Spiritual awakenings are often depicted as calm, fun-loving times where all of the angels, guides, and spiritual protectors come out to help you, but…that’s often far from the truth.
It can stir up unusual, intense feelings, cause sporadic thought patterns and even cause you to question, ‘is it normal to feel like this?’
This in-depth guide to spiritual awakenings identifies the major symptoms of a spiritual awakening and aims to guide you through the whole process so you’re not left in the ‘dark’. (Literally.)
WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?
The spiritual awakening process is a deep internal transformation, from the dark to the light. It marks the beginning of your spiritual journey, and aims to bring you back to the thing that matters most; you.
A spiritual awakening attempts to purge and shed everything that’s unaligned with your soul’s true journey, or rather anything that’s hindering it from moving in that direction.
It shakes up faulty beliefs, causes breakthroughs (as well as breakdowns), and forces us to adopt a whole new perspective on life.
Whilst we can’t say for sure if our souls have a specific destination in mind, we do know that they’re continually seeking growth and expansion.
Embarking on this process allows for this momentous growth to happen.
‘The unbecoming of everything you’ve ever known to be true’.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGS
I’ve always believed spiritual awakenings to be the soul calling out for true freedom.
I’ve discovered the deepest awakenings come when I feel trapped either by the pressure of society or my own thoughts and actions.
It’s as though the soul, the oldest, most intuitive part of us knows there’s a better path.
It knows that over the decades we’ve become ‘human doings’ rather than ‘human beings’.
I don’t truly remember what my first spiritual awakening looked like or when it happened, I just remember this deep intense pain, suffering, and grief.
A lot of traumatic things had happened, and I came to the realization that I was no longer the same person I once was.
Every time something happened, I realized I had outgrown everything I previously thought to be true.
I’ve since become adept at recognizing a spiritual awakening, so much so that I don’t truly believe I’ve ever left the cycle.
I’m constantly in one – as are many others. Once the spiritual awakening process begins, you can never truly stop it.
THE TWO TYPES OF AWAKENING
Over a few years of research and experience, I’ve come to believe there are two types of spiritual awakening. Gradual and grand.
#1 Gradual – this is the awakening that creeps up on you, out of seemingly nowhere.
Although in reality, the cracks started to appear many months if not years ago. It’s just we were oblivious to them.
A gradual awakening takes time, and it’s only when you look back at an old version of yourself do you realize how much you’ve grown.
How much you’ve changed. How far you’ve come. How different your beliefs and thoughts are.
#2 Grand – A grand awakening can be startling. This is being thrown in the spiritual deep end.
Usually triggered by a traumatic or life-changing event, a grand awakening changes everything in the blink of an eye.
I can only describe it as a breakthrough moment where you see a true glimpse of your potential and power.
Things quickly shift into perspective for you.
Here’s an example; when someone you love passes away, you realize just how short life is and so adjust your life accordingly.
WHAT CAUSES A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING? WHEN DO THEY HAPPEN?
Spiritual awakenings can be triggered by traumatic or big life events e.g. divorce, breakups, deaths, births, marriage.
Though many happen at the most unexpected times with no tangible cause, one thing you should know, they will always happen when you need them most.
They happen when your soul is craving a deeper, more meaningful life experience. They happen when your soul and your mind aren’t quite on the same page and need aligning.
There’s no way to know when one is coming, and there’s no way to prepare for one either.
They effectively shake up your life and leave you in the dark. Yet, at the same time, transform you from the caterpillar into the butterfly.
WHY DO WE HAVE SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGS? WHAT’S THE PURPOSE?
Why do we have them? Spiritual awakenings help you to see beyond the illusions and conventional fabric of society and instead help you to transition into your ‘true’ life, the life you were meant to live from birth; a life full of true abundance, prosperity, and happiness.
They break down everything you’ve ever known to be true, lay it bare in front of you, and ask you to re-assemble based on what you would like to see happen.
Spiritual awakenings truly allow you to become the creator of your life.
