Many people think that spiritual awakening is a joyful, tranquil experience that leaves you floating around in a serene, blissful state, transcending your daily reality with ease. But anyone who has been through an awakening will tell you it is nothing like that!
Awakening is liberating and empowering for sure, but experiencing it is confusing, painful, frightening and lonely. You may have no idea what’s going on, wondering if you’re going mad; you may feel that you’re the only person feeling the way you are and that no one in your life understand what’s going on. You start to see yourself, other people, the whole world through very different lenses and you start to question everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – you thought you knew.
People don’t often talk about this dark side of awakening, because it isn’t pretty. Awakening involves examining every part of you - who you are, how you see the world, what you believe, who you trust.
Your emotions are all over the place. You feel a deep sadness in your very core, as you grieve for the things you’re letting go of - the beliefs you’ve held, the people in your life who you realise are not what you thought they were. You lose faith in the people and institutions you thought you could trust, and you experience a deep feeling of despair as you see all your illusions shattered and you wonder how the hell you’re going to get through this.
You feel angry as you start to see what the world is really like – all the injustice, corruption and evil - but you have no idea how to navigate this new reality or how to express the rage you feel. You want to make everyone see what you see. Daily life becomes mundane and normal conversations feel trivial. You can’t understand why other people can’t see or feel what you do.
But, at the same time, you feel disconnected from the people you love, and you may be made to feel ashamed, ridiculous, crazy. People you know will tell you that you’re having some sort of crisis and you need help. (Well, you do, but not the kind of help they’re talking about.) You will probably be called names and you will lose relationships that have been important to you. People will unfriend you – virtually and otherwise – but you will also start to extract yourself from relationships that no longer serve you. You will feel alone and misunderstood.
And all this pain and confusion is necessary. You are changing. Much as a caterpillar must exist in the dark of its chrysalis before emerging as a butterfly, you need to sit in this darkness as you are transforming into something new and different.
And when you emerge from that darkness, you know you have changed. You feel liberated as you see the world in its true form. You are no longer shackled by the conditioning that you’ve been exposed to since you were born, and you no longer seek validation from others. You learn to trust yourself implicitly, you know that your intuition serves you well and you start to discern truth from lies, reality from fakery, and good from evil.
From here, your journey will be enlightening, empowering and you will gain confidence in yourself although you will still experience periods of doubt, confusion and fear. Awakening is not a “one and done” deal – you will go through it again and again and again as there are always more questions to ask, more lessons to learn and more shadow aspects of our selves to examine.
But you’ve been here before and this time, you recognise it for what it is. You have the right tools at your disposal – intuition, discernment and sovereignty - and, as you stand in your truth, you find that you can overcome your doubts and fears more easily than before.
If you are experiencing any of these things, you are not alone. Every single person I know who has experienced awakening has felt some or all of these things. If you’re struggling with any aspect of awakening, you may find that coaching, reiki or nature therapy can help you to feel more grounded and process the thoughts and feelings you’re having.
Joss Anderson is an ICF-accredited coach, Reiki practitioner and the founder of The Wild Edges.