How can we assess ourselves whether we are moving in the direction of our dreams, growing spiritually or stagnating? I put this question to enlightened persons and also tried to find an answer in books. When asked, a spiritual person said,"Do you think of God more often than you did earlier?"
In one of his books, Swami Sivananda gives this test for assessment: An unruffled state of mind, ability to do difficult work, cheerfulness, inner strength and fearlessness are some of the signs that the 'will' is growing.
We can devise a simple test based on chapter 3 of the Gita and ask ourselves,"Is my mind relatively free from lust and hatred? Can I do some work, read, write or meditate more easily now?"
The task of monitoring progress is easier if we keep a diary. Or we can rely on our memory. Though different religions broadly suggest what should be the purpose of life, we have to set our own goals based on our temperament and circumstances. Mahatma Gandhi suggested that we ought to have limited worldly ambitions but limitless spiritual aspirations. The goal of life is self-realisation, he said. For a Buddhist, it is enlightenment. For a Christian, it is falling in love with Jesus. Other religions too prescribe similar goals.
We can ask how much time we spend on our cherished activities and how much time we waste.
Some of the milestones in our growth can be the times in our life when we take important decisions like improving our diet, going for regular walks, reading good books, keeping a journal, learning to meditate or giving up smoking, drinking and drugs.
A decision to do our work more sincerely is also a milestone in our spiritual progress. One of the factors that checked my growth was the fact that I learnt the importance of work quite late in life, when I was nearly 30. I wish I had realised it in my college days, but better late than never!