One of the questions that I get asked a lot is about feeling lost after spiritual awakening (or during the spiritual awakening). Is feeling lost a sign of spiritual awakening? It definitely can be.
Feeling lost or aimless is a pretty ambiguous feeling that can be displayed in many different behaviors and emotions. So let’s take a look at what a spiritual awakening looks like, as well as the emotions you might be experiencing. I’m also going to talk about where to go next, and I will recommended some books and resources that have helped me when I felt spiritually lost.
Signs of Spiritual Awakening
Spiritual awakenings are everything from a big event that changes your life, to a tiny, seemingly insignificant moment that sparks a new consciousness in your life, like what happened to Mickey Singer (as described in his book, The Surrender Experiment.)
Similarly, the signs and symptoms of a stark wake up, spiritually speaking, can be both positive and negative. Pema Chodron describes spiritual enlightenment as a gradual descending into yourself. It can often be quite painful.
Here are a few things that you might be experiencing right now after your spiritual awakening.
1) Feeling really emotional all the time
If you were the type of person to live from your head or bottle up your emotions, chances are that a spiritual awakening might suddenly tap your heart and all the feelings that reside there.
You might tear up at a commercial with puppies, or you might find yourself overwhelmed with gratitude for a friend’s loving kindness. Either way, you’re feeling more in touch with your emotions and even drowning in them.
You might feel angry, you might even be a little depressed.
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2) Being painfully aware of the voice in your head
Another possibility is that you are suddenly aware of the voice in your head. This voice (called the ego) is constantly chirping at you throughout your day, commenting on everything from what you’re doing, to what others are doing. Usually there are a lot of “should”s in the ego’s language.
This may prompt you to suddenly be interested in meditation to get that voice to quiet down!
3) Viewing your life through a lens
Similarly to hearing your own thoughts for the first time, you might experience a sort of out of body feeling where you view yourself from outside of your body. You have a newfound objectivity and clarity when looking at your life, and you’re painstakingly aware of the choices you’re making and why.
4) Losing old friends (and gaining new ones)
When you have a spiritual awakening, one thing that frequently happens is that we outgrow the people in our lives.
Suddenly the people that brought you joy, perhaps through drinking or partying or gossiping about others, no longer bring you joy. You see their egos at work and you’re not sure that you find those things to be important any longer.
However, with a loss of old friends usually comes making new ones: friends who are more awakened and fit your life where you currently are.
5) Discovering new things about your past
While a side effect of a spiritual awakening may be epiphanies about your past, possible trauma, and why certain things happened, it is also possible that your spiritual awakening happened because of this epiphany about your past. It works both ways.
Regardless, when we quiet our minds, get to know our egos, and tap into our spiritual side, it is not at all uncommon for us to have revelations about our pasts.
6) Feeling suddenly at ease
While many of these signs are ones that are uncomfortable, it is more than likely you’ll also feel a new measure of comfort. You may feel comfort with your body, comfort with the world.
Little things don’t bother you as much any more. Insults bounce off you.
A deep inner peace may find you.
These are only a few of the signs of a spiritual awakening. Check out more signs of a spiritual awakening here.
Feeling Awakened and Lost
Sometimes, after a spiritual awakening, you might feel aimless and lost. Since a spiritual awakening disrupts the former trajectory of your life, you might wish you were on a different path. This is completely normal and quite common. The key is to surrender to your new path and give yourself time.
You can’t rush this process. But you can gently guide yourself back into alignment: a new normal, so to say.
I know; it’s incredibly difficult to try to sit with our discomfort. Whenever we experience something uncomfortable, it’s human nature to try to alleviate that discomfort, whether that means shifting positions when our foot falls asleep, to feeding our hungry belly.
Similarly, when we feel lost, we might feel agitated, worried, or scared. We want to find a way back to something familiar, because that feeling of familiarity puts us at ease.
Like Shannon Adler said,
Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.
So let’s look at 7 steps that you can take in order to deal with this feeling of being lost after a spiritual awakening, and what your new future might look like.
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7 Steps You Can Take Next Find Your New Spiritual Path
Stop. Don’t do anything.
Sometimes feeling lost is exactly where we’re supposed to be. It’s a sign of leveling up in life, so don’t retreat! Learn to accept what you’re feeling right now in the moment and not hide from it.
You might also feel the need to push forward, hurry up, move on, and get over it. This is also a mistake.
When you’re feeling agitated and want to try to go back to what you knew before, or want to hurry the process, I want you to ask yourself some questions:
- What am I feeling right now, in this moment?
- Why am I feeling this way?
- What thing am I trying to avoid by moving away from this moment?
Usually when we’re feeling lost or uncomfortable, it’s based in fear. We’re afraid of something happening (or not happening).
So what happens when you gaze upon this situation with love and acceptance? Try to untangle the knots. It takes patience, but it’s worth it.
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2) Do some reading and exploring
One easy way to learn more about what is happening to us and getting really comfortable with feeling a bit lost is to do some reading or experiment with different things in our lives.
