Quick: when you think of spiritual awakening, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Is it seeing the face of God?
Feeling your third eye open?
Or do you think “whatever it is, I have no idea, and it sure isn’t happening to me.”
We see the term “spiritual awakening” thrown around so much that the term itself has been watered down to the point where it’s hard to even understand what a true spiritual awakening is.
I just completed a spiritual journey with contemporary shaman Rudá Iandê, called Out Of The Box. In this journey, Rudá guided me on a 16-week journey to meet my true self, reclaim my power, dream my life, and make my visions a reality.
Was it a spiritual awakening? Could it give you a spiritual awakening?
Let’s take a look!
What is spiritual awakening?
Great question. As said, it feels like everyone is promoting spiritual awakening to the point it feels like something you can order up on a coffee shop menu.
The reality is a lot more complicated.
The easiest way to sum up a spiritual awakening is to say it’s an experience where we transcend ourselves to connect to the universe in a profound manner.
How that happens can vary.
A spiritual awakening can be defined as a “complete dissolution of one’s identity as a separate self with no trace of the egoistic mind remaining.”
We also call this “ego death.” Death? Yikes.
And like “death,” ego dissolution is not something to be taken lightly. Ego Death and spiritual awakening can be painful experiences. Think of it like a caterpillar going through metamorphosis into a butterfly. Dissolution must happen before the rebuilding.
Others say that ego death is not necessary to achieve awakening. For others, it’s about opening up your already awakened mind to deeper levels of consciousness.
No matter how you choose to define it, spiritual awakening is something a lot of people spend a lifetime searching for. Whether it be a search for meaning, a way to achieve ultimate happiness or even a way to elevate oneself from this material existence.
Your reasons don’t really matter much. It’s your openness to experience a spiritual awakening that makes the difference.
What happens during a spiritual awakening?
During a spiritual awakening, our ego begins to dissolve under the power of our spirit.
This means that our ego (the I-ness, the source fo our consciousness being directed around our single awareness) becomes subservient to our spirit — our heart’s connection to the interconnected universe.
This, contrary to popular belief, is not a one-time event. Rather, it is a continual journey that may be marked by specific peaks and valleys along the way.
Interested in embarking upon your own journey to spiritual enlightenment? Ruda Iande’s Out Of The Box is a remarkable, introspective journey into our own souls and bodies. I found it profoundly moving, allowing me to awaken myself to the power of acceptance and interconnectivity.
Signs you are experiencing spiritual awakening
1. Your belief system is changing according to you.
It’s not that you know better. In fact, you start admitting you know less. It’s just that your belief systems are changing according to your own life discoveries.
When going through Out Of The Box, Ruda mentions that “being unsure of your convictions is a good thing.” When you decide to question and change your convictions, your real journey begins.
What’s more, you are letting go of the lessons that haven’t served you well. You’re starting to see the world in new eyes. And you’ve never felt more alive and in touch with yourself.
When your belief system is open to change, you open yourself up to awakening. This type of awakening isn’t a single, instant eye-opening event. Instead, it’s more of a winding path to enlightenment where you can’t pinpoint the exact moment you became enlightened.
Interested in taking part in this journey? Join our Out Of The Box Masterclass to take the first steps to discover your true self.
2. You want to discover yourself more.
There’s a new sense of curiosity in you. You find yourself wanting to delve deeper into self-discovery, wellness, and personal development.
What’s more, you are more open to things you wouldn’t have tried in the past. For me, this meant jumping into Ruda’s masterclass — something that I wouldn’t have considered previously. I had thought that mysticism might be a bridge too far for me, something that might change me in a negative way. Instead, I began to have an appreciation for myself and how I have been molded by my surroundings. It didn’t make me a different person, it just opened me up to accepting myself.
3. You let go of material possessions in favor of freedom.
We all know that the Buddha (one of history’s great enlightened figures) stressed letting go of material possessions.
We all know that’s easier said than done.
But when you go through spiritual awakening, it suddenly becomes easier. That gold watch you lusted after? Seems a little silly now.
Why is that?
Simple: Your goals and desires are changing. You are now less interested in accumulating more things. In fact, you feel guilty about the material things you have and you start wanting to live a simpler life.
Instead, you want more meaningful life experiences. You may want to travel and explore the world. And you start questioning your past desire to “have” more. These days, you’re realizing that true happiness doesn’t depend on how many things you own but how you own yourself.
We only have one life to live (that we know of), so it makes sense that we try to better the one thing we truly control (ourselves) when seeking enlightenment.
4. You’re in touch with your “shadow.”
This sounds a lot more ominous than it really is.
In Out Of The Box, Ruda speaks about the shadow of ourselves — the darkness that exists behind the light of our consciousness.
It is, perhaps, the parts of us we wish to scrub away.
We see this shadow all the time, the parts of us that don’t neatly fit into our carefully constructed facade we publicly present.
And often, we fight against this shadow — hoping to erase it from ourselves.
In the process, we’re trying to cut ourselves in half.
When we stop fighting against our shadow, and start embracing it as an equally valid part of our existence, we continue on the journey of spiritual awakening.
