A spiritual awakening is similar to maturing from childhood to adolescence and adulthood in that it’s often accompanied by growing pains, sadness, intense joy and newfound discoveries. An awakening occurs when we finally put away the labels, beliefs and ideas that have been programmed into us and wake up to the truth of who we are and all we’re capable of. Going through this is at once frightening and exhilarating, lonely and joyful. How do you know if you’re going through a spiritual awakening or just having quarter life or mid-life crisis? The awakening experience is accompanied by intense realizations about our soul purpose whereas a crisis moment is focused on the past, regret and fear of the future.

A spiritual awakening creates a “no turning back” point in our lives. Once we’ve awakened, there’s no way to return to the old you. It’s like a butterfly trying to fit back into the cocoon and rejoin her caterpillar friends. It just can’t happen. But as soon as she grows accustomed to her wings, she’ll discover that flying is much better than crawling. If you’re going through a spiritual awakening, the following are some tips to help you recognize the various emotions you may be experiencing now.

1. You question everything.

You will start examine what you’ve been taught to believe. This can feel isolating because it’s our beliefs that comfort us. But you will soon start to see that truth is much more comforting than illusions. Often it’s a period of loss or suffering that precipitates this questioning period. During this tender time, you don’t need to share all you’re questioning with others. Allow people to believe what they want to believe and leave it at that. But lean into your questions as you investigate, research and dive into your truth.

2. You need to understand your purpose.

Why am I here? This is one of the deepest questions an awakener must ask. Socrates would say we’re here to know ourselves. As you’re busy investigating what you believe versus what you now know to be true, take time to explore yourself. During this awakening, you will develop a hungry desire for a deeper understanding of who you are and why you’re here. Begin the “unlabeling process;” remove all labels we blanket ourselves in. If you aren’t a salesperson, a dad, a grandmother, a teacher, a volunteer, a sister or brother, who are you? As you find the courage to remove your labels, you will discover who you really are and during this solitary hero’s journey, the treasure you’ll find is your soul purpose.

3. You become more independent.

People who are waking up no longer feel the need to fit in and belong. This is not an overnight realization, so be gentle with yourself as you begin to understand that the very words “fitting in” connote feelings of being trapped, boxed in. You’re a free soul and have the divine right to think, feel and believe what you want. During this time, you may move away from groups or organizations that no longer matter to you. Again, the message here is patience. Be patient with yourself but also with those around you who may not understand why you’re changing and shifting.

4. Your friendships shift and change.

One of the hardest parts of going through a spiritual awakening is that many of our relationships begin to shift, change or even end. This can lead to feelings of loss, fear, and loneliness. Your friends may not understand this new you and will begin to question or challenge you. Don’t default to a defensive posture if this occurs. Everyone has a right to their opinion and when you defend your views, you’re only contributing to the dualistic divide from which you’re rising from. Listen to your friends. Hear their concerns. Meet them with compassion. Some of them will walk away but many will stay. You will also start to meet new friends who are in alignment with your awakening consciousness.

5. You lose interest in material things.

We all need to work and most of us enjoy shopping for new, shiny things. But as you go through your spiritual awakening, this will become less and less important. This is often called the “Minimalist Stage.” You may start to clear out your closets, donate old clothes, bikes and furniture. You start to see how little you really need in order to feel happy and present. Your goals may shift now from getting that new promotion or saving up for that new house to achieving inner joy or spending more time with loved ones and learning to live each day in gratitude and awareness.

6. You have intense joy followed by total loneliness.

This is one of the hardest stages of the spiritual awakening. As you start to see the world as connected and whole, you feel a sense of profound joy that we are eternal beings, that our energy is linked with all those around us, and that we can co-create with the Universe. But just as you’re settling into this ecstasy, you will be hit with a powerful sense of loneliness, possibly even a sense of futility. Feel your way through this up and down period. No emotion will last forever. You’re saying goodbye to aspects of yourself that no longer serve you. It’s very similar to the grief process. When you realize how most people no longer understand you or even support you in your awakening, you may feel isolated and think about going back to the “old you.” The message here is again one of patience. When the butterfly emerges from the cocoon, she’s not ready to fly. She must give her wings time to acclimate to the climate. Remind yourself during this stage “This too shall pass” and soon you’ll be soaring.

7. You feel compassion for all beings.

As you start to see, feel and sense the unified energy flowing through all living beings, you begin to feel love and compassion for all humans, animals and living things on our planet. This will alter the way you see the news, interact with those around you and how you treat animals and the planet. You may start to recycle more, pick up trash as you take your daily walk or even change your eating habits. As you reach this stage of compassion, much of the difficulties and sense of loneliness will start to dissipate. You will see yourself as a soul have a human experience. You will start to engage with others through an energy of love which will dramatically alter and enhance your interactions and all your experiences. You are now ready to fly.

The road we journey during this awakening time can often feel confusing and lonely, but as you continue forward, ever onward, you will soon discover that where you’re heading is a beautiful place of truth, authenticity and purpose. If we are all vibrating at our unique frequencies yet all connected by one universal energy, then by the very law of resonance, when one of us elevates our consciousness, we all move forward to higher states of awareness. As you wake up and turn your light on, the whole world gets brighter. Keep waking up. Be the light. Share your light.

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