You’re not going crazy, you’re just waking up! That’s been my favorite quote around the overwhelming feeling of a Spiritual Awakening. And as I work with more and more people, trying to bring them comfort and awareness towards the journey, I’m noticing a pattern. There are actual stages to all of this. Stages, of a spiritual awakening!
There seems to be a sophisticated process that the universe follows, to navigate us from the state of autopilot living, to conscious living. While our journeys are unique, and the catalysts for our growth differ per our soul contracts, here are my observations of what the various stages of spiritual growth encompass.
Stage 1 – The Dark Night of the Soul
This is the precursor. Every single person I’ve spoken to so far, has told me similar stories :
- “I felt like going to a psychologist”,
- “People asked me if I’m in depression”,
- “I was having an existential crisis”,
- “Life feels shallow or meaningless now”,
- And so on…
The Dark Night of the Soul is a period when your vision of how life should be begins to shatter. It might occur after a death of a loved one, a huge tragedy or trauma that hits you at a deeper, subconscious level.
Or in some cases, it could arise for no specific reason at all. As was my case. For me, everything felt perfect. Until it was not. Here’s my story, written from back in the day.
The dark night of the soul can last for months, or in some cases, spread across years. There’s good news of course, and all this perseverance adds up to something, which you discover eventually! Which brings us to the next stage.
Stage 2 – A Ray Of Hope
Somehow, you keep going. You don’t want to give up, maybe just not yet. And finally, one day, there’s a breakthrough. This marks the before and after of your life. The movement from autopilot to conscious living.
You might search “am I going crazy?” one day and find spiritual awakening as your search result. Or you could stumble upon a book like A New Earth that sets things into motion for you.
Whatever is your soul’s choice of weapon, as soon as it happens, it is certain to instantly relieve you of that initial heaviness.
Stage 3 – Inquisitiveness
This is where you start binging on information about anything and everything that has to do with spirituality. Suddenly, you’re eager to know more about what a soul is, the purpose of life is, reincarnation, soul contracts and then some. You may notice yourself reading beyond your own inherited religious texts, diving deeper into the other eastern, western or ancient scriptures.
In ancient Hindu scriptures, the path to enlightenment through knowledge, is called jyana yog, and is one of the four paths laid out by the sages for one’s journey.
When my journey began and I reached this stage, I was feverishly reading book after book. After book. This is exactly why I have dozens of recommendations. Because I became OBSESSED!
Stage 4 – Denial & Inner Conflict
I believe that you swing between Stage 3 and Stage 4 for a while. You want to believe the existence of something beyond this reality. But the ego mind isn’t able to put 2+2 together yet.
Things that aren’t logical can’t be trusted, right?
And what if it’s all just a bunch of confirmation bias?
Also, am I really Spiritual? I mean, I’m always so angry and irritable. I’m losing control of myself. Isn’t that the opposite of being spiritual?
And on go your questions. Don’t let these strange experiences disappoint you or prevent you from progressing on the journey headfirst! It’s absolutely okay to challenge your faith and this new-found wisdom.
Sometimes you let it in and guide you, sometimes you don’t.
It’s mostly the logical aspects, like metaphysics that begin helping you move past the conflict and denial. Here are my personal recommendations on some solid books that scientifically-back spirituality, if you are seeking more proof to back your faith.
This is also one of the stages of a Spiritual Awakening where you feel the most overloaded and overwhelmed. The ego fights against all the unfamiliarity as your charter unseen territory with your spiritual knowledge, and you can feel extremely tired.
Stage 5 – Spiritual Makeover
At some point, you will receive enough signs and divine guidance to know that this isn’t a coincidence anymore. And then, your Spiritual Journey will really kick in.
It’ll be like experiencing a crash course on evolution. Everything happening all at once, being rapidly pushed through a tight tunnel towards a bigger Light.
- You’ll experience a deep sense of self-awareness arising,
- The guilt or shock will make you rapidly start re-evaluating and changing behaviors to be in alignment with who you really are,
- A lot of old preferences and hobbies will shed off, and you’ll gain new interests,
- You’ll also grow conscious of those around you that are still living on autopilot, and consequently, repel them sometimes,
- You’ll feel angry and/or sad to see the world as it is,
- You’ll want to help everyone jump on the spiritual boat but quickly realize that you can’t make other people heal, thus feeling periods of sadness and dejection,
- You may experience a deeper sense of emotional sensitivity, and find yourself avoiding crowded places to protect your energy.
So on, and so forth. This is perhaps the most visibly revolutionizing stages of a spiritual awakening.
The spiritual community is commonly heard terming the process as a metamorphosis.
The journey can truly be seen as though one transforms into a beautiful butterfly, breaking free from the stigmas and old patterns that were holding us back in our cocoon.
Stage 6 – Spiritual Ego
Well, now that you’ve established you’re spiritual, there’s a subtle sense of pride rising within.
- You’re rare because you woke up, but not everyone does,
- You’re better than those that don’t live life consciously,
- People don’t deserve your attention, ugh!
- Some people are just so toxic for your divinity,
- You don’t belong here, you’re actually an old soul that’s just here to help other people,
- And so on….
You may also experience spiritual bypassing, believing that fear is an illusion and that love and light is all that is, therefore escaping negative emotions or being unwilling to deal with your shadow self.