Consider a spiritual awakening as a major wake-up call from the universe. You’re not being supported by the universe; you are the universe. A cosmic expression of the stars themselves.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?
There are many spiritual awakening symptoms, but having studied other people’s awakenings (coupled with my own experience), I’ve listed the major, common symptoms to watch out for.
28 MAJOR SIGNS YOU’RE GOING THROUGH A DEEP SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
1. You’ve lost interest in things that once brought you happiness and joy
2. You feel completely lost, and as though you have no direction
3. You experience a rollercoaster of emotions regularly
4. You feel as though life around you is fake
5. You seek more meaning and purpose in life
6. You see past the masks of other people, and see how unhappy they are
7. You feel like a ‘misfit’, or someone who doesn’t belong here
8. You are an intense dreamer, creative, and visionary, and want to make the world a better place
9. You ask deep, thought-provoking questions
10. You’ve cut off people who no longer support your higher purpose
11. You see beyond the illusions of society, man’s creation
12. You crave more alone time
13. You feel drawn to help animals, mother nature, or those in need even if you’re not sure how or why yet
14. Regular conversations and small talk seem shallow to you
15. You’re desperate to understand who you truly are
16. You notice an inner struggle between what ego wants you to do versus what your creative higher self craves
17. Patterns & synchronicities emerge
18. You begin to forgive those who’ve caused you hurt, pain, or grief
19. You realize you’re the creator of your life, and take more responsibility for your decisions and actions.
MORE SPIRITUAL AWAKENING SIGNS TO BE AWARE OF
- You re-evaluate your beliefs about the world around you
- You realize how you need to make yourself happy first, before tending to the needs of others
- You see how important it is to treat yourself with compassion, love and acceptance
- You question everything you’ve ever known to be true
- You have a desire to forge your own path in this world and break the ‘mold’
- You hate fakeness and inauthenticity
- Teachers and guides who can help you on your journey find you
- You feel alone but more connected to nature and the natural world
- You embrace a more spiritual lifestyle
⭐ Related Reads
- 32 Signs You’re a Starseed Soul on Earth
- 25 Starseed Types: Which Star System is Your Soul Really From?
- Are You a Star Child? The Amazing Indigo, Rainbow & Crystal Children
LET’S TAKE A DEEP DIVE INTO EACH OF THE SYMPTOMS
1. YOU’VE LOST INTEREST IN THINGS THAT ONCE BROUGHT YOU HAPPINESS & JOY
As a part of the shedding process, you might find that things that once brought you happiness and joy no longer do.
This might seem extremely alarming, but it simply means that the old fabric of your conditioned mind is being questioned.
This doesn’t mean you won’t find joy in that activity again.
It’s a temporary shift in energy whilst you’re going through the awakening process.
2. YOU FEEL COMPLETELY LOST, AND FEEL AS THOUGH YOU HAVE NO DIRECTION
Life may feel empty to you, and as though nothing truly makes sense anymore. You start to question your true life purpose.
Even if you once had direction, you now feel as though you don’t.
Aimless, yet desperately seeking meaning to this existence.
You may feel as though you’re wandering through life, with no real direction. This can be a trigger for the awakening in itself.
3. YOU REGULARLY EXPERIENCE A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS
Just like the natural rhythms of the Earth, your energy levels will ebb and flow.
One moment you’ll be in a low mood, then experience a short burst of high energy, then be in a low mood again.
As you’re going through the awakening stages (listed below), you might find yourself dealing with more low energy than high.
This can be incredibly intense, and cause you to question whether you need psychological help.
Unless this is a long-term condition (e.g. 12 months+) or you’ve been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition, this lack of positive energy is surprisingly normal.
4. YOU FEEL AS THOUGH LIFE AROUND YOU IS FAKE
You’ve come to the realization that what you’ve been taught, believed in, or built seems to be false.
It’s known as the ‘lifting of the veil’ in spiritual terms. It’s this ‘veil’ that often keeps people stuck, chasing material items, wealth, or something else the ego craves.
