In general, I am very careful how I list out signs of spiritual awakening (you can see how I talk about spiritual awakening signs in this post). However, the three corner stones that I point to that usually indicate you are having/have had an awakening are:
- You have an immense sense of love for all of life
- You have a profound clarity and understanding of what is real and true
- You may also feel a profound sense of inner peace with yourself and with the perfection of the world (despite how messy life may be for you personally or internationally)
Shifts in Consciousness and Changing PerspectivesI'm taking another step back before going anywhere with this blog to encourage you to see that life is full of shifts in consciousness--big and small. A spiritual awakening tends to be a pretty big one that unequivocally connects you to that deep profound inner knowing and love we all have. It doesn't make life any easier or less difficult, and if it does make it easier, it's usually because we stop fighting ourselves. But as I said, there are many other changes in consciousness, and you may suddenly one day realize that you can't focus on your work. That may not be an awakening. It may simply be a shift in consciousness. Your energy (the real you) no longer wants to do that work. It wants to do something else. But the old ego self is committed in some way to the work you do. So it's like most of you has already left the room. You have no energy or awareness to do what you are doing anymore. It's time to let it go.
The problem is that people are so full of fear that the idea of letting go of...well, just about anything seems impossible. So they go to psychiatrists, drink more coffee, and do others things to beat themselves back into submission to do this work. But what they really need to do is to try something new. In these scenarios, when you try something that you are interested in or that you may even love to do, then suddenly focusing isn't an issue at all.
Focusing on Love Instead of LiesFor those in an awakening, there is a kind of inner directive to do what you love. You can still try and resist doing what you love, but along with the lack of focus may also come a total lose of any energy to do something that you don't love doing. If something is really out of integrity with who you are, it may become excruciatingly difficult. The eyes may tear up. You may get intense headaches or migraines. All kinds of things start to shut down physically. It sounds extreme, but it really happens. In these moments, you are trying to get ahold of your own attention. You are sending yourself every signal in the book to make a change NOW!
When someone suddenly starts focusing on love again, things get way easier. Usually the retort is, "But I can't make money doing this." But that's not true. There are many ways to make money to support ourselves financially. What tends to be more true is that you don't know how you'll make money and be financially supported doing something you love. A hidden or not so hidden fear of the unknown often lurks down behind that objection.
But you are still welcome to try to go back to doing things that aren't what you love and doing other things that deny who you are. The lessons will continue. The pain will continue as you fight yourself, and usually what will happen is that one day you will be forced to quit or possibly fired (if this is a work scenario that is).
Opening Up Your Eyes AgainBringing awareness to a situation is always the most important part of life. This is how we invite presence into our lives. We start noticing what is already here. There are so many ways that we live in lies by keeping our eyes closed. So of course we haven't noticed that the CFO is embezzling from the company or that the department that we work in is full of really mean people who have been stabbing other people in the backs, which is why no other department wants to work with yours. It's also why we can't see how terrible a romantic partner is or how mean-spirited and victimized our friends are.
We haven't looked.
We haven't looked at ourselves.
Awakening is a great big opening of our eyes if nothing else. We suddenly see both profound beauty and profound darkness. We see the whole glass, and we no longer are labeling it as half full or half empty. It simply is, and it has a certain amount of water in it. So most of us are called to make changes in our lives. But where we resist the inner call to make changes, that's usually when the worst of the so-called "spiritual awakening symptoms" come up. (I put this in quotes because I don't like the word "symptoms." It suggests an illness, which is the opposite of what is happening. We're actually healing. I wrote about some of the levels of pain that can happen on this spiritual awakening blog post.)
Shifts Bringing Times of Transition and RefocusingBecause people are usually trying to deny problems, I've listed the more dire issues first in this post. But just because your eyes and your mind are having trouble focusing doesn't necessarily mean anything is going wrong. It may simply be a time of transition. In essence, it's like you're gradually shifting a prescription in glasses. Your eyes, mind and every other part of you need time to adjust to looking at the world in a different way. I have had my eyes get blurry at times, and then something settles in my process. Suddenly, I can see just fine. I definitely have had losses of mental focus, but that has usually meant I needed a time to rest and to leave the mind-centered Internet world alone.
Just because you've lost focus at a job, for instance, doesn't mean you need to leave it. You may simply need time to transition. You will very likely come back with a different view and attitude towards your work than before after you've embodied this latest shift (in embodying awakening, many of us go through waves as different parts of us learn different lessons), but there is still a time and necessity to allow the transition to take place. Consider if you are replacing parts in a car, you wouldn't be driving it at the same time. A little downtime goes a long way.
And if you are already doing what you love, when you come back, you'll feel like you are doing the work even better. Many people are already doing jobs that help people, and after you've had time to assimilate some of the shifts to embody your awakened self, you'll be able to focus again (at least on the mental levels--shifting everything inside of you may take longer than the average vacation. If so, I encourage you to make it a priority over the job so long as you can still take care of your means of living).
Parting With a Loved JobWork seems to be the theme of this post. It often has so many triggers and issues for us that I consider it one of the best spiritual practices we have. It's right up there on the list with romantic relationships as ways to discover how we react to things and how we practice patience and loving awareness. But to the point of this paragraph, sometimes work that we have loved doing is complete. This loops back to what I talked about before in this post but from a different angle. Your energy has gone some place else. It doesn't mean this job is full of lies or is bad. It simply means that you're done, and whenever possible, we should honor coming to completion and letting go. Life is full of birth, death, and rebirth. To truly embrace rebirth, we have to let go. And I fear this is where so many get stuck in the transition of the spiritual awakening. We are dying to everything old inside to make room for the fullness of our awakened self. And the more profound the awakening, that often means the more profound the shift in the world around us. To be reborn into this new world means we have to let go of the things we held onto. If we don't, it's like one eye is looking to the past, and the other is looking in the present. We can't focus on anything. Our head spins. We feel confused and lost.
It's best to just let go and trust that what is coming will help us re-focus in the right way. And in that re-focusing, we are seeing with the eyes of love and can accept and love all that is part of this world. That's the gift of seeing with your true sight, and it will help you to see how you truly need to live, work, and flourish in this life.
Today's photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. Please feel free to check out her beautiful work on this flickr link.