Have you ever stared in awe at a breathtaking sunrise, feeling a profound sense of connection and serenity? Or maybe, in the middle of a normal day, a wave of gratitude and love washed over you as you watched your loved ones laugh.
Those moments can be the spark of something beautiful—a spiritual awakening. It’s like discovering a secret language, revealing a new, tender way of relating to the world, others, and most importantly, ourselves.
Remember, this isn’t about flitting off to an ashram or adopting a hermit crab lifestyle. Rather, it’s about your deeply personal, unique journey.
“The spiritual process is not for the dead or the dying,” explains Sadhguru, a renowned spiritual teacher and trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest. “It is for the living who want to become fully alive in all dimensions of life.”
What Is a Spiritual Awakening?
A spiritual awakening is a profound inner change where you begin to question old beliefs, perceive the interconnectedness of all things, and feel a deeper sense of purpose and inner peace. It’s like opening your eyes for the first time to see the world in a whole new light.
This kind of experience often paves the way for self-actualization. It sets the stage for human beings to blossom into their full potential, fostering a life of purpose, passion, and personal fulfillment.
Abraham Maslow, a pioneer in the field of humanistic psychology, describes that self-actualized people have “the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others.”
Simply put, a spiritual awakening opens up your eyes to see the beauty and abundance hidden in every moment.
What Happens During a Spiritual Awakening?
When discussing the phenomenon of a spiritual awakening, it’s important to see it as a transformative process. It entails significant changes in emotional, spiritual, physical, and psychological levels.
As psychologist Dr. Steve Taylor explains in his seminal work The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening, this journey isn’t merely about our brains creating novel neurological states. Instead, our brains serve as conduits for a grander, universal consciousness.
In his 2017 study, he reported the effects of a spiritual awakening from various points of view:
- Emotional: Individuals report feeling a greater sense of empathy, compassion, and love, as well as a heightened connection to both their inner selves and the world around them. This is not just a fleeting sensation, but rather a profound shift in their emotional landscape that endures.
- Spiritual: This is not about subscribing to a specific set of religious beliefs but rather about sensing a deeper connection and unity with the universe. It’s a feeling of oneness that transcends the perceived boundaries of the self.
- Physical: Some individuals may report distinct sensations during their spiritual awakening, such as a heightened sense of energy or a new-found awareness of their bodies. These physical experiences, though varied, are seen as manifestations of the spiritual process occurring within.
- Psychological: There’s a profound shift in self-perception and worldview. The self is no longer viewed as an isolated entity but as a part of an interconnected web of existence.
Think of a spiritual awakening as a television program. The TV doesn’t create the programs it displays; it merely receives and broadcasts them.
Similarly, the brain doesn’t produce the experience of spiritual awakening—it’s merely the channel through which one can tune into the higher, universal consciousness. And this perspective challenges conventional scientific opinion and offers a compelling alternative view of the spiritual awakening process.
Main myths related to a soul awakening
When it comes to spiritual awakening, misconceptions are as plentiful as stars in the cosmos. Here are a few myths debunked to set the record straight:
Myth 1: It’s only a religious experience
The truth is, a spiritual awakening transcends religion and spirituality’s boundaries. It’s an intimate, inner journey that can occur outside the framework of any religious belief. It’s less about doctrine and more about personal connection.
Myth 2: It’s exclusive to “special” individuals
Spiritual awakenings aren’t reserved for an elite few. They can occur to anyone, mirroring the sunrise—universal, accessible, and open to all.
Myth 3: It’s perpetually positive
Like any transformative process, spiritual awakening has its challenges. It can entail the uncomfortable shedding of old beliefs and identities, leading to profound growth. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but rain is necessary for blooming.
Myth 4: It’s a one-time event
Rather than a single, sudden occurrence, a spiritual awakening is a continual journey. It’s more of a winding path than a switch to be flicked—a series of peaks and valleys leading toward greater self-awareness and understanding.
These myths, debunked, uncover the true essence of a spiritual awakening. And in doing so, it provides a more nuanced perspective on this transformative life event.
Signs of a Spiritual Awakening
Navigating the realms of spiritual awakening can sometimes feel like exploring uncharted territories.
To shed light on this profound journey, we turn to the wisdom of Mindvalley experts. Drawing from their insights, these indicators serve as guideposts, helping you make sense of the transformative experiences and subtle shifts that may be unfolding within you.
