My Spiritual Awakening: Part I
I’ve been thinking about this subject for several days. What does it take for someone to be “awake”? And I’m not talking about sleeping and waking. I’m talking about emerging from an old reality into a new one. The feeling of being aware of things that other people aren’t. Again, I’m not talking about a mental health diagnosis, though some would beg to differ. I’m talking about a spiritual awakening. Your personal evolution. Raising your vibration. Growing into and living your truth. What does it mean? Why does it happen? What do we do with the new knowledge?
We can only answer these questions for ourselves because only we have the answers.
What does “awakening” mean to me? The force that continues to lead me to become more open, less judging of others, more present, more loving and more mindful of myself, my planet-and the animals and the people living on it-are all part of the process of awakening. Whatever leads me to become less concerned about myself and less ego-centered. Whatever is encouraging me to eat to live and not live to eat. What compels me (The power of Christ compels you!!) to eat a plant-based diet and to eat organic, natural foods. Oh, there’s more but that will all come in time.
I think I started asking myself when I started changing because I always see people at difference phases and steps of their own Awakening. I try not to judge where they are but sometimes I see myself wanting to speed up their process. Ha. Over time I’ve learned that everyone gets there when they are ready and there’s not much I can do about it. I know this because when I look back at the people that tried to push me to be where I am now, I can see a small row of faces but only see me absorbing what they are saying, but not acting upon them. At the time, I had no idea what these people were trying to tell me. I did see something in them I wanted, however. I just didn’t know how to get there.
Over the years I’ve learned to be more cautious when talking to others about the process. I have to chuckle when I see people constantly ranting about the same subject or always telling people what they should and shouldn’t be doing and how they should be doing it. I learned a long time ago that’s a waste of energy. Now I just wait for people to come to me. Now that I recognize this in myself and others along the same path I know I have to ask if I want an opinion on an idea or thought. I actually prefer that rather than someone trying to shove their personal truth down my throat. I prefer a conversation. An actual conversation not a shouting match or eye rolling contest.
This acceptance is something I always admired about my grandfather. He never said hey, this is what you SHOULD be doing or this is how it SHOULD be. He said things like “what do you know about so and so?” or “have you read this book?” and so on. I think his years of being a therapist trained him how to do it. He would always just drop a name, thought or idea and leave it to me to research it or ask more questions. He never threw his truth in my face. I remember having a conversation with him once about religion and he asked me what I thought about Christianity not being the #1 religion in the world and I said “just tells me we have a lot of work to do”. (Whoa. Who was that girl!) My grandfather just raised his eyebrows a little bit (in surprise) and nodded his head.
In my experience, when its time for someone to Awaken, the process happens fairly quickly and it often creates a jolt (that really hurts) I can’t explain with words. (which is why I say approach with care/caution). What happens when you’re there to help facilitate or direct this persons new awareness is that they will sometimes rely on you for EVERYthing. They’ll come to you with questions, you’ll give them an answer. At first you will enjoy it but in time it will be energy draining and you’ll wonder why they don’t find the information for themselves (um, they’ve been asking you and you’ve always answered, that’s why). They will look up to you. Admire you. You’ll like it at first but then…it will get old. It creates a sick parent/child, student/teacher dynamic that you 1. don’t get paid for and 2. well, it just isn’t healthy.
I know this process is different for everyone but when religion comes to play things get extremely sensitive, difficult and very confusing. I want to try and explain how it happened for me.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt your entire foundation is crumbling? Now imagine that happening but the only thing that happened was an event in your own mind. Something snaps and you can’t go back. I fell into a deep depression that lasted about ten years as I attempted to forge my way into my new reality. What I’ve seen over the past 15 years is most people react the same. It’s hard. Some people start doing drugs to hide the constant bombardment of information. Others shut people out completely or become depressed. Some people attempt and are successful at suicide. I thought about suicide several times throughout this period in my life. Some never come out of the fog, preferring to stay where they are then to accept the new awareness. I think this must be an extremely difficult way to live.
I liken “waking up” to having someone very close to you die. I call it “The Haze”. You don’t know what this feels like until you experience it and this is the only way I know how to explain it. Recall a tragic event in your life. What happens at the beginning? Every part of your life gets dulled. You’re overcome with grief and this deep sense of loss. You go through the motions but you notice things aren’t as bright as they used to be. You go through the motions. You don’t spend as much time with friends. You go out but something seems “off”. You feel bad about being so sad and don’t want to get anyone else down so you mostly keep to yourself. You wonder what’s happening. You wonder if you will find a new normal.
under all of that is something else. Something else you don’t know even existed until it doesn’t exist anymore. One day you realize you don’t feel as heavy. You can talk about the event or person without breaking down. You no longer feel guilty for always crying in front of people. You look forward to things. You may have gaps of time and people you don’t remember well when you were in this haze and you don’t even know you were in it until you find your way out. It’s like an entirely different reality surfaces. It’s the oddest thing I’ve ever felt. After my father died my “haze” lasted 8 months. I didn’t even know it was happening. As a matter of fact, I went to a therapist 3 months after my father died because I thought I been grieving for long enough. Needless to say she tried not to laugh at me (again, me trying to speed up the process).
This is how my Awakening occurred but it lasted a very long time. It seems after one issue was resolved, another reared its head. I suppose I went through a great loss when I realized the beliefs I grew up with and the Christian foundation I was raised upon wasn’t what I thought it was. I wasn’t going to Bangladesh to save the world for Jesus. My life’s work wasn’t going to be a “missionary” in the traditional sense, although I suppose I’m a bit of that now. I was no longer going to sing in the choir and things would never, ever be the same again.
I’ve narrowed it down my Awakening to these categories and they are in order as they presented themselves in my life. What I new vs how I would emerge.
Religion vs Spirituality
Narrow View vs Global View
Eating anything vs Whole eating
This post was longer than I expected it to be. I’ll end here and tell you that the next post will explain my story as it relates to my being religious to that turning into my strong sense of spirituality and the people and events that surrounded and contributed to this Awakening.