You may feel more drawn to a simpler lifestyle, or have a desire to live far away from others (even if you don’t act on it).
You’ll recognize this falseness in society too.
You might start to see yourself in past situations where you had to sacrifice your true self to fit in and now despise it.
5. YOU SEEK MORE MEANING AND PURPOSE IN LIFE
You have a deep knowing that something’s missing in your life, but you’re not sure what it is yet.
You crave to live a life of purpose and have a deep yearning to find meaning in life.
You might even feel frustrated that you haven’t figured it out yet.
You have many ideas swirling in your head, some of which will help you to become free, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
These might include starting a business, finding a new career path or even fantasizing about going on a spiritual journey (e.g. traveling to a Buddhist monastery, going to a Holy Mountain etc).
6. YOU SEE PAST THE MASKS OF OTHER PEOPLE, AND SEE HOW UNHAPPY THEY ARE (EVEN IF THEY DON’T)
As you become more aware of yourself and more sensitive to emotions, you notice how unhappy others are even when they’re wearing their ‘happy’ mask.
You start to become more aware and affected by the pain and suffering of others.
Your empathy and compassion heighten as a result. You might be an HSP, a highly sensitive person.
7. YOU FEEL OUT OF PLACE, A ‘MISFIT’, SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T BELONG ON THIS PLANET
This is extremely common during stage 1 of the awakening transformation and often starts at a young age.
You might struggle to relate to those closest to you, prefer older company, or feel as though no one understands the way you think.
In essence, you feel like a misfit, as though you don’t belong here.
It’s also possible you’re a starseed soul, the idea being your soul has ties with a far and distant star system. Starseeds are highly likely to feel out of place on Earth.
You might even be attracted to an era long gone.
8. YOU ARE AN INTENSE DREAMER, CREATIVE AND VISIONARY AND WANT TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
Forget diamonds, imagination is your best friend. You have grand, large-scale visions of making the world a better place. These visions often don’t revolve around monetary gain, but rather social impact.
But at the same time, you wonder if these visions are even possible. The suffering in the world weighs you down and drains your energy.
You turn off TV programs or the news when it’s too negative.
You wonder if anyone else cares about the suffering in the world like you do.
You might even feel bitter or angry towards others for not caring.
You decide to make more ethical, environmentally choices in your life.
9. YOU ASK DEEP, THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS
You’re not satisfied with ‘that’s just the way the world works’. You can see beyond that narrow thinking.
You start to ask deep philosophical questions such as ‘Why are we here?’, ‘what is the purpose of our existence?’.
You become a truth and knowledge seeker.
10. YOU CUT OFF PEOPLE WHO NO LONGER SUPPORT YOUR HIGHER PURPOSE
You realize you feel even more alone with the people who currently surround you.
When you look at the people in your circle, you might realize you actually share little in common, and whilst difference can be a good thing, you feel less of a connection with them.
You also recognize toxic people in your life and now want to cut them out of your life.
You dream of attracting your true tribe, finding like-minded people.
11. YOU SEE BEYOND THE ILLUSIONS OF SOCIETY
You see the bigger picture in life. You question the structure and fabric of society as a whole and start to see the bigger picture in life.
You’re starting to realize the nitty-gritty details don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Even though you worked extremely hard for that degree, or spent years training, climbing the ranks means very little to you anymore. You are seeking deeper fulfillment in life.
12. YOU CRAVE MORE ALONE TIME
You crave solitude and time alone.
Others’ fearful thoughts and negative opinions sound like ‘noise’.
Even if you consider yourself extroverted, and highly social, you now desire to be alone. You might also experiment with meditation.
13. YOU FEEL DRAWN TO HELPING NATURE/ANIMALS OR THE ENVIRONMENT
With a deep sense of compassion and empathy, you want to leave the world a better place.
You actively seek a life that allows you to help others, even if it’s not for monetary gain.
You feel an amazing connection to the natural world. You might be drawn to practice herbalism, shamanism, or green magic.