Here’s a list of signs and symptoms that can illuminate your path of spiritual awakening.
1. A sense of unity
An awakened species sees the unity of all life and lives into it. Humans in an unawakened state often deny it or ignore it.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
When you start seeing yourself as part of everything that is and embrace the connections with other human beings, it could be a strong sign of an emerging spiritual awakening.
2. Speaking your truth
An awakened species tells the truth, always. Humans in an unawakened state often lie to themselves as well as others.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
You may notice yourself naturally feeling called to speak your truth and also spot the lies around you.
3. The say-and-do congruence
An awakened species says one thing and will do what they say. Humans in an unawakened state often say one thing and do another.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Your thoughts, words, emotions, and actions could align intuitively after a spiritual awakening.
4. Doing what works
An awakened species, having seen and acknowledged what is so, will always do what works. Humans in an unawakened state often do the opposite.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Maybe you know the feeling of being stuck in the same harmful pattern that you know doesn’t work. When you awaken spiritually, it’ll be easier for you to let go of the habits that no longer serve you.
5. Going beyond justice and punishment
An awakened species does not embrace a principle in its civilization that correlates with the concepts that humans refer to as justice and punishment.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
When this societal condition dissolves, you realize that not everything is black and white, good or bad. You deepen your understanding of life’s shades and nuances.
6. Embrace sufficiency
An awakened species does not embrace a principle in its civilization that correlates with the concept that humans refer to as insufficiency.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
You slowly understand that you’ve always been enough, just the way you came into this world to be.
7. Practicing stewardship, not ownership
An awakened species does not embrace a principle in its civilization that correlates with the concept that humans refer to as ownership.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Of course, it’s not about completely ditching material possessions but rather using them as objects of care instead of a supposed fulfillment of unhappiness.
8. Share more
An awakened species shares everything with everyone all the time. Humans in an unawakened state often do not, only sharing with others in limited circumstances.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
You may start to feel a natural call to share your experiences, achievements, and wisdom with others around you.
9. Balance between nature and technology
An awakened species creates a balance between technology and cosmology, between machines and nature. Humans in an unawakened state often do not.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Sometimes, these new capabilities that technology brings have rendered us incapable of relying on ourselves to perform basic functions and supply ourselves with the simple delights we need to be happy.
10. View on death
An awakened species would never, under any circumstances, terminate the current physical expression of another sentient being unless asked directly by that other being to do so. Humans in an unawakened state often kill other humans without that other human requesting them to.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
When we have awoken as a collective, explains Neale, we will lay down our arms and abandon the ways and means of destroying each other, such as war of any kind, crimes, or the death penalty.
11. Nurturing the environment
An awakened species would never do anything that could potentially damage or harm the physical environment that supports the members of the species when they are physicalized. Humans in an unawakened state often do so.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
You may notice yourself taking more care of the nature around you and feeling called to connect with natural environments.
12. Never poison yourself
An awakened species never poisons itself. Humans in an unawakened state often do so.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Our self-inflicted poisons are mental, emotional, and physical. Once you awaken, you may drop the toxic habits you were engaging in previously, such as scrolling mindlessly, abandoning yourself in relationships, or perhaps alcohol consumption.
13. Letting go of competition
An awakened species never competes. Humans in an unawakened state are often in competition with each other.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Human beings live under the illusion that there is not enough. However, once the illusion is lifted, you understand that the Universe is abundant and has enough to offer every single one of us.
14. Need becomes an illusion
An awakened species is clear that it needs nothing. Humans in an unawakened state often create a need-based experience.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
Awakening shatters the conviction that there is nothing other than what is here right now that you need to be content, utterly peaceful, and completely happy in any moment, highlights Neale.
15. Unconditional love
An awakened species experiences and expresses unconditional love for everyone. Humans in an unawakened state often cannot imagine even a deity who does this, much less do they do it themselves.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
When you express love, you stop doing it to get something in return. You just show your unconditional love as a mere expression of your higher self embodied in your life.
16. The power of metaphysics
An awakened species has harnessed the power of metaphysics. Humans in an unawakened state often largely ignore it.— Neale Donald Walsch, trainer of Mindvalley’s Awaken the Species Quest
This means that you start to understand the power of working with your mind, body, and soul according to the laws of the Universe to manifest the reality that you desire to live.
