Spiritual Awakening: Meaning, Signs & Symptoms

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The spiritual journey is the true journey of life. It is always there, running through the ups and downs of our career trajectories, romantic relationships, friendships and family lives like a red thread.

Spiritual awakenings happen when people venture beyond the mundane and begin to question and explore what lies behind the surface of reality.

Spiritual awakening is about much more than cultivating a meditation practice or saying your affirmations.

Awakening to your spirituality is stepping into the full light of who you are meant to be. It is coming into yourself, your power and your purpose.

How deep does the rabbit hole go?

I like to use the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as an analogy for the spiritual awakening journey.

Alice leaves the comfortable humdrum of her mundane reality behind and follows the white rabbit down the hole. The white rabbit is a symbol of her soul yearning for adventure.

In Wonderland Alice discovers that there are more layers to reality than the ones that are visible from the surface. She has many incredible adventures, and she makes some interesting friends.

But it isn’t all tea parties and sunshine and in Wonderland. By the time Alice returns to the surface, her character has been tried and tested many times. She has had many insights about herself and about the true contents of her own character and soul. She has also run into a few scary dead ends and contended with a few unpleasant characters.

Spiritual awakening and discovery is much the same as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

As you make your journey beyond the confines of everyday reality, you, too, will learn much about yourself. You will be tested. You will make discoveries. You will have epiphanies. And you will eventually return to the surface completely changed and yet more truly yourself than you have ever been before.

The spiritual awakening process

Spiritual awakening happens in stages. Although these stages are not clearly defined and often overlap, there is nevertheless a chronological order to the spiritual awakening process.

Exploration

It all starts when you decide to follow the white rabbit down the hole.

In the preliminary stages of spiritual awakening, you will usually follow your curiosity and go where the urge to explore what hides behind the great curtain of life wants to take you. You may be someone who has always been curious and reached for insights beyond normal human experience. Alternatively, something may have ignited your desire to expand your awareness and understanding.

Either way, here you are. The beginning of the spiritual journey is truly exciting. You will feel a quickening of your energy as you begin to sense that reality goes much deeper than you had imagined.

You will likely encounter a number of teachers and guides. These could be spirit or human mentors. One of the things they will teach you is that not every spiritual teacher is a good teacher.

Epiphany

Next up is the breakthrough and breakdown stage.

When you start to intentionally explore, expand, question and go beyond your normal experience, naturally world will begin to shift and morph around you – your world expands and unfolds like Wonderland.

This is when you will experience real growth. This is also when you truly begin to trust in your intuition and the power of your own spirit. Some of the insights and experiences you will have are going to change your path forever.

This is also when you confront your shadow and the difficult emotions and limiting beliefs it holds. This is when you heal your complicated relationship with your body and decide to love and honour it.

This is when you discover your true purpose – which may not at all be the purpose you had imagined.

Enlightenment

This is when it all comes together.

This is when all the puzzle pieces fall into place – or they don’t, but you realise that that is okay, too.

This is when you are truly at a point of oneness with your inner spirituality, when all parts of you are aligned and congruous.. This is when the light comes in, not from without, but from within.

This is also when you realise that life after you have become enlightened looks a lot like like before it.

To use the analogy of Alice in Wonderland again, this is when you return to the surface world. You have changed and it has not. But because you have experienced this profound inner shift, everything is forever changed. Your world is still not perfect, but it has been bathed in light.

Common pitfalls on the spiritual journey

There are a number of common mistakes people tend to fall into as they make their journey to a higher form of consciousness. Here they are.

False prophets

From Jim Jones to spirt mediums making millions in modern-day Hollywood, false prophets have long existed in the spiritual arena.

The good news is that there really are people there who possess great wisdom and a well of experiences that may help you along your journe. The bad news is that not everyone donning saffron robes and calling themselves teachers, prophets or gurus are people you should pin your spiritual aspirations on.