It happens to all of us. And several times. This isn’t a one-time thing, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Like one of my friends in the spiritual writing community says, “it’s difficult not to get cocky sometimes when you’re doing so well”. 🙂
I also remember an incident when a guy on LinkedIn that had the title of a Spiritual Coach, and was belittling me for not being enlightened. It was amusing to see how neither one of us were, but only one of us could see that!
Stage 7 – Grounding & Getting Serious
Sooner or later, your first reality check hits you. At that point, you understand that you’ve been goofing around and getting this spiritual stuff all wrong.
So far, the journey was on and off, you weren’t committed. But in this and the upcoming stages of a spiritual awakening, you experience yourself getting into a serious relationship with the Universe and its magic. Some people consider this the mysticism phase.
Here are things that you begin to realize:
- You are fully accountable for clearing out your karmic debts and taking the plunge towards an enlightened existence;
- The universe is always helping you attain enlightenment, but it is your choice how fast you want to learn the lessons being taught;
- No one’s journey is better or worse than the other’s;
- We are all one, merely here to experience our duality and expand the consciousness of existence;
- Our key objectives are to heal ourselves and help others heal in their journeys;
- And so on….
As an attempt to ascend faster, you will thus notice a growing inclination towards certain spiritual healing techniques like:
- Energy work such as reiki or pranic healing,
- Subconscious healing (hypnotherapy, CBT etc),
- Body healing (yoga, breathe work, ayurveda, etc)
- Energy body healing by working on your prana or chi,
- Healing crystals, stones, sage & essential oils,
- Past of future based work using tarot cards, astrology, etc.
I want to add a caveat here that the stage requires special attention and balancing oneself. Initially, when you get serious, you may notice yourself getting obsessed with spirituality. If left unchecked though, you may develop spiritual vices.
Stage 8 – Coming out of the spiritual closet
It surprisingly takes quite long for most of us to begin openly talking about what’s going on internally, with our loved ones. For most people on the spiritual journey, they feel isolated and build their ‘tribe’ outside their original circle. It becomes easier to share the journey with strangers across the world than the person sitting next door.
I’ve met countless friends through Instagram myself! It is reassuring to know that you’re not alone and that there are many others going through the same wave of change.
But eventually, as you experience deeper healing and undergo the transformative phases, you learn how to balance your physical and spiritual realities.
You will find yourself more and more comfortable talking about your interests, whether it is meditation or burning sage. This is also the stage where many spiritual aspirants start stepping away from their daily jobs and having serious thoughts about starting their own holistic health professions.
Stage 9 – Walking your purpose
When the spiritual journey begins, the initial turmoil and helplessness goes away. But for most people, there’s still a feeling like something is missing. I’ve noticed that as soon as you begin realizing how you will be giving back to the world with your own unique skills, the remainder of the missing dots connect for you.
For me, despite the fact that I’ve been passionate about writing all my life, it took me really long to realize that being a spiritual writer is my purpose. I used to do this more casually. But once my corporate life became intolerable, it forced me to reevaluate the direction I wanted to take my career.
I worked through a series of self-reflecting questions to arrive at the conclusion. I’ve now converted that into a step-by-step guide on how you can gain more clarity about your life purpose too.
Amongst the many stages of a spiritual awakening, this one can bring a momentous shift in your reality.
Stage 10 – Mastering Spiritual Lessons
This is where old patterns begin to resurface. It can almost feel like once again, you’re becoming un-spiritual. And it’s an unpleasant feeling to have at this stage because as you walk into your purpose, you almost want to feel like a Buddha. Serene, calm, with everything effortlessly under control.
But if you look deeper, something magical is happening.
I loved this beautiful post on Instagram by Joy, which perfectly explains this situation. Quoting her, she says, “if you’re revisiting a challenge [Spiritual lesson] at this time, step back and notice if it feels different. Is the lesson more isolated, focused on a single aspect?”.
Life brings forth the lessons we seemingly overcame a long time ago, but it isn’t to remind us of our failure. It’s to help us clean our act in a deeper, more refined way.
Currently, anger and compassion are two lessons I’m struggling to work on this year. But I’ve got this! And so do you. So just keep going! 🙂
Wait…what about enlightenment?
Maybe this is unpopular opinion, but I believe that enlightenment isn’t a destination, nor the ‘end goal’ of these stages. It’s a way of being, a state of existence and it comes and goes in between these stages. How?
This journey isn’t about being perfectly happy around the clock ofcourse. But it’s about being able to rise above the nuances and stay in the flow of life. To surrender and have lesser and lesser personal preferences. And as a consequence, you become naturally more joyous.
If you’ve been on the journey for atleast a few stages of spiritual awakening, you’ll agree with me on this. Sometimes you experience bliss, feelings of ego-death and absolute calm. And most of the other times, you’re fighting between the two – ego versus soul.
But the journey is about taking one conscious decision at a time to pick the soul’s subtleness over the ego’s drama.
The initial stages of a spiritual awakening are somewhat in-order but the latter come and go several times. Especially the spiritual ego, always followed by a reality check, which spiral around each other like yin and yang.
The journey is exciting, strange and mystical. But more importantly, it is unique to your soul’s evolution. So make the most of it. Let yourself shine through and through. And let me know if you need my help, I’m just an email away. 🙂