Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment
Spiritual awakening is the state in which you gain a higher perspective and awareness about the happenings that occur in life. Spiritual awakening occurs differently from person to person and its occurrence can be sudden and dramatic or gradual and uneventful.
When it does occur, the spiritual awakening process starts from a state of cloudiness, characterized by a lack of awareness, to clarity in which spiritual growth and development are acknowledged and embraced.
What is a Spiritual Awakening?
Have you experienced being in a hopeless situation and then, suddenly, you get to see everything right in front of you? One example would be you are having difficulties paying a debt and just when all things are lost, you gain insight that allows you to see your problem more holistically and therefore come up with a solution to repay your debt.
Or, better yet, consider the situation where you experience the loss of a loved one. It seems like you are stuck in a hopeless situation because you relied on that person for guidance and, without them, you do not know what to do with your life.
Just when you thought that you would never recover from the loss, you gain the perspective to see the current situation in a much deeper way that would contribute to your eventual acceptance of the situation. These scenarios might have occurred to you at some point in your life and there is a name for such occurrences. They are called spiritual awakenings.
So Exactly What is a Spiritual Awakening?
A spiritual awakening is simply the state of gaining a higher perspective about the happenings that occur in your life. Such a state can also be referred to as spiritual ascension or spiritual enlightenment.
It is often the case that, as much as we try to hold firmly the reins that control our lives, there are events that we simply cannot control, and they just happen. Breakups, illnesses, and the death of loved ones are some of the things that we simply cannot avoid. When they do happen, you might get caught up in the situation and this sense of being caught up is what keeps you from rising above the situation and seeing it more clearly.
Spiritual awakening occurs when you get to the point where you see the situation holistically, noticing the subtle details that have gone unnoticed during your fixation with the tragic event. By gaining a higher perspective, the negative situation becomes an opportunity for spiritual growth, development and healing which leads to self-empowerment.
What is the reason behind spiritual awakenings? The reason behind them is the fact that human beings are composed of body and soul. The body is strongly connected to the material realm while the soul expands to the spiritual realm. Oftentimes, it seems as if the body and mind is in control because taking care of our bodily needs ensures our continued existence here on earth.
However, in truth, we are so much more than our bodies, our soul is the larger, more true aspect of who we are. When we encounter situations that overwhelms our body and mind the soul asserts itself and reminds us that we are not merely inhabitants of the material world but an aspect of us is eternally connected to the spiritual world. We are capable of things that exceed what the material world sets as our limits by virtue of our souls. Spiritual awakenings are how the soul asserts itself.
The Spiritual Awakening Process
What is the process of spiritual enlightenment? What kind of experiences would you likely undergo to be spiritually awakened? For most people, the spiritual awakening process starts with a relatively intense unwanted difficult situation. Such situations serve as catalysts for spiritual awakening because they cause a break in our everyday life.
There is no necessity for these situations to be dramatic or extreme. Losing your car keys, for example, or running late for work could serve as negative or unwanted situations. However, experience does tell us that those grave situations often create an urgency to change and they, in turn, become a catalyst for spiritual ascension.
If we are honest with ourselves, many of these dramatic situations often start as a soft whisper that has been ignored. If the inner guidance is ignored long enough it will get louder and louder until it turns into a bang.
For example, perhaps a person has had a gut feeling you should cut back on drinking, and ignoring it for months eventually led to getting a DUI. Chances are the person knew long before to cut back didn't and so it escalated and took this negative experience to force a reevaluation of life to make a change for the better. This proverbial rock bottom could serve as a catalyst for spiritual awakening. We do not need to be stabbed to know what pain is. A simple pinch would be enough.
Once we are caught up in a negative situation, an opportunity to start the spiritual awakening process is offered to us. The keyword here is opportunity. Unwanted and painful situations commonly assail us throughout the course of our lives. Some of them can be more serious than others but not all of them result in a spiritual awakening.
The reason for this is because we have free will of choice. We always have a choice of how we respond in any situation. Sometimes it may take things spiraling down out of control before we are willing to change our behavior or life situations. Fear of change can play a big role as to why people choose to stay in unwanted or unhealthy dynamics, therefore prolonging their spiritual awakening.
