In spiritual evolution terms, the rise from the lower to the higher, an increase of knowledge, awareness and further truths.
In order that we may experience growth, we have to suffer, endure privation, perhaps ill-health, or some crisis that will touch the soul, that spark of the divine, to begin to fan it into a beauteous flame. There is no other way, for it is only in darkness that we find light, in ignorance that we gain knowledge. Life must be a polarity (Yin and Yang), a duality, in which action and reaction are equal and opposite.
Past growth places a person in the position of choosing future growth. It can be delayed, but what is done at any moment is determined by the interplay of laws, each of which is automatic in its operation. Choices are determined by the way a consciousness responds at a particular stage of evolution. The soul, if it is aware of itself, chooses that which will advance its evolution.