From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Spirituality means growing into the form of the divine ideal. It is the transformation of one's nature from human to divine. Spiritual aspirants can hope to achieve perfection only when they effect this transformation. It is purification and change of heart that makes dharana, concentration, and dhyana, meditation, possible. To grow in sattwa they must entirely destroy the negative side of their nature. Aspirants should never imagine for a moment that they are anywhere near the goal unless and until they strive with earnestness and diligence to rid themselves of negative tendencies and become established in a pure, ethical character.

Spiritual aspirants should remember this point clearly and know that this is what true spirituality is. They must fully realize the importance of becoming a changed individual ethically and morally. The danger of self-deception must be carefully avoided.

Regularity in sadhana is of paramount importance and on no account should sadhana be left or frequently changed. Aspirants should not imagine that they have scaled the heights of spirituality, but patiently wait for results.

Prayer is a means for self-culture. Without prayer spiritual aspirants do not have the strength to do sadhana entirely through self-effort. Self-effort is sustained by prayer, whereas without self-effort prayer is hollow and empty. It is like asking for one's wages without having done any work. Prayer and perseverance on the spiritual path is what is needed.

When the nature of the individual is changed, purified and prepared, divine grace will flow by itself and illumination will flash in the soul. Bliss or ananda will spontaneously fill them once they have emptied themselves of harshness, egoism, pride and passion. Divine perfection will be theirs.

Selfishness naturally creates discord, disharmony and destruction, whereas selflessness leads to perfect peace, harmony, progress and happiness. Where there is kindness, humility and purity, spirituality springs up, saintliness shines, divinity descends and the Divine manifests itself.