Spirituality What Is a Spiritual Awakening? Definition, Signs, Advice & Resources

What Is a Spiritual Awakening? Definition, Signs, Advice & Resources

The question of Spiritual Awakening can be a difficult one to ask, and perhaps an even harder one to answer.

A Spiritual Awakening

As fellow seekers on this journey, we were originally not going to tackle this extensive and complex subject ~ because we’re still struggling to fully understand and navigate it ourselves!

However we feel that ignoring the deep passion within to share this journey and what we’ve learned along the way would be a worse disservice than discussing something we have yet to master.

Because what if you’ve had an unexplainable and unsettlingly alien or mystifying experience you can’t understand or quite put into words… and you’re trying to understand what is happening to you?

Or perhaps you deeply seek to experience God and the Divinity within you, and with so much information out there – and every resource saying different things – you’re not sure where to begin or how to proceed.

We live in a culture still uncomfortable with such mysterious and unexplainable experiences. It can be taboo to talk about, friends and family don’t understand, and it can feel as though people think you’re crazy. When spiritual awakening gets really intense, you will often actually feel like you’re going crazy.

Yet awakening to our true Selves is natural and the higher purpose of our journey through Duality toward Unity.

In fact, did you know that for all Yoga, Tantra, meditation techniques, esoteric Mystery Schools, alchemical teachings, and many shamanic rituals: the primary purpose is to activate a Spiritual Awakening Event?

With such techniques and paths now widespread and mainstream, millions are practicing these potent tools for awakening ~ many of them not realizing the power they hold for triggering a life altering and visceral spiritual awakening experience.

Coupled with the vibrant energies of the Aquarian Age, this is leading to many spontaneous activations and awakenings… sometimes in people who don’t know what’s happening to them or what to do about it.

If any of what we’re saying speaks to you and what you’re going through right now, please know that we intimately know what that feels like ~ both to desire awakening and to wake up realizing, “Wow I should have been careful what I wished for!”

So we hope this article will help give you the basics you need to know, either to prepare for a spiritual awakening you desire, or to cope with one you’ve already experienced. We’ll also lead you toward further resources that helped us when we too entered this unfamiliar and awe-inspiring territory.

Also, as you continue on your journey to understand and pursue your own Truth, please do beware of anyone explaining spiritual awakening attached to some product or service they are selling. This doesn’t invalidate their usefulness, but in our experience many of the resources we originally found on the awakening process were out and out lies and very damaging promises of instant enlightenment and magical powers: all for the price of a $700 remote virtual shaktipat! (transference of Shakti intended to awaken the Shakti of the receiver)

Spiritual awakening is a process that takes decades and sometimes lifetimes. And that time frame usually begins AFTER the initial activation or awakening event!

No one can do it for you and it should never be forced. To think that we can even control or force the very energy of consciousness that created us! Such is a recipe for a very difficult and humbling experience that won’t deliver you to any form of enlightenment.

Also recognize that this process is about activating, cultivating and transforming your own power and the power of Divinity within you… remember that no one else can give that power to you and you never want to give your power away to someone in the hopes of a short cut.

What Exactly IS a Spiritual Awakening?

* Photo by Alice Popkorn

Some will call the basic desire for self-realization or focus on consciousness a “spiritual awakening.” That can entirely be true and we don’t want to invalidate that definition.

However our treatment of it here is specifically the kind of process that is triggered (intentionally or accidentally) by a single event, or series of events, such as a Kundalini Activation, a White Light Experience, Union with The Holy Spirit, or any other of the myriad names for this sacred process.

As we said above, many modern resources will tell you that such an experience delivers you to special powers and instant enlightenment, but in our experience, extensive research, and exploration of thousands of personal awakening stories others have shared… that is almost never the case.

Such an activation event is a sacred Initiation. It’s the beginning of a long and divinely-led path to fully realizing your own Divinity on all levels of your being.

{As an aside, we wonder if the alignment on December 21st, 2012 might not be some kind of cosmic initiation of the Awakening Process for our planet…}

Signs of a Spiritual Awakening

Every person has a different experience, and so we want to preface the following with a few key points:

1We at O! Lila are not seasoned experts on all aspects and expressions of Spiritual Awakening. Our own experience with Spiritual Awakening is through Kundalini. We believe that all activation events are the same process of blossoming Divinity, but with different names in different religions and cultures… however we just want to point out that Jaime’s own spiritual awakening aligned with explanations of Kundalini Awakening and so we were immediately drawn to, and are most familiar with, the spiritual awakening signs/symptoms associated with it.

That said, we have found that the signs of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Saints, along with many other types of Spiritual Awakening do seem to be very similar to what we’ll describe here. Just remember to use your own judgment and intuition. We are seekers too on this journey and are simply sharing what we’ve discovered and experienced so far!