Pick your teachers wisely. Always run everything past your own intuition – does this person, this place, this book feel right? If something feels off, if the energy is not right, back away from it. Never let anyone else, no matter their level of experience or perceived authority override what your own inner feeling is telling you.

Dogma

A primary point of spiritual awakening is to shed limiting beliefs and thought patterns, to shed dogma. The spiritual journey is about personal liberation, empowerment and healing. The very last thing the spiritual journey should lead us to is more rules and restrictions.

Sure, certain spiritual practices require a measure of discipline, but discipline is different from dogma. When you reach out for spiritual liberation and someone tries to give you dogma, run the other way.

The one true way

Everyone has their own journey to undertake and has to come to their spiritual awakening in their own time.

Not everyone shares this understanding. Some will tell you that there is only one correct way of doing spirituality – and of course it happens to be their way. This is not true.

Spiritual awakening is like the light coming through a prism – there are a multitude of colors and combinations and they are all beautiful.

As you embark on your spiritual awakening, remember that there isn’t a single soul in this universe that has a better understanding of the true nature of your spiritual journey than you do. Your spirit knows your way better than any other.

What induce a spiritual awakening?

Spiritual awakening is an active process – it is a journey you go on, not something you passively experience.

To become a student of your own spiritual nature requires no invitation – although you may receive one in the form of an unusual experience, an unexpected shift in awareness or a calling out from your soul.

If you haven’t received an invitation and still want to experience spiritual awakening and higher levels of consciousness, your desire is enough. The fact that you want to go on the journey is all the invitation you need.

A wake up call from the inner you

It is not rare for a serious wake up call to be the thing that brings someone to spirituality.

A close brush with death, a near death experience, a major health scare, these things can be enough to jolt the self out of its usual comfort zone.

Once we have experienced hanging over the edge and looking down into the abyss – or up into the light at the end of the tunnel – we cannot easily brush these experiences off and continue as we were before. Experiences like this rattle us to our core and shift us towards a broader awareness.

Some people swerve very close to the edge before they begin to work on healing their mind, their body and their soul. For others, it is the loss of someone they love that makes them desire to explore what is out there. It is far from unusual for spiritual awakening to be triggered by a major life crisis and by events beyond our control.

A fork in the road

Another typical trigger of spiritual awakening is encountering a fork in the road on your life path.

A crossroads is a liminal space where people are more likely to sense the stirrings of their inner self and start exploring or questioning things that would never even have crossed their mind before.

Curiosity

Never underestimate good old-fashioned curiosity.

For some people, being curious and hungry for all of the thrilling experience life may provide them with is simply a natural part of who they are. This has been the case in my personal experience.

Curiosity and the desire to go beyond normal experience and understanding can be enough to coax a spiritual seeker into unknown territory – curiosity is what made Alice follow the white rabbit.

What are the symptoms of a spiritual awakening?

The symptoms and signs of spiritual awakening are many and can vary in intensity, frequency and form from person to person.

Having said that, look out for these spiritual awakening signs and consider them direction posts on the road to higher awareness.

Amplified intuition

When your intuition keeps growing in strength and accuracy, it is a clear sign of spiritual awakening.

When your intuition expands, you begin to experience life with greater intensity and richer detail. Intuition is often referred to as a sixth sense, but what it really is is the super spectrum of our existing sense.

Greater intuition is one of the truly thrilling signs of spiritual awakening, because it instantly enriches our experience of life, and our self confidence. There is great peace and comfort to be found in the discovery that yes, we can rely on our own inner feelings to guide us. We don’t constantly have to second-guess ourselves or run everything past others, needing their opinion or approval before we can go ahead.

Synchronicity

Carl Jung coined the word synchronicity.

Synchronicity is when circumstances align as if by magic, and coincidences seem to be significantly connected without there being a discernible cause.

When synchronicity is at work in your life you may, for example, be wondering where you should travel to, and then keep seeing images of New Mexico everywhere you look, or overhear snippets of conversation where people mention New Mexico.

