Discover Your Spirituality

Ultimate Guide to Spiritual Awakening and the Path to Enlightenment

"Nothing can nourish the SOUL but LIGHT."

Welcome, dear seeker

Spiritual awakenings happen all the time and frequently to people going through life changing events. However, they also happen gradually and to people not in crisis. The spiritual awakening process involves a person releasing the negative aspects of their ego and realigning themselves with a greater sense of the universe and their place in it. It can be an understanding of the Universal, the Cosmic, the Divine, or the Holy Spirit, depending on the person and circumstance. This shift in perspective brings a person a heightened sense of compassion and joy, a healthier life, and a greater ability to stay present in the moment.

It would be hard to argue that more compassion and empathy, healthier living, and more focus on the present would be bad for the world. So embracing the idea of spiritual awakening seems like something we need more of today.

But what is this phenomenon? Is there any science behind it? Do awakened people have to believe in a divine being? What are the signs and symptoms and stages of awakening? Is it an experience only for a very few? Is it the same as a religious experience? This article answers these questions and also gives you time-tested methods for enhancing and achieving profound peace, joy, happiness, and greater focus in the here and now.

Whatever your previous experience or approach to spirituality - whether you are wondering: What is a spiritual awakening? How do you know if you are spiritually awakened?  Or, you’ve been on this path before and lost your way - this article can help you gain insight, inspiration, and learn concrete actions you can take to nurture and enhance your spiritual journey.

What are spirituality and spiritual awakening?

The dictionary definition of spirituality is “a concern with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” A spiritual awakening is a subjective experience of moving beyond one’s personal material existence and experiencing a greater sense of reality and consciousness, which can involve a divine being, a religious belief system or deeper states of awareness about the universe.  

The intersection of psychology, physiology, and spiritual development reveals that specific practices, activities, and lifestyles can support or hasten spiritual awareness and awakening, such as:

  • Mindfulness 
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Listening to sacred sounds 
  • Controlling brain wave states  
  • Practicing yoga, tai chi, and other physical arts
  • Finding a deep connection to nature and supportive awakening and awakened people
  • Changes in diet and lifestyle

Before a spiritual awakening, many people feel their life is empty of meaning. They struggle with addictions or undergo a mental health crises. They often feel stuck in unhealthy relationships and jobs they hate. At the same time, they may be strongly attached to personal possessions, social status, and a never ending anxiety or depression that often accompanies the material world.

Awakening to your spiritual essence can be like waking up from a dream and entering a new reality of calm, purpose, and meaning. Emotional and psychological growth, and sometimes mental health crises, are the starting point of many awakened people’s spiritual awakening process.

Spiritual awakening and personal growth

Spiritual awakening and personal growth go hand in hand. For some people, a mental health crisis is the starting point for a seeking deeper connection to the non-material universe. For others, it’s a life-threatening illness, a near death experience, or a stressful life event like divorce or death of a loved one. Mental health problems are at epidemic proportions in the western world, and many speculate that a greater sense of the spiritual is part of the solution.

Everyone who awakens to deeper awareness must, at some point, process and release traumas and dysfunctional behaviors from the past. This connection is why spirituality is so central to many alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs like AA and some mental health treatment programs. The profoundly positive effects of accepting a higher power, God, or cosmic consciousness are shown in the results of numerous scientific studies of benefits of spirituality for people seeking sobriety. [1,2]

Personal challenges and difficult life-changing events are frequently catalysts for spiritual awakening. Many people find spiritual meaning during and after a deep dive into truths about their childhood, when coming to terms with a painful adult relationship, or when overcoming an addiction. If you are going through a difficult time and are open to increased awareness of the spiritual, your problem might also be a path to the solution you seek.

In addition, at least one study has found that psychotherapists who have a spiritual awakening in their own life have higher levels of empathy, show less defensiveness, and display more openness with their clients. These qualities can improve the outcome of psychotheraputic sessions. [3] So, if you are going through a period of personal growth as you awaken spiritually and need the guidance of a counselor, consider one with experience in their own path toward spiritual enlightenment or religious experience.


