Spiritual awakening is a lifelong process. I feel a mixture of laughter and sadness when I hear someone talking about becoming “enlightened” as if there is a stopping point on the spiritual path. Is the game of life ever finished? And then there are others who talk about getting a “wake-up call” from a brush with death, or coming face to face with some other hardship. Can inner awareness be turned on or off so readily? The phrasing spiritual awakening (with an “ing”) implies an ongoing progression – like slowly wakening from a sleepy weekend morning where there are no agendas that call you to spring out of bed.
Spiritual Awakening is awakening from the dream of thought. -Eckhart Tolle
Uh let’s see, does that mean if I go back to sleep right now, my thoughts will stop and I’ll be spiritually awake? Maybe it would be easier if I became a monk and could meditate 24/7? That would surely propel me along this process of spiritual awakening. What I really want is something a little more attainable within my everyday reality. I also want a path of spiritual awakening that includes things like schedules and family life and making a living.
Spiritual Awakening: Road to Inner Peace and Spiritual Fulfillment
First of all, I don’t believe in spiritual agendas or prescriptions. Of course, I can still intend to be more loving, peaceful, joyful, or compassionate since I am always in the process of expanding my consciousness. But trying to analyze and control the process of awakening to these things is like taming wild lions. Let the lions of love or joyfulness roar. Let the lions roam freely to devour all that isn’t the lion of wakefulness.
Secondly, if you have the persistent desire to be more at peace, for example, you will (eventually) find your inner peace. There is nothing that can stop the inevitable unfolding of your self-improvement. We are all moving toward growth and expansion into something greater that is the Source and Heart of all. Your “self” may sometimes step in the way, but that merely slows the pace of your spiritual growth. You must have confidence that you will become exactly who you came to this earth to be.
The main requirement for spiritual growth: A yearning to know who you really are. – Adyashanti
Sometimes your spiritual journey may seem to bring you more trouble instead of enlightenment – described by some mystics as the “dark night of the soul.” Many spiritual masters have experienced this dark before the dawn on their spiritual path. In my experience, these difficult times have much to say about my perceptions of dark vs. light. It shows me my limiting beliefs which tend to blind my eyes to the many gifts held within the dark of the unknown. Feeling the insecurity or abandonment in the darkness is directly connected to my desire and expectation that my spiritual awakening “should” look or feel better than it does. This shows me my reliance on something other than myself to provide me with better feelings. If what you want from your spiritual quest is to simply feel better right now, then it is entirely up to your own choosing.
4 Ways to Nurture your Spiritual Awakening
Practicing these can reduce your attraction to life-altering “wake-up calls” and ease the “dark night of the soul.” There are no complicated or rigorous steps here that can’t be experienced within the regular routines of life. There are no pre-requisites to your spiritual awakening.
- Practice letting goes of the need to control or to think your way through your awakening process. It is nearly impossible to THINK your way out of your problems. The urge to control is a sign of resistance. Letting go of your attachments allows room for increased awareness to develop at a relaxed yet compelling pace.
- Take a persistent and inspired approach to your spiritual development. Persistency simply means that you are willing to pick up again wherever you left off. This helps you to feel a wave of inner peace and calm, knowing that your spiritual awakening will happen at its own perfect pace. Trust your process because you are never truly “asleep.”
- Be open to all the gentle abrasions and nudges that naturally come your way. Everyday life is the perfect teacher. Use the everyday bumps as signs of your resistance, and reminders for you to listen and respond to the quiet voice of the Spirit within.
- Meditate to free your mind from the endless cycle of thoughts that only seek the end result. Meditation is not just sitting silently in the lotus position waiting for inner peace and enlightenment. Take advantage of the numerous moments of potential quiet throughout the day. The majority of thoughts that circle through my head on a daily basis are not necessary to my functioning or well-being. Excessive thinking is a habit, not a requirement. Spiritual awakening to greater levels of conscious awareness is a process to enjoy, not an item on a “to-do” list.
There is nothing you can force to happen on the spiritual path. Rather it is a persistent but often subtle intention to direct your attention towards greater consciousness in all that you do throughout your day. The path of spiritual awakening is full of opportunities to experience greater love, joy, and peace; but those things are not the end of the path. I’ll let you know when I get there if I can, but for now, I’ll simply practice enjoying the journey, letting go of my ego, and seeing “that of God” in all.