This post has now undergone a dramatic renovation. Sure, I had a little bit of nostalgia for how I originally wrote this, but that isn’t the way I’d express things now. And I am always striving to be clear about spiritual awakening and the shifts associated with it

Misconstrued Healing Symptoms and Signs

Some of you know that I don’t like the term “symptoms” in relationship to awakening. It’s because that makes the awakening sound like a sickness. It’s not. You’re actually healing. You were sick. Here is a list of social symptoms that many people are healing from:

  • Greed
  • Fear of not having enough
  • Fear of being alone
  • Self-hate/lack of self-love
  • Sadness and despair
  • Hatred and discrimination of oneself and others

Humanity has been very sick and very much insane. If you’ve spent your whole life walking on a broken leg, you’re going to be in intense pain at times when you stop taking the painkillers that were numbing the pain. This is often blamed on “awakening,” but in truth, this is simply starting to see what is really going on.

Furthermore, all of our bodies and souls are very intelligent. They are all trying to heal anyway, so many people end up in deep healing processes. That’s wonderful to be healing! But just because you have some of the listed “signs” of awakening doesn’t mean you are awakening. However, I encourage you to embrace whatever shift is going on because you are going to feel so much better. And the identity that some egos are trying to create around “being awakened” just doesn’t matter.

Another Annoying List of Spiritual Awakening Signs

One last note, while people in healing, purification, and other spiritual shifts have many of the same “signs” of awakening, the big, big, BIG difference is energetic. I can really only say that it feels different to be around someone who is awakened. They also have an immense understanding of the importance of the internal world, i.e. they may want to help others around the world, but they don’t really want to “change” the world and make it the way their egos think it should be.

As for what I can put into words, the spiritual awakening is marked by these things:

  • Immense sense of love for all of life
  • Profound clarity and understanding of what is real and true
  • Profound sense of peace within yourself and with how the world is

Those are the two biggest signs of the awakening. Now here’s the long list of stuff that can also be evidence of healing as well of embodying/integrating the spiritual awakening awareness into your everyday life. Oftentimes, spiritual awakening involves a lot of deep healing because of the shift going inside. It can be like healing the broken leg and learning to do the 100M dash simultaneously. Pretty intense.

Here’s the aforementioned list:

  1. Fatigue, chronic fatigue, or exhaustion
  2. Increased sensitivity or hyper sensitivity to other people
  3. Increased sensitivity or hyper sensitivity to the local environment (city, home, etc.)
  4. Increased urges to connect deeply with others
  5. Appearances of profound soul connections to help you do what you are here to do (this may include soulmates, twin flames, your guides, and other helpers–Not all helpers bring easy lessons, however)
  6. Changes in diet, usually going towards vegetarianism, but doing whatever it is your body needs to have in a specific moment. It doesn’t get caught up in a diet identity (i.e. making yourself Vegan or Vegetarian)
  7. Changes in sleep patterns
  8. Changes in your body and exercise routines
  9. Surges of energy in your body that can feel like vibrations, heat, and so forth
  10. Unable to think in old thinking patterns
  11. Lost focus on the physical world (which means you’re very ungrounded)
  12. A tendency to go into solitude
  13. A tendency to get in touch with nature
  14. Emergence of spiritual and psychic gifts
  15. Body pain, tense, and occasional illness as old “density” or pain is shifted and cleared

There are plenty more. Everyone is healing and shifting in profound ways, so this isn’t a comprehensive list.

What Do All These Signs Mean?

For those that are in awakening, it doesn’t really mean much. All this list can do is encourage you to go within and pay attention to your needs. For those in healing or purification processes (which are equally beautiful), it also doesn’t really mean much. All you can do is go within and pay attention to your needs.

Do you notice a theme here?

The big thing is not getting caught up in ego identities. I see too much of that going on these days. Mainly, it’s happening to those who haven’t had a big awakening, but you know that wiley ego likes to try and hang around even after big awakenings. Which is why those who have awakened must learn to constantly smile at it and lovingly say, “I see you little one, and I know what you are up to.”