2Secondly, it is rare to have all signs or symptoms at the same time, however each sign on its own or with a few others can also occur outside of a spiritual awakening. Getting in touch with your own Truth and trusting your own experience is the best way to know if you’ve had an awakening experience, as well as reading the stories of others’ awakenings for a more balanced and holistic view.

Additionally, some signs may manifest during or directly following the activation experience… then to be followed by different ongoing (and often altering) symptoms/phenomena for the length of the awakening process (which seems to last anywhere from decades to lifetimes).

3Some people have a very obvious and tangible single awakening event. This was Jaime’s experience. Others however will have a series of more subtle experiences that can make their activation harder to discern or identify.

These subtle beginnings do not mean that the individual has activated to a lesser degree or that their awakening will be slower or incomplete. In fact, it is our personal belief that Jaime’s activation and ongoing experience has so much phenomena and spiritual “fireworks” because she has had so much karma, shadow and trauma to clear. She blames it on being a Scorpio. ;)

4Lastly, we say “we” in regards to dealing with spiritual awakening because in our case, Jaime’s Kundalini awakening process does affect our business due to certain symptoms or phenomena that will arise. As her business partner and roommate, Angela must daily contend with and understand the process as well. Such support and unconditional acceptance of this sometimes insanely crazy and tumultuous process has, in Jaime’s experience, been priceless and vital.

So please don’t discount your own potential need for such support and acceptance. Also know that overall, most people who experience an awakening do feel very alone and misunderstood at times ~ even when we have that one key person who accepts us as we are. It’s normal and to be expected.

We would also like to quote a woman we deeply respect and look to for deeper understanding of this process, Dorothy Walters, PhD.:

For countless centuries Kundalini awakening has been viewed by yogis as the greatest blessing and the esoteric goal of all forms of yoga – hatha yoga, mantra yoga, laya yoga, raja yoga, etc. To understand the range of possible experiences that go with Kundalini’s [or any spiritual awakening’s] blessings it is important to remember from the outset that Her domain encompasses all mental and physical types of experience and all transpersonal and transcendent types of experience as well.

A List of Possible Signs & Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening (such as a Kundalini Awakening):

  • Intense flashes of hot and cold, either throughout the body or localized to a specific area (and then another flash later on in another area, and so forth)
  • Altered states of consciousness, including out of body experiences, visiting archetypal realms or other dimensions, heavenly visions or visitations, communication with guides, angels or spirits.
  • Electricity or “Power” Surges through the body. These can feel like lightning striking through and within you, or like an all-encompassing energetic vibration that is often very loud and intense. Can be painful or feel like you’ll explode.
  • Muscle twitches, cramps or spasms that often come out of nowhere and leave or move to different body parts after a time.
  • Itching, vibrating, prickling, tingling, stinging or crawling sensations
  • Involuntary bodily movements (occur more often during meditation, rest or sleep): jerking, tremors, shaking; feeling an inner force pushing one into postures or moving one’s body in unusual ways.  (May be misdiagnosed as epilepsy, restless legs syndrome (RLS), or PLMD.)
  • Intensified or diminished sexual desires, or a ping-pong effect back and forth (understand that sexual energy is sublimated spiritual energy and that there is no need to feel guilt or shame attached to any such sensations or desires in the body)
  • Physical pains or illnesses that seem to have no identifiable cause, and that often dissipate of their own accord or move around the body: such as headaches or “brain pain,” pressure in the skull, severe aching in the upper back, pain in the adrenal or kidney area, digestive problems, racing heartbeat or alteration in heart beat (sometimes Jaime feels like her heart stops), etc. NOTE: When experiencing such symptoms it is important to visit the doctor to rule out any medical cause – spiritual awakening can also awaken latent disease and illness in the body for release, and resistance to the process can also lead to illness.
  • Sudden and unconscious alterations in breathing
  • Episodes of extreme hyperactivity or, conversely, overwhelming fatigue (some CFS victims are experiencing Kundalini awakening)
  • Intensified understanding and sensitivity: insight into one’s own essence; deeper understanding of spiritual truths; exquisite awareness of one’s environment (including “vibes” from others)
  • Hearing an inner sound or sounds, classically described as a flute, drum, waterfall, birds singing, bees buzzing but which may also sound like roaring, whooshing, or thunderous noises or like ringing in the ears.
  • Emotional outbursts; rapid mood shifts; seemingly unprovoked or excessive episodes of grief, fear, rage, depression
  • Spontaneous vocalizations (including laughing and weeping) — are as unintentional and uncontrollable as hiccoughs
  • Spontaneous and involuntary movements (called Kriyas) either physically and/or emotionally. Physically, these will often be yoga positions or mudras the person is unfamiliar with. They feel like some force is moving your body, sometimes forcibly and sometimes gently. They get worse if you resist them. Emotionally, you may experience intense upwellings of joy, anger, grief, and other emotions for no known reason or cause. You’ll be crying uncontrollably, deep from your soul, and inside your mind you’re thinking, “I don’t even know why I’m crying. There’s nothing attached to it.” It feels as though you’re a vessel for some cosmic or latent emotion that was perhaps stored in your body or energy field and is now being cleared.

