A friend asked what is meant by “spiritual awakening.” I thought, good lord, that’s like trying to explain the taste of ice cream – or why the Beatles meant so much once. I decided to see if anyone had a decent description I could borrow. I researched a whole host of descriptions of mystical experiences: Kundalini awakening, psychic break, deep meditation, LSD, psilocybin, sweat lodges, the effects of following a guru. While I found exciting tales of dips into the mystic and powerful revelations, none described what I was seeking to answer my friend’s question.
Then I found a site that just nailed it. It was Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D.’s site, awakeningguide.com.
Her description is simple, eloquent, and blessedly void of drama: “The experience of waking up is different than mystical events, and in fact has often been said to be no experience. It is a ground-level shift that occurs right now, right here, and whether it lasts a minute or a lifetime, the Truth of who you are is known,” says Greenwell.
She continues with her clear description of a spiritual shift: “Waking up is what happens in response to the question ‘Who is having these experiences?’ and searching neither thought nor emotion to find an answer. It is not the process of having an experience, however ecstatic and profoundly mystical it may be,” says Greenwell. “It is the understanding of that which has an experience, or that which lives through us and is eternally present through all time and experience. To wake up we have to give up the idea that we are a personal identity who is seeking experiences, and begin to wonder what is really true underneath and behind all experiences that humans live.”
She also well describes the absence of effort involved in awakening: “When there is no longer any struggle, because all that is left of the little ‘me’ is a slight memory and flavor, and perhaps a few insignificant preferences that can easily be put aside, the spiritual journey is over.”
Thanks you, Dr. Greenwell.
Reblogged this on My Musings.
Thanks so much!
Beautiful and concise. Thanks for posting Rob. How to answer that question has always been a bit of a conundrum but Dr Greenwell has put it in such a way that everyone can understand.
Blessings. Susan ❤
Thanks Susan. Yes, explaining a spiritual awakening has been a conundrum for me as well. That’s why I sought Dr. Greenwell’s posting. A friend asked me what I meant by spiritual awakening. So I sought an answer that could match my experience. and I found one.
Thank you for that. I have been contemplating what it means to wake up but it can happen on so many levels. What I struggle with is that the awakening can sometimes get lost in the fog of everyday life and then I need to be reawakened. Be happy. Be well.
A great description although I think I disagree about the journey being over. To me it feels like there are lots of re-awakenings along the way. Sometimes life gets in the way and there is a temporary sort of lack of touch with the spirit. Also, I feel love is always at the center of awakening and love doesn’t seem to ever stop expanding to me.
Thanks Home and Spirit. I agree that love continues to expand.
In this dream-like life experience ” I AM DREAMING THAT I AM AWAKE”.
Lets at least find out what and who the dreamer really is. What and who the dream figure is.
Is it the dream figure that wakes up?
Or is it the dreamer that wakes up?
Can an image in consciousness wake up?
Can a notion wake up?
Does the source, the absolute potentiality, the one reality, has any need for waking up?
Isn’t waking up a concept in the conceptual mind of a human concept?
These are great chicken-or-the-egg questions, Hahmzaki7. I think that which is everything becomes apparent to the little person walking around in the world.
Thanks, Rob, for the synopsis!
Reminds me of the koan, if you see Buddha on the road, kill him (or something like that). In other words, when you see things as outside of ones self, the act causes a sense of separation from the whole. I agree with ‘Home and Spirit’ – Awakening must be ongoing.
Thanks Jane. I agree awakening is ongoing. but I think the “searching and not finding”ends. We seem to continue to receive, grow, and gain greater skill at articulating (even if just to ourselves) the presence, the now.
Yes. Well said! 🙂
Ahh yes. Once found, never lost!!!