18 Unmistakable Signs That You’re Having a Spiritual Awakening

Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 0 Comments
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By Steve Taylor | Uplift Connect

The Symptoms of Higher Consciousness

What does it mean to be awake? What are the characteristics of the state of ‘spiritual wakefulness’ or ‘enlightenment’?

I’ll summarise these characteristics or signs of spiritual awakening as they have emerged from my research. Then we’ll look at where these characteristics come from—that is, try to identify how the state of wakefulness gives rise to them.

These characteristics of spiritual awakening are uniform. Typically, permanently awakened people experience all of these characteristics and usually at roughly the same degree of intensity. This uniformity is one of the most striking things to emerge from my research into the signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening and emphasizes the validity of seeing wakefulness as a distinct psychological state.

The only significant variation is in terms of the overall intensity of wakefulness. The continuum of states of wakefulness ranges from less intense to very intense. The intensity of the characteristics of wakefulness obviously varies according to the intensity of a person’s overall wakefulness. That is, if a person experiences a high intensity of wakefulness, they will obviously also experience a high level of well-being, a high degree of mental quietness, a very pronounced tendency toward altruism, a very pronounced lack of group identity, and so on. The reverse obviously applies to someone with a lower intensity of wakefulness.

The meaning of wakefulness
Wakefulness is the state of being spiritually aware at above average levels.

It’s also worth noting that many of the characteristics I’m going to highlight are common to temporary spiritual awakening experiences, too.

A New World: Perceptual Characteristics

The clearest way in which spiritual awakening manifests itself is in terms of the wakeful person’s different perception and experience of the world around them. One of the main signs or symptoms of an awakened individual is that they don’t perceive the world in the same way as other people do. The world is as different a place to them as the world of a child is to the world of an adult—or, you might say, as the world of a pre-civilized indigenous person is to the world of a modern Westerner.

1. Intensified Perception

In wakefulness, perception is vivid and direct. Spiritually awakened people see the world in a very childlike way—struck by the wonder, beauty, and intricacy of phenomena that other people take for granted and don’t pay much attention to. One of the signs of spiritual awakening is that the world is a brighter, more fascinating and beautiful place to them. In particular, they are captivated by nature—the beauty of the natural landscape, the sky, and the sea; the strangeness, complexity, and intricacy of animals, plants, and other phenomena.

This intensity of perception is sometimes experienced as an openness to experience or, in slightly different terms, an increased sensitivity. It’s as if filters have been removed or shutters have been opened and, as a result, more impressions come into our minds and affect us more powerfully. As we’ve seen, intensified perception can sometimes feel overwhelming in sudden spiritual awakening experiences (as it can also be in psychedelic experiences), but it usually isn’t a problem once wakefulness becomes established.

The wonder of the world
Spiritually awakened people see the world in a very childlike way.

All of the spiritually awakened individuals I interviewed commented on this intensified perception. One person told me how the world had become “sharper, more real,” while another was “struck by how fresh everything seems.” Another person remarked that “colours seemed brighter, more alive.” Others described a sense of awe and a new appreciation for simple pleasures and activities like walking, cooking, eating, and simply attending to their surroundings.

2. Increased Presentness / Timelessness

Another symptom of spiritual awakening is that it also brings a different perception of time or, you might say, a shift in time orientation. In wakefulness, the past and the future become much less important, and the present becomes correspondingly more important. Awakened individuals spend much less time recalling past experiences or ruminating over past events, just as they spend less time looking forward to the future, daydreaming about future events or focusing on future goals. Instead, they focus on their present experience, on the surroundings they’re in, the people they’re with, and the sensations and impressions they’re having. For some people, this increased presentness leads to a sense of the expansiveness of time. Time seems to somehow open up, slow down, or even disappear all together. This sign of spiritual awakening is the sense of the eternal now that is sometimes described by mystics, when the past, future, and present all merge into one.

Ultimately, the past and the future are concepts created by the human mind. We never actually experience either because our minds and bodies are always in the present. The past and the future only exist in thought, whereas the present does not exist in thought.

A shift in time orientation
Time seems to somehow open up, slow down, or even disappear all together.

In addition, our normal linear perception of time is a mental construct generated by our strong sense of ego. The weaker our sense of ego becomes, the more linear time seems to fade away. Our perception of time slows and expands—and eventually disappears into now-ness.

