The awakening process for some is gradual with spikes of growth followed by plateaus of processing and integration. For others, it can be an abrupt and disorienting experience. Usually brought on by a life change, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or illness. Sometimes a person faces an unusual experience that cannot be explained by their current worldview, prompting them to explore others. In whatever way it presents itself, it is a journey towards more presence and meaning. Here are a few common conditions that accompany our awakening.
“Spiritual awakening – is becoming awake to the aliveness of this moment.”
Life Becomes Uncomfortable
There tends a be a general unraveling of the status quo right before a person accepts this conscious path. As mentioned, this can be brought on by an outward event or just a sense of decreasing satisfaction in the normal. Maybe the usual gossip or celebrity news that once was interesting has now become inane. Or perhaps a bad habit feels increasingly misaligned and is impossible to ignore. People, places or ideas become ill-fitting and we grow weary of trying to make them fit. This discomfort is just a signal of a readiness to grow and evolve beyond our current mode of being.
Exploring Purpose and Meaning
An awakening is really a destructive experience that is both spiritual and philosophical. We watch our illusions and identities fall away as we make space for new understandings. This dismantling leads us to explore some high-level questions about life. We ache for purpose and the meaning of existence and seek out tools and techniques that aid us in finding significance. This prompts us to begin a meditation or yoga practice or become voracious readers on all things spiritual. There is joy in the questioning itself not necessarily in finding all the answers.
“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.”
Witnessing Our Stories
An important piece in this process is learning the value of witnessing our stories and the stories of others. These are all the things we tell ourselves about who we are and how the world operates. We begin to understand through being present that our thoughts and emotions are not really who we are. They are data points, not our core essence or true nature. Sometimes this means we take a 30 000 foot view of the world and/or situation. Or do a deep inner excavation of our beliefs, expectations and ‘the shoulds’ that drive our behavior. Awakening is being able to witness the story without reacting from it. We do this, for example, by recognizing the way the Victim, Wounded Child or the Addict archetypes show up and dominate our thoughts. We understand that the stories we tell ourselves either empower us or keeps us stuck.
There is a certain re-framing of situations that happen as we move through this process. This is the movement from seeing life as happening to us, to being the co-creator of our lives. This doesn’t mean that unfortunate things won’t happen but how we respond to those circumstances is up to the individual. We also start to recognize our shadow side, the places where unresolved trauma and false beliefs rule our behavior. We learn not to see our shadow from a place of shame, guilt or fear but rather as an opportunity to be empowered. This means not putting other people in charge of our well-being or trying to control others through our wounds.
Having Unique Experiences
When we first start to notice the patterns and synchronicities that surround us, it can be a magical thing. We begin to see the divinity in things that used to go unnoticed. It could start as simple as someone recommending a new book and then hearing about that book several times over the next week. These synchronicities are like the universe’s breadcrumbs assisting us and acknowledging our conscious efforts.
Peak experiences are another example. They are moments of profound connection or unity to all that is. This could be the ‘aha’ moment where suddenly something makes total sense or the feeling of awe when looking over a valley from a mountain top. This can also be a feeling of bliss or ecstatic joy when we see or feel Truth. These experiences assist us in not only having an intellectual understanding but also move us into the experience of being alive in a dynamic, emergent universe.
“Your greatest awakening comes, when you are aware about your infinite nature.”
Wherever you are on your awakening journey, remember to be compassionate with yourself. This isn’t a race or a competition. It is an invitation to find passion, purpose, and meaning in our lives. A continuous and ever unfolding process connecting us to deeper truths. This path isn’t always easy or filled with joy. Some places are dark, messy and destructive, but it is a richer, fuller existence. For me, it is the stuff of life.