It’s not easy to go through a spiritual awakening.
It’s closely tied to the concept of spiritual purging for the simple fact that as you progress through it, you will be purging yourself of the trappings of your ego.
It’s a personal journey where you learn to reconcile your lower self (or ego) and your higher self (or soul).
But how would you know that you are going through a spiritual purging or awakening?
Here are ten symptoms to know and look out for.
1) You become more observant and aware of the things around you
As you go through your spiritual awakening, one of the first things you will notice is that, well… you’re noticing things.
It’s like being in a dimly lit room and then switching on the light. You know where the things in the room are, and you can make out their shapes, but there are so many things you can only really see when you look at them under a clear, bright light.
You will begin asking yourself questions about your habits, and ask yourself why that is so.
Questions like, “I keep on getting angry all the time, why is this so?” and “Why is there always so much drama around me? Maybe I’m the one causing all of it?”
And as you ask yourself these questions, you will remember things you have done in the past. This is often unpleasant, especially when you recall times where you thought you were the one wronged, only to realize you were the one in the wrong.
But that pain is just part of the process. There is, after all, a reason it’s called spiritual purging.
2) You suffer emotionally and physically
You will feel sick and tired. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re experiencing a spiritual purging every time you get sick and tired, or even that you should just shrug it off. If you’re feeling unwell, do go to the doctor!
But as you go through your spiritual purging, events will happen that will make you emotionally unstable.
You will be tired, both physically and emotionally. It can even go as far as to make you physically sick and leave wanting to do nothing but lie down in bed all day.
Even if you see yourself as the kind of person who enjoys suffering, you will find this far from pleasant. These are ordeals you simply can’t look away from.
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But there’s a reason for that. That you can’t ignore it means that it will force you to confront things you have been avoiding, or have not even realized were there at all but had been holding you back all the same.
You will have to work through them, and in time they will resolve and you will have taken one step closer to enlightenment.
3) You notice changes in your behavior
Spiritual purging is not a singular one-and-done event. Rather, it is a process that goes on for as long as it needs to.
The ego is so riddled with imperfections and is so divorced from the perfection of the higher self —the soul— that if the universe were to try to have you bridge that gap in one fell swoop chances are that you will shatter under the strain.
So instead you ascend one step at a time. And along the way, you will notice the effects of this you might realize that you no longer drink as much as you did, or that you blow up on others less often without even trying.
Beware of when you find yourself going out of your way ‘seeking love and light’, or when you find your supposedly good actions feeling hollow deep inside. You might have fallen into a trap where, instead of facing the burdens you have been holding in you from childhood, you’re instead merely distracting yourself.
Spiritual awakening is a hard journey that involves accepting who you are as a person and going beyond, and not one built on excessive positivity.
And sometimes the changes you will face might not be that which you had thought you’d have wanted. Don’t be afraid of this. If you resist or resent the changes to your person, you’re only delaying your awakening.
4) Your relationships start changing
You will change, and not everyone in your life will be able to understand or appreciate that. Some might find themselves thinking that you’re going down a path they can’t follow, or that you’re slowly drifting out of reach.
In part, this can be because you’re no longer ‘acting nice’, or doing things for the sake of earning the approval of others. You might hear people say things like “Why didn’t you side with me? You were always on my side!”
Some people will even leave you behind.
But there is sadly little you can do but to ask people to understand and accept who you are, or who you are becoming. You can’t just decide what people think, after all. The only person whose opinion you can actually change is you, yourself.
And that’s fine. Just be true to yourself and don’t let the fear of letting go hold you back. Besides, they will eventually return to your life if they truly do care about you.
Perhaps you will even serve the role of the teacher for them when they embark on their own journey into a spiritual awakening.
5) You’ll realize that everyone walks their own road
The ego is selfish. This might sound redundant, but let me explain.
The ego sees the world from a very “ME! ME! ME!” point of view. It sees the world as existing to suit its needs, and if something doesn’t benefit it at all then it might as well not exist. It sees other people as below it, and thinks and desires to control others’ actions and to police their thoughts.
The soul, on the other hand, is compassionate and understanding.