There are many other possible signs of awakening, and you can find a more extensive list here.

What Does a Spiritual Awakening DO?

* Photo by Alice Popkorn

By its nature, a spiritual awakening leads you through a complete dismantling of who you think you are into a re-membering of who you really are. Much of the illusion and ego-consciousness you’ve identified with shall be cleared and destroyed to make way for Truth.

This has also been shown to occur on a neurological and biological level as well.

A lot of the physical symptoms and phenomena of a spiritual awakening are indicative of the rewiring of your nervous system so that it can hold more cosmic energy, as well as activation of additional parts of your brain, and a re-programming of your neural patterns.

Though it’s a bit over our heads at times, this fascinating site on the Biology of Kundalini can give you some insight into these aspects of awakening.

Here’s the fascinating and mysterious weirdness of it all though:

You know how Einstein says that “you can’t solve a problem from within the same level of consciousness that created it?”

Well you can’t clear your ego consciousness from within your own ego. That’s the enormous paradox of self-help and why true spiritual transformation can become extremely difficult to attain.

That’s also why activating the awakening process is the purpose and origin of every major sacred practice, including all forms of yoga, Tantra, meditation, shamanic questing, and rituals to invite in the Holy Spirit. It is the only way to reach beyond ego and call Divinity into you (or up from within you, more accurately) so that it can do the transformation work on your consciousness that you would otherwise be unable to do yourself.

In other words, to ignite the type of transformation that can release you from the wheel of karma or samsara (the cycle of death and rebirth), you must release ego consciousness. Not to destroy it, but to strengthen it in service to God, Source, the Higher Self. From within ego, such transformation is impossible and that’s why so many seek spiritual awakening.

Yet when you awaken the drop of Divinity within you, and it rises into full blossom, it ~ that higher consciousness beyond all ego ~ will go about transforming you, for you.

And hence, you’re not the driver behind this. Rather you feel co-inhabited by something beyond yourself (that which created your Self), and it carries you along through the process.

Many seek this experience and we agree that it should be sought. However we worry that so few mainstream resources prepare seekers for the shadow side of awakening and the destruction that must occur in service to creation.

This is worth considering in our modern world when we must contend with jobs, materialism, a culture that largely rejects spiritual mysteries, and a daily existence that requires functioning enough to earn money, take care of family, and fulfill other duties.

And there’s no turning back once you hop on this train. There’s no turning it off.

Further Resources

Again, our model for understanding and mediating the awakening process is the Hindi and Yogic model of Kundalini. We hope these resources help ignite your own path for knowledge and support and do not want to at all discount other models for the awakening process. Notes next to each source are from Jaime.

Kundalini Rising: Exploring the Energy of Awakening

{The first book that truly helped me. I appreciated that most of the essays were from scientists and doctors and gave insight in how to manage an awakening once it’s begun, rather than how to trigger one. Also includes personal stories of awakening which I felt helpful for feeling less alone and misunderstood.}

Kundalini Splendor: Ecstatic Mystic Poetry, Advice and Musings on Kundalini by Dorothy Walters, PhD

{I found Dorothy through the above book. She has since become a daily lifeline through her daily blog, extensive resource links, and through our personal email interactions. She’s kind, inquisitive and reading her poetry is for me like reading Rumi. I will often have tears of recognition, thinking “thank goodness I’m not the only one feeling this way.”}

Awakening Kundalini: The Path to Radical Freedom by Dr. Lawrence Edwards via SoundsTrue

{I am currently going through this program and am finding that most of my challenging phenomena are due to having never created a container for balancing the awakening energies. Through this program I’m learning meditations, chants and rituals that help balance the energy and strengthen the mind and body for its transmission. I also welcome you to look at Dr. Edwards’ other websites (just do a google search). I have recently hired him as a therapist to help me work through my experiences as he himself went through a Kundalini awakening, is a world renowned expert on Kundalini and also a Jungian therapist. We have our first session coming soon!}

Shared Transformation Newsletter & Kundalini Support: A site dedicated to the memory of its creator, El Collie

{This site has such a wealth of information, though much of it is couched within the creator’s personal experience. Sometimes I find so much personal anecdote difficult when I am simply seeking relief or information (usually when I’m in a difficult downswing), however I will have other moments where I am so grateful for reading her experience and the experience of her readers. It saddens me that she has since passed away – her journey was difficult and far more intense than many I’ve read. However she has left a beautiful legacy through this website.}

Good luck on your own journey into and through awakening. Our hearts are with you and feel free to ask questions or share your thoughts in the comments below or by emailing us at support@olila.com.