Reasons For Extended Solitude

Because everyone is different, these thoughts will strike each of you differently. Some people will only need a couple days of solitude because of their processes. Others may need years. I’m kind of in the “years” bucket. This definitely challenged my old ego self, especially since awakening made it so easy for me to connect with people.

Here are some other thoughts around why many of us choose solitude:

  1. Not many people understand the process, and it’s horribly frustrating to have to explain it to people again and again when you don’t fully understand it yourself.
  2. Opening up makes you extremely vulnerable on multiple levels. You can be taken advantage of by well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning people on every level.
  3. Some things need to be figured out in solitude without distractions and without having to worry about someone else.
  4. You need a lot of rest to integrate all the changes in your consciousness. This process is like having all your internal hardware ripped out, re-configured, and put back in. Lying on the ground may appear to others as doing nothing, but internally, it’s like running 4 marathons.
  5. Despite the high need for rest, exercise is hugely important. I’m talking yoga, walking, hiking, and conscious movement practices. Especially if you’re clearing some heavy issues out of yourself, this will help move it out of your body memories.

Eating and Your Body’s Demands

Since you’re tearing away the veils of “what you think is right for you” that you’d created or inherited from the expectations of your family, that will also include your eating habits. Suddenly, steak doesn’t sit well with you. Potato chips make you feel sick to your stomach, and you’re carrying around carrots and sugar snap peas in your bag everywhere you go (I know at least one person who is smiling about this line). You will need to experiment a lot and change your diet as needed to meet the changing needs of your body and soul.

Relationship Shifts

While your diet is undergoing a dramatic shift (there will be times when you eat hardly anything and times when you binge), you’re also trying to figure out who your friends are. Because your relationship to yourself is shifting, how you relate to other people is shifting. You’ll see everyone in a new light. It’s dramatic. You’ll find some people will now be drawn very closely to you, and you’ll find that you’ll have to let go of others. Some people do come back into your life later on, but there are never any guarantees.

Awareness Expanding

This is a super exciting time as well because you’re becoming extremely aware on multiple levels. This is a point where intuition sharpens, healing abilities appear, and all kinds of amazing gifts surface. As your old self breaks down, new things can arise and emerge on the surface. It’s so important to practice these gifts to hone them and to own them. It’s extremely helpful to make connections with other people who have this gifts or at least have the space and lack of judgment to let you practice them.

Building Spiritual Community

While I’ve mentioned the importance of being alone, it is extremely helpful to build a spiritual community around yourself. If you’re fortunate enough to already be immersed in one, then consider yourself extremely lucky. For me, I definitely had to hunt down a lot of people, and now, I have connections all over the country and globe. However, having people nearby was a huge help to me as I shifted.

It’s Not Personal, But It Is

It’s all very intensely personal. You’ll be so present at one time and so knocked out that you may find it difficult to function. Honestly, if my life path were different, I would have wanted to be in a monastery for the last three years. But it’s important that more people awaken within society and not be cloistered outside of it. So, I moved through it as best as I could.

And if you are in spiritual awakening, you will have to do the best you can and to simply be with what is. It is a beautiful, if not messy, process, but the feeling of freedom and being yourself is extraordinary. You’ll wonder how you could ever have lived any other way.


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. As I read your post, it feels as if I peer into you and see myself. From the shifting demands on body/mind/spirit, the detox periods, and the evolving relationships, I want you to know I'm right there with you. Thank you for sharing your insights and process. I see you, and honor your ongoing unfoldment and awakening.

  2. I definitely recognize these things happening in my life. It is very odd to have habits for so long and suddenly awaken (literally) one day and find it is no longer desirable. I'm also eagerly searching for new people to teach me things. People who are different then me and similar to me – but mostly different. It is a craving! Thank you for putting so many of these things into writing. I definitely need sign posts on this path 🙂

  3. I relate to the shift in my personal relationships and friendships as I grow and start to outgrow friends with whom I had so much in common with (past) but can no longer relate to (present).