II. Understanding the Experience of Spiritual Awakening

Quotes about spiritual awakening

One way to understand spirituality is by looking at what awakened people say about it: 

  • “A call to higher consciousness”
  • “An end to filtering everything through the ego and always thinking about the past or future.”
  • “Feeling one’s individual life connected to all life and to the universe itself”
  • “A feeling of being a wave and the ocean at the same time.”
  • “A deep connection to a higher or divine power.” 
  • “A force urging individuals to seek their personal meaning in life.”
  • “Spiritual awakening is not a destination. It is a constant invitation to embrace yourself as you are, in all your imperfection.”

Or as Eckhart Tolle said, “...when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were.

Historical and cultural perspectives on spiritual awakening

In the past, there wasn’t as much separation between spirituality and religion as we have today. In many historical periods in the western world and around the globe, participation in religion has been mandatory, and people’s spiritual growth more often overlapped with their religious experience. Today religion is a choice in the western world, but many people still want to experience deeper states of consciousness formerly dominated by religious institutions.
And, many spiritual people today also hold deep religious beliefs: The two concepts overlap.

Many traditions of faith have special words for the altered states of mind accompanying a spiritual awakening, such as:

  • achieving enlightenment, 
  • nirvana, 
  • kenosis, 
  • revelation
  • salvation
  • moksha 

The common thread uniting these experiences is a falling away of concern for material existence and a profound sense of connection to an eternal source of energy, creativity, or the divine.
Many societies also recognize a growth of spiritual awareness in adolescence. Some cultures link this period to rites of passage into adulthood. Some psychological research suggests a lack of this type of experience for modern teenagers in the western world might be linked to an increase in depression, substance abuse, and risky behaviors in this age group. [4]

Stages of spiritual awakening

Although different cultures have different words and paths toward spiritual development, there are commonalities among them. In one study, the authors interviewed 34 spiritual teachers of high repute and acknowledged wisdom from around the world and developed what they call the Spiritual Awakening Evolution model (SAE.) This model identified four phases of spiritual development, regardless of culture: [5]

  • A shift in perception
  • Engaging in practices that support this shift
  • Surrendering to the process
  • A lifelong evolution of the person’s spiritual path from then on

From these results, we can see that, while each person’s ownpath is unique, the broad outline of the process is similar for everyone who has this experience.

Common misconceptions about spiritual awakening

One big misconception about spiritual awakening is it’s a destination you reach, and the journey is over. However, awakening to your spiritual path is a lifelong process. A person might have one or more intense periods of transformation and then a slow, and sometimes backward, path for a time.

Other misunderstandings include:

  • A single spiritual teacher, mentor, or philosophy can provide all the wisdom you need to awaken spiritually.

However, exploring with multiple teachers and methods often enhances the process.

  • Spirituality and religion are the same.

They are not, although they often overlap. However, a person can be spiritual without belonging to a religion or belong to a religion without developing spiritual awareness.

  • Spiritually developed people are perfect.

No one is perfect, and awakening spiritually does not mean you will become flawless. However, as you develop a deeper connection to pure consciousness, your attitude toward flaws and mistakes evolves. You can learn to see them as guideposts, showing where to improve, rather than weaknesses to hide or become defensive about.

  • A spiritual journey is a steady, even growth of spiritual attainment.

It’s usually more like a wavy spiral, involving periods of accelerated growth and other times of doubt and even regression. The important point is to stay persistent with your journey, wherever it takes you.

  • Very few people experience spiritual awakening.

The researcher and author Steve Taylor reports in his book The Leap: Psychology of Spiritual Awakening [6] that “waking up to a more intense reality” happens all the time for ordinary people, even when they are not intentionally pursuing this goal and they lack knowledge of practices for spiritual awakening.

Spontaneous and gradual spiritual awakenings

Research from 2018 reveals that spiritual awakenings happen in two main ways: gradual and rapid. [7] Rapid development of spiritual awareness happens as a person’s sense of self suddenly dissolves and they experience a spontaneous, sudden burst of energy, recognized by some as a kundalini awakening. [8] A rapid awakening can happen after an intense period of psychological distress, such as the death of a loved one, life threatening illnesses or addictions, or ending a significant relationship.