3. Awareness of ‘Presence’ or an All-Pervading Spiritual Energy

At higher intensities of spiritual awakening, we experience symptoms like becoming aware of a spiritual force that pervades all things and the spaces between things. In my research, one person described this as “a deep sense of a living presence within that is both magnificent and also very ordinary.” Another person described one of his symptoms of awakening as “a vast presence which is just infinite and pretty mind-blowing. Especially in nature.” Another person spoke of an “awesome presence” that he referred to as ‘God.’ This force is sometimes described in terms of a ‘source,’ something underlying and fundamental that doesn’t just pervade all things but gives rise to them, too. In a sense, all things are the manifestation of this force.

4. Aliveness, Harmony, and Connectedness

At a lower intensity of wakefulness, a person may not be aware of this all-pervading spiritual force directly, but they may still be able to indirectly sense its effects.

One of the signs of spiritual awakening is a sense of aliveness. To the awakened person, there are no such things as inanimate objects. Even natural phenomena that aren’t biologically alive (such as clouds, sea, or stones) and manmade objects (such as pieces of furniture or buildings) shine with the radiant aliveness of spirit. Objects that are biologically alive become more powerfully animate. One spiritually awake woman described how “everything looked and felt ultra real and alive. I kept staring out of the window and just marveling… I could almost see the atoms in everything I looked at. I had the strongest feeling that everything was perfectly okay and perfect in the universe.”

A sense of aliveness
To the awakened person, there are no such things as inanimate objects.

This woman’s recollection touches on another indirect effect of this all-pervading spiritual force—a sense that “all is well.” As spiritual texts and mystics tell us, the nature of this energy is blissful. It has a quality of bliss or joy in the same way that water has a quality of wetness. So when we perceive its presence in the world, there’s a sense of harmony—again, an awareness that is commonly described by indigenous peoples. As a symptom of spiritual awakening, we sense that the universe is a benevolent place and that harmony and meaning are its fundamental qualities.

Finally, this spiritual energy underlies and pervades all things and so creates a sense of connectedness or oneness. An awakened person may have the sense that the boundaries between superficially separate and distinct objects have melted away. They may still sense what some of my participants described as “the oneness of everything” or “the oneness of the universe.”

A New Self: Affective Characteristics

When we experience spiritual awakenings, one common sign is that our inner life changes. There’s a shift in how we feel inside, in our psychological experience. This shift changes us so profoundly that, in a general sense, we feel as if we have a new identity, as if we have been reborn.

We do take on a new identity as the wakeful self-system emerges and replaces the old self-system of sleep. In cases of gradual spiritual awakening, this identity shift happens very slowly, as the old self-system is gradually remolded into a different form. It may not even be a noticeable symptom or sign of spiritual awakening, except in retrospect. In sudden spiritual awakening experiences the shift is so abrupt and dramatic that many people can pinpoint the exact moment it occurs.

Our inner life changes
We feel as if we have a new identity, as if we have been reborn.

In this section we’ll examine the inner changes and signs of spiritual awakening that contribute to this overall sense of becoming a completely different person.

5. Inner Quietness

With spiritual awakening and enlightenment comes a dramatic reduction of the inner noise of our thought-chatter. In our normal state, this streams through our mind almost constantly—a whirl of associations and images, worries and daydreams that only usually stops when our attention is absorbed in external things. This thought-chatter is such a normal part of our experience that many of us take it for granted. We’re so immersed in it—and so identified with it—that we don’t even realize it’s there, and we certainly don’t realize how powerfully it affects us. It disturbs our inner world, giving rise to negative thoughts and emotions. It disconnects us from the essence of our being, constantly reinforces our ego-identity, and strengthens our sense of separateness.

Almost all of the awakened individuals I spoke to described similar spiritual awakening symptoms, although with variations. Some people—a small proportion—reported that their minds had become completely quiet, with a complete cessation of thought-chatter. More typically, though, people reported that there was still some thought activity in their minds but much less than before.

Others reported that while thought-chatter was still there (although not as much as before), they felt less identified with it. They were able to stand back, observe their thoughts, and let them flow by without becoming immersed in or overly affected by them.

Reduction of thought-chatterThere comes a dramatic reduction of the inner noise of our thought-chatter.