  4. Most of our early relationships are karmic relationships. They show us our blindspots and places where we need to grow. As we address those issues and complete karmas, we release the relationship or complete it. This allows us to either create a new relationship with the other person if possible, or we attract new people in our lives for the next set of lessons. Ultimately, we grow until we find a place of our natural balance and harmony, and at that space, we are surrounded with those in a similar condition.

  5. Jim, you know I love what you write and what you do (how could it be otherwise?), but I have to ask a question that has been on my mind for many years: why is spiritual awakening or growth so often (and usually blithely) equated with non-meat-eating?

    It seems a blatant contradiction to at once recognize the oneness of all things and also to think that by eating just the one sort of things, we are not causing harm. My point is that if you recognize that a plant is exactly like an animal, but on a different time-scale, but hold that eating animal tissue is causing harm, then you would also hold that eating plant tissue is harm. It's the same. Whether it has a face that humans recognize as a face or not is a matter of definition and self-indulgence, really. It doesn't matter. Life feeds on life, and it's beautiful and tragic at the same time. This is accepting what is. When I look at my raw carrot and sugar snap peas, I have the same reverence and gratitude for them as for my dog and the chicken eggs and cow whose flesh feeds me, and my breastfeeding toddler, who- not meaning to be cheeky here- sees ME as her source of food. I will one day also be food for plants.

    I see wisdom in eating according to ones needs in the moment, which means that I eat a variety of things, but I don't pretend like at any point, my eating is not taking a life for the sake of sustaining this human body- whether plant or animal. It is. I take life, as a matter of course, and because of the organism that my human body is.

    For anyone who isn't convinced that plants are conscious and aware and acting with deliberate intention in this world, watch David Attenborough's The Private Life of Plants, with an eye toward discovering whether what I've written here is true. I see no difference between a cow and a carrot or me; we're all the same and all eating one another.

    This is at least worth discussing. Not eating meat is not indicative of a higher awareness or greater growth, even if varying ones diet to suit ones in-the-moment needs can be.

    The way that I ensure that my eating is causing the least harm and expressing the most love, is by participating in community-supported agriculture, raising my own plants and livestock, and buying locally, responsibly-tended and lovingly butchered animal carcasses. I don't pretend about any of it. It is how it is, and it wouldn't be "better" if I resisted that reality by causing my own human body to suffer for the sake of pretending that I can cause no harm by eating only vegetation. That human evolution includes meat-eating is uncontested both in obvious biological attributes, and in anthropological study. Looking outside the world of vegetable-eating special-interest groups reveals this to be the case. I had to do that, and found it to be abundantly evident when I was open to receiving the information as it is.

    Much love,

  6. Hi Imogen. It's always great to hear from you. I love your comment, and I hope plenty of people stop by and take the time to read it. It's like I mentioned in the blog–so many people get lost in the identity of being Vegetarian or Vegan or something else. It's become another way to consider themselves a do-gooder of some sort. But as you've pointed out, life and death are joined. I think that this is part of the core issue that's hiding out that no one wants to look at. All things will die in one way or another, but being conscious and humane is the key part of living in balance with this process and sustaining us. We can't stop animals from dying, and there's kind of this strange naievete around life and death that seems to hang around the ideas about being vegetarian. As with everything on the spiritual path, it's about "how" we do things. Are we humanely and mindfully raising animals and taking their life? Or are we abusing them at different points and mindlessly butchering them?

    But the truth of the matter is pretty much as you put it; to honor life and to honor the food we choose to nourish ourselves. There's a big difference between eating meat mindfully and eating meat because it's what we've always done with disregard to the animal.

    So, really what you are pointing out is this new ego game. It's part of a lot of new "spiritual" games people are playing to try and hide from the guilt and shame of having been part of a very destructive human race. But we can't get lost in these games. We simply have to keep going back to being loving and mindful, and in that space, we know what is right to nourish us in any given moment.

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