There are many different ways to describe spiritual awakening, but at its core it is a shift in consciousness. You move away from being overcome by your thoughts and thinking of yourself as the embodiment of your thoughts, to understanding that you are the awareness behind your thoughts. This frees you from the weight of your internal monologue and allows you to comprehend your connection with the universe.
Those who have undergone or are undergoing a spiritual awakening report very similar symptoms in terms of the changes that they see within themselves.
The symptoms, as well as being signs that an awakening is taking place, can be actively pursued as a way of starting a spiritual awakening journey. There is a two-way relationship between awakening and its symptoms – the symptoms are both the cause and the effect of the awakening.
Below is a list of four of the most commonly reported symptoms of spiritual awakening, as well as thoughts on how you can use these symptoms to pursue your path to awakening.
1. Intensified Perception
Those undergoing a spiritual awakening perceive the world around them more intensely than other people, noticing details that others overlook, and appreciating them with a child-like wonder. The sights and smells of nature are particularly stimulating, and a changed perception of time is also common, with the past and future losing importance as the person becomes squarely focussed on the present.
You can pursue this intensified perception for yourself by actively making the choice to slow down and appreciate the things around you, especially in nature. Rather than rushing to work on the bus every morning, leave the house earlier to give yourself time for a leisurely walk through the park, and take time to notice the sights and smells around you, think about the feel of the grass beneath your feet and the softness of flower petals between your fingers. If you struggle to find the connection, think about learning about and trying Mindfulness, to help learn the art of focussing on the things around you and happening in the here and now.
2. Inner Quiet
Those undergoing spiritual awakening uniformly report experiencing a reduction in their inner noise. Usually our heads are full of thoughts and associations that only quieten with an external distraction. This can be all consuming and we often don’t realise how much these thoughts affect us. Often, we think that we are these thoughts, which can be a very negative feeling as many of our thoughts are extremely negative and unkind. Those undergoing a spiritual awakening start to recognise the emptiness of these thoughts and their lack of importance and pay them less heed, which starts to quieten the chatter.
It is possible to pursue this quietening through meditation, in which you actively note your thoughts and push them aside, recognising them as from separate to your consciousness. This can help break the hold that your thoughts have over you and stop you from identifying these thoughts as you.
3. Heightened Sense of Morality
As a person undergoing a spiritual awakening moves outside the noise of their inner world, they can see themselves as more connecting with the things happening around them. This often leads them to feel injustices more keenly than they did before, increasing their compassion and empathy. This differs from the empathy of many other people in that it is not limited to people with whom they share some kind of superficial similarity but extends indiscriminately.
To trigger this kind of empathy within yourself you can actively seek opportunities to volunteer and help others. The positive feeling you experience because of helping others will impel you to look for other opportunities to provide aid and increase your tendency to feel empathy and compassion.
4. Moments of Stillness
Most people live a life of hustle and bustle, filling every moment with people, activity, or even just stimuli like the latest programme on Netflix. This is often an effort to distract from inner turmoil or fill some void or feeling of emptiness. Those undergoing a spiritual awakening often no longer feel that this kind of constant stimulation is necessary and enjoy spending time by themselves, not necessarily doing anything. This also often manifests in them placing decreased importance of material possessions, because the person no longer feels like they need these things to express themselves of fill their lives.
To try and development this comfort with stillness in yourself, minimise the constant stimuli with which we are all bombarded. Limit you screen time both in terms of checking your social media on your phone and the amount of television that you watch. Also embark on a decluttering exercise, asking yourself for each thing why you have it and what it says about you, keeping only the things that you need or bring you joy.
While reaching spiritual awakening is a complex endeavour that cannot be forced if a person is not ready, by seeking to emulate its symptoms it is possible to put yourself on the path to awakening.
By James Hirlehey