On the other hand, gradual awakenings often occur without a traumatic spark igniting the process. The person might be consciously trying to develop spiritually, or it may happen slowly without their realizing, until one day, they recognize their perspective on life has changed dramatically for the better. This process can happen in stages over many years.

In addition, the type of awakening a person experiences can be influence by their innate temperament. For example, a more introspective person’s awakening might be enhanced by solitude, and a more extroverted person might come to theirs through a soul mate relationship or connection to a spiritually-minded community.

Can an atheist be spiritual?

Being spiritual implies an acceptance of a higher power of some kind, so you might think that spiritual awakenings are not possible for an atheist who rejects all belief in the divine.

However, atheists can and do report experiences that sound a lot like a spiritual awakening. [9] Often, as for many others, an atheist arrives at this experience after a profound life changing event.

While an atheist’s encounter might not involve a divinity, it might instead be filled with wonder, awe, and surrender to the mysteries of the natural world. Philosophy might replace religious experience on their path to spiritual enlightenment. Curiosity and awe at the enduring truth of mathematics, the mind-bending implications of quantum physics, and a feeling of non-duality with nature and the universe can all be experienced as forms of a higher power.

The science behind spiritual awakening [10]

Spirituality and science might not seem like concepts that belong together, but increasingly they are. Researchers in psychology, brain science and imaging, and human physiology are probing the physical nature of these mystical and religious experiences and confirming changes in the brains and lives of people who have them. Many studies examines how spiritual awakenings help people overcome substance abuse.

Other researchers are looking at what happens in the brain when people have mystical experiences. They have found that the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain where self-awareness happens, is a primary site of changes in the brain for those who awaken. [11] These changes in the brain then affect the person’s ability to think more clearly and process emotions more easily.

Emotional response happens in a part of the brain called the amygdala. Several studies have found that regular, deep meditation and prayer calm the amygdala, relieving physical symptoms of anger and reducing emotional turmoil.

In addition, the parietal cortex, a brain region responsible for the sense of self and spatial awareness, becomes less active when a person develops spiritually. The decrease in brain activity in this area might be what leads to a dissolving of ego and a feeling of being connected to others and the universe.

There are also studies looking at how engaging in spiritual paths like affirmations, prayer, and mindfulness can change the Default Mode Network (DMN) in the brain. The DMN is a web of interconnected brain areas that actuate when a person’s mind is wandering and not focused on the world around them. Spiritual practices decrease DMN activity, resulting in a lessening of ego and a greater feeling of interconnectedness with others. Others are exploring how the pineal gland is involved in deepening spirituality.

Those who have a spiritual experience also show an increase in brain plasticity, meaning their brains become more adaptable to change and new ways of thinking. Brain researchers have even found that regular spiritual practice increases the density of grey matter in parts of the brain controlling regulation of emotions, empathy, and self-awareness.

Regularly engaging in spiritual activities such as meditation, prayer, and gratitude also increase a person’s ability to handle stress, resulting in a greater feeling of inner peace when facing difficult situations in life. [12]

Finally, much research has focused on the role of spiritual awakening in those who are seeking to overcome addiction to alcohol or drugs. Recovering people who develop an increased awareness of the spiritual perspective frequently undergo a deep transformation, allowing them to remain sober and drug-free. [13, 14]

III. Signs and Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening

The signs of spiritual awakening include physical symptoms and psychological states of mind. Here are some of the most common:

Psychological and emotional changes

1. Heightened self-awareness

One of the first symptoms of a spiritual awakening is often a heightened awareness of negative habits and a desire to change them. It’s common for us to live on a kind of psychological autopilot, without observing ourselves, how we interact with others, and what we really feel. As a growing spirituality emerges, a person often finds themselves asking questions like,

  • Why am I always so defensive?
  • Why do I always choose abusive partners?
  • Why am I doing things I don’t really enjoy?
  • Why can’t I stop these old negative habits?

