Spiritual awakening is not a disease; there is no symptomology. Neither is awakening something that can merely be signified by the means of a few conditional bits of information. Awakening is unmistakable and irreversible; it does not need to be identified or diagnosed. There can be no question of ‘have I awakened, or haven’t I?’ because awakening is the beginning of conscious knowledge – the knowledge of one’s actual unconditional being and the manifested reality.
When one awakens, one knows who one is. One knows that one is the being that is ultimately beyond the rising and subsiding waves of this reality; one is unconditional bliss and contentment, one is satchitananda. Yet the awakening brings a dual knowledge. On the one hand, one knows who one is on the deepest level, yet at the same time, one sees clearly the patterns and distortions in one’s being that prevents that knowledge from becoming full. The process of this spiritual knowledge attaining fullness is actually the essence of spiritual evolution. The path begins from the point of awakening and not before.
Spiritual awakening initiates the refinement process, which is the beginning of the real spiritual work upon oneself. Before one awakens, one simply does not have the tools to refine oneself on a deep level. The refinement process is not just a matter of moving around or reinterpreting past traumas or negative subconscious tendencies, rather it is the process of fully digesting and burning this experience within the self. For instance, let’s say one has a particular traumatic memory or group of memories. When these memories are refined, one can recall these memories and not feel anything; they will literally feel like either somebody else’s memories or totally irrelevant information, there will be no heaviness or tension around these thoughts.
So, one of the primary signs of awakening is that one naturally begins the refinement process; one begins to notice one’s own subconscious patterns consciously because one has for a moment stepped beyond these patterns into the space of real self-awareness. That self-awareness then becomes one’s tool for both seeing distortions and refining them by returning to that awareness without being dragged into inner dramas, reactions and the victimised thought processes that result from inner distortions and unrefined emotional information.
Another sign of awakening is the growing sense of contentment that comes from the growing self-awareness. When one initially perceives themselves truly as that unconditional being, one may be flooded with feelings of expansion and peace. Afterwards, these feelings may only be felt as a faint fragrance or as a lingering memory as all of the old patterns of thought and action return. Here the same practice should apply; one must return to that point of self-awareness to the extent that it is possible for one to. As one begins to refine, it will become more and more easy to return to that place of steady self-awareness beyond the mind, and with time the contentment experienced in that state will deepen. Eventually, after a lot of refinement, there will be a constant sense of contentment from which one observes the still-arising tendencies and distortions and works on them consciously. But at the beginning, one is simply to notice whenever possible a certain unconditional contentment that is present within the self. It is to be cultivated through self-observation, emotional/ mental refinement and stillness.
Awakening does not mean fireworks and tinsel; it does not mean visions, mystical experiences, synchronicities, twin flames, messiahship or anything like this. Spiritual awakening means that one recognises their own natural being – that is both beyond and imminent in this gross/ emotional realm – and one begins to gradually refine themselves within this realm through that recognition in order to allow that realisation to blossom into one’s life fully in bliss, self-born knowledge, freedom of expression, simplicity and selflessness. This is the purpose of awakening; to open up the door to becoming a full, spiritually vibrant and free human being who lives contently and openly in this world whilst at the same time evolving beyond it into new dimensions of the one endless and mysterious reality.