But our egos have learned how to piece together life events and time into linear mental stories. Think of a lot of what you think as a kind of inner movie, and a lot of the same themes play over and over--usually to no real good effect. Thus, part of the spiritual path is a deconstructing of the ego, which becomes a pretty big theme in the early parts of a spiritual awakening. Later on, a conscious ego can arise that appropriately understands that it is a tool to help us parse through billions of types of information (sensory, intellectual, energetic, and so forth) and make some kind of sense of it all. Consider how much data you receive when you drive a car. Most of this information you don't do anything with. Your ego learned to filter it out so that you could focus on the important stuff like the sudden deceleration of the car in front of you with its red brake lights on. In an instant, your ego tells you to stop.
Pretty useful, isn't it?
But our egos got out control, and so when I am talking about spiritual awakening stages today, let's try to not think in a linear way. Don't think that this stage comes then that stage comes. It's more like a Venn Diagram with multiple overlapping circles. And there are smaller circles within the bigger ones. So with that said, let me share some of the different spiritual awakening themes and circles that tend to arise.
Sound like you?
It's okay. But to mature on the spiritual path, we have to go deeper into these hidden assumptions. So long as they are there, we are hampered in our growth. Some people can get away with keeping these assumptions around. Others are crushed under their own presence and energy as they are forced to confront their issues. It is a most debilitating gift, and it is one that is typically only appreciated after the person realizes how much inner resistance and pain they had within themselves.
For more about this macro spiritual awakening phase, you may enjoy this blog:
The Shadow and Dispelling the Darkness Phase
Embracing Your Light and Soul PathThe other side of the first over-arching spiritual awakening phase is embracing our light. Typically, it goes more in percentages than a grand leap of faith from one phase to next. It's more like you get to a point where 51% of you is embracing your light, and 49% of you is still dispelling the darkness. The shift is marked by less resistance to your shifts and greater trust in the process. The shift into this phase is often marked by the deeper realization that all this inner turmoil is really helping you. It may also include realizing what things are truly important to you to do or share in this world. These knowings arise from within you; they're not just conceptual ideas. As such, the division between you and your spirit further dissolves. That inner connection--that oneness--takes you further inwards and offers you access to deeper levels of unconsciousness.
Interestingly enough, the hardest and nastiest issues you may face are more likely to arise in this phase. It's because now you are joining with the process rather than fighting it and trying to get through it. Fighting our shifts or trying to wait them out makes our work more superficial. It's like weed-whacking weeds rather than pulling them out by the roots.
Since you are embracing your light in this profound way, you have the energy, focus, and intensity to burn out the darkest of karmas, traumas, pains, old wounds, past life garbage, and whatever else is junking up your inner system. It is not a blissful good time, although there are lovely moments of deepening peace. Peace tends to be the matured state of bliss, and it is marked by a calm steadiness rather than high euphoria.
For more about this macro spiritual awakening phase, you can check out this post:
The Embracing Your Light Phase
Smaller Spiritual Awakening StagesThere are many types of shifts people experience. Each level of us shifts and heals in its own way. To go back to the Venn Diagram idea, you may think of some of the stages as emphasizing the mind, heart, body, or energy/psychic fields. Everyone will spend different amounts of time in the different areas. Some people may spend very little time in mind--for instance--if they already had a lot of clear understandings about the truth and spirituality. Someone who had no conceptual framework and who needs one for their path will spend much more time here.
Also, there tends to be different experiences with deconstructing, healing, adjusting, and growing. I often use my metaphor of the broken leg to help you understand these awakening stages. Deconstructing is getting the clothing and everything in the way of operating out of the way. The healing begins when you set the bone. Then you have to rehab to walk again, and then you can move into learning how to skip, run, dance, and so forth. This last phase isn't accessible until the others are complete. It's something to remember if you awakening has zapped you of all your energy and you're trying to go out and save the world.
So for instance, you've wasted tons of energy on working out. You have tear away these outer preoccupations to get down into the wound. This wound is partially an incorrect understanding of how to value yourself and feel loved, and there is tons of debris around it concerning how you think you should look. Setting the bone means letting go of these ideas. Then you have to start to rehab by figuring out how to appropriately exercise your body. When you do that, new opportunities become available about how to move physically through your life.