When you are asking yourself these types of questions, you are at a perfect point for engaging in mindfulness: being full aware in the present moment without judgement about it. While simply watching yourself and your reactions without judgement might not sound like you’re doing much, this practice can have profound consequences in how you deal with life’s challenges, and it can even change the structure of your brain, making it easier to go through life in the future. [15]

2. Increased empathy and compassion

Another important sign of spiritual development is increased compassion and empathy. You may suddenly have a desire to volunteer to help the homeless, to care for pets at an animal shelter, or to help your neighbor, even if you don’t like him.

Heightened awareness of empathy also involves becoming less judgmental toward others – and yourself - and instead becoming curious and tolerant. For example, some people feel highly judgmental of smokers. As they awaken, they might find themselves feeling compassion instead.

3. Heightened sense of purpose and meaning

Awakening spiritually also brings people a new sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. It might start with a feeling that the life you’re living is false or shallow, leaving you asking, “Who am I really?”

A deep sense of purpose might include bursts of creativity like and a desire create art, learning yoga, or garden. Frequently, people who are developing a deeper sense of spiritual purpose realize they are unhappy in their job and resolve to find other ways to make a living more aligned with their true nature.

Physical signs of spiritual awakening

As you open to a deeper reality, you might find you have:

  • More or less energy than usual
  • Brain fog
  • A new feeling of being alive
  • You’re sleeping more or less than previously
  • Vivid or profound dreams
  • A greater feeling of relaxation - or of turmoil - as you go through your day.

In addition, many people report the following physical changes while they awaken:

  • Their senses of taste, touch, or smell becomes more sensitive. For example, the odor of a cleaning product or personal care product suddenly becomes unpleasant.
  • They become intolerant of foods they used to enjoy. For example, perhaps they used to love fast food and suddenly it repels them.
  • Eating habits can change in other ways, like developing a desire to become vegetarian or suddenly wanting to eat ethnic foods that previously weren’t appealing.

Heightened intuition

Intuition is sometimes called a “gut feeling” because it is a way of knowing that emerges from the body instead of the mind. Many people who undergo a newfound sense of spiritual connection report they experience an intuition awakening For example, you might know who is calling before picking up the phone or sense you should go to a particular place, where you coincidently meet someone you need to see.


IV. The Path to Spiritual Awakening

Self-Reflection and Self-Inquiry

As you become awake to realities beyond the material world, it is common to reflect on your true nature and true self. You may wonder:

  • Do I really like the people I’m hanging out with?
  • Would I be more content in a different type of work?
  • Have I hurt people and need to apologize or make amends?

Here are some tools that can help you engage in this self-inquiry:

1. Journaling

Writing in a journal can be an excellent way to sort out what you feel and want during your spiritual transformation. A private journal is a place you can:

  • List resentments you want to get rid of, followed by statements releasing these feelings.
  • Express gratitude for the positive things in your life.
  • Record dreams and daily events to revisit later.

Some people find it helpful to write down negative thoughts and resentments on a sheet of paper and then throw it away as a physical act reflecting their desire to be free from this negativity.

2. Meditation and breath work

Meditation is a spiritual awakening process of sitting quietly while focusing your mind on something that keeps what Buddhists call ‘the monkey mind’ at bay. The monkey mind is always swinging from one thought or feeling to another in an endless stream of chatter. So, meditation seeks to quiet this mental and emotional activity by instead focusing on something calming, such as:

  • A single point in your field of vision
  • A soothing sound in the environment
  • The rhythm of your breath

Focusing on the breath calms your body and reduces the mind’s tendency to worry, wonder, and plan, replacing these with a focus on the present moment

3. Seeking guidance from spiritual teachers

Spiritual guides can be gurus, ministers, and enlightened famous people, and many people seek out these mentors and their books and videos for wisdom and guidance. But remember, spiritual teachers can also appear in unlikely places. For example, you might find a sudden lesson on being more spiritual when playing with a child, helping someone in need, or caring for an animal or plant.