It often requires the pain of the situation to become larger than the fear of change. Releasing the need to control a situation and surrendering to “what is” is all part of the journey. When this desire for peace overrides the need to have things a certain way is the beginning of spiritual awakening.
Getting caught up in a misaligned situation is the first stage in the spiritual awakening process. What do you experience at this stage of the process? First, it is characterized by cloudiness or fogginess in which you do not have the slightest idea of what is happening to you.
At this stage, it is perfectly normal to lose your awareness of the situation because it is what it means to be caught up in it. For example, when you lose your car keys, it is easy for you to claim how absurd or ridiculous it is to lose such an important item. Or, better yet, when the news about getting laid off from work is brought to you for the first time, it is easy for you to find such a situation frustrating and hopeless.
When it finally sinks in, you could feel a myriad of emotions: anger, disappointment, anxiety, and a general sense of disorientation. You do not know what to do and it feels like the walls are closing in on you, trapping you within the hole you find yourself into.
Once you go through this initial stage in the spiritual awakening process, the second stage can occur and that is the heightening of your perspective. At this stage, your soul is trying to make itself known to you but if you get caught up in a negative perspective you may have trouble recognizing it at first.
It can take time for you to release yourself from the negative or hopeless perspective of the current situation that you find yourself in but when you start becoming aware of your soul's guidance things begin to shift. Your soul begins guiding urging you upwards so that you can see your situation for what it is.
When you reach the second stage in the spiritual awakening process, the last stage can occur and that is attaining spiritual awareness. At this stage, your body catches up on your soul and, in that instant, you gain spiritual awareness that allows you to see the situation from a higher vantage point.
From this new perspective you are more capable of resolving the unwanted situation so that you can begin the process of healing and open to resolutions.
Your soul guides you to see your situation for what it is, heightens your perspective, and your body catches up on that change of perspective where you are now able to do something. The spiritual awareness you gain from it depends on the amount of attention and care that you have spent on the situation as well as the amount of resistance you put up against it.
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Spiritual Awakening Signs
What are the spiritual awakening signs? Before we answer this question, it is important to highlight the core premise of spiritual awakening and that is the fact that human beings are composed of body and soul.
As stated previously, the body is of the material realm while the soul expands into the spiritual realm. Since the soul is of the spiritual realm, it has the capacity to contact spiritual beings.
Spiritual beings serve as guides for all human beings here on earth but, to those who have begun their journey of spiritual enlightenment, their guidance is much more clear and palpable.
Furthermore, there are a variety of spiritual beings to contact and ask for guidance. You connect directly with God, the Universe, the Divine creator of all that is. The Archangels and angels are also here to guide and support you as messengers of God. Your higher self is also a spiritual being since this is the part of you that is of the eternal spiritual realm.
There is no right or wrong way to ask for guidance, what matters is that you ask them for spiritual signs that you can easily understand, that will serve as guidance and validation that you are on the way to spiritual ascension.
The most obvious spiritual awakening signs are the feeling of disorientation and loss of awareness. Such feelings are encountered when we get caught up in a negative situation, the initial stage in the spiritual awakening process.
Then you move into new levels of peace and hope where you begin to become aware of the larger part of your soul self. Signs and synchronicity will follow to guide you through.
Why do these feelings serve as a spiritual awakening sign? First, they are how spiritual beings inform us of a profound change in our lives. If spiritual awakening does not change the way we live in a profound way, then what is the purpose of seeking it?
Second, they have a cleansing or purgative effect on us in the sense that they bring all our latent fears and unconscious blocks to the surface so that they can be released.
Being caught up in an unwanted situation, it is inevitable that we experience the feeling of disorientation and loss of awareness as something negative and there is nothing wrong with feeling this way initially.
However, they are not the only feelings that are brought up to the surface. Anger, resentment, and hopelessness are some of repressed emotions that can bubble up to the surface and be revealed in this manner.
These stuffed down emotions can be difficult to spot and lay dormant inside us. Bringing them onto the surface allows us to deal with them before they become a problem.
Once we acknowledge our feelings and release ourselves of the pain we are holding onto, you create more space for the positive emotions and experiences that bring peace, joy and sense of freedom.
Given the spiritual awakening signs, it must be stated that they can be overwhelming especially for those who undergo an intense life changing crisis for the first time. The feeling of losing one's bearings is an unpleasant experience but, if you aim to achieve spiritual enlightenment, then it can serve as a transformative stage in the enlightenment process.
