What is a spiritual awakening? The concept of spiritual awakenings is not new. For centuries people in different cultures and religions have believed that it is possible for humans to have an “awakening” that leads one to inner bliss or enlightenment with a renewed sense of connection to the world.
How to handle big feelings around spiritual awakenings
A spiritual awakening can feel very overwhelming and confusing; for many it triggers a fight or flight response. We may suddenly find ourselves trying to answer existential questions such as who am I and what is my purpose? We may feel like everything we thought about ourselves or the life we were building was based on a lie; leading us to feel disconnected and detached from friends or activities we no longer relate to. For this reason, it is natural to feel a little “alone” after a spiritual awakening. Many people feel like they are suddenly treading water as they grapple with all these new thoughts and feelings.
On the other hand, the awakening may be experienced as a rush of excitement as we see the world through a fresh new light. Over time, these big feelings must subside into acceptance and even surrender in order to realize a sense of calm and, hopefully, newfound happiness.
What is a spiritual awakening?
While some may go looking for a spiritual awakening and others experience one “spontaneously”, most people experience a spiritual awakening in the wake of a life changing event such as a:
· Breakup (divorce)
· New relationship
· Major financial loss
· Career change
· Life-altering accident or illness
· Quarter life or mid-life crisis
· Getting sober
Aside from a major life change, some people experience an existential crisis or feelings of emptiness that can lead them to seek change within themselves. Their journey may bring them to a spiritual awakening.
The stages of spiritual awakening
No matter how long or short your awakening may be, it comes in a series of stages; it isn’t a “one and done” process to spiritual enlightenment.
1. The spiritual awakening
It may come as a surprise, but the spiritual awakening itself is the first step on the path to enlightenment. It is the start of your spiritual journey. You feel like your mind has been blown with your newfound awareness that something isn’t quite right but you aren’t quite sure how to fix it.
2. The rough patch
The second stage to spiritual awakening is the “rough patch” you will experience as you grapple with letting go of old beliefs and the uncomfortable and lonely feeling that you no longer have anything in common with your friends or the life you thought you wanted.
3. Trying new things
When you are ready, you begin trying new things to create the new enlightened life you want to build. During this phase it is common to sign up for new activities such as yoga, learn about different religions, and seek out new friendships with people who align with your new world view.
Our culture is superficial, focused on financial and career success, fame, and outer beauty. It can come as quite the metaphorical smack across the face to realize that we have been deluding ourselves into thinking that we had our priorities straight. We must surrender to the truth: we have major issues to work through before we can see ourselves for who we truly are and be the best version of ourselves.
Only now that you have had your spiritual awakening, walked through the rough patch, tried out some new things and surrendered to what was holding you back are you able to reach your truth. In this space, you can live in service to others and truly feel a sense of inner peace and happiness.
Signs of a spiritual awakening
A spiritual awakening is a personal and subjective experience that affects people in different ways. Spirituality in and of itself, means different things to different people. In some cases, the awakening is gradual. In others it is sudden, spontaneous, or intentionally induced. Regardless of how it arrives, spiritual awakenings are known to be profound transformative experiences, impacting the way a person perceives and experiences the world.
Here are some effects that people may experience after spiritual awakening:
· A greater sense of empathy, compassion, and unconditional love for others
· Renewed faith alongside a rejection of religion
· A rejection of materialism
· Your intuitive abilities grow
· A whole new outlook on life
· You immediately sense when someone is disingenuous or trying to manipulate you
· You accept that it isn’t your job to change others
· You feel more connected to nature
· You are finally ready to shed bad habits
· A complete reevaluation of your beliefs and values
· A desire to start a new career path or make new friends
· Gaining the strength to end toxic relationships whether platonic, romantic, or familial
· More vivid dreams
· A sense of peace, bliss, or aliveness
· Newfound gratitude and awe
· A feeling of oneness with the world
· New understanding about spiritual truths
· A decreased desire for material things
· A deep inner understanding of one’s true nature
· Create a sense of transcending time and space
· Paranormal or telepathic experiences
· Increase in sensitivity to stimuli including light, color, touch, smells, and sounds
· Increased altruism, curiosity, and creativity
· A sense of a higher purpose and meaning in life
· A feeling of freedom from past limiting beliefs and attitudes
· A desire to serve humanity through volunteer work or other avenues
· A sense of optimism and increased resilience
How long does a spiritual awakening last?
While the peak duration of an awakening may be very brief, its effects are often long-lasting and permanent. When processed carefully, a spiritual awakening can lead to a whole new perspective and lease on life. Ideally, the person will continue to grow and learn over time now that they have been jolted out of their old way of deriving purpose and meaning.
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