Mindfulness and Presence

1. Practices to stay in the present moment

One of the most effective things you can do to stay present is focusing on your breath. It helps if you can find a quiet place to do this and turn off your phone, but as you get more familiar with this technique, you can even use it in the midst of chaos. Here’s how to do it:

  • To start, place one hand on your solar plexus and the other on your upper chest. (Once you learn the technique, you don’t have to do this anymore.)
  • Slowly inhale, holding your breath for a second when your lungs are full.
  • Then slowly exhale and briefly pause when you reach the bottom of your exhalation.
  • Let your solar plexus region rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
  • Use the hand on your upper chest to avoid movement there as you breathe.
  • Notice any tense muscles and consciously relax them.
  • That’s it!

The reason for allowing movement in the solar plexus is it’s where the vagus nerve passes through. The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and it has a lot to do with relaxation. Allowing your solar plexus to rise and fall as you breathe, a practice called belly breathing, massages this nerve, causing your mind to slow down, your heartrate and blood pressure to lower, and your body to relax. [16]

Other techniques for staying in the present include:

  • Focusing attention on the soles of your feet, on the ground or inside your shoes.
  • Using affirmations to dispel intruding thoughts and images that distract you from the present.
  • Paying close attention to your senses: for example, the taste of food or colors around you.

2. Developing mindfulness in daily life

While meditation is something you sit quietly and do at a peaceful moment, mindfulness is a practice you can do anytime, anywhere. To engage in mindfulness each day, simply bring your awareness back to the present moment whenever it wanders. Then notice what is happening inside and around you while avoiding judgement about it. Replace judgement with curiosity.

Being mindful can be a challenge because our minds are well trained to focus on the past and future and come to conclusions. So what do you do if thoughts keep drifting? First, expect it to happen. Then notice it briefly. Then, refocus on something in the present such as:

  • Physical sensations like breathing
  • A sound in the environment
  • The feeling of your breath passing through your nostrils.
  • The words and intention of the person talking to you.

Resist the urge to judge yourself or give up when your mind wanders. Noticing how one’s mind wanders is part of mindfulness, and the solution is always the same: refocus on the here and now, over and over and over. Doing this actually rewires the brain, making it easier to stay in the present over time. [17]

The Wisdom of Inner Work and Healing

1. Healing past wounds and traumas

For many people, spiritual development and the growth of wisdom happen with healing traumatic and painful wounds from the past, especially from childhood and self-destructive behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Unresolved traumatic experiences tend to keep a person stuck in the past and worrying about the future, something you transcend as you become spiritually awake.

2. Letting go of attachments and self-centered view

Ego is the part of your personality that reflects on itself and your beliefs about who you are. It’s how the self sees the self. Attachments are the way we cling to these self-conceptions and objects representing them.

It’s important to note, the ego is a necessary part of every person’s psychology. In order to interact with ourselves and the world around us, you must first have a sense of self, that is, an ego. However, the problem arises when we begin to mistake our essence as the ego-self, become overly attached to it, and then act it out in the world. Conceptions of the ego might include:

  • I’m smart or I’m stupid
  • A strong identification with career, profession, or academic achievement
  • Attachment to political or religious belief systems
  • Seeing oneself as highly virtuous or a hopeless failure

These ideas can be strongly ingrained. However, during a spiritual awakening, one must transcend attachments and have a self-realization of being more than the sum of one’s thoughts.

"Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk."

Gratitude and Acceptance

Developing feelings of gratitude and acceptance is central to evolving spiritually. We often focus on what blocks our happiness: what we don’t like, don’t have, and don’t enjoy. However, if you start to look closely, there are always things to be grateful for, such as:

  • The soothing physical sensations of a hot cup of tea in your hand
  • The unconditional love of a pet
  • Beauty in the natural world

One study on the power of gratitude for improving people’s lives surveyed 750 students, measuring the degree of their feelings of gratitude and comparing it to how well they coped with challenges, how much social support they had, and their overall sense of well-being.

The results? Those students who expressed a higher level of gratitude had better coping skills, a more cohesive social network, and a higher degree of overall well-being that those with less. [18]

Expressing gratitude and developing acceptance can have a life changing positive effect on your quality of life and awakening process.