The road to spiritual awakening is not smooth sailing. Truthfully, it is riddled with inner turmoil. Because you start grappling with your belief systems, your morals, and your past choices; you can’t help but feel sadness, guilt, and confusing emotions.
These unpleasant psychological reactions are common following the onset of enlightenment.
It’s a process of letting go, moving on, and having a new future outlook. It may be difficult. But try to embrace it. Feel every emotion – even the negative ones. This “release” is necessary. It’s healthy. And it will allow you to achieve a lighter sense of self.
5. You embrace chaos.
Spiritual Awakening is about letting go. One of the hardest things to give up is our illusion of control.
When you embrace chaos, you let go of the desire to control external events and embrace what Swiss philosopher, Carl Jung, called synchronicity;
“Synchronicity: A meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.”
This synchronicity allows us to be more connected to the things we can’t necessarily control. It is about accepting that things happen in coincidences, and these have causal connections in our lives.
In his book Laughing in the Face of Chaos, Ruda writes, “Take a deep breath and feel your heartbeat, your body, your emotions, your mind. Relax. There is no need to change anything, no need to feel different. For just a moment, you can just be here. Embrace your life and let your life embrace you!”
Just be there — embrace the squalls of life’s storms.
Accepting life as it plays out to you is a key sign of spiritual awakening.
6. You empathize more with others.
Another beautiful thing about being enlightened is that you become less self-absorbed and more attuned to others around you.
Your spiritual awakening has allowed you to be more connected to nature – the earth around you and everything and everyone on it.
And this renewed “shared” sense of being allows you to become more compassionate to people around you. You feel more attuned to how they feel, a willingness to share their experience and empathize with them.
7. You feel more alive.
Gone are the days you feel lost and confused about your meaning and existence. Now that you have spiritually awoken, you feel more alive.
You feel more, desire more, want more and yet you are happier with less. It’s a unique feeling of transcendence, of removing yourself from fear of death or failure.
Now, you have achieved the balance of existing in humility while wanting to get more out of life. You experience things with more realness. And in a way, it feels as you can touch and grasp happiness and contentment in your hands.
You are more connected to your inner spirit and to life itself.
8. Fear of death loses its power over you
Death is scary. It’s the end of life (as we know it), meaning it’s the end of our existence. It’s biological to fear this.
When having a spiritual awakening, this fear of death diminishes.
What does this mean?
Well, it comes from a place of acceptance. Accepting that death is inevitable. Death will happen to us, whether we like it or not. Once we embrace this reality, the power of the fear is diminished.
And to be clear, it’s not that the fear necessarily disappears, it’s that its power over us falters. As Ruda says, “trying to get rid of fear is a losing game … As you become friendly with your fear, you’ll start seeing it for what it really is: an intelligent being, a force of life, one of the many faces of God, playing with us and creating through us.”
Our fear is good and natural, but we can choose to embrace it instead of be dominated by it.
9. You increase your intuition
Intuition is sort of our sixth sense, allowing us to pick up on seemingly invisible and unpresent cues and vibrations in order to make sound decisions.
When you’re spiritually imbalanced, your intuition might be all over the place. You might completely misunderstand social cues, or have a hard time making hard decisions.
When you experience spiritual awakening, on the other hand, your intuition seems to go on a hot streak. You pick up on inner thoughts, and make solid decisions based on “what feels right.”
What’s happening is that you’ve opened yourself up to the universe, to nature, to others, and to yourself. You’re listening to your gut, and it’s paying off!
10. You start to thrive.
This last one is the most important, but also the hardest to notice immediately. This is because spiritual enlightenment is a journey, and this step can only be truly seen in comparison to when you began your voyage.
It’s like standing on top of a mountaintop and seeing where you started.
When you reach spiritual enlightenment, your life is filled with purpose. “Living your purpose,” as Ruda says in Out of the Box, “means forgetting what you’ve achieved in the past and what you want to achieve in the future, and simply embracing your life right now. Give yourself to it, co-partnering with life with the spontaneity of a child. You don’t have to build your own empire in order to create something meaningful in your life.”
Living your purpose is perhaps the most profound but most difficult-to-detect sign of spiritual awakening. It takes embracing chaos and embracing your inner self to finally achieve.
False signs of spiritual awakening
There are definitely some traps, or false signs, that you need to be aware of on your journey to spiritual awakening.
1. Believing you’re good and others are evil.
This is a false dichotomy. As Ruda points out in Out Of The Box, shadow is but one part of the light. By painting our world in such stark terms, and casting ourselves as the saviors, we cut ourselves off from spiritual growth.
2. You believe you’re better than others
Different from the above, this trap has you putting yourself as superior to others — as if your enlightenment gives you spiritual cache that others lack. This is a form of materialism and elitism that runs counter to spiritual awakening. Instead, you should look to share what you have learned, in the hopes that all of us may achieve spiritual awakening.
3. Using spirituality to gloss over emotional wounds
This is tricky. Spiritual awakening involves examining complex psychological wounds to address their root causes and heal the trauma.