14. REGULAR CONVERSATIONS AND SMALL TALK SEEM SHALLOW TO YOU
You feel as though there’s a deep separation when you talk to other people.
You prefer to discuss goals, emotions, big visions, and dreams, but no one quite seems to understand.
Small talk seems to drain you of your energy, and you long for deep, meaningful conversations.
15. YOU ARE DESPERATE TO UNDERSTAND WHO YOU TRULY ARE
‘Why am I here?’ ‘What am I born to do?’ ‘What are my skills, gifts, and innate talents?
You read many books, articles, and personal development texts hoping to find the answer.
You might even become interested in astrology, birth charts, and tarot readings as a way of deepening your understanding.
16. YOU NOTICE AN INNER STRUGGLE BETWEEN WHAT EGO WANTS YOU TO DO VERSUS WHAT YOUR HIGHER SELF CRAVES
This is a more advanced symptom, most likely occurring between stages 5 and 6.
As you begin to break through the old and make way for the new, you might face an internal battle between your ego and your higher self.
This is a play-fight between your ego, the part of you that wants to cling to ideas and habits that only attract more of what you’ve got, or attract things that are not in your highest interest (e.g. seeking external praise from others), and your higher self, the part of you that’s connected to source, to your soul.
Your higher self will attract passions, purpose, and natural abundance effortlessly.
This internal struggle may cause you to lack the ability to make a decision, flip flop between choices, and cause confusion.
17. PATTERNS & SYNCHRONICITIES START TO EMERGE
You start seeing repeating numbers, symbols, and even common manifestation signs which hold deeper meanings e.g. a crow in your backyard (an animal totem).
Every time you look at the clock, you see the same numbers repeated. You become interested in the meaning of angel numbers and do lots of research.
18. YOU FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT YOU OR CAUSED YOU GRIEF AND PAIN
You come to terms with bad past experiences, no matter how traumatic they were.
You realize that you’re hurting yourself more by harboring feelings of hate, anger, and resentment.
You might feel inclined to do inner shadow work or inner child work to heal painful memories. Through forgiveness, you learn to move on.
19. YOU REALIZE YOU’RE THE CREATOR OF YOUR LIFE
You come to the realization that you are indeed the creator of your life. You attract your experiences through your belief systems, thoughts, and energy.
You take more responsibility for your actions and decisions.
You realize you, and you alone can change your life.
ARE THERE ANY PHYSICAL SPIRITUAL AWAKENING SYMPTOMS?
Surprisingly yes! Although not everyone experiences them.
If you’re an HSP, a highly sensitive person, you’re more likely to experience these alongside the more traditional symptoms.
1. Increased intuition – gut feelings in the pit of your stomach, a deep sense of knowing without physical evidence that something’s not right, a deep fight or flight, flee response to ‘dangerous’ situations.
2. Increased sensitivity (HSP) – better hearing, eyesight, smell etc. You might discover ‘new’ food intolerances or food sensitivity. You start to change your diet and eat more natural, raw foods.
3. Personality change – you might find you become less tolerant around certain qualities you see in other people and are selective about who you let into your circle
4. Intense Dreams – Vivid dreams with cryptic messages and signs as your subconscious reprograms old belief systems and tries to make sense of the new
5. Intense energy fluctuations – Riding an emotional roller coaster, and feeling short-lived bursts of energy followed by long-lasting low energy periods. Feeling very tired.
6. Changed eating habits – You might suddenly feel the urge to eat less or more. You might feel the need to become a vegetarian or vegan, especially if you feel more drawn to environmental causes and the natural world.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE
One thing you should know, ALL are called to go through a spiritual awakening. Every person on this planet feels the call at some point or another.
Very few decide to actually take that opportunity. Usually, because they fear change and the unknown that comes with it.
So, if you’re here, I congratulate you for wanting to know more, because 1) spiritual awakenings are NOT easy 2) you’ve already recognized that you might be going through some sort of transformation.
HOW MANY STAGES ARE THERE TO A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?