Accepting the Impermanence of Life

One of the greatest sources of fear for most people is the fear of death. However, as we release old ways of perceiving and attachments, the impermanence of life becomes easier to bear. Perhaps this happens because gaining a deeper spiritual perspective means seeing oneself as an integral part of something much greater than yourself.

For others, spiritual development includes a belief that the spirit, soul, or consciousness is distinct from the physical body, and when the body dies, part of us continues to exist. Even if we can never prove an afterlife to be true, believing in an eternal soul sometimes helps in overcome a fear of dying. Listening to stories about peoples near death experiences can cultivate a newfound curiosity about one’s true nature as pure consciousness.

How a Healthy Lifestyle Can Enhance Your Spiritual Journey

As a person develops spiritually, they often desire to live a healthier lifestyle. It’s also true that by adopting healthier ways of living, you can enhance or accelerate your spiritual life and self-discovery. For example, you might decide to:

  • Quit tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
  • Start exercising more
  • Reduce or eliminate processed foods
  • Get more sleep
  • Avoid movies or video games depicting violence
  • Reduce stress by taking hot baths, saunas, or getting massages


V. Spiritual Methods for Awakening

Meditation and Contemplation

We talked about meditation, breath work, and mindfulness. However, there are a variety of ways to engage in these spiritual paths besides sitting in a classic lotus posture and meditating. For example, you can:

  • Take a walk in nature
  • Study yoga, tai-chi, or another martial art
  • Dance
  • Listen to relaxing music or scared sounds
  • Help others

In each of these activities we are called to be present in the moment, an essential part of awakening our spiritual side.

Benefits of regularly meditating

Quite a bit of research had been done on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for helping people live more fulfilled and peaceful lives. One recent study looked at healthcare professionals who use a system called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found those who regularly practiced this method had lower levels of depression, anxiety, and physical pain and structural and functional changes also happened in their brains. [19]

Yoga and Breath work

1. Connection between body and spirit

The connection between the body and spirit is now recognized by many practitioners of medicine. [20] One method for enhancing and expanding this connection is with yoga and breathe work.

2. Breath work techniques to awaken consciousness

The spiritual alchemy of using breath to awaken consciousness is a large subject. Breath is a natural point of focus because it is mostly automatic but also easily under our control. If you are new to learning about relaxing breathing techniques, you might want to try out several methods until you find ones that work best.

Prayer and Affirmations

Some people who are not religious have a hard time with the idea of praying. If that’s you, consider this: Even if you do not believe in any type of divine entity, prayer can work by keeping your mind attuned to positive thoughts and gratitude. Prayer does not need to be religious. It can also be a way to connect with deeper levels of your own mind.

Using positive affirmations

Positive affirmations are another method for reducing stress and opening yourself to new, life-affirming realities. Many of us take on negative beliefs about ourselves through messages from parents, teachers, or society. Affirmations are a way of balancing these negative messages by intentionally replacing them with positive ones. Examples of affirmations are:

  • I am beautiful
  • I am happy
  • I am worthy of unconditional love
  • I am successful
  • I am making positive changes in my life.

You might be thinking this sounds like being self-centered. But here’s the difference: An affirmation is about something we don’t have enough self-love to believe about ourselves. Whereas, an attachment is something we already think is true about ourselves.

VI. Overcoming Common Challenges

Navigating resistance and fear

The world we live in is highly focused on the material, making it difficult for many people to accept there is a spiritual dimension. In this case, you might encounter internal resistance and even fear as you attempt to grow spiritually. Here are some tips for overcoming these roadblocks.

  • Challenge negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
  • Practice self-care by eating healthy food, getting plenty of sleep, and engaging in relaxing activities you enjoy.
  • Remind yourself daily that what you are doing is difficult and often slow. Be patient with yourself and don’t expect rapid progress.

Dealing with skepticism and criticism

As you progress in your spiritual awakening, you might tell family and friends and find they’re uninterested, skeptical, or disapproving.

To overcome this, seek out other people who are going through similar experiences or are farther along on their journey. You might find such people at a meditation center, a yoga class, or an online forum. If you can’t find people in real life who support you, consider turning to books and videos.