Experiencing synchronicity will get the feeling that the universe is communicating directly with you. Not only is this an awesome feeling to have, it is also one of the most typical spiritual awakening signs.

It is almost as if, when the universe notices that you have tuned in and are paying attention, shows its delight by speaking directly to you.

Signs, symbols, numbers

One of the ways in which the universe may communicate its messages to you is through the use of signs, symbols and numbers.

You may, for example, begin to see angel numbers everywhere you go. An angel number is an unusual number sequence, such as 222, appearing with unusual frequency.

Take note of all of these things. You may even want to start carrying a note book around with you, so that you can record each sign you are given. This is a way of telling both the outer universe and your own inner mind that you are plugged in and paying attention. Where attention goes, energy flows.

Flow

Flow has much in common with synchronicity, but where synchronicity is usually expressed in signs and circumstances outside of yourself, flow is a more personal experience.

When you are in flow you will find yourself effortlessly showing up in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, and coming across exactly the blog post you need to read, when you need to read it.

When you are in a flow state, you will also find it easy to focus and concentrate on the task at hand; you will find yourself finishing work tasks in half the time.

Flow is our most natural, unhurried and authentic state of being.

Shifts

There can be no consciousness awakening without profound shifts and changes happening in your life.

Spiritual growth can be ecstatic on some occasions and frightening on others. When vast energy is flowing through your life, it is bound to wash away some of the world you knew before.

When you are experiencing a spiritual awakening, there will be things in your life that you will have to let go of in order to keep growing and evolving. The experience of letting can be extremely frightening, especially if the ego has come to identify with some of the things you will have to let go of or go beyond.

Compassion

Another sign of spiritual awakening is increased compassion and empathy both for others and for yourself.

One of the symptoms of awakening spiritually is feeling a greater sense of connection with the universe at large and with the rest of humanity. You will begin to sense the energy and feelings of others much more keenly, and you will want to contribute to the healing and uplifting of humanity. You may decide to volunteer or get involved in helping people the around you more.

Another aspect of compassion that is less talked about but no less important is self compassion. Practicing self forgiveness, self healing and self care are very worthy spiritual endeavours. Your mind, body and soul are all part of who you are. Imbue them with love and positive energy, because without them there would be no voyage.

Peace

One of the main points of spiritual awakening is that it sets you free from limiting beliefs, self doubt, anger and resentment.

You will reach a point in your awakening journey where you begin to feel at peace with yourself. You will never be perfect, but you will be okay with that. Inner peace, the quietening of the inner voices of doubt, is one of the finest prizes you will uncover on your spiritual travels.

What does spiritual enlightenment feel like?

The feeling is very hard to describe, because there is nothing else like it.

It is reaching a state of total inner peace and clarity. It is a state of complete alignment and acceptance of all that you are. It is a feeling of total connectedness, a moment where no barriers exist between you and the rest of the universe.

The best metaphor I can offer is climbing a mountain, and suddenly realising you are at the peak and are looking out over everything. All of the clouds suddenly draw back and let the light come through full force.

Of course, the clouds don’t go away, they still exist and will soon drift back to where they were, partially covering your view. But you will still have seen what you have seen and experienced what you have experienced – the experience and its lingering effects will never go away.

Does spiritual awakening happen once and for all?

Spiritual awakening is not a flick of a switch. It doesn’t happen once and for all.

It is true that your mind, once expanded by new experiences and events, can never go back to its old dimensions.

But awakening is not a matter of taking just one step and then declaring yourself done. Spiritual awakening is an active process of ongoing exploration and discovery. It never ends. And although many consider becoming enlightened to be the ultimate prize, it is really just one moment, one note in the symphony of your spirituality.

How do I start being spiritual?

The first thing to understand when you want to embark on a process of awakening is that you are already spiritual. Becoming spiritual is merely awakening to that fact.

Your spirituality is the inner truth of who and what you are. You don’t have to go out and earn it, or take courses to obtain it. All you really need is your curiosity and your desire to explore the deeper layers of your own being and of the universe around you.

