Describing the indefinable is difficult, something you’ll quickly recognise if you start to research the spiritual awakening process. Different authors even have different opinions about how many stages of spiritual awakening there are and even those who agree on the numbers will have slightly differing opinions on what’s involved with each stage!
In truth, there can be few defined and concrete answers about a process that’s different for every unique individual. There are some common themes however, so it’s perfectly possible to define at least 10 common signs of spiritual awakening, to understand a bit about how to become spiritually awakened if that’s something you’re seeking, and to put your present stage of spiritual development into context.
Common Signs of Spiritual Awakening
Discontent – A sense of discontent with your current life is often a sign that you’re ready to progress with your spiritual growth. Unhappiness with your current circumstances can be recognised both as a sign of, and as a stage of spiritual awakening.
Intense emotions – Of both the positive and negative variety, feeling happy, sad, tearful, fearful or elated. Sometimes all at once.
Physical discomfort – Aches, pains, minor ailments. It’s as if your body is trying to tell you that the life you’re living just doesn’t fit you anymore
Developing an intense thirst for spiritual knowledge – Exploring different religions, reading, attending seminars, and generally becoming ‘a seeker’
Changes in relationships – Seeking out other individuals who’re interested in spiritual growth
Other changes in relationships – Finding superficial friendships unfulfilling, realising that you’re surrounded by people you have little in common with
An increase in empathy – A greater ability to see things from another person’s perspective and to pick up on the emotions of others
Becoming more aware of your path in life – Recognising that things that look like coincidence might be inviting you to move in a new direction
Increased intuition – You may notice that your hunches are paying off, that you’re able to see how situations will play out or how people will behave
A desire to travel to sacred places or participate in sacred rituals – Some people take up yoga or meditation, others are drawn towards an ayahuasca retreat for spiritual development. There’s no one right way when you’re looking at how to achieve spiritual awakening.
These are just some of the common manifestations of various stages of spiritual awakening, you may experience some of them, most of them, or different signs that are unique to you.
What’s Happening and Why?
Defining exactly what is a spiritual awakening can be tricky. For most individuals, it’s a recognition that they have a unique place within the wonderful web of interconnected life found in our universe. As the process progresses. It’s common for people to report a sense that they’re developing a direct and personal relationship with the divine.
Another question often asked is why does spiritual awakening happen? Great mystics maintain that we’re all spiritual beings but that some of us are more willing to accept our connection with the divine than others. If you’re currently wondering how to have a spiritual awakening, it’s probably at least in part because you’re ready to grow. The process can start almost without your control, then it’s up to you to decide if it’s the right time for you to pitch in and help the process or not.
Stages in Spiritual Development
Despondency – Feeling lost with no sense of purpose but an immense amount of frustration. The universe is giving you a wake-up call, the question is are you ready to answer?
A momentary enlightenment – You experience a sense of bliss, euphoria and freedom, but there is also pain and fear. Some people describe this as being like a peek behind the curtain. There’s a sense that there’s a world of new possibilities, but you can’t fully connect with it just yet.
Resistance – You’re pulled toward the new you, but the implications are scary. Your beliefs, the way you have lived your life, all start to feel meaningless or mistaken, but the implications of change are frightening.
The dark night of the soul – You look around at the world and you’re overwhelmed by all the misery you see. How can you begin to change this? You feel alone and lost and start to question your very identity.
Acceptance – A realisation that you don’t need to change the world, just your perspective on it. It’s not your job to make everything right.
A sense of connection – You start to see yourself and everything around you as part of a complex and interconnected universe.
Conscious alignment with your higher self – As you gain a stronger sense of who you are and what your higher purpose in this life is, you make conscious choices to live in a way that reflects your divine self
Creativity – Becoming more in tune with the divine you experience a flow of new ideas. If your daily occupation is aligned with your higher self this will be the most fruitful, productive and exciting stage of your career.
You hand your power over to the divine – Your faith expands and you realise that the more you surrender your ego and expectations the happier and more productive you become.
You experience and are able to share unconditional love – You accept that this life is temporary yet you feel more secure and peaceful than you’ve ever been. You realise that your overwhelming purpose is to help make the universe a more loving and joyful place. You just have to find the best way of doing that.
Does this mean you’re now an enlightened being?
Maybe, but probably not! This really relates to the question of how long does a spiritual awakening last? Some few, fortunate beings are able to achieve a higher consciousness and stay there. Most of us mere mortals slip back, getting caught up in daily life, concerns and trivial worries all over again. That’s OK. Spiritual development is a cycle, not a ladder. Having achieved a spiritual awakening once, the memory of how it felt will stay with you and the more often you travel the paths the easier and more familiar they become.