A challenging aspect of awakening spiritually for many people is letting go of relationships with others who are not developing their spiritual nature. However, it’s often necessary to do so, or at least, to avoid talking about your experience with them.

Managing the "dark night of the soul"

The “dark night of the soul” is a phrase that often comes up when people are developing spiritually. It may occur at the start of the journey or later, but it involves a period of feeling depressed and cut off from your soul or any higher power. For some, it’s the trigger that starts their spiritual unfolding. For others, it doesn’t happen at all.

Ironically, feeling desperately cut off from the divine can be a sign you are ready for a spiritual awakening. Your dark night might include:

  • Feelings of intense isolation or alienation 
  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of despair
  • Reduced motivation for work and life in general
  • Disgust with the world

This experience can be disheartening, but it’s often necessary. You can avoid allowing the dark night to dissuade you from your spiritual path by using the techniques discussed in this article, such as:

  • Yoga
  • Breathing techniques
  • Affirmations
  • Connecting with others pursuing a similar path
  • Spending time in nature
  • Journaling

Don’t let it stop you from your path! Instead, try to welcome it as the shedding away your old self, replacing it with a new and deeper version of your true self.


VII. The Role of Community and Support

Finding like-minded individuals and communities

For some of us, the spiritual journey is something we do alone. However, for many, finding like-minded people and groups provides crucial support.  As mentioned earlier, it is not uncommon to have friends and family dismiss the experience. This social disapproval can make a challenging process harder. So, here are places to consider looking for support:

  • Spirituality bookstores: Many large cities have bookstores specializing in spirituality. Besides reading material, these businesses also often have bulletin boards, newsletters, and websites listing groups, meetings, and events you can join.
  • Meditation and yoga centers and retreats: Many large and small cities have meditation centers, yoga classes, and other local events centered on spirituality.
  •  Natural food stores: As discussed above, eating healthy food is a significant part of spiritual development for many people, and these businesses often have bulletin boards and newsletters with information on events, classes, and social media groups.
  • Houses of worship: Churches and temples, monasteries, and religious retreat centers are other place to consider finding a community of spiritually evolving new friends.
  • Sobriety groups like AA also provide spiritual fellowship.

Seeking guidance from spiritual mentors

You can connect with a spiritual mentor in-person or by looking for videos and books written by these people. Eckhart Tolle and Joe Dispenza are two authors with many books on this subject. Finding a mentor and following their advice is extremely helpful for many, but don’t be afraid to explore with several different mentors to broaden your perspective and seek out those who can help you most.

The importance of open-mindedness and humility

A spiritual awakening is by definition an opening of one’s mind to new possibilities, so keeping an open mind and staying humble is always part of the journey. For example, you might start out thinking the idea of praying is ridiculous. This happened to the author Mary Karr, as she writes about in her memoire, Lit. She grew up in an atheistic family and had never prayed in her life, until she bottomed out as an alcoholic and her friends in an AA meeting suggested she try getting on her knees and praying.

At first, she reports her attempts to kneel and pray were more like a break dance move than a devotion. However, as she continued, she found being open-minded and humble about prayer opened many doors of understanding in her life.

VIII. Integrating Spiritual Awakening into Daily Life

Balancing the material and spiritual aspects of life

Deepening our spiritual selves does not mean we give up on everything in material life. We still have to eat, pay the rent, go to work, etc. The trick is to find the right balance of time and energy between material and spiritual pursuits. Here are a few ideas on how to do that:

  • Set aside a specific time each day for meditation, prayer, listening to sacred music, or reading spiritual texts or philosophy.
  • Set aside a specific day of the week where you only engage in activities related to your spiritual development.
  • Read spiritually themed books or sacred texts or listen to spiritually elevating music at night before sleep.
  • Join a spirituality group with regular meetings and make attending a priority.
  • Use mindfulness any time in your busy life when you feel overwhelmed or think of it.

