What Is A Spiritual Awakening?
I feel there are often a lot of misconceptions or misunderstandings around the term 'spiritual awakening'. I plan to remediate some of them now to give you an accurate reflection of what a spiritual awakening actually is (in my view), and how it can help you heal.
Many people still think that the term 'spiritual awakening' is 'new age nonsense' that shouldn't be taken seriously. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle simply defined a spiritual awakening as the moment awareness separates from thought. Now, that isn't too hard to believe, is it?
A spiritual awakening for many people is the moment they begin to separate from the incessant noise of the thinking mind. The thinking mind is what I call the unconscious stream of thinking that happens in the mind from the moment your eyes open in the morning, to the moment they close at night. Very often your mind is thinking consistently, and constantly, and very often you have very little say in the matter. Have you noticed? Your mind will constantly think about past and future and you just can't get it to stop. So who is doing that?
The moment you become aware of the autonomous nature of the thinking mind, and gain the ability to watch the mind and how it operates, that who is doing the watching is awareness freed from thought forms and thus the awakening has begun.
Awareness, or consciousness, is the essence of yourself that is there behind or underneath thought activity. There is thought, but of course there must also be an essence of yourself that is the one hearing your thoughts. Which are you? You may be able to become aware of this - even slightly - as I speak on it now. As you read these words through your internal monologue I encourage you to become aware of the strangeness of such an activity. As you read notice that there is the internal monologue - the voice in the mind reading the words - but there must also be an essence of yourself who is the one hearing these words. Which are you? I would suggest you are not the voice, of course you're not. It's just a series of sounds in your mind. So which sound are you? Are you this one? Or this one? So if you are not the voice, you must be the one hearing it.
A spiritual awakening occurs in an individual the moment they begin to become the watcher of the mind. To have the ability to watch as the thinking mind does what it does. As it thinks, as it complains, as it constantly chats away - an essence awakens as the one watching it. This is true liberation, and where true salvation lies.
As you gain the ability to detach from your thoughts, you gain a momentary state of peace that exists as the thinking mind ceases. Thinking stops, yet you do not lose consciousness. This is presence, or what I often call Light. Light is consciousness freed from thought forms. This is the ultimate awakening. Until this happens, the spiritual dimension is just something believed in or thought about. But the moment this realisation sinks in the seed has sprouted and the awakening has begun.
'I think, therefore I am' said philosopher Descartes. He was trying to find one thing he could be certain of during what was most likely a severe moment of existentialism. He realised there was very little in this world of which he could be certain. He couldn't be certain everyone around him wasn't just a figment of his imagination. He couldn't be certain everything around him wasn't just a dream. So he searched for the one thing he could be certain of absolutely that gave him clarity on his existence. And he found it: 'I think... therefore I am.' What he actually did, however, was found the root of the human ego. No other animal thinks, yet they are. Why does thought need to be there?
This is why I believe spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle's statement is one of the most profound things that has ever been spoken by Man, and it is: 'I Am, therefore I think.'
Consciousness is your felt I-amness that is behind thought activity. The natural state of consciousness is peace and stillness. So as thinking subsides and consciousness frees itself from thought, an incredible state of bliss and peace will take over you incomparable to any momentary pleasure this physical world could bring you. This is salvation, enlightenment, liberation. Whichever word you wish to use.
The majority of our suffering is inflicted by thought, it is the thinking mind. The incessant stream of negative or fearful thinking circling in our minds on a consistent basis. You do not see the world, not really. You only see thoughts about the world. You have a veil of conceptual thinking in front of your eyes blocking access to an intense state of aliveness once this veil is lifted.
This veil is shielding your view of the true beauty of this world. You don't see it, you see thoughts about it. That is very different. Your life is meaningless because thought has willed it to be so. You feel like a failure, or no good, or worthless, because those ideas have sprouted in your mind and you have believed them. You are looking at your life and this world through that lens: this is why these things are so.
As consciousness rises above thinking, you awaken. It's that simple. This is why humans who haven't awakened love alcohol, TV, drugs, and media. They numb the thinking mind, they suppress it momentarily. But these are just vices, they are not solutions. The next step is to transcend it.
This is the truth of the often misunderstood story of Adam and Eve's fall from heaven. It is just a parable that contains very deep wisdom. Adam ate from "the tree of knowledge", and gained the knowledge of good and evil. What does this mean? Rather than just observing the world, as all other life does, Adam could now interpret it. Label it. Know it. Form opinions of it such as 'good' and 'evil'.
Beyond good and evil lies the isness of the world. Outside of the human mind, without thought, the world is, that is all we could really say about it. This is why humans were so peaceful in the past, it is what in Greek mythologies is often known as 'The Golden Age'. There was a time in human evolution when we could not think, so we could not label, and therefore did not suffer internally. Humans merely rested in the isness of the world as they remained rooted in their felt oneness with Life itself, one with Being.
The next evolutionary step for our species is happening right now. We will not return to a time below thought: we will rise above it. This is a state in which we can still think, but then when we are finished, we then set thinking aside, and return back to the peace of Being.
This is enlightenment, true liberation from suffering. It is when Being is felt from within as the mind becomes still. This is a spiritual awakening: the awakening of consciousness from the thinking mind. You can sit with a silent, still mind, and be fully one with the here and now. How amazing to even know this is a possibility! Because when you set thinking aside what is left? The peace of the present moment.
How do you set the thinking mind aside I hear you ask? Become present, end the illusion of time. As you recognise the present moment is all there is, and simply turn your attention to it without labels, the thinking mind stops and Light awakens from within. You have lifted the veil!
So, having read this, can you sense a truth to this perhaps right now you may not understand conceptually, but somehow are peripherally grasping? It's because you already know this, I am not teaching you anything. You have merely forgotten who you really are: Consciousness, not thought.
Because the truth? Humans never left The Garden of Eden. You are still in it right now. It has just become covered up and blocked by the heaviness of the veil that is the thinking mind. Look at the trees, the beauty of nature. It is still there all around you right now. The egoic mind has just become so noisy and possessed you, taken over you completely. The veil in front of your eyes which is tainted heavily with negativity and fear has just blocked access to you seeing the beauty of Eden that is in front of you right now. Lift the veil of conceptual thinking and the isness of life is there. You have made your way past the cherubim and flaming swords and returned to the peace of Eden. It is to rest in the blissful peace of Being. You are Home.