Mind, Heart, Body, and Spirit Awakening StagesTo give you an idea of how things are different by level, you can consider some of the issues and lessons that the mind may deal with. Some issues get met again at the deeper levels, and some are only dealt with mentally because they don't run very deeply in you:
- Beliefs about how you should look or act
- Ideas about what you think life should do for you
- Learning how to learn again
- Learning how to expand your perspective on your thinking
- Learning how hear difficult truths from other people
Because beliefs about how you should act created physical patterns, you can be sure that you'll deal with that issue repeatedly. It may start by giving away a lot of extra clothes you don't need because you had a belief that you needed to look attractive. It may be that your belief about how to act involved making lots of money, and now that is no longer appropriate for you. But your whole life got built around this lie, and now you have to take new actions to re-educate yourself, starting with figuring out what you really love to do. Clearly, this is deep work, and these beliefs tend to be deeply embedded in our bodies through our habits. It is not small thing to change this, hence the intensity of a spiritual awakening.
Specific Healing and Growth, Expansion and Contraction PhasesMany of you may have noticed that your healing seems to go through cycles. You feel good, and then you feel like you crash land again. This seems to be fairly common for people as they go through cycles of healing, and I've bolded some of the phases that are regular occurrences during a spiritual awakening. Yes, you can expect to become good friends with these ones.
Spiritual awakening often brings an initial expansion, and you feel good and like life is full of opportunities. This lasts until you hit a turn in the tide. You run into a wall that is limiting your growth, and that brings up the next issues to heal. If you can figure out when this turning point is happening, you'll feel way more empowered when everything gets murky and torn up inside again.
Because now you are going into a contraction. This is where the ego and pain live. They thrive in cut off, small places, and depending on the density of the issue, a lot of people lose all energy for external world things as they focus in and heal it. The more you choose to drop into the process the deeper you can typically heal. Grieving and feeling all kinds of upset feelings arise at this point. A lot of old unhealthy stories, upset emotions, and unsettled physical (and even energetic) sensations come up. Relaxation during this phase is key. The more you relax, the more you can release.
Which is the next phase.
Depending on your process, the release can feel good immediately, or you may go further into an issue. If someone has a lot of pain, they may feel like they are constantly dropping into deeper and deeper layers of darkness without much respite. Depending on what is inside of you, you may want to get more external help if you never feel like you can come up for air to enjoy a re-expansion.
For many though, you go through a clearing phase, and that can be a time of grounding and detoxing in whatever way is needed for you. It's kind of like cleaning up after a storm. When that passes, people typically go into their next expansion, and these healing and spiritual growth cycles can go on for years.
I talk more about these cycles in this spiritual awakening post:
The Process of Releasing Pain from Your Energy Body
You may also enjoy this post:
Speeding Up Healing Cycles
Moving Into Normal, Healthy Life FlowsThe question those of you who are early in your shifts have been waiting for is when does this end. It really doesn't. But the energy does seem to eventually calm down. I suppose this is a last macro spiritual awakening phase. It is the return to some kind of inner stability.
Awakening and the Return of Normality
It may calm down simply because you succeeded in resisting the changes long enough, and now you do not know the truth about yourself. You have forced yourself back to some level of normalcy through gritted teeth. Or you have embraced a lot of these shifts, and you found a spiritual plateau to hang out on. Many people lose interest or do not have the discipline to continue delving within. This indicates an ego that is not truly ready to give up everything, which is what this path asks.
Then some of you may find a leveling out point in your growth where you are simply flowing in your path. You may notice that you are not free of all issues, but as opposed to the plateau I mentioned, this leveling out also arises on its own. It's not through lack of dedication or a clinging to a sense of safety.
You may also notice I am not saying someone has reached "ultimate enlightenment" because this is an idea. The most important thing is to find that space of inner flow most true to you. When we are no longer locked up in pain and self-deceit, we naturally grow. From this natural openness that we all have, our lives tend to want to flow in certain directions. Without fear (or simply having much less), we go where our souls want to go. It doesn't take much thought, although it may take some work depending on your path.
Ultimately, I can't say that you will go through some or any of these "stages," but some of them do seem fairly common. And ultimately, there is no end goal. There is only melting into the oneness of now and going wherever it is your soul most wants to go.