Spiritual awakening and spirituality in general are often seen through a rose-tinted lens: whether it’s the idea that all spiritual people are zen and peaceful at all times, or that spiritual awakening is always pleasant and easy.
In reality, spiritual awakening often beckons major life changes, everything you took for granted is flipped on its head. Going through a spiritual awakening can often leave you feeling more lost, confused and disconnected than before.
This is because we become more aware of the state of loss, confusions and disconnection we were in before. Spiritual practice amplifies the light but also amplifies the shadows, and so care is required.
In this post I want to give you some practical advice on how to reintegrate into society and feel grounded after a spiritual awakening. There isn’t one way to go about this of course, but this is what has worked for me.
What is a spiritual awakening?
Before we dive into the practical steps it makes sense to clarify what is meant by a spiritual awakening, and more specifically, what I am referring to when I use this phrase.
A spiritual awakening most simply is the awareness that you are more than your physical body, that you have a spirit…and further along, that you are a spiritual being. For some people this realization hits like a ton of bricks, and for others it’s a gradual lifting of the veil.
A spiritual awakening dissolves the boundaries we have built between ourselves and others over the course of our lives – we become conscious of the ego. This is the aspect of us that creates separation, but it is also the aspect of us that provides a level of protection on a physical level – the ego let’s us know where we end and someone else begins.
It is seeing contradiction represented in our lives through these realizations, that spiritual awakening can become such a destructive force. We are confronted with our illusions, false beliefs and shadows, there is no option but to move right through it all.
A spiritual awakening sparks our spiritual journey. We might experience this moment of clarity or spark of awareness that propels us forward in awareness, but there are many highs and lows following that.
There are times on the spiritual path where it can feel as if you’re going backward (even though you aren’t really) as if you are awakening over and over again. Which is to say, the path is not a straight line but a spiral. You will find you’ll have to revisit these fundamentals time and time again.
Why we feel lost after spiritual awakening
During a spiritual awakening we might be expecting clear guidance, so to feel lost can be disconcerting.
It’s common to not only feel lost, but lonely, isolated or confused. These are all very normal because our new awareness comes in direct contradiction to our old lives. We have to let go of old aspects of ourselves, beliefs and patterns.
Isolation is taken as part of the spiritual journey although it doesn’t have to be.
Here is one of my favorite quotes on the matter:
“No matter how isolated you are and how lonely you feel, if you do your work truly and conscientiously, unknown friends will come and seek you.” ― Carl Jung (citing and Alchemist), Letters Vol II, Page 595.
We will have to build our lives up in a new way, in line with perspective. Certain aspects of our ego dissolve or at least shrink in size, and this can feel like losing a part of who we were. We will have to rediscover who we are and how we view ourselves in the world.
We can’t rely on the same methods of navigation as before, doing what other people expect of us or taking the easy path. We have to get in tune with our intuition, our higher self and the Universe at large. Often this means starting somewhere and only seeing the first step, each subsequent step lights up as we walk with trust.
This can often mean shifting our social circles, careers, daily habits, all of which leave us feeling disoriented.
Facing the dark night of the soul & void
Sometimes feeling lost on the spiritual path comes much later on. When we have experienced highs of awareness and are comfortable communicating with our spirit when things change.
We might experience a dark night of the soul or go through a void phase. The dark night of the soul is where we lose all sensation of spirit, we feel disconnected and cold. We can go through a kind of ‘spiritual depression’.
These darker phases within our spiritual journey act as tests (although they aren’t intended that way) to deepen our faith and allow us to integrate the spiritual concepts we’ve learned in a much more embodied way.
This can be difficult because it feels like a security blanket has been swept from underneath our feet. We might have been receiving clear intuitive guidance or been on an aligned path only for things to go quiet.
It’s important that we hold faith during these phases and continue to connect to our spirit, practice meditation and do our rituals, even when the results aren’t as elevated as we’d expected. Gradually we can tune back into that guidance and redirect. We come to face with our light but also our darkness.
What to do after a spiritual awakening?
Without the proper guidance, navigating the aftermath of a spiritual awakening can feel like going in circles and making little to no progress. It’s common to feel as if you’ll never reach the same peak of awareness again and the path ahead appears gloomy.
While there isn’t one approach to take after spiritually awakening, below are some of the tools/tips I wish I had access to at the time.
Know you are not alone
It’s easy to become disillusioned when we go through a spiritual awakening because often there aren’t many people in our lives who can intimately relate to the experience. The path of spiritual awakening isn’t well trodden (at least here in the West) and as a result there isn’t a support system to get us through it.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that thousands of people go through this experience everyday, and more now than ever, you can find accounts of people’s experiences at the touch of a button.
