However, I do want to distinguish between a spiritual awakening and a spiritual opening. A spiritual awakening is like a plant sprouting from its seed. A spiritual opening is more like hearing echoes of springtime outside your shell. Those echoes remind us that there are other things beyond what we currently know. They remind us that the universe is far more vast than our conception, far more expansive than our little seed shell, and far bigger than our conception of ourselves, aka the ego. Spiritual openings can inspire us to heal and prepare to sprout. A lot of good things can come from a spiritual opening, but they are not the opening of the seed and the destruction of your old world. That comes with awakening.
What Is a Spiritual Awakening?
For those who have had more than one awakening, for whatever reason, they fought the first one, avoided it, and suppressed it. From what I've heard this makes for a miserable couple of years. It also sounds like the individual sort of knows that things aren't right, so it sounds like you don't really go back to sleep. But who is to say, right? I'm speaking more from what I've been told, but the main theme is that the person doesn't get on this bus. And there are many reasons why they don't. One of which is lack of guidance.
This leads me to the main topic of today's blog post, which is the importance of spiritual guidance after a spiritual awakening. For many people, proper guidance is crucial otherwise the person may miss the proverbial bus despite all the intense pressure to get on, and you never really can count on a second awakening to jump start the whole thing again.
Additionally, the amount of resistance someone has to impose on themselves to avoid making changes and suppress spiritual realizations can be quite tremendous. They have to actively deny the truth in some cases, such as denying they hate their job, want a divorce, want to move to a new location, or something else. And these are just the external world realizations. Dozens more realizations arise in the inner space, and those are even more important.
Of course, if someone is used to being very shutdown, then it may not even seem like they're avoiding or suppressing anything. Without guidance, a lot of people have no idea how to look inwards nor what they're supposed to be doing with this awakening thing--if they even know to call the experience that.
The combination of all this ignorance and resistance leads many to misery. It is by no means a relief to avoid a spiritual awakening, although at some point I'm sure someone finds a reasonable plateau. And this is where they are likely to stay, some people for the rest of their lives. But then there are some others, who--for whatever divine reason--return to the awakened space.
Getting off the Spiritual Plateau
The Spiritual Awakening Arises AgainThere is no way I can say why a spiritual awakening would arise again. I have no idea. I simply know that it does. Maybe it's like a plant sprouting and then a hard freeze comes via the person's resistance. When things thaw out again--perhaps decades later--the process continues from the point where it stopped.
For those who get a second go-round to open to their divine nature in this incredibly natural, organic, and often intense process, it seems unlikely that the process will be like the first time. A spiritual awakening helps us learn to do inner work and let go of pain, but by the time another one comes around, that initial pain has often calcified and deepened for most people unless they got into some kind of inner work in the meantime. In short, the person has gotten even more committed to their pain and illusions. They've also usually built a host of unconscious ways to numb or hide pain, and that means they'll have to find and deal with all of those behaviors and attachments. Think of it like a slight muscle knot that has not been attended to. Over the years, it's gotten harder and tougher, and you've learned to compensate with other muscles. This has created even more stress on the body. To get it all out means you need to go do serious deep tissue bodywork and to re-structure your muscles and fascia.
That ain't fun.
Additionally, most people continue to feel and experience pain without letting it go through the years. So while the initial pain that was around at the first awakening may have grown, it's probably also gotten buried by new upsetting and uncomfortable moments in life. So if the dam of awakening breaks a second time, the river bed is full of even more rocks and debris that make everything particularly muddied, dark, and painful.
It's not a good time.
The Magic of Our EraI want to say that it's not anyone's fault for not embracing a spiritual awakening the first time around. It's not a well-understood subject in Western Culture, and I would maintain that point even now with as many resources on the Internet as there are. There are a lot of misunderstandings and confused points of view about spiritual awakening all over the Internet, but with that said, there are also some of us who do understand. And because of the Internet we can reach people like you when before we were very much cut off from each other. A woman having a powerful awakening in Finland would probably not have been able to find me over here in the western United States twenty years ago. Now she can.
There are plenty of other good spiritual teachers out there as well as myself, and many of them are also using the Internet to make themselves accessible to others. This is the magic of our era. We can finally connect with one another to help each other through this sacred process.
Embracing the Natural Process After AwakeningThe process that arises out of the awakened space is natural. It's just as natural as pregnancy. And you may use that as a helpful metaphor because could you imagine if none of us know what pregnancy was? Could you imagine how we would react to a woman and her changing needs if we had no clue that pregnancy could happen?
Spiritual awakening is much the same. It's natural. It changes a person's needs as it re-aligns them to the truth. Especially in the early parts of awakening, a person needs a certain kind of support to move through those initial years and to stabilize in their inner clarity. While some of us can figure out a lot of it on our own, guidance is crucial for many others. And spiritual guidance and support is a relief--as has been expressed to me time and time again through email and in sessions.
Seeking the Right Spiritual Teacher for youDepending on the amount of debris in the proverbial river you have, the right spiritual support system varies. When I say spiritual support system, I'm talking about spiritual friends, community, spiritual literature, healers (that includes therapists of all kinds), and spiritual teachers. Support can be critical to move through the pain of healing and growing through which many of you advance. When things get particularly dark, you may also be unearthing old trauma. Whether you think you've dealt with it or if its repressed, trauma is serious business. When there's a possibility of healing a deeper level of trauma or finding repressed trauma, I recommend that you err towards having more help on all levels from working with a spiritual teacher to having a regular therapist.