Again, debatable, but from my experience, there are 7 major stages to the spiritual awakening process, each defined by its own unique characteristics.
Stage 1 – Deep sense of unhappiness, feeling alone and lost
At stage 1, you recognize that you feel lost, depressed, and generally unhappy with your current situation.
We’re not talking about one ‘down’ day either.
This is a deep-rooted feeling. You feel trapped, replaying past experiences again and again. You crave change.
90% of people enter this stage, often without trying.
It can happen after an intense life event e.g. death, divorce etc, or for no apparent reason at all.
MOST people DON’T get past this stage, but NOT because they don’t know how, but rather because they DECIDE not to.
Stage 2 – A shift in perspective
At this stage, you start to question old conditioned habits, feelings, and negative thinking.
You’re opening up to the possibility of more beyond this realm.
You see beyond society, and its man-made systems.
You imagine a different life lived on your own terms.
Once you’ve entered this stage, you cannot see the world around you again in the same light.
Stage 3 – Seeking meaning and purpose
The research and deep thinking stage. At this stage, you’re desperate to discover more about yourself, your path, and your purpose here on Earth.
You conduct lots of research and begin to create a plan of action.
You feel like you’re on a mission to discover your life’s purpose.
You search for things that feel right.
Stage 4 – Happiness, thinking you’ve found the answers, breakthroughs
Ah, this little gem. Treat this stage as fool’s gold. After a ton of soul searching, you finally believe you’ve struck gold and found your answers.
You feel happier, more carefree and finally, that dreadful veil of low energy is lifting.
Old behavioral patterns start to dissolve, clarity comes your way and you’re ready to pivot onto a new path. Hello, new life!
Stage 5 – The ‘VOID’ stage
Until you hit the void. The most frustrating stage of them all. After a strong belief in the spiritual world, you find that nothing has really changed.
You ask ‘where’s all the good stuff?’, ‘where is my magical new beginning?’. Where’s the ‘love and light’ everyone talks about?
You’re now in spiritual no man’s land, aka the void. Consider this a test.
The void is the space between utter joy and utter despair. Stage 4 was just giving you a glimpse into what was on the other side, waiting for you as long as you push through.
It’s normal to feel as though you’ve completely detached from the spiritual world during the void – just like anything in the world, there are ebbs and flows.
At this stage, I remember throwing all of my tarot cards, candles, astrology books and crystals in the bin. I felt as though everything had failed me.
Sometimes your connection to the universe will increase, other times it will decrease. This is a decrease stage.
Most people quit at this point.
With a heap of fake spiritual guidance floating around on the web promising awakening’s to be super easy, it’s no surprise many even feel more disillusioned than before.
Here, you either crave a deeper understanding of yourself, or you let go of this experience entirely, falling back to stage 1.
Stage 6 – Deep inner shadow and child work
This is a deeply healing stage, and what I call ‘a soul session’.
This is the time when you go within, whereas you sought answers from the external world before, you now seek answers from inside.
You realize your higher self is a source of wisdom.
You use meditation, inner child work and shadow emotional release as tools to better understand yourself.
Stage 7 – Ultimate breakthrough – joy, elevation, purpose
After deep inner shadow work and applying what you’ve learned to your daily life, you finally break through to see something more light.
Something that might not make sense to others, but makes sense to you and that is the key; returning to yourself.
You feel happier, and more joyous, and you might have found your purpose.
Often, you will find it’s simpler than what you expected it to be, but it will be something that lights you up.
Old habits will be broken, new ways of thinking installed into your brain and a general feeling of gratitude takes center stage.
Enlightenment isn’t necessarily what you’ve reached at this point (and that’s totally okay!) – you don’t need to strive for that ultimate level of spirituality to feel immense joy, attract great abundance or feel immensely grateful.
You might feel a deep sense to share your newfound wisdom with those around you (who are accepting of it – not everyone wants help!), or you might want to keep it to yourself as a little best-kept secret.
Expect deep alignment and miracles to happen.
Things might just seem a little more effortless.
IS PROGRESSION LINEAR?
