Spiritual awakening can upend a person's entire life if that needs to arise. The shift tends to do so the more we are out of alignment with our truth and love. If we're in a loveless romance and horrible job, those things will have to go. If we truly do not want to live in a city, region, or country, we have to leave. These dramatic changes, however, are only small reflections of what may be going on inside. Your whole idea of yourself is being upended and incinerated by the truth. This will go for as long as you choose and it is within your soul's path to do so.
Then gradually or suddenly, this upending stops. If you've been embracing the shifts and growing into your natural awakened awareness, you will likely find yourself in some very new places. If you haven't, much of the awakening may become a bad dream that is finally over. Even if you've avoided your truth and the changes you've needed to make, I think for many of you that there will be this remaining connection that you cannot shake. With it may come continued longing and regret as that connection to the truth continues to beckon you further down the path for the rest of your life. It may re-emerge later or not. It may re-emerge if the right teacher appears to help you let go of your fear or if you finally decide it is the right time to let go. But it also may not. It's not something I can easily generalize because we live in a world of infinite possibilities. All I can say is that if you are in the midst of these great inner spiritual shifts that you should embrace them because they may never come again, and they certainly will never come again quite like this and with the unique opportunities that are here in this moment.
The Embraced Awakening and StabilityFor those of you who have embraced the awakening, stabilizing in this field of energy is like finally getting comfortable breathing at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters). When you first got here, breathing was impossible because you'd been living your whole life at sea level. But now, it's kind of like, "What's the big deal?" Typically, for those of you who have acclimated and have finished climbing the mountain, you may not necessarily be able to tell that this way of feeling normal is different than before. Usually, it takes a return to a lower elevation on the mountain to be with old friends and family to offer a mirror back into the level of awareness you used to operate at. (Please be mindful that "lower" does not mean "lesser" in this metaphor. It's just a metaphor to help you understand).
Thus, you can be reminded what it was like to be more fearful, angry, hateful, ashamed, sad, depressed, and what not. And you haven't necessarily eliminated these emotions from yourself because awakening doesn't eliminate anything. However, if you feel these emotions at times, they tend to be much, much more transitory because you have very little interest in them and their associated stories. You are also more likely to look for the remnants of old stories and wounds that are creating them to continue to clear away additional pain you still may be carrying. I definitely want to emphasize that returning to a sense of inner stability doesn't mean you are now perfect. You are simply rooted more firmly in the soil of love and truth, and at this altitude, you have come into great clarity about yourself and life.
The Road OnwardsBut the road onwards is not necessarily an easy one. The ease comes from not being in conflict with yourself. You can go up, down, sideways, inside, outside, and any other way you choose to on the road of life, but many of you will have a sense of a calling. Some thing or things will have greater interest to you in this lifetime, and so that is where you will go. As I often talk about with some of my friends who have come down this awakened path, only that which is nourishing tends to be of interest. Any thing, substance, idea, or romance that brings toxicity into our lives becomes much less interesting. You don't necessarily react to it with aversion, but you are very aware of your preferences and what is supporting, i.e. nourishing. Even if you are not at this level of inner connection, noticing what is truly nourishing in your life is a profound practice for anyone.
The road inwards is always going on as well. I wrote a blog post about "The Rhythm of Resting in Your Awakened Awareness," and the idea is essentially that you will continue to flow and grow. The return to normality is simply relaxing into your awareness so much that you aren't resisting your life. It is also the releasing of a phase where all this pent up energy and growth that you'd been blocking along with all the pain you've been harboring your whole life have been released and processed, respectively. Now, the river is un-dammed. You will notice where it gets stuck quite clearly in this state of awareness, but when it is just flowing, there's nothing to exotic or spectacular to say about it or about your life. Things just are.
Resting More Deeply in PeaceBeing at peace with yourself naturally leads to the end of any self improvement ideas. There's nothing to improve on here. As I mentioned earlier, new things will come up. The road continues on in our lives. Things are always shape-shifting, but you don't need to improve anything at this point unless you otherwise feel called to do so.
But this calling isn't like before. This is an area where I can point to a more noticeable difference in how one is before and after awakening. Before an awakening, people are improving themselves to heal or get better in one way or another. This is not an inherently bad thing, but it can easily become a trap where someone is constantly trying to improve themselves, which can be an endless thing for the ego. It can also come from a place of self-hatred and non-acceptance of the perfection you are in any given present moment. After awakening and shifting into this stable inner flow, growing becomes natural. It's like the garden and nature metaphors I use. There will be times to grow such as a tree does in spring or summer. There will be times for harvest in fall, and there will be times for rest in winter. You may notice as you tune into your own rhythms how these inner seasons arise and pass for you. And it's really no big deal to embrace them from this stable awakened normality.
Normality Does Not Mean EasyAs I mentioned earlier, life doesn't necessarily become easier for someone who is stable and grounded in awakened awareness. The external world may become far more difficult. It's why I don't push anyone who isn't ready to give up their lives to the spiritual path. You have to be willing to give it all up with no expectations of getting luxury and ease in return. However, difficulty is much easier to deal with when you are not at war with yourself. So living at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) means you have to haul up a lot of water from below and cart in your food. That altitude may be much more variable in weather. But if this is the atmosphere you are most comfortable with, it is all so much more manageable.
For a more tangible metaphor, consider if you were a well-to-do wife of a very rich man. Giving up all of that may mean you now have to work and are barely making it by as a massage therapist. If this is in alignment with your truth and your love, that difficulty is much more bearable than the life before. If you are now working with inner city blight or corrupt bureaucrats, this too is an enlivening and fulfilling thing if it comes from what is truly in your heart. But it is probably not easy.