Really feel it… the need to change, to grow, to transform your life and become free. As you exhale, let go of all of your tensions and resistance to growth. Let go of everything that’s holding you back in life.

Whenever you are feeling stuck, whenever your energy is stagnant, whenever your mind is saying that you don’t have time to practice, or it would be better to sleep in – take a breath into the heart, or deeper down into your navel chakra, your fire center, and come back to the mantra:

I wish to grow spiritually.


There are people within the spiritual community who would see this type of practice as being too effortful, or that it can only serve to reinforce the illusion of the ego. “You’re already perfect”, they say. “There is no reason to grow toward that which you already are.”

They’re right.

From the perspective of a fully enlightened being who is abiding in a state beyond all desire, perfection is all that exists. There’s no effort needed because there is no work to be done.

If you’re in the flow, and your chakras are open, and you’re feeling a strong current of conscious energy guiding all your thoughts, words, and actions… you are already growing. This is not the time for this exercise.

If you have full recognition of your true essential nature as Awareness, and that everything you perceive is an expressive aspect of that Awareness, you have no reason to practice this.

I’m not talking about an intellectual understanding of this view, but a visceral, embodied experience of abiding in that liberated state. If you’re looking out from that perspective of Being there is no reason to practice this technique or any other.

But if you’re like the other 99.99% of us…

When you’re in a closed, depressed state you need something to pull you out of it. It’s the primal desire for growth that can free you.

The work of reaching inside yourself, of tapping into your innate, natural desire to grow and evolve – this is the catalyst for the kind of transformation that can lead you from suffering and fragmentation into happiness and connectivity.

Notice what happens when you go into your heart and find and articulate your longing. I wish to grow spiritually. Notice the quieting of the mind, the expansion of consciousness, the energy rising up within you. Allow the desire to circulate through you. Let it enliven and open you.

I wish to grow spiritually.

Let this desire magnetize every cell in your body until you are vibrating with dynamic purpose.

I wish to grow spiritually.

Watch your life be transformed.