Before diving in, you may want to read these two blog posts to better understand this one:
Some people who have a spiritual awakening can feel over-run by sensations, emotions, information, and well, just about everything for some time. The first set of questions goes something like:
“Is this it? Is this what being awake is all about?”
The next set usually goes something like:
“Why is this so intense? When will this be over?” So here we are to talk about how long a spiritual awakening can take and what you need need to consider in doing your part.
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Awakening Is Timeless, But You Live in a World of Time
It’s time for another reminder that spiritual awakening is a time-free event.
The awakened space of awareness Is.
The experience that someone calls a spiritual awakening usually happens in some instant of letting go. The rush of reality is surprising for many.
How that experience of reality is varies by person.
For some, the beauty and aliveness that comes to you is unparalleled.
For others, it is terrifying.
For yet others, it is deeply peaceful and neutral.
Why is it so unique and different for people?
It depends purely on how the ego interprets the experience. In fact, the ego typically misinterprets spiritual experiences A LOT.
Because the ego only operates in the language it knows. If you were suddenly thrust into Iran from Alabama and only knew English, how could you communicate with the new people? You couldn’t. And you’d probably try to use English until you learned Farsi. English wouldn’t work very well in connecting with the people.
Stepping outside of the ego and seeing reality is like that. We tend to make very poor understandings about what is going on as we try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Shocked by Awakening
For many, a spiritual awakening is like walking out of the darkness of a cave into broad daylight. We’re immediately blinded by the sun, and we go scrambling back towards the cave.
There is an adjustment time period to be able to handle this new way of seeing and interacting with the world. That’s just part of living in a body, and I don’t want to lead you on to think that there isn’t some level of inner work and self-care that goes with awakening.
There is a lot.
There is a lot because we are so attached to our illusions that we fight and deny what the sunlight reveals to us about ourselves.
And our most important realizations are about ourselves, not others.
There are more than a few people who confuse awakening as seeing problems in the world.
Human beings have been seeing problems in society and others for a long time. That’s not hard. It’s when you start to see the problems in your thinking, emotions, and behaviors that we’re in a whole other kind of territory.
Most people can’t handle that. Those that do start to go through a cycle of grieving that is part of many cycles of grieving ignorance, self-harm, poor actions, harm caused to others, and more.
Which is another reason people would rather run back into the darkness of ignorance rather than hang out in the sunlight of clarity. Few people can handle accepting how much pain they’ve caused to others.
Endlessly Yo-yoing in Denial and Repression
You can imagine what is setting up in terms of how long a spiritual awakening might take based on what I’ve written.
If every time a person comes back into conscious understanding, they then run back to their old unconscious patterns, then this is an endless frustrating loop. There is no time scale to resting in a natural state of awareness. They are yo-yoing back and forth.
This is important to point out.
A lot of people are hoping that they can wait it out. Or that everything will be done for them.
But you have to understand this:
Every day you get up and remember and reinforce your ego identity. Most of your ego identity is in the subconscious; if you don’t actively unlearn it, you will repeat it.
This is difficult to understand when we are too lost in the muck of unconscious thinking. Unfortunately, only the experience of releasing attachments and gaining greater perspective about oneself is the way to see this truth.
Only acceptance can help us break out of denial.
Breaking the Loops
Some of you may feel like an attachment or two breaks on its own after the initial awakening.
This is great!
But these are usually the attachments you are least invested in. They are the dead flowers of the weeds in your gardens. They were ready to drop off any way.
What can be surprising is that things like alcoholism and other addictions are in that category.
To the rest of society, beating an addiction is the top of the mountain.
Be we know better on the spiritual path.
We know that an addiction is an ego adaptation.
The addiction is a person’s attempt to feel better and deal with issues inside themselves that they don’t know how to address. So when the external world addiction to substances, fashion, work, adventures, media, and so forth fall off, we know we have to go deeper to find the original root cause. If not, the root cause will just create an addiction and other issues of a different kind in the external world.
In the experiences of transformation following an awakening, the deeper issues reveal themselves.
They pose a simple question:
Can you see and embrace this part of yourself too?
Stunned by the Pain You Live In
Many people are stunned by how much pain they’ve been accustomed to living in. After moving through the misunderstanding that awakening was doing something to you, you move into a time of realizing how much pain you have done to you.
And continue to do.
Now you’re going to have to get serious.
Everyone moves through different issues and ego attachments at different speeds and in different ways.
For one person, an issue around desire may be easier to heal than for another. You can’t think about how long something will last for you based on what worked with a friend or someone else.
You have to do the work, and then you allow the process based on your needs. That to me is part of the exhalation and inhalation–the contraction and expansion–of the spiritual awakening transformation.
Spiritual Expansions and Highs Normalize
Transformation is alive, and waking up is coming out of the numbness of ego patterns.
In contracted moments when you feel most small and upset, you are gifted with the opportunity to clear the issues that have brought you to that experience. As you do that and let go of the issues, your next expansion can be much broader and more stable because there’s less to pull you back down into the old attachment.