How to Find a Spiritual Teacher
I can't say that you need an "awakened" teacher, per se, although many of my awakened students love having me for a teacher because I have experienced many of the same shifts they're going through. However, for many aspects of working through a spiritual awakening, a sincere, kind spiritual teacher can help you set up regular practices that help you stay grounded and open to yourself. Staying open to yourself through the pain and intensity is really one of the big keys. When we shutdown, we stop the flow. It's that aspect of shutting down and cutting off that got so much pain stuck in us in the first place.
The teachers who tend to be problematic are the ones who are just trying to get you to believe certain things. This is an issue because so much of belief is ego-based. So much belief is just illusion, and the spiritual awakening is melting away beliefs and illusions. I would say finding a spiritual teacher who has a mix of humility, love, and clarity is key. Humility helps them to admit if they don't know something rather than clinging to a belief or technique and attempting to make you do the same. Clarity is about seeing things clearly, and that tends to be noticeable in how a person expresses themselves. And love is what makes this whole thing go round. Teaching without love is like eating food with no flavor. Everything is bland, and a lot of important nuance gets missed.
Most of all, trust your intuitive guidance when choosing a spiritual teacher.
The Relief of Finding True Spiritual GuidanceHowever, a lot of awakened people do tend to really resonate with the guidance from an awakened teacher. When you find someone who really knows and speaks the truth, you'll probably feel relieved. That's an extremely common experience for my awakened students. It's like coming in out of 39 degree Fahrenheit rain (that's about 3 degrees Celsius). That's some of the most miserable rain I can think of, and when you're awakened and no one else understands you--including spiritual teachers--having someone who gets it warms you right up.
Part of this has to do with how you now can be guided. Most people are having intellectual conversations. Some people dabble in energy. Others are emotive. After awakening, your ability to learn and "hear" at the level of the mind, heart, body, and energy are opened way up. Sometimes what people say to you doesn't match. It may mean they only know something on one level. It's like only knowing how to dance intellectually. The person can explain the steps, but they don't know how to do it. In this way, what they say doesn't come from any other spaces. It might also be that they are saying something that doesn't agree with their hearts or spirits or bodies. So you may feel the mismatch, and that makes things confusing.
Lying to Yourself and Perceiving Lies in People's Energy
With true spiritual guidance, these things match. The message is the same yet relayed in ways distinct to each level. I can tell you that "you are love" from a mind, heart, body, and spirit level, and that message will resonate for those levels as an idea, emotion, physical sensation, and energetic knowing. This type of guidance is very powerful. So along with relief, there can be an adjustment time period as you get used to how deeply your own truth responds to hearing the truth from another. That tends to propel you further in your healing and your spiritual growth.
Continuing in the Deep Clean CycleI can't say if you'll have longer to go through the cycles of healing your old pain and suffering if you're having a second awakening. It really is dependent on the person as I've mentioned earlier. Some people will have done inner work since the first awakening, so they've already cleaned up some stuff. Others won't. Others will have had a harder road through life and have picked up more pain. I have seen from my experiences with others some frustration with how much pain they have to go through and a knowing that they'd had an earlier chance to work through a lot of this. But because of a lack of understanding and guidance, that didn't happen.
So here they are amidst a second go-round, and they're cleaning up all the junk and debris left in their soul.
It has to be done. That's just how it goes, and healing comes first before spiritual growth. The garden needs to be weeded and cleared of rocks, and then the seeds can start to grow naturally. Depending on your particular journey, you may need a lot of space. Or you may have a lot of rocks and weeds. It's different for everyone, but in time, this healing and growth process becomes more and more natural and easy.
The Dance of Self-Sabotage and DedicationHowever, the initial years are usually when the spiritual guidance is most important. Otherwise, the tendency to avoid, ignore, or just try to get through it can still sabotage some of the work. Even when people know what is going on, it's easy to backslide and self-sabotage despite being dedicated to the process most of the rest of the time. It's okay. I think it happens to most of us.
Sabotaging the Healing Process and Running When It Gets Tough
Although, my experience is those having a second spiritual awakening are often more dedicated. They realize that they had a shot before and how lucky they now are to get a second ride on the merry-go-round. Some of that realization--once again--has to do with now having information explaining spiritual awakening. They can find out what is going on, and because they have a better understanding, they are more willing to trust the process. This is probably also true for many people having a first awakening right now.
As I've mentioned many times, trusting this inner process is key. The inner shifts and growth really do the work for you. We have to learn how to both embrace it and get out of the way of this proverbial river. In time, we start to merge more deeply with this flow, and we can kinda take over again. But not really. The ego self that would take over goes away, and you find yourself both the guided and the guider. This is later on though. Initially, you need to learn how to be guided, and the combination of the inner guidance and true spiritual guidance from a good teacher, lover, friend, brother, sister, mother, father, or another can be critical as well as an absolute relief. You are not doing this alone, and this process can and will transform your life in the most extraordinary of ways.