“The awakening of consciousness is the next evolutionary step for mankind.”
Today, I’d like to invite you to join me to contemplate on the journey of awakening and what it really means.
The word awakening implies waking up from a state of dream or not knowing, to a state of clarity and insight. We can say we are awakened, when our consciousness rises to a new state of being, clarity, and understanding. In simple terms, the journey of awakening is about stepping out of the mist of distractions around us, to become aware of who we are, who we are meant to be, and discover the true meaning of our lives.
Nowadays, the term awakening is usually used in the context of spirituality. But, as we’ll see later, spiritual awakening is only one dimension of this journey, and we usually go through three dimensions of awakening to reach fullness in life. These three dimensions are Psychological Awakening, Personal Awakening, and spiritual awakening. We need Psychological Awakening to heal our past emotional burdens to be able to live at peace with ourselves and others. We need Personal Awakening to find clarity of mind and a sense of purpose and direction in life. And lastly, we need spiritual awakening to find the true meaning of our life and connect to spirituality and higher consciousness beyond our material existence. We need the journey of awakening to actualize our true destiny and experience fullness in life.
Understanding the Journey of Awakening and Why We Need It
Here, I want to invite you to take a moment and think about the following questions:
1) Do you feel at peace with yourself and others in your life?
2) Do you know what you are supposed to do in this world?
3) Do you know the true meaning of your life as a whole?
These questions point to three fundamental human desires, we all have in this world, which are Having Peace, Having Purpose, and Having Meaning.
- Having Peace: is about being aware of our thoughts and emotions, and at peace with ourselves and others
- Having Purpose: is about having a sense of direction in life and what we are here to do.
- Having Meaning: is about knowing the true meaning of our life and its spiritual relevance.
As you can imagine, if we somehow manage to fulfill these three desires, our life can become magical, not only because we would be able to live at peace with ourselves and others, but also because we would have a sense of purpose in life, and feel connected to a higher consciousness within us that is beyond material existence. We would be peaceful, purposeful, and enlightened.
On the surface, reaching this ideal state of heart and mind seems out of reach for many of us. But what if I told you, it is possible and actually very practical to get there. We need our highest intention to commit to it and a sense of direction to actualize it.
Three Dimensions of Awakening
We humans are sentient being, but we are also intelligent and have desire to understand what we feel and experience in life. So, the journey of awakening cannot be not limited to spiritual awakening, because as human beings, we also have psychological and personal dimensions.
If we dismiss or ignore our psychological and personal dimensions, spiritual awakening can lead to what is usually referred to as “spiritual bypass”, which is the suppression of our inner feelings and drives in favor of finding refuge of calmness in a spiritual dimension. Ignoring our psychological and personal dimensions is like leaving your plants and pets unattended at home, to venture on a spiritual journey across the world. Regardless of our intention, this journey may not be as liberating or uplifting as we think, because in the back of our mind, we know we left the vulnerable parts of our life home alone and unattended, the parts that still needed our full attention and love.
So, to experience fullness in life, we need to embrace all three dimensions of awakening. These dimensions are directly aligned with our most fundamental desires as humans, which were having peace, having purpose, and having meaning.
- Psychological Awakening leads self-awareness and inner peace
- Personal Awakening leads to clarity of mind and a sense of purpose in life
- Spiritual Awakening leads to higher consciousness and meaning in life
The most fundamental and most essential human desire in life is living at peace with ourselves and in harmony with others. But in real life, our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can significantly be influenced by our environment and interactions with others in our lives, neither of which are fully in our control. So, unless we live somewhere in wilderness or in a cave, living in a state of inner peace seems impractical for many of us. But, we can change that.
Psychological awakening is a process to gain a deeper understanding of our personality and impulses behind your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. These impulses usually lead us to parts of our personality that are emotionally vulnerable, hurt, and burdened, and because of that are weak and sensitive. When we embrace Psychological Awakening, we take the journey of awakening in to our past in search of new insights, redemption, and healing of these parts of our personality. Without such healing, we remain sensitive and highly affected by our environment and interactions with others in our life.
Psychological Awakening is the most essential dimension of awakening, because it liberates us from our sensitivity to our environment and our interactions.
