How Do I Get my Awakening Back?

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From time to time, I write blog posts on common questions, and this one is extremely common. It gets asked as in the title above, but there are variants that go as follows:

Did I miss my chance at awakening?

Where did my awakening go?

Why did my awakening stop?

Sometimes, the question is also phrased as:

Where did the bliss go, and how do I get it back?

How do I reconnect with God again?

There are a lot of variants, but the essence is that the person had an experience. The experience was favorable. Then that favorable experience ended. The desire to return to that experience is strong, and this desire motivates people to continue or start their spiritual journey. This inspiration to go further or to start is probably one of the most powerful and important aspects of a spiritual experience.

Defining Awakening...Again

Okay, long-time readers, forgive me for offering my definition of a spiritual awakening yet again. It's just necessary for all the first-time readers that come through this spiritual awakening blog.

My definition of awakening is that it is a spiritual transformation that once started continues independently and intelligently of the person's control. Awakened energy begins the process of dissolving the ego and leads people towards spiritual freedom.

For more on spiritual freedom and spiritual awakening, here are these blog posts:

What Is a Spiritual Awakening?

How to Find Spiritual Freedom

Opening to the Truth, Then Closing

Most of what people call "awakening" is not what I just described. It's important to remember that there are an infinite number of spiritual experiences, and most come under the category of what I call, "spiritual openings." The spiritual opening arises and ends. It's like the curtains in a room part and let sunlight in. If the person likes what they see, then they feel blissful or peaceful for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and even years. But then that opening ends. The person returns to their typical ego state.

Every now and then, some spiritual realizations stick. Those realizations are discoveries people make when the light is on. If the realization sticks, then the person transforms slightly in response to that realization. It's like someone truly realizing cigarettes are bad for them and then simply stopping smoking after that. But the person likely goes no further in having other realizations or transforming. There is no inner push towards spiritual freedom and ego dissolution, and without it, people stay in their habits and patterns. To continue the process of spiritual transformation, the person has to learn to create that push themselves through spiritual practice, a spiritual teacher, nature, and other supports.

Spiritual Transformation and Seeking Spiritual Help for Your Process

Surrendering the Opening Experience

Part of the trap that someone can get into after any spiritual opening is the desire to repeat it. The concern that something has been lost is a misunderstanding of life. All experiences come and go. Consider eating a chocolate bar. You eat it for the first time. It's amazing! Then you eat it again--you have that experience again--but it's not the same. The you of the second-chocolate-bar-eating experience is already different. The moment is different. The 2nd chocolate bar is different from the first. Even though the experience looks mostly the same, it is not.

This is an important point to remember. We human beings are constantly changing. We can never have a past event back. It is folly to try. Instead, we learn to surrender the spiritual opening experience and use it as inspiration to go inwards to understand ourselves.

5 Misunderstandings About Surrender

Pain After Awakening

In a true spiritual awakening, what often arises after any favorable experience is pain. Actually, in a true awakening as well as many openings, people can have negative experiences, which make them want to run from spirituality. In this, I mean that if someone has repressed fear, then opening and/or awakening the person shows them that reality. If everything is darkness in a room, the garbage--fear--can hide out. Sure, something smells funny, but the ego is great at denying the smell. It'll say things like:

"It's not that bad."

"I don't smell anything bad in here. This is just how I am."

"That smell is someone else's garbage. I wish they'd clean it up!"

But after an awakening or a powerful opening, it becomes evident whose garbage this really is. The psychological pain of accepting something that the person doesn't want to accept can come up along with the fear and other unacknowledged emotions the person has been attempting to avoid. Now, it's time to get to work.

Working to Find Peace, Not Bliss

Too often, I think people assume that if they work through enough stuff that then they'll get to be blissful again. Some people think feeling good all the time is the goal. It's not. Working through issues is just as logical as cleaning up garbage in your bedroom. It just makes your inner living space easier and more enjoyable. But life can still throw more garbage into your life. That doesn't stop no matter how spiritually conscious you become. Becoming free of ego means that you don't leave the garbage there or add to it anymore. When you no longer add to the garbage in your life or that of others, you are staying at peace.

Doing inner work and being dedicated and sincere are the next steps towards addressing ego garbage and pain. While you won't get experiences "back," you may have further blissful, peaceful, loving, and oneness-type experiences. These also are not to be held onto, but they seem to arise more often for those of us who have released a lot of false ego beliefs and issues. Life is different when you stop having your ego decide you should be scared, angry, sad, depressed, etc.--aka the garbage in your bedroom. Suddenly, difficult things are easier to manage, and good things are more enjoyable.

Surrendering Desire to Go Further Towards Freedom

The reasons people get started on the spiritual path are usually corrupted by the ego. The ego wants something, and it thinks spirituality will give it to the person. The ego very rarely wants spiritual freedom because that is ego annihilation. Usually, the core of what the ego wants is to feel happy and/or safe. As I said at the beginning, the questions around "getting awakening back" are predominantly because the experience was favorable. If they weren't, then the person emails me about how to stop or get rid of awakening. Yes. I've gotten those emails.

However, there's a point where the person has to give up this desire for holding onto a favorable spiritual experience. The person needs to realize that happiness and safety goals are temporary. They won't last. No feeling of safety or happiness last. No physical reality of safety lasts. Instead, the increasingly conscious person surrenders more to ego dissolution and spiritual freedom because it is the only sane way to be with the infinite experiences life will offer to us.

So in short, if you have awakened, you have not "lost awakening" if you are feeling pain. You are, instead, needing to face and release your pain. You don't face this pain to get back to a better feeling. You face it to let go of ego suffering and realize spiritual freedom. Finally, awakened energy needs to be surrendered to. It'll show you where you need to go and what you need to face.

If what you had was a spiritual opening, now is the time to get serious about your spiritual practice. Once again, it's not about achieving a good feeling. It's about learning to dissolve the ego so that you no longer suffer from its endless dramatics.

Facing Your Ego's Death