17. Being playful
Being playful really means being responsible and responsive to life.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
When you awaken spiritually, you get in tune with the creation and the creator. Therefore, being playful becomes very natural.
Playfulness has been wrongly equated with irresponsibility. So instead of walking around with a long face, entangled with your own creation, if you are playful with life and in tune with the larger creation, it is the most responsible way to live.
18. Stop resisting change
If you resist change, you resist life.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
When you resist change, you create unnecessary suffering. However, after undergoing a spiritual awakening, change becomes the essence of your physical existence.
Sadhguru explains that you truly start grasping the mechanisms of how to relax, dissolve, and release resistance toward change.
19. Making decisions from both the head and heart
Whatever you do, it hurts anyway, because you have identified yourself with so many things that you are not.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
The most sophisticated piece of engineering is the human mechanism of being. Your thoughts are agile but sometimes overactive, and your emotions may be intuitive but a little sappy. So whether you make decisions being fully identified with your head or with your heart, it may create suffering.
A spiritual awakening may balance out the two and make it easier for you to decide what’s best for you in every moment.
20. Easy to manage your mind
Stress happens because of our inability to manage our own systems.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
It’s not stress you need to manage, but rather your own mind. And if you find it easier to calm down the stormy waters of your mind, it might be a sign of your soul awakening.
21. Releasing the fear of suffering
If you’re well-managed and have a heaven within you, what does it matter where you go? Hell can be an interesting place, too.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
Most humans never walk in full stride but take only half-steps due to the fear of suffering. But you can live a life of endless possibilities when you let go of the fear of feeling your fear or pain.
And when you embrace life with its full spectrum of experiences, it might actually be a sign of something awakening in you.
22. Understanding freedom
Freedom is a territory where you have to culture and mature yourself to exist free.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
Human beings have the freedom to make themselves however they want. Unfortunately, most of humanity is suffering from this “freedom,” as Sadhguru points out in his Quest.
But when you awaken, you’ll get a deeper sense of understanding that freedom means keeping your body, emotions, and energy in a healthy state. And that’s completely your responsibility.
23. Inner peace
Peace cannot be enforced from outside. It is a consequence of how we are within ourselves.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest
When you determine ways to discover your true nature, you will naturally create pleasantness for yourself and others. This may lead you to find inner peace and tranquility, which are both signs of a spiritual awakening.
24. Stop being afraid of your shadow
Items that bother us, upset us, repulse us, or, at the other extreme, attract us, compel us, obsess us—these are usually reflections of the shadow.— Ken Wilber, trainer of Mindvalley’s Integral Life Quest
Remember that the shadow (the repressed and hidden parts of you) is elusive; it hides behind us. Our defense mechanisms are designed to keep our shadows repressed and out of view.
However, when your soul awakens, the fear of facing your shadow will dissolve, and you’ll gain the natural courage to meet those parts of yourself that were hidden in the dark.
25. Direct experience of the Spirit
A direct experience of the Spirit is a general illumination of our radical ultimate ground of being.— Ken Wilber, trainer of Mindvalley’s Integral Life Quest
The journey of spiritual awakening may be a doorway to experiencing the Spirit (or the Universe, or God, or whatever you’d like to call it).
26. A different understanding of God
There is nothing but God, nothing but the Goddess, nothing but spirit in all directions, and not a grain of salt, not a speck of dust, is more or less spirit than any others.— Ken Wilber, trainer of Mindvalley’s Integral Life Quest
And once you move into this profound state of being, you begin to understand the concept of God differently. According to Ken, this means noticing the divine permeating everything that is, rather than being encapsulated in a figure of an all-powerful man ruling from the heavens.
27. Satori moments
Satori moments are when the Universe moves you beautifully to where you need to be.— Vishen, founder of Mindvalley and trainer of Mindvalley’s Be Extraordinary Quest
These are those moments of epiphany when things just click with an unexpected “aha.” And most importantly, these moments are signs of tuning into higher levels of universal consciousness.
28. Going beyond the spiritual paradox
The world needs people who come alive through introspection to go forth, shake up, rattle, and shake the world.— Vishen, founder of Mindvalley and trainer of Mindvalley’s Be Extraordinary Quest
So connecting deeply to your soul can also show up as finding the balance between mind and matter. You begin to understand the power of introspection but also realize that the material world is the perfect medium to experience your spirit.
