The term “spiritual awakening” seems to be a new buzz word within the spiritual community, much like when kale made its appearance in the mainstream health and wellness section a few years ago. But do you truly know what the term means and how does it apply to you? Is it a mystical experience reserved for the psychic elite or is it just a fancy term for walking the spiritual path?
In this next blog series I will be exploring what spiritual awakening means, how you can identify a spiritual awakening and then we will delve deeper into the spiritual psyche through understanding the ego and what shadow work is and how they all link together.
We kick off this series with a run down on spiritual awakening and understanding the term and how it can mean many different things to different people depending on your personal experiences, the community you are within and what resonates for you. It is in fact this very journey that inspired the name of my business – because I wanted to help as many people as I could on their own journey to awakening to the divine spirit that is within us all.
Spiritual awakening can often be called “spiritual enlightenment”, “enlightenment”, “nirvana”, or simply “awakening”, though these terms are not the only ones out there. Depending on the community you are within they may all mean the same thing or they may all mean something different.
It can be hard to pin point just exactly what spiritual awakening is because these terms are widely used by many people. In many ways as the experience is such a personal and individualised one, only the individual can truly understand what it is to them.
When we think of enlightened or spiritually awakened people we may think of the “perfect” ones such as the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi or even Jesus and that in order to be classified as awakened we must be as perfect as these individuals when in fact the opposite is true. We can be awakened or enlightened and still have flaws.
We then come to understanding the difference between all of these terms and for the sake of this blog and my own personal views on this, I will explain it as follows: spiritual awakening is the first step and we can go through many different stages of awakening, enlightenment is in some ways the end result or the final destination, a particular level of realisation. So from here on in I will use the term awakened.
To put it simply, to “awaken” spiritually can be seen as the sudden (or in some cases not so sudden) expansion or shift in consciousness, that you are no longer living in a dream world so to speak and you are aware of something greater, bigger than yourself, the ego self (or the singular “I” identification) drifts away and your higher self begins to arise.
You see through the illusions of the world and see the emptiness in chasing the external calls for happiness that stem from the ego self, things such as money, fame or material satisfaction – this does not mean on the spiritual path you can no longer want these things, but you do so from a different perspective and understanding that they will not provide you the happiness or fulfilment you are seeking because what you are seeking only lies within.
You begin to question your old beliefs, habits and social conditionings and you begin to ask the deepest and most significant questions that the ego self was too scared to ask – questions like why am I here? Why do good people suffer? What is my purpose? And other questions that examine the fundamental nature of life itself. It is in a way, the shedding of old knowledge and conditioned beliefs and coming to the realisation that there is more to life than we have been taught.
So in this way we can see that the process of awakening is not about possessing knowledge or something ‘more’ than the “unawake” people – which sadly is so often seen within spiritual communities and it is worn like an elitist badge which in many ways means that the individual is still coming from a place of ego self and has much more awakening to do within themselves. To be awake is simply removing the shackles that keep you blind to what you already have within you.
This too means that the spiritual awakening cannot be defined by any one person for another – what is true for me may not be true for you and so on, due to the individual outlooks we have on life and it can happen at any time that is right for the individual. It is for this reason that I say when you believe you are experiencing an awakening yourself, seek as much knowledge from as many different people and take everything with a grain of salt because every person experiences it differently and if you find yourself being told that you are wrong or that it must be a particular way – run as far away as possible from that person because they are only going to make you feel more confused.
Often the awakening can happen either spontaneously such as through traumatic experiences though this does not mean you must have trauma in order to have an awakening, it can occur slowly and as a process through your own self-discovery.
Some things that are common no matter how the process starts for people is the feeling of being extremely lonely, alienated and lost, especially if you are around others who do not understand what you are going through. This is where finding communities can help in order to share experiences and have support from others because once you come out the other side it is an extremely rewarding path to walk and you will never stop learning. This is why I say you can have many different stages, because you never stop learning and as you become more equipped on your path, the more knowledge becomes available to you. The deeper you go into exploring yourself, the more stages of awakening you experience.
I want to finish with giving you a few examples of some well-known people who can be classified as awakened in order to show you that they are still human and still have flaws. You can look at people such as Oprah, Jim Carey, Russell Brand or Eckhart Tolle to name a few and you can perhaps read up on their journeys into becoming awakened to see what it was that pushed them into the world of the awakened.
In the next blog I will explore the common signs and symptoms you may experience during an awakening in order to help you navigate your way through this path and begin to make sense of it all.
Love and Light