A Metaphor for Psychological Awakening
It would be helpful here to use a metaphor for Psychological Awakening. Imagine you live in a small island in the middle of an ocean. You have already explored every corner of this island, and know its ins and outs. Your life there has become habitual, predictable, and mundane. So, you are now ready to venture onto the ocean to find adventure and new lands. But for this journey, you rely on your sail boat, which has been sitting there for many years, and now shows signs of rust and weakness.
At the same time, you are so excited for new adventure that you would rather ignore the rust and weakness in your boat, and start the journey now. You only have two options in front you, one is to start the journey now with your boat in its current state, and the other would be to stay and fix the boat before starting your journey.
You can probably guess the relevance of this metaphor to Psychological Awakening. We can compare the boat here as our psychological state of mind. So, deciding to stay and fix the boat, it is like embracing a psychological awakening process for emotional healing and strength before going on another adventure in life. Without embracing psychological awakening, other adventures in life, including personal and spiritual awakening, are like venturing onto the ocean with rust on our boat, hoping to stay afloat in the journey.
Unlike psychological awakening, which is a roundtrip healing journey to our past, a personal awakening is about our future, and what we are meant to do in life. Personal Awakening can be best described as a philosophical, artistic, or intellectual soul-searching. This awakening process leads to clarity of mind and a sense of purpose and direction in life. When we are personally awaken, we have a clear understanding of where we stand, and where we are headed in our life journey.
Without personal awakening to have higher purpose in life, we could end up in a state of apathy or nihilism, specially in the second half of our lives, even if we manage to secure a quiet and peaceful living. This is why virtually all of us experience midlife crisis to various degrees, which is simply a call from a dimension of awakening, we happened to ignore in life. Going back to the island metaphor, personal awakening process is like a call to adventure to leave the mundane life behind for a journey in the ocean to discover new and exciting lands.
Spiritual awakening is about connecting to a higher consciousness to find the true meaning of life and the reason for our existence. As we saw earlier, Psychological and Personal awakenings were focused on our past and future, to help us build a peaceful and purposeful life. Spiritual awakening serves a higher purpose and extends beyond our Psychological and Personal needs. Spiritual awakening is about “meaning” and experience of connection to higher consciousness beyond the material world.
When we are spiritually awake, our consciousness is not limited to our physical existence, and can also be experienced spiritually at a much deeper level. Circling back to the island metaphor, spiritual awakening process is not about the boat nor the desire for adventure, but rather about a deeper sense of connection to the depth of the ocean and the energy of the sky, and how our existence is intertwined with their presence.
The Journey of Awakening In Practice
I hope by now, the Journey of Awakening is no longer an abstract concept to you. The fact that you are here now, means you are in this journey already.
For example, if you are someone who started noticing the changes in your feelings, thoughts, or behaviors, and wonder about their underlying reasons, then you are already in a Psychological Awakening journey. Alternatively, if you are someone who is interested in finding the purpose of your life, you are already in a personal awakening journey. Lastly, if you find yourself on a soul-searching mission or in an ascending path of spiritual evolution, then you are well into your spiritual awakening journey.
Irrespective of the dimension of awakening journey you are in, there are several powerful yet practical approaches available out there to guide you in the process. These approaches are what I have been successfully using in my own awakening journey. I use,
- Internal Family Systems IFS Self-Leadership Model for Psychological Awakening,
- Ontological Analysis and Introspection for Personal Awakening, and
- Active Imagination, Psychoshamanic or Shamanic Practices for Spiritual Awakening.
For practice of spiritual awakening, I advocate psychoshamanic and shamanic practices. These practices are meditative and use the power of our intuition and imagination to access spiritual dimensions within us and elevate our consciousness to higher level. The spiritual awakening achieved this way leads to, what I call “Personal Spirituality”, which is our very own, and unique connection to higher spiritual realities and dimensions within us.
In closing, I hope you have found the views presented here useful in demystifying the Journey of Awakening and recognizing its three unique dimensions. The most important takeaway here is the fact that the experience of fullness in life is only possible, if we embrace all dimensions of awakening, including psychological, personal, and spiritual awakening.
There is no specific order in the awakening process. But, I view psychological awakening journey as the most essential among three. The spiritual awakening is the most empowering among three, specially when used in support of psychological awakening. This way all dimensions of our being are actualized in full harmony with each other to a peaceful, purposeful, and spiritually balanced experience of life.