Spiritual awakening is merely the process of uncovering your true spirituality.

What is a spiritual awakening in recovery?

A near brush with death or disaster has a way of jolting our inner being awake, and so it is not unusual for people recovering from things like drug addiction and alcohol abuse to begin their awakening process.

Awakening is the ultimate form of self care as it requires a sense of dedication and deep inner exploration.

The impulse to be self destructive is lessened the more connected we become to our own inner self, our intuition and our soul. It is often this very disconnect and inability to hear and feel ourselves that causes addiction in the first place, as we try to fill the void.

Spiritual practices to help you awaken your spirit

There are a plethora of spiritual practices that can help you speed up and amplify your spiritual awakening. Here are a few ideas.

Lean into your intuition

While reading spiritual blogs or books is helpful and interesting, your spiritual journey has to be your own. Your own inner self knows exactly what it needs and wants in this lifetime -your job is to uncover and actualise it.

Start trusting your intuition more. We all possess a very refined inner awareness, but most of us are taught to suppress and override it during our upbringing.

Reawakening, honing and leaning into our intuition is the first step towards spiritual awakening.

Practice self love and care

Self care is an important aspect of the spiritual path.

Spending time in your own company and truly connecting with the contents of your heart and your mind centers you as you explore the spiritual realms.

There are many ways to show yourself love, compassion and attention. Regularly journalling about your dreams, desires, thoughts and experiences is a powerful way of being in close communion with your inner voice.

Consider creating an altar or other sacred space dedicated to your spiritual exploration and the manifestation of your desires. Having a dedicated space for the burning of incense or candles, for journalling, meditating or simply concentrating on your spiritual path is a powerful show of dedication to your personal spiritual evolution.

Meditate

Meditation is another important element of the spiritual path.

Cultivating a regular meditation practice and sitting with your feelings in meditation has a multitude of positive benefits, including increased inner calm and balance, reduced stress and anxiety, and direct access to the inner realms.

Ritualize

Finding or creating spiritual rituals that support your awakening can be a very empowering and exciting aspect of your spiritual travels. Customizing affirmations, spellcraft or meditations is satisfying and helps you find and cement your own path.

Spiritual tools that stimulate consciousness awakening

Awakening spiritually doesn’t require any tools or implements. Having said that, there are tools and implements that may amplify your desire and help you lift your spiritual vibration.

Crystals

Clear quartz

Clear quartz clears energetic pathways and opens your mind to receiving guidance from higher realms. Clear quartz amplifies and stores positive energy.

Selenite

Selenite is connected with the crown chakra and helps us tap into higher states of consciousness. It also helps purify and purge negative energies.

Shiva lingam

The Shiva lingam stone has long been believed to hold the wisdom and knowledge of the universe.

Essential oils

Frankincense

Frankincense banishes negative energy and clears the channels, allowing access to higher reams. Frankincense stimulates and assists the opening of the third eye, making it perfect for divination or vision work.

Sandalwood

Calming and centering, sandalwood encourages introspection and amplifies intuition, making it perfect for meditation and dream work.

Rosemary

Rosemary helps us reach deep within ourselves, uncovers hidden truths and helps us blast through blockages and limitation, making it ideal for shadow work and healing trauma.

Divination tools

Divination tools such as tarot cards, oracle cards or runes can be extremely helpful in helping you to strengthen and hone your intuitive powers. Practicing a form of divination teaches you to listen to your inner self and trust in its guidance.

Life after enlightenment

It is tempting to imagine the life that awaits after spiritual awakening as perfectly balanced, wholesome and happy.

This is not the case..

Being spiritually awake imbues your life with a special power, a special comfort, a special grace that not many have access to, and while this can help you weather many storms and improve your life journey in many ways, it is no guarantee of happiness everlasting.

No matter how enlightened we become, we are still human. The spiritual voyage should be undertaken for its own sake.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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