I sincerely believe that Eastern spirituality has much to offer humankind. I also truly believe, however, that whether we are aware of it or not, our thinking about spirituality has been highly influenced by the western world which seems to either emphasize the depravity of human beings from birth or totally disregards the need for personal transformation or change and stresses that faith is the only real prerequisite for salvation. It is all based on the notion that we humans inherit the mistakes of the very first parents of humanity and so we must work to overcome some basic deficiencies. It denies the fact that God created us humans in such a way that it requires us to learn by a method of trial and error. The first humans were not created perfect and, because of some mistake, caused all of us to be imperfect. We were created, according to Eastern spirituality, in such a manner that life allows us to grow. It suggests that God did know what He was doing when He created us with free will so that when we voluntarily embrace personal change and transformation, we may feel that we are cooperating with God.
God, in my understanding, is like good parents who supports their children in learning how to live a decent and good life. Good parents don’t try to force good behavior by the threat of punishment, realizing that this approach will never allow the child to internalize the reasons needed to support decent, right-living.
The Eastern Church espouses a spirituality which tells us that God created us as we are so that we can voluntarily embrace a program of personal transformation and, as a result, attain our greatest potential.
Theosis, the Eastern Church’s approach to spirituality, suggests that true spiritual growth is achieved when we fully realize that God is calling us to personal transformation and we, with His help, embrace this idea of personal change.
The personal change that we are called to integrate into our lives is a change in how we think and behave. It is based on a vision of our human condition and a God Who truly loves us.