I’ve spent a good deal of time talking about spiritual awakening, and it’s probably time to circle back to what that means again. I blogged about “What Is a Spiritual Awakening” some time ago, and my basic definition of awakening is that you realize what is real. You realize it on multiple levels–heart, body, mind, and subtle energy levels. The soul comes forward, and you’re irrevocably changed.
In general, I think everyone has spiritual openings every day, but they don’t stick and become that rolling swell of awakened energy that profoundly changes everything. These spiritual openings are those little moments of peace and clarity, and they often arise through surrender.
In letting go, we surrender to what is instead of always trying to manipulate, control, or direct what is before us in a vain attempt to get what we think we want. In those times, a spiritual opening becomes possible, and they give us glimpses into the awakened state of consciousness.
Ultimately, the awakened state of awareness is always right here in this moment. For some of you, that truth has come forth. Keep in mind, that most of us try to run back to the ego, which is why there is often so much pain and discomfort in most people’s initial awakening shift. Additionally, detoxing and healing can be a messy process. So while the following spiritual awakening signs sound simple (and they are), we often go through intense journeys to de-complicate our lives and bring our lives back right-side up.
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Spiritual Awakening Sign #1: Feeling Powerful Love
You feel love for everyone. You want to give love to everyone, and you feel like you can receive love from everyone. You feel like love itself.
This isn’t a sexual or romantic thing, although that’s certainly not precluded. However, it’s also not just an airy, platonic idea. You really feel love on multiple levels. Some of the people who come to me describe it as love just bursting out through their chests or like there’s all this energy running up and down their spines and through their bodies. It’s an intense thing to unlock the high voltage highway of love inside of us, and it really is unconditional. When you’re in the fullness of an awakened moment, you love everyone despite how awful someone may be towards you and others in the world.
Spiritual Awakening Sign #2: A Deep Sense of Calm, Peace, or Serenity
Another sign of a spiritual awakening can be a profound sense of calm or peace.
Often we move back and forth from this calm into the old fearful ego mind for a while, but as we continue to surrender the ego, the calmness grows. The inner waters that the ego has disturbed with fear, anger, shame, guilt, and so forth start settling down. Each time something gets agitated again, it becomes even easier to see what the ego attachment is as this inner peace expands.
With that peace comes greater clarity, which I mention next. In the combination of love, peace, and clarity, you begin to realize some of the depth of your errors as well as the expansiveness of your talents. This naturally encourages changes, which may seem to arise on their own (This is why you see so many long spiritual awakening symptoms lists about food changes, sensitivities, and so forth. These are secondary spiritual awakening signs–without the primary ones I’m listing, it may not actually be an awakening. It may be a spiritual opening or something else entirely).
Spiritual Awakening Sign #3: A Profound Sense of Clarity
Because the spiritual path is about realizing the truth, the arising of clarity will show people things they like and things their ego does not like. For instance, some of you may suddenly discover how poorly refined sugar makes you feel. You start to realize how consuming it is not in integrity with loving your body. You may realize issues in your relationships, career, local community, national community, and more.
Of course, you realize the beauty in life too. But in a true awakening, it’s not all beautiful. Typically, it’s in an spiritual opening where everything is only love and cherry blossoms. There’s also a lot of pain and suffering in the world, and opening to reality means seeing that suffering too.
But before you go on a crusade to save everyone, start by dealing with the suffering you notice in yourself.
Also, to deny this sense of clarity and what you realize about everything, tends to bring a great deal of confusion, apathy, and upset feelings. For more on that, you might check out this blog post:
Spiritual Awakening Sign #4: Loss of the Desire/Sense of Wholeness or Oneness
When most of the world is operating through the concept of needing external things to make us feel good, it can be quite shocking to suddenly need nothing. Some people go through intense phases of giving away lots of stuff because suddenly they realize how lots of things burden and clog up their lives.
This wholeness may be initially strange to some of you, but as you relax into this space, it simply feels good to not need anything and to get rid of things. To find all your love inside of you as well as discovering how enmeshed you are with the consciousness of the universe naturally dissolves away this illusion that you need relationships, jobs, vacations, and so forth to make you feel happy and whole.
Spiritual Awakening Sign #5: Abiding Awareness
Finally, the most important aspect of how I define spiritual awakening is that it abides. It is here 24/7. You can’t get away from it because it is you. Even if you try denying it, you can still feel that awareness alive and moving through you. For those who have profound spiritual openings, they can last a few hours, days, months, and even years!
But then the window closes. You’re right back where you were.
Now, make no mistake about it, we can do a lot to avoid embracing an awakening even as it is moving and abiding within us. To cling to illusions and lies when the truth is erupting brings all kinds of suffering. So I really don’t recommend it. And how do you think these lies will satisfy you after tasting the truth?
But truly we are a society lost in deep delusion, so this happens. All I can say is to encourage you once again to let go. Let go into the flood of love that’s unleashed. Engage with each dam that comes up to stop this flow, and trust the dissolving of that blockage. This awareness is here to stay, and with loving attention, it starts to grow and swell as your life is re-shaped.
Signs of a Dark Spiritual Awakening
I know this term sounds dramatic, but it seems fitting for one of the experiences people have when awakening. In this experience of awakening, the person doesn’t feel love, truth, bliss, clarity, wholeness, oneness, or any of the other really good things that are commonly associated with a spiritual awakening.
