You can find Part One of the Benefits of Spiritual Awakening Here.
Now to continue our list!
- Knowing who you are and what you want (individuation). There are many paradoxical things that happen on the spiritual path. People release their conceptualizations of who they are, their egoic defense mechanisms, their need for meaning-making, and their past trauma during spiritual awakening. But at the same time what emerges is who you truly are. Beyond the false constructs and who you were told to be is who you are. The end result of spiritual awakening is a healthy, flexible ego… not an absent one.
- Freedom to be and do what you want. This can only come as a result of individuation, or knowing who we are, separate from other people’s ideas of us (or for us), who the world wants us to be, and the pain patterns that we live out until we break free from them. There are some caveats to this, as systemic issues are more than just an inner conceptualization. But if St. John of the Cross and Nelson Mandela can experience freedom in their literal prison, so can we in our figurative ones.
- Ability to be of service to others. When we start a spiritual path we are often rightfully self-focused and self-absorbed. We have a lot of pain within, a lot of conflict, and our time is spent attending to that. What we see of others is our own pain projected, our needs for others to fulfill a role, or our own needs for validation. When this cloud of pain releases our need for self-absorption (so much focus on our pain and struggles) releases as well. We have more energy and interest in serving others, and we have genuine interest in others, with an ability to see them for who they are in their totality.
- Ability to see yourself in everyone. When you encounter another person, compassion is present. This does not mean you will let them walk all over you or yield to their unhealthy dynamics. It may mean having compassion for someone who is a jerk because you can see how them being a jerk to you reverberates out into their lives. Connection, rather than separation, to everyone and everything you come across is a result of genuine spiritual communion. We can have compassion for the jerk we have met because there are times we have been a jerk as well. We no longer hold another’s suffering against them, and there is little need to react to their suffering as a result.
- Seeing people as interesting, rather than competition. When you awaken you see yourself reflected in others; you can also move beyond separating yourself from others. The end result of this is seeing clearly how others struggle and a knowing that people’s history, struggles, and ways of being have emerged for a reason. There is a lot of connection and compassion to be had beyond the superiority-inferiority loop.
- Letting go of othering and separation. An add-on to the last bullet point. Over time you can recognize that people will people. There is no need to dehumanize, villanize, or Other any other human. We are all connected. There are certainly some ignorant, unfortunate, harmful, and even soulless individuals out there. When you realize that most people are wrapped up in their suffering and fear and ignorance you can recognize that their behavior is a result. Any time we separate ourselves from another human being (or group) we are denying an aspect of our own humanity.
- Release of the “social body”. Acceptance of the physical form as it is. We have familial, societal, and cultural constructs that teach us to hate our physical bodies. Acceptance means seeing whatever our weight or shape that we are still worthy of acceptance and love. It does not mean that we might not want to get in better shape, or eat better, but those things are much more readily achieved if we learn to accept our emotions and if we are coming from a place of self-acceptance of our physical form as it is. Self-hatred is a fuel that gets many people to the gym, but those people will stop going because it only burns for so long.
- Release of the superiority-inferiority loop. This is one of the final achievements of awakening. We spend so much time and energy pretending to be superior to others. When we feel security in who we are, we no longer need to play this game. We can be as we are, and stop looking at others with contempt. Our own self-hatred fuels this game, and the more acceptance and love we have for ourselves, the less hatred we express outwards towards others.
- Release of moral righteousness. We have so much energy tied up into being a victim, a martyr, being right while all others are wrong or bad. When we release this, we recognize nuance in others. Nobody is a Batman Villain. The need for criticism and cynicism wanes. There is such a thing as healthy criticism– it is needed to push our society and culture forward. But mostly we point out what is wrong in one another and the world so virulently because otherwise we would need to contend with our own feelings of wrongness or badness. When we can accept than none of us are “good”, we are all sort of ambivalent (good, bad, and everything in between) we can stop spending so much of our time and energy in playing the game of moral righteousness.
- Realization of impermanence. To awaken does not mean perfect health, or wealth. It means recognizing that suffering is part of the human condition. When you recognize this and accept it, things flow much more readily. You realize that nothing– including our stay in our human bodies– is permanent. Physical death is accepted, fear is moved beyond. You realize how much of life has been trying to control things we have so little control over out of fear. There is an ability to regain life, and to live from a place of love (rather than fear), if we accept the chaos and uncertainty of the world.
And finally, two things that distinctly emerge…
A feeling of flow. Creative inspiration, a palpable feeling of flow moving through the body comes with our connection to what is within and without. Our job while awakening is to remove the barriers that remove us from feeling the flow of consciousness through every cell of our body. A feeling of divinity within emerges as this flow becomes more and more permanent.
An ability to be as you are. A settling into the body, feeling at home within the body. Embodiment rather than disassociation. Think of the body as the greatest altar we have. Everything that happens– all of the releases, the healing, the realizations, lead us back to the body and back to this world.
I could go on about the experience of synchronicities, feeling greater connection, creativity, the development of clarity, and the massive shifts of perception that occur as a result of spiritual awakening.
In my books I specifically do not focus too much on the development of psychic abilities (except for my book, Managing Psychic Abilities) because while all sorts of interesting visions, the opening up of dream life, psychic healings, the opening of senses (including the pleasure of the physical senses and pleasure in general), and the development or recognition of guides, because people tend to get really stuck in phenomena. Basically, it is easy to utilize any psychic opening as fodder for ego inflation, in which case the person gets lost in the phenomena rather than moving forward. I suggest people treat any of this stuff as an interesting side effect. It will stop you from proclaiming you are the next Jesus. We have enough of those deluded souls.
I hope this is of service, Geoff. There is a lot that is beautiful about spiritual awakening, but I do very much recognize that the suffering and what isn’t working in our lives coming forward that tends to dominate in the first few stages of the path is a dark place to navigate.
We do tend to look at things much more clearly in our rearview mirror, and spiritual awakening for some people is experienced as a form of trauma. Something that needs to be processed and worked through at a later date (the overwhelm and experience of it all).
If you continue to explore with humility and a recognition that no matter how conscious we are, that ultimately consciousness shows us the limits of our knowledge/consciousness (another paradox!) you will continue to clear the clouds, continue to expand, and continue to develop deeper awareness of who you are.