Mindful decision-making and ethical choices

Each day we make dozens of small and large decisions, and each one gives us an opportunity for self-exploration of our true nature, using mindfulness and ethical thinking skills. The trick is to slow down and take a bit more time when faced with a decision, asking yourself, “How can this moment play a role in my spiritual awakening?”

Nurturing relationships and practicing compassion

Whenever we interact with others, we have an opportunity to engage in compassion and empathy. Doing this means overcoming an ingrained tendency to feel judgmental when we see others behaving in ways we don’t like. Here are a few ideas for changing those old patterns:

  • When you encounter someone you dislike, use it as an opportunity to engage in mindfulness by resisting the urge to judge. Instead, try observing them with newfound curiosity.
  • Look for opportunities to help others by volunteering at a food bank, an animal shelter, or helping a neighbor.
  • Spend time with people you love, and look for ways to do small things for them, such as making a cup of tea, offering a ride, or doing an errand.
  • Perhaps most important of all is practicing compassion for yourself and nurturing your relationship with your spiritually evolving self!

IX. Staying Committed to the Journey

Embracing the lifelong nature of spiritual awakening

As we mentioned earlier, spiritual development is not a destination but an ongoing process. If you realizing this, you will be better prepared for the ups and downs and lifelong nature of this experience.

Coping with setbacks and challenges

It is pretty much inevitable that we experience setbacks and challenges along the way. These can include:

  • Criticism from friends, co-workers, family, and yourself.
  • External events shifting your focus, for example, needing to find a new job or moving.
  • The natural ups and downs inherent in the process of enlightenment.
  • Working with the wrong (for you) mentor or method.

Even if these setbacks try your patience and make you want to give up, don’t. Instead, work to see each one as another opportunity to renew your commitment.

Cultivating patience and perseverance

Engaging in meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and breathing techniques can help you develop more patience and perseverance with multiple benefits:

  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • Reducing overall stress
  • Thinking more clearly
  • Staying present in the moment

X. Conclusion

Having a spiritual awakening is a deeply personal journey toward the true self that unfolds differently for everyone. For some, it’s a sudden transformation, occurring after a personal tragedy. For others, it’s a gradual process taking years or decades. The commonality in all such experiences is the individual moving away from values of the material world and finding new meaning, purpose, and direction in values like compassion, a search for truth, and feeling connected to something greater than ourselves. In the process, those who develop their soul’s potential achieve true joy, sustained happiness, and inner peace.


What are the signs of a spiritual awakening and enlightenment?

Some common signs are:

  • A strong desire to find one’s true purpose
  • Increased empathy and connection to others
  • Experiencing a “dark night of the soul”
  • Heightened intuition and sensitivity
  • Decreased concern for material success and increased concern for spiritual growth.

What causes or triggers a spiritual awakening experience?

Often, they are triggered by a difficult experience, such as bottoming out on drugs or alcohol, ending a relationship, losing a job, a life-threatening illness, or a near death experience. However, many people also come gradually to a heightened awareness of the spiritual, without any single triggering event.

What does a spiritual awakening feel like?

You might experience intense emotions such as bliss or periods of darkness and despair. You will feel a falling away of your old self as it is replaced by a deeper consciousness of the spiritual world.

What happens during a spiritual enlightenment?

Awakenings and enlightenments are transformations of one’s inner life and perceptions, leading to meaningful changes in how a person lives and feels. You are likely to feel a greater empathy for others, more alive and present in the moment, and less concerned about money, possessions, and social status.

How long does a spiritual awakening last?

Awakening spiritually is a process without end. However, it often includes intense periods – such as a dark night of the soul or moments of oceanic bliss – followed by a return of being calmly mindful to the present.

About The Author

Author Robert Vergin

Robert Vergin

Robert is a spiritual teacher, entrepreneur and founder of He is passionate about personal and spiritual growth in all aspects of life. Robert had his spiritual awakening in his early teens. He began practicing yoga, qigong, martial arts and especially meditation early in his life. He's interested in naturopathy, travelling, hiking, bodybuilding, marketing and he loves life... He has found his purpose in helping people and businesses grow. He is also the creator of the meditation music that you can find on this website.