If you’re wondering if you’re going through a spiritual awakening, you probably are.
It really is that simple.
But it is also intensely complex, so let’s break it down.
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What Is a Spiritual Awakening?
At first, my spiritual awakening was light and frothy and pretty and pink.
I really do wonder how many people go through the “positive vibes only!” spiritual awakening first.
Then there’s the knock down drag out no choice but to awaken or die resisting kind of spiritual awakening that we all, yes all of us, have to go through.
And it seems that some people skip right past positive vibes only and straight through the valley of death.
But what is a spiritual awakening, anyway?
Well, while it can take many forms, and arrives either gradually or suddenly, a spiritual awakening occurs when you are prepared to wake up out of your autopilot life and into the realization that all of “this” is an illusion.
“This” meaning the life we live, the stuff we buy, the bodies we inhabit, the trivial things we fight over and struggle for.
In the end, we are born, and we die, and we are the ones who make sense of what happens in between.
As Shakespeare says in The Tempest: “all the world is a stage and we are but players upon it.”
That is spiritual awakening. Waking up to the fact that you are the Universe having a human experience. That your life is both tiny and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and also intricately necessary and essential to the expansion of the Universe.
Considering that the Universe has a single purpose, a single drive, and it is to expand, and that everything you do in life is part of that expansion, yes. You are a contributor.
An essential one.
When you start to recognize that, you are likely entering a positive vibes only spiritual awakening.
Although you may have already been in the valley of death or going through it now as you realize the role you play.
What Spiritual Awakening Is Not
So let’s be clear here.
A spiritual awakening is not just struggle.
Many of us struggle in life, face challenges, overcome them, or not, and then move on.
We often shove our feelings down, push down the struggle, and then pretend like nothing happened, not really.
Which of course means we must cycle through that challenge again.
It is critical to understand here that we came into this life with a set of intentions.
We were in our spirit form, having lived hundreds, if not thousands of lives before this, and we have experienced so much, all in the interest of expansion.
In human form, our goal is joy, so we set the intentions for our next human experience based on what we want to learn how we hope to expand, knowing that, as a human, we will always be seeking a better feeling.
That is our number one drive as humans.
Think about it.
Everything you do in life, you do because you think it will make you feel better.
So then we get here, and we are conditioned by life.
We are born into circumstances determined by those intentions we set, and then it is our goal as spirits to reconnect with our higher selves, from which we have likely been cut off.
But most of us don’t make that connection.
We are conditioned by life to live on autopilot, playing out the same traumas and the same cycles over and over that we learned as children.
This struggle – be it addiction, anger, violence, betrayal, lying, cheating, deceiving, or simply sleepwalking through life pretending “everything is fine” – can ultimately trigger a spiritual awakening.
Because your spirit is constantly calling you to the light, to something higher, to a better life, and you grow increasingly comfortable because your human self, your ego, holds you hostage in this misery, comfortably numb with the devil you know.
So you end up in pain of one kind or another, and you either awaken to your spiritual purpose, or you slowly die a poisoned, brainwashed death.
Quite often, spiritual awakening comes as a result of that conflict, or misalignment, between spirit and human growing so intense that you end up with chronic pain, loss, cancer, or some other major illness or wakeup call.
But sometimes, we come to our spiritual awakening before a major climax like this, slowly and happily.
Positive Vibes Only
I call this slow, happy entrance into spiritual awakening “positive vibes only.”
You read Gabrielle Bernstein, you listen to Aubrey Marcus, you go to Burning Man, you rock out to EDM music, and you might even enter therapy.
You start to eat better, treat your body better, and form connections with others who are on the same journey.
It is a nice entry into a spiritual awakening as you get to acquire the tools necessary for what comes next.
For me, this positive vibes only phase was short lived, but some occupy that space for years, and some never even transcend it to the next, necessary phase for a full awakening.
The problem with positive vibes only is that you are not actually dealing with your crap, you are not doing the shadow work necessary to move through your awakening, and so you can never really help others because you know now what you speak of.
Most often, I notice with the positive vibes only crowd that they are shoving their darkness ever deeper.
I certainly was.
I had serious issues to deal with that I was not confronting, biting my tongue rather than fighting.
So every few months I would explode and then go back to being bright and happy.
It’s funny, too, because I had been warned.
I remember walking down the street on one of my long meanderings through my city, and I was listening to Rebecca Campbell’s Rise Sister Rise.
In this particular section of the book, she discusses spiritual awakening, and she says, very clearly, “when you tell the Universe you are ready, that you are willing to open up to your spiritual purpose, to take the spiritual path, watch out. All the blocks you have put up, all the walls you have erected, all the issues you have not dealt with in your life will come back up now and test your readiness.”
That is a true spiritual awakening.
When you can face all your demons with grace.
When you can, as Buddha did on his last night before total awakening, turn all the arrows aimed at you into roses.
We are all tested on the path to spiritual awakening, and I call this test the valley of death.
The Valley of Death
We all must walk through the valley of death on our path to enlightenment.
It is one of my favorite quotes, one from the bible, that says “and yea though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil for thou art with me.”
It feels like death is coming.
It feels like you are all alone.
It feels like it will never end.
It takes many forms for many people.
For me, I started gradually, continuing to shove down the parts of me I was unwilling to face, and then it exploded into my life in the form of panic attacks and a nervous breakdown.
I lost control of my body and my mind, feeling completely helpless, and thank the gods I had been practicing my spirituality for about 5 years when it hit me.
I saw all the doctors who ran all the tests, who all told me I was just fine. “A little low in Vitamin D.”
My story is a common one. And what happens so often is that people then just identify with a nervous disorder, an autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, and they live in their illness rather than moving through it and healing it.
“Yea though I walk through the valley of death.”
You might be in hell, but you are supposed to keep going.
Not sit in it.
And remember that you are not alone.
This is part of it.
Why does it have to be so painful?
Why do we have to walk through the valley of death?
Because we are conditioned our whole lives to shut down our spirituality, to separate “God” out there to something beyond us, to live this mindless, clueless, sleepwalking life.
And our subconscious will fight and fight our spirit to maintain a hold and keep us asleep.
Our subconscious has long been used to driving this human vessel, and it does not want to relinquish control.
It is up to us to keep walking, to heal ourselves, to not identify with illness but with our spirit, and to awaken.
Again and again.
And don’t worry. It gets easier each time.