The less pain and fewer attachments you hold onto, the more spacious you tend to feel.
Until it normalizes.
Spaciousness and bliss and love are often experienced in light of having felt deeply tense, resentful, anxious, depressed, and so forth. But when things normalize, it’s just how you are.
Standing in a warm room is amazing after being outside in freezing temperatures.
After awhile, you simply are where you are.
False Hope and Spiritual Entitlement
What you can’t do is to just lie on the floor and hope it’ll all go away. There is a necessity for rest and so much self-care. You are like an infant after an awakening. You need to treat yourself that way and be careful with how you expend your time and efforts.
But if you think that just lying around and not doing anything will help you or is some kind of acceptance, you’re going to find out much to the opposite.
Truly an awakening doesn’t do anything. Seeing reality and un-numbing yourself to life are simply showing you the
pain you are already carrying.
You’ve got work to do.
However, the ego likes to look for an external tormentor, and people blame spiritual awakening all the time for the pain they feel.
The blame game.
One of the most basic ego tool ever.
That’s an endless loop. So is expecting it all to be done for you. The trap of spiritual entitlement is real–some people think the Divine is gifting them with something and will do everything for them. If anything is easy, consider that to be grace. The rest isn’t going so easily.
This leads a person into being dedicated to the process of clearing pain. It’s engaging with this process that makes things move along.
And acceptance. You have to accept the reality you live in and the patterns you create.
Denial is the show-stopper.
That can make people miserable for literally decades.
Yeah. People have shared their stories of having been miserable because of denial for that long.
So you have to do the work and learn how to release attachments, and this blog post can help you go further.
Not Getting Stuck on One Spiritual Tool
The most central tool is coming back to awareness.
We learn to observe the emotions, thoughts, and sensations from the neutrality of awareness.
From there, we figure out spiritual tools and tools in general that help us on this path. A career change or divorce is often a very complex spiritual tool that someone may use to work on self-worth issues or scarcity fears, but that doesn’t sound particularly spiritual, does it?
But then again, what is spirituality?
Spirituality is seeing reality.
Lots of different things can be spiritual tools at different times because the spiritual path embraces all of life!
Be cautious not to get stuck on one tool.
I see and hear a lot of people who try to meditate through everything. I don’t know what they’re expecting will happen.
It’s like trying to use a hammer for everything. It’s great for putting nails into wood or yanking nails out. But it can’t cut wood, drill holes, or paint the ceiling.
Yet, some people get stuck using inappropriate tools for a wide variety of situations.
For instance, if your job is now unbearable and doesn’t suit your financial needs anymore, you have to job-hunt and find a new one. You don’t meditate out of the job. You apply for jobs. You don’t have to find your ultimate ideal job; you probably just need a job to act as bridge to take care of finances while you figure out yourself through this process. But meditating hoping your work situation will change will not get you where you need to go.
Learning to Understand Your Own Shifts
One of the things that often surprises people is how attuned I am to my cycles and shifts. During the earlier years of transformation, I became very aware of the number of months and years in different big and smaller shifts in my life.
I encourage you to pay attention to yours.
You may start to see different patterns in the process of identifying, accepting, embracing, and releasing issues. Journaling helps to track some of this. You can also notice when you backslide, deny, and avoid. This can show you when and why things so slow down.
Throughout all of this I encourage
One thing at a time.
Spiritual Awakening and Continued Evolution
We aren’t static beings.
Just because we move through the big shifts initially after awakening doesn’t mean we’re going to become stone statues.
As initial shifts die down, we move with more acceptance into other levels of attachment and release. We resist issues less as they come up, so they process faster. They process faster because we no longer slow down the process.
Additionally, as we mature on this path, we become more at ease in the ocean of consciousness.
We have not landed on dry land.
Dry land was an illusion of the ego where you thought you could control everything.
When people ask about how long a spiritual awakening will take, this is typically the ego asking the question. It wants to go back to its normal story with its normal goals.
You don’t go back to the old way of acting after transformation. You don’t go to a better way.
You simply ARE.
In this way, true transformation doesn’t offer an answer to how long something will take because life is change. We’re always changing. Surrendering to the now shows us this.
In terms of resolving unresolved issues, yes, this does slow down and end. When an issue is gone, it’s gone. The time frames vary by issue. Someone with lots of trauma and resistance needs lots of support and lots of time. Someone with fewer issues and overall less resistance may move through things more quickly.
You are also learning how to surrender in daily life and not create new issues that need resolution later.
That’s a huge win-win that allows people to move more peacefully and with clarity throughout their lives without creating more emotional baggage.
And once you know how to transform, you aren’t concerned about being done with it. You’ve done it dozens or hundreds of times, so you know how things arise and pass. They move in different time lines, and you still continue to change.
In the end, you will forget that you wondered “how long a spiritual awakening would take?” You will simply say that you are here now.