There are many sincere individuals who wish to learn how to achieve a spiritual awakening. This is the wrong question. The better question is, “How can I allow a spiritual awakening to happen?”
To answer the question, “How to Achieve Spiritual Awakening?” I will explore this quest in the following way:-
Menu – How to Achieve Spiritual Awakening
- Spiritual Awakening as Revelation
- Spiritual Awakening as Process (with resources)
- Why Spiritual Awakening is Important.
So let us begin by looking at the difference between what I call spiritual revelation and spiritual process.
Spiritual Awakening as Revelation
In sharing with you what is spiritual awakening by way of revelation I am sharing from personal experience. When I use the phrase “personal experience” I am mindful that the experience of spiritual awakening is a paradox.
It is the experience of the personal within the impersonal or universal. A most beautiful metaphor used by the mystic Sufi poet and teacher Rumi says:-
The dewdrop is in the Ocean and the Ocean in the dewdrop.
The dewdrop is the sense of personal self and the Ocean the Universal Self. In reality they are never separate but you feel that they are which is the primary cause of personal suffering.
The Master Jesus says it this way:-
I am in the Father and the Father is in me.
Each is saying the same thing in different words. They are referring to what it is to live from an experience of awakening to the True Self.
So let me share with you the qualities indicative of a genuine spiritual awakening different from a weekend high that you might experience at a retreat or gathering at a mission.
These qualities include:-
- Stepping outside of time.
- Unity of the personal and Transpersonal.
- Profound experience of Love.
- Absence of Fear
- Heightened Sensitivity
These are the qualities I experienced one morning when traveling on a train where I awoke to the KNOWING of who I am within the totality of the one I AM.
Stepping Outside Time
This is the key indicator for me to tell if anyone has had a genuine spiritual encounter with the Divine. For one glorious moment, you FEEL yourself step outside of time into eternity.
You are for one revelatory moment given the KNOWING of eternal life.
Without this experience, it is my opinion that there has been no genuine spiritual awakening. It is something other.
You cannot achieve spiritual awakening.
You cannot step outside of time. The very thing that keeps you from doing so is your identification with the personal sense of the self that lives within the limitation of time.
You can only ever KNOW what eternal life feels like when you are graced a moment of living beyond time and space.
Eternity is not a long time. It is outside of time.
Your logical dualistic overthinking mind will never grasp the enormity and blessing of such a revelation.
The believer will not be open to the revelation because the believer already thinks they know. The believer is looking for the promise of eternal life in some time and future place. However, that time is always NOW and the place is always NOWHERE.
Notice the different language being used here. It is not the language of logic.
Unity of the Personal with the Transpersonal
The experience of spiritual awakening is the experience of union or yoga. This is the experience of union on different levels. These levels are not separate but integral.
One of the fundamental experiences of spiritual awakening is that you as a person merge with the transpersonal or Universal. No words can tell you what that is like.
One thing you can say about this experience is that it is paradoxical. When I would talk to people about my awakening, I would often use the phrase, “I am and I am not at the same time.”
They would look at me strangely. I understand this look. It’s just so illogical.
This is why the Master Jesus spoke in parables.
You cannot explain spiritual awakening in logical terms. It is beyond intellectual understanding. This is why Rumi invites:-
Trade logic for bewilderment—Rumi
He means by the word “bewilderment” the word “faith.”
This is not to be confused with adherence to blind faith, which is an attachment to conceptual belief rather than a living openness to the unknown.
Spiritual awakening allows you to KNOW that you live in two worlds. These worlds are not separate. In fact, there is in reality only one world. However, as a human being, it appears that there is only the world of time.
The two worlds are the worlds of time and the Timeless. The world of the personal and the Transpersonal.
Spiritual awakening takes you into the KNOWING that these two worlds are not separate and have never been and ever will be separate. Thus you can declare “I am and I am not at the same time.”
There is a union of the personal “I am” with the universal “I AM.”
Profound Experience of Love
Spiritual awakening changes your understanding of Love. You KNOW who you are and why you are.
When the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich asked in prayer, why God made creation, the answer was returned to her.
You ask your Lord why it was all created. The reason is Love.
In spiritual awakening, you have revealed to you that God is Love–John 4:8. Notice an essential aspect of this statement, which most people do not get unless they are graced an awakening.
The statement says, “God is Love.” Most people reading this statement will translate it as, “God is Loving.” This is because they project their relationship to love unto their idea of God.
The statement, “God is Love” means there is only the experience of Love and not someone having the experience. God is the Isness of Love. There is no duality here. Remember also that you are made in this image.
You are a unique expression of Eternal Life and Love expressing within the limitation of time and space.
What is Love? Love is the forgetfulness of self.- from Why Are We Afraid of Love
The intellect cannot grasp this. You cannot achieve this because you cannot achieve who you really are. It can only be revealed. Spiritual awakening is the experience of this revelation.
Absense of Fear
The experience of fear, for the most part, results from identification with the sense of the separate personal self.
What to fear when you KNOW that you are the Universe expressing as a unique limitation.
What to fear when you live expressing eternity within the boundary of time. The fear of death is gone. There is death of the body but not death of the Essence of who you are that is never born and thus never dies.
The ‘Course in Miracles’ says one day you will realize that death is not the punishment but the reward. And it says that birth is not the beginning of life but a continuation. And physical death is not the end of life but a continuation. – Marianne Williamson
When you know that you are the dance of forever becoming what left to fear.
This is a deep blessing of spiritual awakening. You want everyone to experience this KNOWING. It is from this KNOWING that real and radical change happens.
Contrast the above qualities related to time, unity, Love and absence of fear with the experience of a weekend retreat or mission. One experience might give you a weekend high. The other will transform your sense of self for the rest of your life.
By the phrase “heightened sensitivity” I do not mean the experience of feeling over sensitive or overwhelmed.
The experiencing of awakening would come and go. I remember entering a grocery store near to where I was living at the time on the Salford Manchester border in the North of England.
Everything in this grocery store was radiantly alive. Everything was lit up inside. I was lit up in wonder. I imagine this is what the world might look like on LSD except that this was no drug-induced state.
I stood in amazement until the shopkeeper broke the spell. More to the point, I returned to living under the spell of the separate sense of self.
In wakefulness, perception is vivid and direct. Spiritually awakened people see the world in a very childlike way — struck by the wonder, beauty, and intricacy of phenomena that other people take for granted and pay little attention to. Steve Taylor
On various occasions, I experienced this kind of heightened sensitivity when listening to music. It was more that there was only listening. I remember listening to the song by Van Morrison entitled Warm Love.
This is a song about seeing the Presence of Love everywhere, which is what happens during those grace moments of spiritual revelation.
PART II – Spiritual Awakening as a Process
Coming 30th October 2019