You may have heard about spiritual awakening and how it leads to enlightenment. Being an intangible and vague concept, it can give rise to numerous questions in your mind.
What does spiritual awakening actually mean? Is it something like being jolted out of your senses or “waking up”?
How does it happen or come about? What are the steps you need to take to reach there?
Is it a good and beneficial experience? Is the experience the same for everyone?
Where does it take us? What does it entail? How does it impact us?
The questions and doubts about spiritual awakening are endless.
Once upon a time, the spiritual awakening was sought and experienced by only the privileged few – saints, masters, thinkers, savants, and sages. Now, no more. Even regular people are seeking and attaining spiritual awakening today.
This article explores this topic and attempts to find answers to the common questions associated with spiritual awakening. It is important to understand the journey and the destination to reap rich rewards.
What is meant by spiritual awakening?
Spiritual awakening, as the name suggests, is the awakening of the soul or the spirit. Also known as enlightenment, nirvana, or bliss, this is a process of taking a step back, becoming aware of self and the world around, and waking up to a life with a new sense of being alive and present.
The experience of spiritual awakening is often described as the disappearance of the partition separating self from the Universe or the Supreme Being. It is the realization that no person can exist as an independent unit and that everything in this Universe is interconnected and intrinsically linked to the Universe itself.
First popularized in the Western world by psychiatrist Carl Jung, spiritual awakening is the process of heightened self-awareness or a higher state of consciousness. This is considered a vital step towards becoming a better human being.
What triggers spiritual awakening?
Any life process from mundane everyday events to life-changing experiences can lead to spiritual awakening. Major upheavals in life such as the loss of a loved one, life-altering accidents, loss of job, serious ailments, change in relationship status, or a shift in the home environment, can cause a spiritual awakening in a person.
However, the trigger can be as inconsequential as the chance reading of a book or meeting a person. These small events that can be termed as insignificant daily happenings can make a person look inward and search for the truth of the existence and purpose of life.
When confronted with questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” can lead to profound answers. This quest to find the true self can help in discovering the meaning of life and gain a spiritual perspective of the world.
This search takes you on a journey of self-discovery and ultimately guides and sets you on the path to a state of being spiritually awakened.
What are signs of spiritual awakening?
Irrespective of whether the spiritual awakening is brought on by your concerted action or happened on its own, the signs of being spiritually awakened are similar. You may notice these signs when it is about to happen as well.
Detachment or disconnection
A clear sign of awakening, the feeling of detachment from the people and events surrounding you can be confusing or even scary. Everything that you have held dear and close to you and the things that you believe to be true and indispensable seem as if they are no longer important, or true, or even vital to your existence.
The company of people you used to cherish and enjoy doesn’t matter anymore. The things you loved doing do not look appealing or engaging. Give yourself some time to get used to this strange feeling.
Every person accumulates beliefs over their lifetime based on their own life experiences as well as of others’. Often these beliefs are accepted without fact-checking and rarely revisited or analyzed for their truthfulness or accuracy.
When you go through the awakening experience, you are likely to review, analyze, discard, or alter old beliefs and/or acquire new ones. This can cause major changes in your life such as ending a relationship, leaving a job, or moving to another city in pursuit of better opportunities. As your likes and priorities undergo a major transformation, you may even start following a new religion that you find more compatible with your new beliefs.
Déjà vu and synchronicities
Maybe you wrote off this kind of happenings as coincidences but after the spiritual rebirth, you are aware of everything happening in your life and see them with clarity. You feel amazed by the frequency of synchronicities and déjà vu moments you come across in your everyday life.
This can be as simple as constantly thinking about someone and receiving a call or message from them immediately or meeting them out of the blue. Coming across angel numbers in your daily life is also a sign of being spiritually awakened. Déjà vu moments are also common consequences.
Shift in relationship
As you undergo such drastic changes at the most basic level, the people in your life may not understand the process and its significance to you. They may not be able to keep up with this change and may want to move away from you. This can result in a change in your relationship status.