Not at all. It’s perfectly natural to transition between multiple stages during your spiritual awakening.
Once you’ve reached stage 7 and you’ve been there for a while, it’s highly likely you’ll also flow back into previous stages so you can keep growing, improving, and expanding on your previous knowledge.
If you start to feel ‘stuck’ in between stages, you could be trying to force your way through to the ‘light’.
It’s natural to want to get through a spiritual awakening as fast as possible, but your spiritual awakening is teaching you many lessons, purging old belief systems, and is shaking up the old from the new.
Don’t rush it.
SHOULD I BE SCARED OF A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?
The universe will never give you anything you can’t handle.
It might feel scary in the beginning, especially if you’re not used to moving outside of your comfort zone, but it should never be so scary that you become terrified of the process.
If you feel it’s too much or too overwhelming to cope with, this could either be a sign that you THINK you’re not ready for the process yet (when in reality, you are), or it could mean that your pre-conditioned beliefs are holding you back from progressing to the next stage.
Deep rooted beliefs such as ‘who am I to live this good life?’’, ‘I fear the unknown, or ‘what if I end up in a worse situation?’ can hinder you from moving forward, but fortunately, these are all examples of negative beliefs you can work through.
Guess when the best time to work through these are? You guessed it. Your awakening!
WHEN WILL I MOVE INTO THE NEXT STAGE?
Hard to say. For some people, each stage is fairly quick (3-6 months), others a few years or even decades.
A LOT of people stay stuck in stage 1 for their entire life without even realizing they’re at the start of an awakening.
Think of how many people you know who are unhappy with their life, yet never seem to change their situation. Other times, people get stuck at stage 4 (the first happy stage), which is okay too.
Their spiritual journey took them to the level that they needed.
To them, stage 4 was the perfect stage to stay at, rather than move to stage 7, so don’t be afraid when I say some people take years to move through the process.
SPIRITUAL AWAKENING MYTHS & BYPASSING PROBLEMS
#1 INSTANT ENLIGHTENMENT
Expecting life to be full of ‘love and light’ after reaching a certain stage is a flawed thought.
Whilst a spiritual awakening can make your life better in some way, achieving a buddha-like state isn’t necessarily the outcome (nor should it be the goal!)
#2 YOU LOSE WHO YOU ARE OR WERE
You can never lose your true self in this process (whatever that looks like).
It might feel as though you don’t know who you are after a spiritual awakening, but this isn’t a loss, it’s a blank slate to rebuild.
An opportunity to get to know who you are at a core level.
#3 YOU BECOME DETACHED FROM THE REAL WORLD
Some use the word ‘hippie’ to describe those who have gone through spiritual awakenings, but if anything you become more connected to the real world.
You go after what really sets your soul alight and surrender anything that doesn’t. You see value in slowing down.
You shift priorities and make life worth living, as opposed to an existence.
FAQS -WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
HOW LONG DOES A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING LAST?
Depends on the person, but usually anywhere between a few months to a few decades. Others may never leave the spiritual awakening process, so it’s a lifetime process.
CAN I FORCE A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING TO HAPPEN?
No. Spiritual awakenings cannot be forced. They’re a naturally occurring process and can’t tell when we’re about to launch into one.
HOW CAN I COPE WITH A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?
Reconnect within. Seek your own answers. Question your beliefs and why you do what you do. Practice self-love and self-compassion (trust me, you’ll need it).
Do shadow work journal questions to merge your dark and light side together. Go on a journey of self-discovery.
Practice mindfulness, meditation, and energy cleansing. Eat a better diet. Surrender to the process, don’t try to resist it.
Engage in sun, moon, and star bathing. There are so many incredible ways to cope with a spiritual awakening.
A FINAL NOTE FROM ME
A spiritual awakening isn’t all love, light, meditation, and roses, but it’s 111% necessary to evolve and grow spiritually.
It can feel incredibly difficult at times, especially when you feel as though you’re stuck and not moving forward, but it’s something to be embraced, not afraid of.