Hi Mary-

Your books Spiritual Awakening Guide and Working with Kundalini have helped me navigate some truly difficult terrain on my spiritual path. Thank you….

I am going through a difficult time right now and it is difficult to see the point in all of this. I am wondering if you could help me see the light. What do I have to look forward to if I see this thing through?… 

I know there are lists out there but many of them seem more like wish-fulfillment or fantasy than reality. I love your non-fluff approach….

What are the benefits of spiritual awakening?–


(Email edited for brevity/clarity)

Hi Geoff-

I will say that the books that you mention do go into the benefits of spiritual awakening but you are right, much of my work is intended to help people understand and work through the difficulties of the process. 

As you will notice, many of these benefits overlap, and rightfully so.

  • Things that used to bother you cease to bother you. People and situations that used to get under your skin you no longer have reaction to.
  • You move on from childhood patterns. Most of us are repeating patterns of behavior and identity we formed in our childhood home (although some can come from early childhood peers/teachers). During spiritual awakening these patterns, behaviors, and identity are released and you can “grow up”, discovering who you are without them.
  • An ability to feel your full range of emotions. This is also called emotional intelligence. As a result of learning the tools to work with our emotions and by feeling them our emotions no longer rule over us. We can let every emotion flow through us without fear, and can learn how to make conscious decisions regarding our emotions. 
  •  More energy and less internal conflict. One of my favorite descriptions for the end result of spiritual awakening is the end of conflict. During spiritual awakening what isn’t working in our lives comes to the forefront to be realized and healed. Awakening results in less outer conflict, less inner conflict, and feelings of inner stillness and peace. The most realized people radiate stillness. So much of our energy is tied up in a bunch of inner battles we are waging. When we are no longer waging so many battles, that energy is returned to us, and we can devote it to something else in our lives.
  • Uncovering of childhood joy, curiosity, and play. As a result of healing our formative years, the pain ceases and the inner light of childhood comes forward. We get to be in an adult body but with the “beginner’s mind” of a child.
  • Greater ability to simply live life. All of our inner conflicts mean that the unhealed parts of ourselves get in the way of what we truly want for ourselves. When we awaken and those parts are resolved, we stop shooting ourselves in the foot (so to speak) and have much greater ability to live the life of our own choosing.
  • Acceptance of self (and others) as they are. Accepting ourselves doesn’t mean that we don’t have something to work on, or that we are completely whole or healthy, or even that things are okay. Acceptance means accepting the present moment, whatever that is. This may mean acceptance of pain or poor health or difficult circumstance. Life truly offers us a lot to navigate. But when we accept ourselves fully as we are, we begin to accept others as they are. Life becomes a lot simpler when your inner voice is no longer berating our bullying you for not being perfect. Compassion develops when we can accept others as they are.
  • The end of perfectionism. We do so much to deny our imperfect humanity, and this comes with a whole list of things we need to do and be in order to prove ourselves worthy. Before awakening we believe that if we were only perfect, we would be whole, lovable, and worthy. When you realize that you are worthy and lovable exactly as you are, even if you do not accomplish another thing in your life, even if you aren’t perfect, you stop putting in so much energy into trying to be perfect or pretending to be perfect. You can simply be as you are.
  • The embodied experience of something greater than yourself. We suffer so much because the suffering parts of ourselves feel alone and unseen in their pain. They may isolate and create a whole host of beliefs and defense mechanisms to explain or give meaning to this separation. Awakening lets us open up to the connections we have closed ourselves off to– oneness describes the eventual results of opening fully. Eventually we can open us up to the experience of faith and unconditional love. Conditional love requires us to do something or be someone in order to receive love. Unconditional love comes because as a human being we are worthy of love without needing to prove ourselves or be anything in particular. The experience of grace is an opening of our hearts to feel faith as an embodied thing. In doing so, we know that we are loved and we know that we belong. 
  • The release of the need for outer approval and validation. This is a huge thing to move past for people, and often I hear the sentiment “I don’t give a ‘f’ what people think of me”. Generally people who say this really, really care what people think about them. The end result of spiritual awakening is to care what you think about yourself first. We give away so much energy and power when we seek validation from outside of ourselves. When we take back that power we recognize our own worth internally. From that there can then be discernment that not all people get an opinion of you. You learn to see when people have an opinion or insight of value, and when they may not (or when they are too wrapped up in their own pain and just projecting on you as a convenient target, and what they say has nothing to do with you, which happens all the time!)

This is Part One of the List. You can find Part Two here

Mary Mueller Shutan is a spiritual teacher and author of The Spiritual Awakening Guide, Working with Kundalini, and the Shamanic Workbook series.