Though you may not be aware of the transformative effect of spiritual awakening in you, people around you would look at you as a changed person. You may get comments such as “You are no longer the same person. I can’t recognize you anymore”. You cannot blame them. It is indeed true.
You may feel alienated and abandoned. You can try to impress upon them the significance of what you are going through and respect the change in you. You can even remind them that there is no need for them to change themselves but just accept the new version of you. Whether you will succeed in convincing is not predictable.
More signs that you are experiencing spiritual awakening or about to have one.
- Your life gains clarity and becomes colorful.
- You have vivid and meaningful dreams.
- You become more spiritual.
- Your intuitive abilities get better and more effective.
- You feel the urge to do your bit for society.
- You realize that everyone is on their unique path.
- You feel a sense of loneliness and less understood.
- Your daily routine and habits undergo revision.
- You sense an increased affinity towards nature.
- You experience heightened awareness and sharper senses.
- You have sleep disturbances, tiredness, and clouding of consciousness.
- Your outlooks and perspectives change.
- Your sense of empathy and compassion for others is heightened.
- You look at the world with wonder and curiosity.
- You feel that everything in the world has changed.
What are the stages of spiritual awakening?
The process of awakening is a long and arduous one that can be broken down into stages to give you an idea of the spiritual journey ahead. These stages help in identifying how far into the path you are and the steps you need to take to reach the desired destination.
The stages described here are just suggestive and not carved in stone. Each person goes through the process at his or her own pace in their way. Just because you are unable to follow the same path or maintain the same pace as others doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. The awakening process is meant to be an experience of self-discovery and self-realization and finding your path.
Stage 1: Confusion, frustration, and a desire for change
You feel miserable, worried, and dejected about life. You are unhappy about the present state of your life and feel concerned about where you are headed. You feel unconnected and unsupported by people close to you. You feel lost and as if your life is out of control.
You feel the urge for a change. You want to take charge of your life and bring it under control. You yearn for stability and purpose in life. You want to take responsibility for your happiness. You want to chart out your life’s path and take control of your destiny.
The frustration with the present and an intense desire for change triggers the hidden source of energy in you, providing you the strength and power to act on your urge and setting you on the path of awakening.
Stage 2: Beginning of transformation
You find yourself deluged in a rush of emotions associated with the life you have lived so far. You experience a sense of freedom, excitement, euphoria, and joy along with pain and heartache.
This combination of good and bad feelings coming together helps you look back at your life with more clarity and a new perspective. You begin to analyze and question your motives, actions, and decisions. This is the first step towards change.
Stage 3: Bewilderment, examination, and internal tug of war
As you reflect on your past life, put it under the scanner, and start examining it minutely, you will be confronted with a slew of conflicting emotions. This is bound to cause confusion and even fear. You will find yourself lost and unsure of how to go forward in life.
This is a phase you need to tread carefully. It is easy to take the safer and simpler route of going back to old ways and resisting the urge to transform. If you do that the loss is yours. This is the time for you to take a leap of faith and dive without hesitation into the unexplored depths.
Mustering the courage to take this leap is something that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. You need to overcome the internal turmoil and fear to go forward in your path of awakening.
Stage 4: Feeling alone, lost, and in the dark
As you shake off your doubts and leave behind your conflicting thoughts, you will find that life as you know it is starting to fall apart, leaving you lost, terrified, and all alone. As you look around you will find yourself in a deep, dark tunnel with not a single ray of light to show you the way forward.
Though terrifying, this is an inevitable process in the path of awakening. As you stand lonely and perplexed, all you can see is the dark side of the world. Everywhere there is sadness, misery, suffering, and degeneration, making you wonder how things have come to such a state.
You will feel depressed and troubled, wondering how you will fit into such a society. You would want to stay away and be on your own. This is the phase when you start questioning your purpose of existence and who you really are.