It is tempting to try and jump over these pains by rushing to achieve spiritual awakening, hoping that the wounds will simply disappear.
This is not true. Instead, the wounds can cause you to become spiritually imbalanced, risking a backsliding of spiritual awakening.
Take the time to deal with your trauma. You will be better for it in the long run.
Who has achieved spiritual awakening?
Not me! Not yet.
But who has? Who are some people that have achieved spiritual awakening?
Siddartha Gautama, known as Buddha, was a philosopher who founded Buddhism, teaching people to break the cycle of suffering to achieve Nirvana.
The spiritual leader of the Tibetan People in Exile, the Dalai Lama preaches nonviolence, interfaith dialogue, and world peace.
Perhaps a controversial pick, as Christians proclaim him the Son of God; Jesus Christ was a profoundly spiritually awakened teacher. Proclaimed 100% God and 100% Man, he taught nonviolence, love, and a rejection of money and greed, instead proclaiming the benefits of charity and humility.
How do you reach spiritual awakening?
Another complex question with an even more complex answer.
Everyone has different journeys in life. Similarly, we all have different journeys to spiritual awakening.
Sometimes, that journey takes more than one trip. In fact, it can often be a life-long process that goes in fits and starts, pressing forward and backward, like waves on the ocean.
For me, a great start was Ruda Iande’s Out Of The Box, which takes you on a 4-part, 16-week journey to get in touch with your own true self.
Here are a few steps that Ruda lays out that can help you achieve spiritual awakening.
Meet your true self
The first step on the journey to spiritual awakening is discovering your real identity. To do this, you have to separate out what is the “real you” from the “false you” that society says you are.
You have to, as Ruda says, interrogate your personal truth.
Ask yourself, are you doing the things you do because you yourself want to? Are you living your life on your own terms and not anyone else’s?
Don’t constrain yourself in a box of your idealized sense of self. Let your emotions run through you like water. Dig deep into your most basic instincts. Allow your body and your heart to take over. What is it that you truly want? Who do you really want to be?
When you constantly challenge yourself and your identity, you allow your spirit to awaken in profound ways.
Face your fears
Spiritual awakening isn’t about removing your fears. Instead, it is about removing the power they hold over you.
One of the key steps to achieving spiritual awakening is by identifying the fears that hold power over you.
Is it death? Money woes? Loneliness?
Whatever it is, we have to accept that these fears are natural and valid. We aren’t bad for being scared. We’re human.
Instead, we have to look within ourselves to see what these fears are suggesting, and figure out how we can harness these fears to live complete lives.
Accept yourself completely
Once you figured out your own unique identity, it’s time to do the harder step. And that is accepting yourself completely. This is a journey in itself. There will be days you are comfortable in your own skin. Other days will be more challenging. However, you need to start accepting that you have weaknesses and flaws. You also need to start appreciating your own unique strengths.
We are so used to labeling our emotions between positive and negative. We magnify and show off our “positive” emotions (happy, excited, proud) to the world, and hide our “negative” emotions (sad, anxious, grief), even to ourselves. And we live in a society where we are constantly told to be positive.
Part of spiritual awakening is accepting that everything you feel, how you think, and how you act – can’t be labeled.
Embody the love you want to have
One constant struggle we have in life is our need to get validation from the love of others. However, when you achieve spiritual awakening, you will learn to be enough for yourself. And the first way to do this is to try to be the love you are seeking. You shouldn’t love anyone more than you love yourself.
Before you can have healthy and meaningful relationships, you need to love yourself fully. Only then can you express love and not take anything away from yourself.
Since childhood, we have been programmed to seek approval from others. We did things to make our parents happy, then we did things that society told us will make us happy.
Spiritual awakening is about letting go of this need for outside approval. When you are awake, you do not seek love, because you know it is within you.
Practices for achieving spiritual awakening
Along with the above, psychological methods of achieving spiritual awakening, there are some key, specific activities you can do to help the process of spiritual awakening.
For thousands of years, meditation has been a powerful tool to calm racing minds, improve introspection, and achieve a sense of oneness.
Adding meditation to your life will allow you to get in touch with your true self, as well as connect with the greater universe, helping you usher in spiritual awakening.
Exercise releases tremendous amounts of endorphins, bringing you positive feelings and helping you organize your mind. Even a brisk 15-minute walk can help you sort your thoughts to improve your spiritual awakening.
Sometimes giving back can return to us as a gift. Giving your time to a cause dear to your heart can instill you with a profound sense of purpose, allowing you to be open to new experiences, connectivity, and spiritual awakening.
It helps to not take life too seriously (it’s only life after all!), and laughter can help us understand that our life is not the most important thing in the universe. Breaking down our selfishness opens us up to selflessness, connectivity, love, and englightenment.
Take the journey
The journey to spiritual awakening is a complicated, twisting, bumpy path; but it leads us to a place of beautiful, flourishing growth.
It allows us to tap into the beauty of the universe while showing us how we all play critical parts in each other’s existences.
Ready to take the journey? Join us on a 16-week journey to spiritual awakening with contemporary shaman Ruda Iande to connect with your true self and embrace your chaotic beauty.