For anyone new to my work, I have a narrow definition of spiritual awakening compared to the many and varied definitions floating around online.

I define a spiritual awakening as an internal realization of what is REAL that just won’t go away.

This leads to a time of internal deconstruction that seems to happen of its own accord as a person can no longer completely believe their own fictions–and the ego and its projections onto life are all fictions.

What Is a Spiritual Awakening?

So please use my definition to help you understand this and many other blog posts on this website.

Thus, what follows are 5 common misunderstandings about spiritual awakening.

1. Awakening Fixes All Your Problems


Oh, I needed a good laugh today.

No. Emphatically no. 

A spiritual awakening peels away your illusions to seeing life as it is. Do we often take the initiative to resolve self-created problems? You betcha. Does our awakening change other people’s attachments to creating suffering and problems for others? Nope.

And some difficulties that a person has are simply part of their life path. They don’t go away after awakening, but the person who matures learns to embrace them as part of their life.

2. Awakening Is the End of the Spiritual Path

For many people, they believe a spiritual awakening is a goal, and they are trying super hard to there. They generally that think happily ever after and a pot of gold are coming with awakening, which I’ll discuss more in number 3. This leads some seekers to doing a lot of crazy things to get “awakened,” but for the few who wake up their energy, they have a profound shock. They discover that awakening one’s energy is the beginning of the spiritual path. It’s the beginning of truly dissolving attachments and realizing spiritual freedom

Thus, people find out after awakening that they have far more inner work and unconscious attachments than they’d ever dreamed of having.

Awakening Is Only the Beginning

3. Awakening Gives You Everything You Want

Additionally, many people think that awakening gives them everything they want. They think a spiritual awakening will give them:

  • their soulmate
  • life purpose
  • the perfect spiritual community
  • lots of money (because of course someone is thinking this)
  • perfect kids, and so forth.

These are fairy tales. Awakening takes away things–namely illusions and attachments, and it helps us realize that nothing belongs to us.

Nothing Belongs to You

4. Awakening Means Always Being Positive and Peaceful

Spiritual awakening opens our eyes to reality, and reality equally embraces all kinds of pain and difficulty as it also embraces positive (whatever that means) and peaceful experiences.

Trying to force oneself into an idea and set of behaviors that are considered to be positive is a huge ego trap. However, that doesn’t mean we become mean. Awakening doesn’t make us choose one way to feel; it’s the ego that pulls a lot of the strings on our feelings. Awakening leads us to being free to feel and live more as we naturally are.

In short, awakening allows us to be with what Is. Usually as someone develops, they become more non-reactive, but that’s different that feeling peaceful as some of you have realized.

Finding Inner Peace (video)

5. Awakening Does Everything For You

No. Awakening is not your mother cleaning up all your messes.

A spiritual awakening is more like a light in the room showing you some of your mess. 

Why did I emphasize “some?” 

Because we’re not ready for all of our internal mess at the outset of awakening. We typically need time to learn how to surrender and clean up our inner mess before dealing with more difficult aspects of our internal attachments. In this way, we see how intelligent awakened energy is as it guides and helps us build up a kind of inner strength to handle more powerful emotions and sensations.

Laziness and a Wasted Spiritual Awakening

Plenty More Spiritual Misunderstandings

There are plenty more misunderstandings, but these are some of the biggest and most common in my experience. Hopefully, I’ve given you some insights and links to help you let go of your misconceptions and go further in dissolving your ego.

How to Let Go of Your Ego


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


  1. Amazing article, thank you for sharing! I am struggling with letting go of the desire to "achieve" awakening.

    It seems like the more I open myself up to the illusions and masks I have been carrying and the deeper I go into my shadow, the more I feel like I am dancing on the edge of a cliff, sometimes wanting to jump off. Also at times having a sense that embracing the darkness within is the only way to the light no matter how much shame my ego attaches too this internal journey.

  2. Just surrender to the present moment. The more the ego tries to do something, the more it misses the point. You are here now.

  3. Such an excellent and needed topic to be reminded of and spoken about. Keeping mindful that this process is a process and that it is not always as we thought it to be and that at times the relief we so hoped for may look different as well. Gassho.

  4. Hi, Jim.

    Thanks for your helpful resources in this blog. But – and this may sound funny, and on some level it is – I think reading about all of the scary and painful things that will happen on the spiritual path has itself been a big source of trauma for me. It's almost like I'm too paralyzed to begin to get to know myself, although on some level I know I want to. I fear that I won't be able to handle or stop something major that happens. I know that this is common, but for me it seems to be making so paralyzed I can't do anything, whether it be in my daily life or on the spiritual path. Any tips on getting past this stuck point?

  5. Let go of the future. Your ego is guessing what may happen. It wants certainty, but no certainty about the future can be given. Instead focus on surrendering to the present moment.

  6. Will Hardy Reply

    Lately I’ve been overly anxious like jittery inside my body, what does this mean, and is it a band thing?

    • It sounds like fear of some kind. Part of doing inner work is learning to observe it and breathe into it to help yourself see what memories or thoughts spontaneously arise while you try not to figure out anything.

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