It can be helpful to find some teachers you resonate with, or search for an online community of spiritual seekers, if you do not have access to something similar offline.
Get in tune with your intuition
One of the first steps to take after a spiritual awakening is to begin forming a relationship with your intuition. Discernment is key on the spiritual path as we are bombarded with information, much of which is distorted or simply untrue. Learning to hear our intuition can’t be an after-thought.
However connecting to your intuition isn’t the difficult part, it’s learning to hear it as it is, believe it and trust yourself enough to follow through on it. Nevertheless you have to start somewhere.
- Get into a comfortable seated position
- Calm your mind with a few deep stomach breaths
- Spend a few minutes focusing on the breath
- Ask your higher self a question
- Observe the thoughts, visuals and gut feelings that arise
I always get asked “So, what do I do next on my spiritual path?” My answer is always the same, begin to follow the prompts from your intuition. While there are specific paths you can take or practices you can engage in, whatever is most relevant to you will be revealed precisely at the right time by your intuition.
Be aware of the spiritual ego
One of the subtle ways we become disconnected after a spiritual awakening is the presence of the “spiritual ego.” This is a term to describe the phenomenon where our ego hijacks our spiritual progress; it uses our spiritual awareness as another way to put ourselves above or below others.
After an intense spiritual awakening it’s easy to feel separated from regular society, and as an extension of that, the people you interact with on a daily basis. It’s normal to begin thinking along the lines of “Those people aren’t as aware as me, they will never understand me and I will never understand them.”
Spiritual ego is so difficult to catch because it camouflages itself by nature. One of the ways I began to feel connected again after my awakening was to becoming cognizant of this spiritual ego.
As easy as it was to resort to judgements (as a way to protect myself and my progress) asking myself if I was beginning to become equally unaware without realizing it. Giving people a chance again.
Learn to ground your energy
Grounding is a crucial spiritual practice, but one that is especially important when we are going through upheavals in our life. When you go through a spiritual awakening there is a tendency for your energy to reside in the higher chakras or at least in a higher awareness, grounding helps bring things back to earth.
- Stand with your feet on the ground
- Take a few deep stomach breaths
- Visualize roots reaching from the soles of your feet into the earth
- As you inhale feel/visualize energy flowing up into your body
- As you exhale feel/visualize energy flowing back into the earth
This is one specific grounding exercize I use often but there are many ways to ground your energy. Anything that connects you to your physical body and brings your focus back to the present moment works. Light exercize, some forms of yoga, dancing and journaling all work as great grounding practices.
Rituals are something I neglected all together early on in my spiritual journey, perhaps because their use and benefits are not widely known or discussed. Rituals are simply the act of solidifying spiritual or mental focus with a physical act.
Much like grounding rituals helps bring things back to earth. Rituals allow you to make a direct connection between your spiritual growth and physical environment, they bring the conscious and unconscious into communication. And, they don’t have to be difficult or convoluted either!
Spiritual rituals are a way to create unity between the spiritual and physical aspects of yourself, so they do not remain so segmented, so that they can function as one.
A ritual can be any physical act that focuses your spiritual energy, done with intention on a consistent basis. This is different to a habit which is more of an unconscious act, or something you simply need to get out of the way.
Some rituals to consider:
- Lighting a candle and setting a daily intention
- Spending a few minutes in the shower clearing your energy
- Writing a hundred words in a designated spiritual or intuition journal
- Mindfully drinking a cup of tea or eating a meal
As you can see, all of the rituals above can be incorporated into your daily life without sticking out too much, and that is what makes them so potent. By incorporating a ritual of two into your routine, your spiritual progress isn’t relegated to the mind as some abstract unreachable thing, it becomes physical too.
One of the final steps of any spiritual seeker is to feel comfortable sharing their spiritual knowledge. I don’t necessarily mean this in the sense of becoming a spiritual teacher or anything like that, but brining your awareness into everyday life concretely.
Look at the values and lessons that have become important on your spiritual path, and consciously bring these into your daily interactions with people. It’s one thing to be on the spiritual path, and another entirely to actually align your life this way.
In conclusion, spiritual awakening is not all sunshine and rainbows. While spiritual awareness can be a destructive force in your life in terms of the fears, doubts and shadows you’ll have to face, it also connects us to that innate creativity with in – an untapped reservoir of energy that can build us anew.
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