29. The language of intuition
Synchronicities are not flukes or random events—they’re intentional reflections of our intuition working with the perfect order of all things in the unseen world.— Sonia Choquette, trainer of Mindvalley’s Sixth Sense Superpower Quest
When your soul speaks to you, it’s usually through intuition, the language of energy, says Sonia. Therefore, the more awakened you are, the more synchronicities or intuitive insights you’ll begin to notice showing up in your life.
30. Expecting guidance from intuition and acting on it
When we trust our vibes, we restore our balance and experience within—which, ultimately, leads to peace without.— Sonia Choquette, trainer of Mindvalley’s Sixth Sense Superpower Quest
Sonia points out that highly intuitive and awakened people often receive guidance from their intuition and Universal wisdom. They know what actions need to be taken and completely trust the perfect unfolding of life in front of them.
The Stages of a Spiritual Awakening
Although there may not be a one-size-fits-all kind of recipe on how to have a spiritual awakening, people who experience it report similar stages:
1. The initial stirring
This is akin to the moment in a film when the protagonist senses that something significant is on the horizon. It’s a subtle awareness that something within you is shifting, a sense of curiosity, or perhaps a growing dissatisfaction with the status quo.
2. The quest
Here, the thirst for knowledge and understanding kicks in. Like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, you might find yourself consuming spiritual literature, attending workshops, or seeking out mentors. It’s a time of exploration and learning.
3. The crisis or dark night of the soul
Just as every superhero faces trials and tribulations, this stage can be one of struggle and doubt. And as your old belief systems start to crumble, you may experience confusion, isolation, or even despair.
But as every sunrise follows the darkest night, this challenging period is often a precursor to profound growth and transformation.
4. The breakthrough
This stage is like the triumphant finale in a movie. The struggle of the dark night of the soul gives way to a newfound sense of peace and understanding.
Old patterns and beliefs are shed, and you might experience a profound sense of unity with the universe, radiant joy, and a deep understanding of your purpose in life.
5. The integration
This final stage is about living in alignment with your newfound understanding. It’s about integrating your spiritual insights into your everyday life, like a yoga pose that begins to feel natural and effortless. It’s a time of embodiment and practice, of being rather than doing.
Remember, everyone’s journey is unique, and these stages might not occur linearly. Like the seasons, they might cycle and recur in different forms throughout one’s life. In essence, spiritual awakening is a journey without a final destination, a continuous process of growth, learning, and transformation.
What Happens After a Spiritual Awakening?
You may not know for sure how long a spiritual awakening may last, but you can get a clue as to what happens after it:
- New self-perception and purpose. Post-awakening, you see yourself and your life purpose with newfound clarity. It’s like viewing the world in HD—everything becomes vivid and meaningful.
- Relationship dynamics shift. As you evolve, so do your relationships. Some might deepen, while others might drift apart—it’s like a dance that changes with the rhythm of your growth.
- Career and lifestyle transformation. You might feel drawn towards a more fulfilling career, healthier lifestyle, or resonant hobbies. Imagine a snake shedding its old skin for a vibrant new one.
- Evolved perspective on challenges. You’ll likely approach life’s challenges with a new perspective, viewing them as opportunities for growth rather than mere obstacles. It’s like surfing—once daunting waves become a thrilling ride.
Remember, spiritual awakening doesn’t mark the end of the journey but the beginning of a richer, more authentic chapter of life. Like a bird soaring freely, you’ll navigate the winds of life with newfound resilience and joy.
Embrace Your Soul Journey
Your soul journey is one of discovery, exploration, and authenticity. It may not be all rainbows and butterflies, but even through the most challenging storms, the sun will rise again.
And if you need a little guidance on your path to spiritual awakening, Mindvalley is the place to be. You can get transformational insights from soulful quests, such as:
- A Yogi’s Guide to Joy with Sadhguru
- Awaken the Species with Neale Donald Walsch
- Integral Life by Ken Wilber
- Be Extraordinary with Vishen
- Sixth Sense Superpower by Sonia Choquette
By unlocking your free access, you may sample classes from these programs and many others and let their magic transform your life, too. And as there’s nothing more powerful than the togetherness of people holding the world together, you may find your soul family at Mindvalley.
Don’t be afraid to let your soul find its way back to you.
Images generated on Midjourney.