What Happens During a Spiritual Awakening?
So far, I have only described what you go through before you attain spiritual awakening. What happens when you finally achieve spiritual ascension? First, you gain spiritual awareness that would enable you to overcome a negative or upsetting situation.
The feeling that best describes this state is clarity: the fogginess that clouds your awareness gives way to clear thoughts and insights.
Before attaining spiritual enlightenment, you cannot make heads or tails about your situation and it leaves you feeling stuck and helpless.
During spiritual awakening, you suddenly gain your bearings as if you can see your situation from a bird's-eye view.
Seeing the situation for what it is can be empowering since you now see the light at the end of the tunnel and know the steps to take , or in certain situations, it becomes an opportunity to improve yourself and others.
Second, achieving spiritual awakening empowers you to act which gives you some measure of control. When you get to see your problems for what they are, you get to let go of feeling powerlessness and instead you feel equipped to begin to take the steps to change your situation for the better.
For example, losing your job might not be such an overwhelming problem if you realize that this is an opportunity to try new things like start a business and be an entrepreneur or enter a new field of work, and so on. Such a realization gives you the power to decide and act in a way that would have been impossible before the spiritual ascension took place.
When we speak of spiritual awakening and the things we experience when we achieve it, it is more appropriate to speak of symptoms. There is nothing negative or scary about the term symptoms when describing what goes through a spiritual awakening since the word means an indication that a particular state is present in you.
Achieving spiritual awareness and the sense of self-empowerment that it gives you are symptoms of spiritual awakening not only because they indicate some spiritual change, but they are also palpable in the physical sense. During a spiritual awakening, healing occurs not only in a spiritual sense but physically as well and there are positive symptoms that indicate such healing such as better physical condition and a better sense of well-being.
Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening
What should you do once you achieve a spiritual awakening? The best thing to do is to cultivate it. Spiritual awakening does not happen only once but occurs constantly throughout our lifetime. The intensity of the awakening varies according to the situation that elicits it but there is one thing that is certain and that they contribute to your spiritual growth and development.
Spirituality is the term given to this process of cultivating your spiritual awakening so that they yield the best results for you. What does it mean to be spiritual? First, given that spirituality is the process of cultivating your spiritual awakening, being spiritual means being open to the situations that occur to you.
As I described earlier, facing a negative or unwanted situation and getting caught up in it can be overwhelming and unpleasant, but it is within this contrast of your experience that can serve as a catalyst that allows you to gain spiritual awareness and lead you to contacting the spiritual beings that guide you.
There is an element of surrender in such openness because you are relinquishing your need for control even for a short while.
Asking spiritual beings for guidance requires you to realize that not everything is within your control and you do not know everything that happens in your life, so it is okay to ask for help when things do not go your way.
Secondly, part of spirituality is seeing yourself grow and develop after facing hardships in life so part of what it means to be spiritual is to see some positive outcome when you finally overcome negative situations.
For example, finding your lost car keys prompts you to be responsible for your personal belongings. Or, better yet, losing your job will teach you the value of learning various skills and being self-reliant.
Growth occurs after these so called negative events but, to better capitalize on them, it is best to translate them to concrete action. In the case of the lost car keys, learning the value of responsibility should be translated into actions that showcase it such as keeping the car keys in a place that is both accessible and visible to you.
A similar thing can be said about the value of self-reliance and lifelong learning: always save money, learn some valuable skills, or learn financial literacy.
What being spiritual means here is that something positive came out of your struggles and hardships.
It has been shown that spirituality is the process of cultivating your spiritual awakening and what it means to be spiritual lies in being open to situations and seeing positive results. How do you cultivate your spiritual awakening? The simplest way of doing spirituality is to transform spiritual awareness into concrete actions and decisions.
It is often not enough to gain only a positive insight from a problem you faced since it can easily be forgotten if not committed into action. Doing and deciding something that reflects such a positive insight will not only last more than simply remembering it but also a way of integrating it into your life, showing that the person who came out of a negative situation has grown to be better than before.
In the end, spirituality is the process where you see yourself grow into a better person because you achieve spiritual awareness. Being spiritual means to open yourself to life and regardless of your life circumstances, you learn to rise like a phoenix from the ashes and come out of it better and stronger.