Your unsociable behavior would make people around you wonder what has come over you. This is something they may not be able to understand even if you try to explain. Often this is written off as a phase that you would get over in time.
Stage 5: A sliver of light at last
As you fumble your way forward in the long dark tunnel, you realize that there is no need for you to change the world. You just need to change yourself and this will naturally cause the world around you to change. This comes as a welcome step – the light at the end of the tunnel.
This realization helps you to reconnect with the world. You start believing that you are alive in this world for a reason; there is a definite purpose to your existence. Your perception of the world and the people in it undergoes a gradual transformation.
The feeling of reassurance helps you to focus on positive emotions such as love and gratitude. This is the phase when you may get interested in understanding more about spirituality and the role of metaphysics in life.
Stage 6: Changing beliefs and growth
At this stage, your innate psychic skills are sharpened and applied. Your intuitive abilities help you realize that none are superior or inferior but all are equals. You begin to notice synchronicities in everyday life that you failed to recognize before.
All these changes happening in your mindset point to the obvious – that your thoughts, feelings, and emotions shape your reality. And, by channeling your mind in the right direction, you can influence your reality. This realization produces a lasting impact on your life, gradually bringing in lifestyle changes.
Stage 7: Understanding truths about the Universe
One of the most profound realizations in this spiritual journey is the awareness that you are not living in the Universe but a part of it. As your consciousness grows, you recognize your undeniable connection with the Universe and the interconnectivity with everything in it.
As you gain more knowledge about the Universe, you get a deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the whole scheme of things.
Stage 8: Becoming One with the Universe
The big revelation that you are part of the Universe creates a strong bond within you. You start feeling one with the Universe and knowing the meaning of your existence. You are no longer confronted with questions like “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”. You find answers that help in enriching your lives.
You come to realize that not everything in the Universe is in black and white or in easy-to-understand tangible form. You understand the value and power of intention and energy and how to use them to improve your life.
It dawns on you that all you need to do to walk the path of higher purpose is to be your real, true self. And that this is the purpose of your life on the earth.
Stage 9: Realization of your true self
As you come to realize the need to live life by aligning with your true self, things start falling into place like a jigsaw puzzle. Your path and destiny are more lucid, ideas and inspirations are flowing, and your life is filled with joy, peace, abundance, and everything you have ever desired.
You find your life changed, along with the people around you. Your experiences start reflecting your present state of higher consciousness. You will still be facing difficulties and challenges in life but find yourself better prepared and equipped to handle them.
Stage 10: Acceptance and surrender
As you move ahead in life with the realization that you are one with the Universe, you learn when to surrender to the higher power and when to work in conjunction. The reassurance that unlimited energy is right there for you to access anytime and you will always have the guidance and unrelenting support can help you scale great heights in life.
Stage 11: Gratitude
As you begin to lead a life of happiness, contentment, and peace, you learn to appreciate the value of the life you have been given. You find yourself deluged in a feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to lead a meaningful life.
You use this feeling of gratitude to stay on the path and continue the good work.
Stage 12: Higher consciousness
As you walk your life with the realization that the Universe always has your back, your negative attributes vanish. You begin to radiate positive energy with unconditional love, compassion, and kindness for all fellow creations on the earth. You accept the truth that life is too short and every moment of it has to be lived to the full and enjoyed to the utmost.
You understand that the process of spiritual awakening is all about making life easier, simpler, happier, more peaceful, more secure, and more enjoyable.
The process of spiritual awakening may not be the same for everyone. For some, the stages as described above may not be distinct and identifiable. However, the flow of events happening during the process follows a similar pattern.
These stages may come in handy to find your bearings when you feel lost midway through the journey. Another way to look at it is that the stages of awakening bring some order in the chaos. It simplifies the steps and helps you understand the process.
In the excitement of undertaking the journey, do not lose sight of the fact that the whole process is meant to make life easier and not more complicated. Though the journey would bring some confusion and leave you disoriented in the initial stages, keep your head down and work through it to see the light and emerge enlightened.
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