The word “awakened” is in the urban dictionary: “spiritually aware of the universe and it's direct metaphysical connection to one’s own being and the connection it has to all life forces.”
It's the 12th Step of AA.
It is so mainstream that Marianne Williamson made part of her platform a call for “moral and spiritual awakening.”
One of the problems with the idea of a spiritual awakening, however, is the lack of a consistent clear definition.
What exactly is a spiritual awakening?
Is there a way to tell if you are experiencing your own spiritual awakening?
According to Deepak Chopra, awakening happens when you are no longer living in a dream world where you filter everything through your ego by obsessively focusing on the future hopes, worries, doubts and fears and the drama/trauma/good times of the past. The good and the bad.
Instead, you have a simultaneous awareness of your individual self and the connection between your awareness and everything else.
Take, for example, the metaphor of a wave in the ocean. You are the wave, and you are the ocean. The ability to maintain both connections seems to indicate a different level of spiritual evolution.
When you look across faith traditions, there is a common thread that describes this state as nirvana, enlightenment, annointed or awakening. This consciousness happens when you stop being the awareness, the witness or the observer, and instead you ask, Who is aware? Who is witnessing? Who is observing?
1. Observing Patterns:
One of the first signs of awakening is noticing. You may be going through life on autopilot without giving much thought to who you are, what you want, and why you are here. Having these questions pop up is like turning on a light in a previously dark room. If you are becoming aware that you are witnessing how you do life, you may be asking yourself:
The first step in growth is always the awareness of the present moment followed by an impulse to change something.
2. Feeling a Sense of Connection:
This can occur when:
3. Letting Go of Attachment:
Whether you are aware of it or not, you have attachments. Attachments are how you define yourself. You may define yourself by your financial status, your mental proficiency, your spiritual enlightenment, your hair, your clothes, the car you drive, the shoes you wear, what you eat, who you spend time with, who you vote for, what you read, and how you spend your money.
Over the years, we take on beliefs or descriptions about ourselves based on what our parents, friends, teachers, society, culture, books, the media, religion, and science tells us.
We can look at each belief as a veil.
Every layer is another thread creating the tapestry of our physical reality. Once we become aware of the veil, it becomes transparent. It is still there but we can see right through it.
4. Finding Inner Peace:
Think of inner peace as being in the eye of the storm, being in a state of Serenity regardless of circumstances and conditions. It doesn’t mean that things are static, it means that life moves and you aren’t trapped on an emotional roller coaster of anger, frustration, reaction, worry, doubt, fear, despair...
You know how to stop the roller coaster and get off, if you want to.
The Dalai Lama describes inner peace is solid even if he stubbs his toe—he still experiences the feeling and can even have an emotional charge, but it is fleeting. He responds and finds his center. Inner peace is developed through imagination and learning to live in the Alpha Brainwave pattern.
5. Increasing Your Intuition:
Have you ever thought of an old friend from high school only to run into them in an airport the next day?
Have you heard a voice, seen an image, felt a sense that was sending a message to you?
Have you ever heard your phone ring and known it was your mother before looking?
Have you ever felt an immediate dislike for someone or experienced a strong friendly feeling when first meeting someone you don't know?
These are all signs of intuition. If thoughts, objects, and individuals all have energy, spiritually awoken human beings seem more apt to connect with this energy on a regular basis.
6. Having Synchronicity:
Along the same lines as intuition, there is that feeling that the universe is conspiring to make something happen.
Your new neighbor has a San Diego license plate, and your barber mentions they were just in San Diego last weekend, then you turn on the TV and a San Diego tourism advertisement is playing.
Some might call this coincidence, but others believe that these subtle signs are guiding you.
7. Increasing Your Compassion:
Empathy is your ability to feel what others are feeling. Try on a new perspective. Compassion is an action that is inspired by your empathy. It literally means “to suffer with.”
People who are in the process of a spiritual awakening begin to notice both a more all-encompassing empathy and a more action-oriented compassion that feels normal, natural, and fulfilling.
One area of compassion that is often forgotten is self-compassion. According to Kristin Neff, self-compassion researcher, self-compassion is composed of three main components:
If you are experiencing the above components, you are on the path toward spiritual awakening.
8. Removing Fear of Death:
A wise teacher, Barry (Bears) Kaufman, once said that all fear is really a fear of death.
All fear decreases generally as an individual becomes more awakened. This might be due to the lack of attachment. Your own demise seems less tragic when you focus on living in the present and stop worrying so much about the future or regretting the past.
When consciousness is seen as transcending a physical body, the loss of this body feels less tragic. Seeing death as inevitable, as part of your process, allows for peace and removes fear.
9. Increasing Authenticity:
With an awakening comes confidence and a deep sense of self-worth. Gone is the need to conform to cultural norms or remain politically correct. Instead, a real complete sense of satisfaction with who you are and the choices you make abounds.
Although many awakened people are influencers, they don’t aspire to have followers. People like Jay Shetty and Eckhart Tolle have massive followings because of how they show up in this world, not because they know a magical Instagram algorithm.
The act of being themselves is one of their most appealing traits. With the recognition that it is not their job to please others, to avoid stating unpopular opinions, or to tread gently around the way others choose to feel comes an energy that is attractive and feels secure to be around.
Awakened people have a level of well-being that seems to be more consistent. You know that there is a mind-body connection, which translates to people who are happier are also healthier.
It is interesting to note that research in the field of positive psychology is very similar to studies of awakened individuals.
In positive psychology, the domains of the theoretical model of happiness called PERMA (positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments) are all strengths of the awakened.
Likewise, one researcher, Sonya Lyubomirsky, found a deep connection between happiness and success across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health. In science, this is known as flourishing.
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