Spiritual awakening is a very individual experience — the way it happens seems to be unique to every person who passes through that experience. It’s often spoken of as a dissolving into universal consciousness, and a merging into Oneness with all things. Ultimately, it is described as an ongoing journey, rather than a single one-time event.

So what are the symptoms of genuine spiritual awakening, and how do we know if it has happened to us? The question also arises, as we get closer to being in alignment with awakening, whether we are heading in the right direction on our journey. Some of the various reported symptoms of spiritual awakening, and the approach to it along the spiritual path, include:

  • unusual synchronicities and coincidences;

  • intense energy surges;

  • a deep upheaval and unwinding of the mind;

  • intense fear and/or a death experience;

  • a sudden realization that there is no “I”;

  • and feelings of previously unimaginable peace and bliss.

All of these symptoms are purely subjective, and they have been reported to start gradually, or all of a sudden. Knowing about them can help us to use them as ‘diagnostic tools’ to get clear about the differences between enlightenment and madness — and when needed, to seek help to find answers or receive healing. This process of inquiry can unearth new and valuable information helpful in creating a shift in consciousness.

Regardless of the specific symptoms experienced, change is a key player on an awakened spiritual path. As seekers, most of us feel a need for change in our everyday lives. As soon as we can identify what changes are being called for, the faster we can shift gears and get out of our own way, the more we move into the flow of life, which is another symptom of being “in the now.” The frequency or intensity of symptoms we experience can often push us into getting out of our habits or routines, and become motivators for change in our lives.

Spending time with spiritually-focused books, audio and video — as well as a bevy of internet information — can help inspire us along our introspective path. There are now many genuine awakened teachers who have videos online, and adding those to a spiritual practice is an excellent way to attune with their state of being. Various books from current gurus like Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti, or past masters like Osho or Shunryu Suzuki can be a big help as well.

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