And as you go through your spiritual awakening and become more in touch with your higher self, you lose the trappings of your ego and begin to see other people for who they are—other people, with thoughts, emotions, and desires of their own.
And with that comes respect and understanding for individual differences that had, until then, been hard to deal with.
6) Synchronicity suddenly seems to be on overdrive
Happy little accidents seem to happen way too often.
You might wake up thinking about your best friend from high school, then pop online to see your mother talking about them. Then you go to the mall and bump into them at the first shop you walk into.
You may want to pay attention to important astrological events, like the phase of the moon or the coming of the equinox.
See, life has been throwing these things at you for a while now. The only real thing that has changed is that you’re now more aware of the good things when they appear.
7) You find it easier to let go
Letting go is hard, whether it be letting go of people, or of personal control over a situation. But purging—an important aspect of your ascension—is itself the process of letting go.
The ego is insecure, and always wants reassurance where it can take it. And from that comes attachment. As you let go of your ego and ascend to your higher self, you learn to surrender and trust in the universe to do as it wills.
Eventually, you will reach the point where you no longer fear death and endings. Note, however, this doesn’t mean that you will welcome death. This isn’t risking life and limb while shouting YOLO or declining medical treatment because you don’t care that you’re going to die.
You simply are at peace with the fact that death exists, is natural, and will come for you one day.
8) You will see through and dislike inauthenticity
As you become more confident in who you are, you will start to see through and dislike the shallowness and falseness of our modern world. In the same vein, you will start to strongly desire authenticity in yourself and in the people around you.
This does not mean you will become openly disdainful towards those people who subscribe to the shallow material world, of course. Neither does this mean you will think of yourself as being a ‘spiritual’ or ‘enlightened’ person.
If you are doing that, you still have much to learn.
Rather, you will find it distasteful and pointless to be yourself inauthentic. You would instead try to be as true to yourself as you can be before others, even when you would benefit more from pretending.
In being like this, you will draw in people who are true to themselves, like you.
And, of course, you will not be so easily fooled by people who will try to pander to you. You can just feel it when they are trying to worm their way into your good graces and know how to not get hooked in.
9) You become more compassionate
I briefly touched on this in the previous point, but a very core part of one’s spiritual awakening is heightened compassion.
It’s very egoistic to hold yourself above others, to be disdainful towards other people for the simple fact that they are who they are.
Let’s say there’s someone who keeps posting pictures on Instagram, and if you were to look at their posts you might think that they are living the perfect life. But you know them in real life, and you know them to be a steaming hot mess who’s under a ton of debt.
Someone who had yet to shed their ego would sneer and call them out on the obvious fakeness of their posts, either in real life or online. Or they might talk to their friends about it behind their back and mock them.
Or, even if they don’t do that, they might still secretly believe themselves better than the other person and think things like “man, at least I’m not as plastic as they are.”
But someone who is going through a spiritual purging will understand. Or at least try to. After all, what if their Instagram posts were their way to cope with their imperfect life, and the only thing keeping them going?
In fact, you might find the suffering of others so unbearable that you will do whatever you can to help make the world a better place.
10) You will feel alone
While you’re undergoing your spiritual awakening, you will find yourself incredibly isolated. You are in the in-between state, with your old egoistic self and all its shallow comforts on one side, and your calm and reassured upper self on the other.
In your mind, you have neither the comforts your ego enjoys nor the surety and confidence of your upper self. You will also feel dissonance between yourself and the people around you, which is especially bad when your life is being flipped upside down over and over again.
But the people who will guide you to betterment -your teachers- will eventually find you and help you along. And don’t think they have to be actual ‘teachers’, mind. They can be anyone, from your neighbor to your childhood crush.
It’s not too different from your teenage years if you think about it. Before your cute kid self could become their pretty adult self, you had to go through an incredibly awkward in-between phase.
The notion of spiritual awakening is something that many cultures have had for ages, under so many different names. One of them, ‘bliss’, succinctly describes how it feels when you have gone through the whole journey and freed yourself from the trappings of your ego.
If you’re experiencing spiritual purging, rejoice in it even during darker days. Pretty soon you’ll find clarity and joy like never before.