It is a sign of the times that the word ‘awakened’ has made it into the urban dictionary, where it is defined as ‘spiritual awareness of the universe and [of its] direct metaphysical connection to one’s being and the connection that it makes has all vitality.” It’s so widespread, in fact, that political candidate Marianne Williamson has turned part of her platform into a call for “moral and spiritual awakening.”
One of the problems with the idea of a spiritual Awakening, however, is that there is a lack of a clear definition. What exactly is a spiritual awakening, and is there a way you can tell if you have one?
According to Deepak Chopra, awakening takes place instead, when you no longer live in a dream world where you filter everything through your ego and focus on the future and the past. Instead, you have an almost simultaneous awareness of your individual self and the connection between it and everything else.
Take the metaphor of a wave in the ocean, for example. You are the wave and you are the ocean. The ability to maintain both separation and connection seems to point to a different level of spiritual development.
If you look at belief traditions, there is a common thread that identifies this state as nirvana describes , enlightenment or awakening. This awareness arises when you stop being the observer and instead ask yourself: Who is watching?
For example, think of being engrossed in a movie – your emotions and your physiology behave as if you were in space with Luke Skywalker or with Dorothy when she confronts the Wicked Witch. In that moment, the experience of the film feels real—your heart is racing, you’re excited, fearful, or hopeful. Then your phone rings or the person behind you coughs loudly and you are transported back to another reality: you are sitting in a cinema and sharing the experience of space travel or Yellow Brick Roads with others.
Examples of awakened people
If you ask him if he should think of awakened people, names like Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha and Jesus come to mind. Or maybe Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela. These inspirational numbers might lead you to believe that awakening is synonymous with perfection. If so, try to think of more relatable examples of people who are awake. It helps to see examples of people who at the same time have flaws but strive to live a good life while focusing on the greater good.
Here are a few:
- Russell Brand, who seems to use bathroom humor to model a strange contradiction between constant questioning and the pursuit of knowledge.
- Jim Carrey, whose comedic genius helped him see through the illusion of celebrity and to detach from any need for fame.
- Oprah Winfrey, who brought Eckhart Tolle to the masses and who uses her SuperSoul Sunday to bring enlightenment, but also a less enlightened fixation, to her millions of viewers on their weight.
People who have the role model of being spiritually awakened but not perfect are what it takes to make awakening feel possible.
Now that you have a few examples of awakened humans, let’s s Focus on how to tell if you are having an awakening or not. The following are 10 signs of spiritual awakening.
1. Watch Your 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. When these questions arise, it is like turning on a light in a previously dark room. If you are aware that you are witnessing your life, you may be wondering:
- Do I really have to drink that much?
- Why am I getting angry? so often?
- Why do I always compare myself to others?
- Why can’t I get out of bed when my alarm clock goes off?
- I really need to so much red meat in my diet?
- Why do I attract so much drama?
The first step in growth is always present moment awareness followed by an impulse to to change something.
2. Feeling connected
Connectedness comes from common humanity. This can happen when:
- You notice that you care about your community. This could include volunteering at your local food bank or clearing your neighbor’s sidewalk.
- You’re trying out the perspective of someone you previously perceived as different. You might start wondering why they wear a burqa or have tattoos instead of judging them.
- You have a heightened awareness of the creatures you share the planet with. Maybe you decide to stop eating meat, or you catch yourself catching flies and spiders instead of killing them.
- You have a connection to the planet. This can lead to the realization that littering, using plastics, or wasting food is no longer an acceptable personal practice.
3. Let go of attachments
Whether you are aware of it or not, you have attachments.Attachments are how you define yourself. You may define yourself by the car you drive, the shoes you wear, what you eat, who you hang out with, who you vote for, what you read and how you spend your money.
Think about your true self as your pulse. Over the years, you adopt beliefs or descriptions of yourself based on what your parents, your friends, the media, and even science tell you. Consider every belief a veil.
- I’m smart.
- I’m popular.
- I’m a cat lover.