When Death & The Devil Come to Call: The Shadow Side of Spiritual Awakening | O! Lila 14-06-2012, 00:46

[…] For a full treatment of what Spiritual Awakening is and what the process entails when an activation event for the purpose of enlightenment occurs, […]

sal annunziato 29-11-2012, 05:32

Geat job on this aricle! Thanks so much!

Kyle Nischt 26-03-2013, 20:50

Thank you so much this is really awesome! i needed this..its crazy, great to know other people go through this as well.. you all made me feel allot better.. :) everything is allot more amazing than i ever realized.. i have tried to describe this to friends but i just can’t..is it better to just not say anything and let their expieriences lead them to theirs??

O! Lila 03-06-2013, 20:55

Hi Kyle, so glad to hear it’s helped. And yes, it can be difficult to communicate to others when your experience is so very different from what they’re used to. I’ve found it helps to say, “I’m not asking you to believe this is real, but rather to just understand that it is my experience and I just need to share what I believe it is and what it’s been like for me.” Then they can simply listen to you and support you without having to make sense of all that you’re sharing with them. Good luck!

Andrianna 06-09-2013, 13:17

You took the words right out of my mouth! :)

sharonburton 01-12-2013, 15:17

hia can i ask if what ive read is a prossess of spiritual development
a lot of what you have written i to have exsperianced ,so wonder if this is the same
thank you

shalini 27-02-2014, 11:05

I dnt what is happening. 2 me….
I just need ur help
Sumtime i get vry angry,luving,caring,crying or laughing
Without any reason…..
Actually y this happens…..
N y this awekning….what i dnt understand

Patricia Cahill 25-03-2014, 11:51

I just came across your site & was guided to share my story with you. It’s been 22 yrs. since my spiritual awakening on 8-12-91. My website has a brief review of what has happened during these 22 yrs. The miracle of it has never left me! Since I have “crossed over”, my only purpose now is how can I help others on their own journey. What I have been taught all these years is really so simple! God, Love, & Lessons! That’s it! Of course each of us is helping, each in our own way, what God wants us to pass on to others as they go thru life. Your information is so helpful, as the “spiritual awakening” can be very confusing when it first begins, to say the least!

Please feel free to contact me if you would like, as I love to hear others’ stories also! God has awesome things ahead for all of us, more wonderful than we ever dreamed!

Peace, Love, & Joy to you!.
Pat Cahill

Shawn 08-04-2014, 16:06

So here’s my story. About 9 years ago I was working in a grocery store as a cashier.. Some man walked into my aisle and said ” 9 years” and I asked “9 years until what?” And he smiled back and said ” you’ll see.” I never forgot this and about 9 years later at age 25 I went through my spiritual awakening.. So many miracles and unexplained events took place. I transferred massive amounts of positive energy to others, I prayed for others and they came true immediately, I had heavenly visitations when the Holy Spirit sat by my bedside ( for three hours He sat next to me and when I looked at where He was sitting e got up tip toed away and then came back when I put my head back in the pillow).. All media on the radio and Tv communicated with me and have me signs. Every moment in that time ( which was about 2-3 months) was perfect in timing. It was amazing in so many ways. I also went through intense mood swings and thought that there was a huge government conspiracy of them watching me my whole life, but this was before I realized it was much more than that. The Holy Spirit possessed my body and released years worth of oppression, guilt, shame, and sadness from my soul. I had ringing of the ears for a long time but I didn’t mind it. I also had little tickling sensations come to the surface of my body but I didn’t itch them bc something in myself told me that it was deep rooted problems releasing themselves from my body.

Shawn 08-04-2014, 16:16

I have recently become a practicing Christian. I study the Word now and try to inspire others to do so as well. I just can’t help to think,”why me?” Why did I get that special divine intervention? I am blessed and grateful I did, but the suspense of what my future must have in store for me is confusing… I just don’t want to let God down. I have a lot of work to do, but if that awakening experience ever comes back I am more prepared now to understand, embrace, and grasp it.. If any of you have any comments or answers for me haha I am more than ready to listen :). Thank you!

Lama Surya Das 26-04-2014, 02:10

The true meaning of spiritual awakening, as it has been known classically in both Christian and Buddhist traditions is the waking up of consciousness to the remembrance of its original nature. It is a movement of the psyche where the individual sense of self-identification has fallen away, and awareness stands with nothing to identify itself, and yet it knows itself as being aware.

Nirjhar 02-08-2014, 04:30

Aww ..thats a big article….i mean really big ..but good 😀

Fractal Enlightenment | Eight Signs You may be Experiencing a Spiritual Awakening 09-11-2014, 00:41

[…] Image Source: Spiritual Awakening […]


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