6. Transcendence of Separation / Sense of Connection

In spiritual awakening and enlightenment, the sense of otherness between us and the world fades away. We no longer feel that we’re ‘in here’ looking out at a world that seems to be ‘out there.’ We no longer observe from a distance—we’re part of the flow of the world’s unfolding is-ness. Separation dissolves into connection. In the same way that we sense that all things are connected to each other, we feel that we’re connected to all things. We’re part of the oneness of all things.

This sense of connection manifests itself in different ways and at different degrees of intensity as one of the signs of spiritual awakening. At the most basic level, a person may feel strongly connected to other human beings, other living beings in general, or to the whole natural world. A sense of connection to the spiritual force that pervades the whole universe, and that forms the essence of our being, may occur at higher intensities of wakefulness and is one of the main signs of spiritual awakening. In other words, we may not just be aware of this spiritual force but also feel connected to it. At a still higher intensity of spiritual wakefulness, a sense of connection may intensify into a sense of oneness. With this symptom of spiritual awakening, a person may feel that they exist in a state of unity with all things—even that they are all things. They may not just feel that they are one with the world but also that they actually are the world. Their sense of separation may dissolve away to the extent that there’s no distinction at all between them and what they perceive.

7. Empathy and Compassion

This sense of connection is closely linked to the high levels of empathy and compassionassociated with spiritual awakening. When we’re connected to other beings—animals and the natural world, as well as human beings—we’re able to sense what they’re experiencing; to feel what they’re feeling. If they’re suffering, we sense it and feel the impulse to comfort them or try to alleviate their pain. We’re touched by other people’s pain because there’s no separation between our being and theirs.

High levels of empathy and compassion
When we’re connected to other beings we feel what they’re feeling.

Empathy, in its deepest sense, is the ability to ‘feel with’ other people by experiencing a shared sense of being with them. This ability to ‘feel with’ other beings gives rise to compassion and love. Love stems from a sense of connection and oneness, a sense that you are another person—or other people—and so you belong to them and share their experience.

8. Well-Being

Well-being is perhaps the most obvious symptom of spiritual awakening generated by wakefulness.

Awakened individuals may not live in a state of complete uninterrupted bliss, but they are generally much more content than other people. One major source of this well-being is freedom from the psychological discord that plagues human beings in our sleep state—habitual worry about the future, feelings of negativity about the past, and a general sense of unease. Spiritually awakened people are much less prone to negative states such as boredom, loneliness, and dissatisfaction. The atmosphere of their inner world is less charged with negativity and much more harmonious.

The feeling of well-being in spiritual awakening is related to a sense of appreciation. In wakefulness, people are more likely to feel a sense of gratitude for their health, freedom, loved ones, and other good things in their lives. In our sleep state, we likely take these things for granted and fail to appreciate their true value. Appreciation is an important sign and symptom of spiritual awakening, especially in terms of well-being, because it helps free us from wanting. In Buddhist terms, we become free of craving and so free of the psychological suffering this creates.

Harmonious inner world
We become less prone to negative states such as boredom, loneliness, and dissatisfaction.

9. Absence of (or Decreased) Fear of Death

Fear in general decreases in the wakeful state and fear of death is our most fundamental fear. The ego feels especially fragile in the face of death. The fact that death could strike us down at any moment—and will eventually reduce everything we have achieved and accumulated to nothing—creates a basic sense of meaninglessness, especially if we don’t believe in the possibility of life after death.

This decreased fear of death is related to the transcendence of the separate ego—another sign and symptom of spiritual awakening. Because our own ego isn’t the epicenter of our universe anymore, its demise no longer seems such a tragic prospect. We know that our own death isn’t the end of all things; the world that is part of our identity will continue.

However, perhaps the main reason why the awakened person loses fear of death is because of a different attitude toward—and understanding of—death. Spiritual awakening brings an understanding that death isn’t the end, that the essence of our being will continue to exist after the dissolution of our bodies.

From the materialistic worldview derived from our sleep state, it seems completely clear that there’s no life after death. Our consciousness is just the product of brain activity; when our brain stops functioning, our consciousness ceases too. But from the spiritually awakened perspective, reality is more complex than this. The essence of our being transcends our brain and our individual identity. Death isn’t the end of consciousness but a transformation of consciousness.

No fear of death
Spiritual awakening brings an understanding that death isn’t the end.

A New Mind: Conceptual and Cognitive Characteristics

The conceptual symptoms of spiritual awakening we’re going to look at refer to how awakened people see themselves in relation to the world and other human beings, and how they conceive of the world and other human beings.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

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