Instead, they wake up in darkness.
They drop directly into their pain without any bliss or beautiful realizations. The light may be on in the house, but there is so much trash and baggage on top of the person, they can’t see that light. They simply feel pain because that is the truth of their current human experience. As such, there’s really only one sign of a dark awakening and that’s:
- The energy abides and tends to relentlessly push up pain into the person’s awareness.
Now, it is important to test any assumption that you are going through a dark awakening and aren’t having a depressive episode or an unknown malady. Going to doctors can be useful, especially if you happen to have lots of physical pain. Intense, undiagnosable physical pain has been a common theme among the people whom I’ve known and who have had these dark awakenings. But the way to test if this is an awakening is to turn towards the spiritual path. Spiritual inner work, meditation, and other spiritual tools often have a remarkably strong influence on someone who is in this dark awakening because like any other kind of spiritual awakening, the awakened energy is moving you towards truth. Spiritual tools offer critical external support to help the person move though all the pain that is coming up and which the person has amassed–there’s no punishment here; this is just your years of collected pain. As you work through all the pain, the more common signs of spiritual awakening such as love, truth, and clarity then may arise.
Certainly, most everyone drops into their pain to heal it after awakening, but as I said, with a dark awakening, there’s no sign of light at first. You simply have to go into it and have faith in your own healing process.
A Comment About Increasing Sensitivities
For many of you, you’re being re-sensitized to life. I don’t list sensitivity as a primary sign of awakening because everyone experiences this differently. Many people shift naturally throughout their lives to greater levels of sensitivities, which has nothing to do with awakening as I’m discussing it.
Additionally, a lot of people are waking up to the reality that they have serious trauma or traumas. This has left them hyper-vigilant, which is often confused as highly sensitive. Surrendering to the need for trauma healing is critical.
However, for many in awakening, you’re feeling vulnerable to just about every issue that anyone is having in the room around you. This can make a lot of us reclusive, especially during the initial stages of awakening. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I encourage people to retreat to some place safe to work through their integration period so that they can handle themselves and process what they are discovering.
The Many, Many Secondary Awakening Signs and Symptoms
The spiritual awakening signs and symptoms everyone else likes to point out are often the results of the ego kicking and screaming its way out. They can only ever be attributed to a spiritual awakening when some (or all, but especially the last one) of the above mentioned spiritual awakening signs are present. Otherwise, you could be having some other physical or emotional ailment that has nothing to do with an awakening.
Additionally, this ego tantrum is showing you how divided you’ve been inside, and that’s exhausting. As such, many people experience that inner division as chronic fatigue. If you are still trying to eat an unhealthy diet after awakening, you are very likely to have food sensitivities. Before you were too numb and de-sensitized to notice that dairy was a problem. Now you can notice these issues via bloating, nausea, or some other uncomfortable feelings. This isn’t the spiritual awakening tormenting you; it’s you realizing how much gastrointestinal torment you have been in. This is actually great news because now you can make conscious choices to change and live healthier. When we can’t feel ourselves and what is right for us, we can really hurt ourselves. In this way, we all learn that ignorance is most definitely not bliss.
Letting Go of Temporary Bliss States
And speaking about the bliss state, well that comes and goes. Awakening is the stateless state. It is the canvas that holds all colors. So when bliss comes and then goes away, simply understand that this is how it is. Nothing has been lost. You are still the awareness you have always been.
This bliss experience isn’t something that everyone who awakens feels, and it is a byproduct of those aforementioned spiritual awakening signs. When we are at peace and connected to love, bliss tends to be the experience that likes to arise in those waters. When we inevitably start churning up unconsciousness and attend to the pain we’re carrying, the bliss state and the associated feelings will go away. It should never be confused as the state of awareness that you should always be experiencing. The human body is always shifting through different states of awareness.
The Ego That Won’t Go Away
The ego will keep coming back too. There are many aspects to it, and it’s rare that someone wakes up so totally and completely that it completely dissolves. In that way, I encourage you to stay engaged when you fall back into identity and preferences for how you think life should go. Your next phase of work is now opening up to you.
Elsewhere on this blog, I talk about the move from the unconscious ego to the conscious ego. All these signs and symptoms you are feeling are part of being able to see and understand the totality of yourself and your unconsciousness–at least as much as is humanly possible. When you are aware of your sensitivities, physical needs, and so forth, a conscious ego can sift through all this data to make correct choices. Consider the example about the bloating issue someone may discover during a spiritual awakening. Now that a dairy intolerance is no longer hidden (unconscious), you can make more conscious decisions about the foods you eat to live healthier. It’s really that simple.
For more on the ego, check out “The Return of the Ego.”
Spiritual Awakening: It Takes You Only to Reality
These are the five signs that come to mind, and ultimately, the path of awakening leads to spiritual freedom and reality and not any particular experience.
In freedom, we are now free from ego projections and false beliefs that inhibit how we interact with reality. This makes our actions wiser, usually more loving, and in an interesting way, efficient. It’s efficient because we no longer waste time and energy trying to make reality fit our illusions. And of course, we no longer suffer from the conflicts we create within ourselves and with others by trying to make reality and ourselves be something we’re not.
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If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts about spiritual awakening signs and symptoms, please enjoy the following two videos.