We want to establish a new normal for ourselves… this might mean new friends, new habits, perhaps even a new career.
But again, this is something you don’t have to jump into right away. Learn, explore, and allow yourself to grow. One of my favorite quotes of all time is:
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu is the author of the Tao Te Ching: one of my favorite spiritual enlightenment books.
Another wonderful book is When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron. This book is specifically written for those times in your life you feel uncomfortable or lost.
Another possibility is to look for learning opportunities such as retreats or classes. For example, I recently participated in an online meditation retreat from Plum Village. Plum Village is the monastery built upon the Buddhist tradition started by Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk who recently passed away. More on that below.
3) Connect with like-minded people
Finding a community of people who understand what you’re going through might just be the key you need to unlocking comfort and peace in your new awakened state.
When we’re around people who live from the ego, we might feel like we’re the odd one out. We don’t fit in.
But when we find a community of people who embrace their spiritual side, who seek to understand, listen, accept life’s struggles, and grow, then we can also do those things. Because feeling spiritually awakened often means interbeing—understanding how every human, animal, plant and drop of water on this Earth is connected.
We are all part of the web of life.
When I participated in the Plum Village online retreat, one of the sessions was called “Dharma Sharing”. They separated us into groups and we had a Zoom call to discuss the things we were learning and anything that was going on in our daily lives.
It is simply stunning just how connected you can feel with a group of strangers over a computer screen. This connectedness helped me learn how I’m not the only one with struggles and I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in life right now.
One challenge you might run into on your new spiritual path is finding that your mind is cluttered with thoughts, usually from the ego, ordering us around to avoid discomfort and fear.
Meditation is the number one way to sort through these thoughts and quiet your mind so that you can live a more peaceful life.
Meditation has so many benefits, such as:
- improves blood circulation
- lowers blood pressure
- boosts our immune system
- helps to manage stress and anxiety
- improves memory
- improves sleep quality
- relieves PMS symptoms
And these benefits are only on our physical being! The benefits to our mental, emotional, and spiritual health are numerous as well.
Here is a video from Plum Village about sitting meditation and guided meditation. Yes, it goes slow. Remember #1: we’re not here to hurry. We’re in this aimless, lost state right now so that we can stop and truly feel where we are. So set aside a little time (20-40 minutes) to watch this and try seated meditation for yourself.
5) Declutter your life
If you’re decluttering your mind with meditation, it’s also time to declutter your physical space, as well as become more mindful about what you consume.
We accumulate so much stuff—junk, really—that it becomes a daily part of our lives. We stop seeing all the stuff around us because we’ve gotten used to it.
If you’re feeling lost, it may be because you can’t see the forest for the trees; the trees being all the crap in your physical space and the forest being the big picture of what you want your life to look like.
For this, there’s no one better than Marie Kondo and her Konmari method of decluttering.
You want to go through everything in your home and ask, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t or it doesn’t serve a purpose in your daily life, then it either goes in the trash or it gets donated.
Stop consuming so much
Part B of this step is, of course, to stop bringing clutter into your life in the first place. Stop impulse-buying. Stop bringing in junk.
This also includes what you consume with your body. What kinds of beauty products do you use every day that have harsh chemicals? What kinds of food products are you eating that aren’t providing your body with proper nourishment?
Getting rid of the daily Starbucks run, the cookies, the chips, the fast food… these things can not only clean up your body, but also help you save quite a bit of money.
6) Look for the things that bring you joy
When you feel lost, another way that we want to care for ourselves in this unfamiliar territory is to find joy.
It’s not always easy to practice joy. Joy is found through things like:
And let’s make sure we distinguish between joy and happiness. Happiness can be found in all manner of things, including fleeting happiness from an impulse purchase.
Whereas joy is something that’s deeper and touches us on a more spiritual level.
So maybe you find joy in hiking or rock climbing, or maybe you love playing music or spending time with children. Make a list of some of these things and make sure you make time for them in your day.
7) Practice Unapologetic Self-Care
Last, when you’re feeling lost and unsure of where to go next, it’s time to be unapologetic about taking care of you.
Self-care, of course, consists of physical and mental well-being, but also spiritual, financial, responsible, and emotional self-care. (It’s not just bubble-baths.)
This means finding a balance and shifting things so that you have plenty of time for yourself to take care of the other things that I mentioned on this list. You may need to say “no” to some things, and that’s okay.
Whether shifting your priorities for a week or a month (or longer), you should feel no remorse in doing what you need to in order to gently guide your life onto a path that feels right for you.
If there’s anything you should take away from this, it’s this:
Feeling lost after being spiritually awakened is a normal feeling. Don’t try to move away from it. Take some time to get used to your new state of being. Surrender to the process and to everything that you’re feeling. And don’t forget to connect with others that are feeling the same way and find joy in your life!
You will start to feel more at peace. And remember that life is cyclical, so you may start to get comfortable just in time to have another spiritual awakening and feel lost in an entirely new way!
Are you going through a spiritual awakening right now?
What are you feeling? Drop me a comment below.