- I’m vegan.
- I’m a yogi.
- I’m always late.
- I can’t eat gluten.
Each layer is another piece of fabric. Once you become aware of the veil, it becomes transparent. Still there, but you can see through it.
4. Finding Inner Peace
Think of inner peace as unshakable. This doesn’t mean that nothing goes wrong in your life, it just means that you don’t find yourself on an emotional roller coaster of anger, frustration or despair when things go badly.
The Dalai Lama describes inner Peace, like stubbing his toe – he’s still experiencing an emotional charge, but it’s fleeting. Inner peace is like a magnifying glass of positive emotions and a wet blanket over negative ones.
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5. Boost Your Intuition
Have you ever thought about an old high school friend only to bump into them in an airport the next day? Ever heard your phone ring and knew it was your mom before you looked? Have you ever felt an immediate and irrational dislike for someone, or felt like you already know someone when you first met them?
These are all signs of intuition. When thoughts, objects, and individuals all have energy, spiritually awakened people seem more apt to connect with that energy on a regular basis.
6. Having synchronicity
Similar to intuition, there is a sense that the universe is conspiring to make something happen. Your new neighbor has a San Diego license plate, and your barber mentions he was in San Diego just last weekend, then you turn on the TV and there’s a San Diego tourism commercial on. Some may call it coincidence, others believe these subtle signs are your guide.
I once signed up for a conference I wasn’t really sure I could afford, just one Connecting with two business leaders I’ve admired for years. Ultimately, this led to a fabulous new contract and some connections I would never have made if I hadn’t signed up. If a single action set off a chain of events that feels like destiny, you might just be awakening!
7. Increase your compassion
Empathy is your ability to feel what others are feeling in order to try a new perspective. Compassion is an action inspired by your empathy. It literally means “to pity”. People who are in the process of spiritual awakening begin to notice both a more all-encompassing empathy and a more action-oriented compassion that feels normal, natural, and fulfilling.
An area of compassion that is common Forgetting is self-compassion. According to Kristin Neff, self-compassion researcher, self-compassion has three main components:
- A sense of shared humanity
If you experience the above components, you are on the path to spiritual awakening.
8. Eliminating the Fear of Death
A wise teacher, Barry (Bears) Kaufman, once said that all fear is really a fear of death. All anxiety generally decreases as an individual becomes more alert. This may be due to the lack of binding. Your own death will seem 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 viewed as transcending a physical body, the loss of that body feels less tragic. Seeing death as inevitable, as part of your process, enables peace and eliminates fear.
9. Increase in authenticity
Awakening is accompanied by self-confidence and a deep sense of self-worth. Gone is the need to conform to cultural norms or remain politically correct. Instead, a genuine, complete sense of contentment with who you are and the choices you make prevails.
Although many awakened people are influencers, they do not aspire to have followers. People like Jay Shetty and Eckhart Tolle have a huge following because they appear in this world, not because they know some magical Instagram algorithm. The act of being herself is one of her most attractive qualities. With the realization that it is not their job to please others, avoid voicing unpopular opinions, or be gentle with the way others are feeling, an energy emerges that is attractive and feels safe.
Awakened people have a sense of well-being that seems more enduring.They know that there is a mind-body connection, which means that people who are happier are also healthier.
It is interesting to note that research in the field of positive psychology is growing in awakened persons is very similar. In positive psychology, the areas of the theoretical model of happiness called PERMA (positive emotions, commitment, relationships, meaning, and achievements) are all strengths of the awakened. Likewise, one researcher, Sonya Lyubomirsky, found a deep connection between happiness and success in multiple areas of life, including marriage, friendship, income, job performance, and health. In science, this is called blossoming.
Practices to Support Your Spiritual Awakening
For those of you reading this who feel like you have been given clues to an awakening , but want to open up Here are some suggested activities to maximize its potential:
- Spend time outdoors
- Connect with your community
- Practice gratitude
- Slow down
As Eckhart Tolle says, “You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” Spend time being yourself.
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