Why healing, personal development and spirituality are really the same thing.

Via Ben Ralston
on Oct 20, 2011
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Kiwan and Jai, two Masters of Simplicity

Sometimes, life seems so damn complicated, doesn’t it?! I have an intimate relationship with my wife to maintain and nourish; my child to educate, support, and nurture; my work to soak up my passion and creativity… and all the while the whole world seems to be trying to sell me something.

But lately, more and more, I’m feeling like everything is actually incredibly simple. Because the root of all these various and complex problems is the same – me!

When I get myself in order, everything else falls into place. Life becomes, once again, very joyful.

I used to think that I had to do lots of different things in order to get myself into that joyful space: Yoga; meditation; eat just right; get a balance between work and play; personal development work so that my relationships would work (as long as my partner also did personal development work!)… God, when I look back at what I was doing I cringe.

Now I realize that there is only one thing I need to do, and all the labels I used to apply really boil down, in essence, to this one thing:

Healing is this one thing.

Personal development is the same as this one thing.

Spiritual growth comes about as a result of this one thing.


I’m not talking about the word ‘healing’ as it’s come to be used so much – as a kind of band-aid. This healer and that healer who do this and that, and eventually, after a while, you realize that actually, nothing has been healed!

I’m talking about profound, permanent transformation.

The reason why healing, personal development, and spirituality are the same thing: because we are already perfect.

There is nothing to do, to achieve, to get. It’s all there already, right there, inside you.

All we have to do, is let go of what’s blocking it from coming out!

When Buddha said: “Be a light unto thyself”, I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant: ‘just look at yourself, you’re perfect!’

When Jesus said “All these things, and greater, you shall do too”, he was saying that he was nothing special – just an ordinary human being like you and I, who had realized his perfection, and through it, was able to achieve miracles. And that we all can do that too!

We’re all so beautiful, amazing, and perfect. But we don’t love ourselves enough. And that’s the crux of the matter. We simply have to let go of the blockages that stop us from loving ourselves.

That’s healing (and it’s really very simple).

It’s also personal development and spiritual growth.

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About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


26 Responses to “Why healing, personal development and spirituality are really the same thing.”

  1. Claudia says:

    Yeah, so true. Can very much identify. Great read!

  2. Laura says:

    Ah, Ben, you did it again. 🙂 {heart}

  3. nikki says:

    Love the simplicity of this article, thank you! (sometimes the articles on Elephant are so head-y, i can't take the time at work to read the whole thing..and I always think i'll come back to read the whole thing – but of course…never do.) I reposted to our FB site – http://www.facebook.com/daily.glad.is
    thank you!

  4. Beautiful Ben! Simple & beautiful as usual…let go of everything that hinders love. That really is the only issue when you get down to the bottom of it!

  5. Ben_Ralston says:

    Yeah, I don't like heady either. We're all too heady already! 🙂

  6. Ben_Ralston says:

    Yes. We ARE love. Let go of all that we're not (just subconscious blockages related to survival instincts actually) and we become more loving, more lovable, more lovely 🙂

  7. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Love this so so much. Thank you Ben.

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Love. And, love the photo! Adorable.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  9. beansandsuds says:

    Love this, Ben! So simple. So spot-on. And so easy for us all to forget.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  10. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you again!

  11. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Beans 🙂

  12. trapsas1 says:

    An excellent reminder that happiness in life is so often connected with a simple approach to life. I think that by shedding the "coats" we layer on over the years–the ones that include past disappointments and unfulfilled expectations–we get to our real, true selves–a place from which we can find love and spread it to those around us. Thanks, Ben. ~Tom Rapsas

  13. Thanks, Ben. I always love reading your posts. Peace.

  14. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you!
    Peace 🙂

  15. […] We value personal growth and the many opportunities that the work environment provides for learning about ourselves, our […]

  16. Nadine says:

    SWEET!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Ben. More Love, Nadine!

  17. Joe Sparks says:

    Everyone around us is waiting , starved to hear this from you:" I love you. Let's you and I do things right."

    Thanks Ben.

  18. catnipkiss says:

    Glad this was re-posted. So simple, so true, so hard to find and keep a hold on….. – Alexa M.

  19. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you 🙂

  20. Becky says:

    I thought I 'got' this article after reading it the first time, but didn't deep-down-gut-level-get it. After more journey work, (what else to call it), I get it now. And it's a beautiful concept to reflect on, embrace and accept.

  21. Ben_Ralston says:

    Thank you Becky 🙂