A spiritual awakening can be something difficult to pin down. But you’re here because you’re thinking you might be going through one.
Signs of a spiritual awakening can vary from positive to negative, from earth-shattering to ever so subtle. But one thing is for certain: when you experience an awakening, you’re forever changed. Your perspective has experienced such a shift that you will never see the world the same.
Let’s look at 21 things going on in your life that might indicate you’re becoming spiritually awakened.
What is a Spiritual Awakening?
A spiritual awakening is a moment in your life that is a step toward spiritual enlightenment. It is a moment of profound truth that strikes you, which often creates great suffering in your life.
“We need to see the suffering, the truth, in order to get the awakening. There’s a deep connection between the two.”Sister True Dedication (pupil of Thich Nhat Hanh)
Sometimes when confronted with an ultimate truth of life, we don’t even realize that we’re suffering. Humans are so good at pushing down our pain and ignoring it in order to persevere. But eventually, that pain and suffering will make itself known to you and can change your life in some pretty drastic ways, as you’ll soon learn.
This truth, this suffering, ultimately leads to death of part of the ego, which controls our worldly desires.
What are the first signs of a spiritual awakening?
In many of my own spiritual awakenings that I’ve had through the years (yes, it’s common to experience one and then awaken a little more later on), I would say the first sign was that I was daydreaming and dissociating.
This mental state was an effort of the ego to remain tied down to my current state and not let go.
But the first signs of a spiritual awakening differ for each person. Some people find their outer world has changed and then they make the discovery that their inner world has changed as well. For many others, they change internally and then alter their outer world to match.
21 Spiritual Awakening Signs and Symptoms
Here are a few things that you might be experiencing right now as you’re on your journey to spiritual enlightenment:
1) You feel “different”
Your friends might even comment how you seem different than you used to. Maybe it’s your smile. Maybe it’s your energy. Maybe there were toxic people who used to use you and you’re suddenly standing up for yourself.
Whatever it is, you’re simply different. As time progresses and you discover more little ways that this spiritual awakening is manifesting in your life, you’ll have a deeper understanding of why you’re so different.
2) The people in your life are changing
Is your usual group of friends suddenly foreign to you? Maybe they are judgmental or harsh towards each other (or others outside of their group) and you are left wondering why they’re like that.
Often during a spiritual awakening, we start to set boundaries with people as we learn to honor ourselves and our truths. This may make others feel suddenly threatened by your new-found independence.
Or perhaps you’ve discovered new friends whose priorities and values align more with your own new ones. You find yourself naturally drawn to spending more time with them.
3) Time moves differently
Spiritual awakening signs include time shifting different than it used to in the past. In some cases, you might experience time moving slower because you are hyper-aware of everything going on around you.
But conversely, you might find that you tap into flow and creativity more easily and in the midst of an artistic session, hours have passed by suddenly!
4) You had epiphanies about your childhood or past
One of the glaring signs to me of being awakened spiritually is sudden truths that come out about your past. Often, these aren’t good ones.
Some people discovered during a spiritual awakening that they were sexually abused as a child. Others might have memories return about a scary encounter they had with a stranger in which they felt extremely threatened.
You may have realizations about the personality traits of people from your childhood, like your parents, or your siblings or yourself. Maybe you discover that you used to be a covert narcissist like I did.
5) You feel more connected to others and animals
A huge part of spiritual enlightenment is the connection you feel with other people, animals, plants, and the whole earth.
Thich Nhat Hanh describes this as interbeing, and he uses it as a verb. We inter-are with every living organism on earth. I inter-am with the wind, rain, mountains, seas, fires, and trees.
When we stop seeing ourselves as separate from other people and from the world, we start to treat people, animals, and things differently.
6) You don’t react the same
Often, when something big has shaken up your world, your patterns of reaction change. When you used to get angry over someone at work interrupting you in the middle of something, now you might be surprisingly okay with it. You find yourself to be more mindful and in the moment.
Conversely, if the ego is trying to hang on for dear life, you might find yourself getting more frustrated when little things disrupt your day.
Either way, chances are that you’re finding yourself reacting or responding differently to things you used to have an established response for.
7) You feel vulnerable and emotional
I hear from a lot of people going through a spiritual upheaval that they feel emotional and raw. Perhaps you can’t stop crying, or you feel overwhelmed easily.
This could be your masculine and feminine energies finding a new balance, or it could just be that in your spiritual awakening you’ve relieved so much of the trauma that suppressed your emotions that you need to heal.
8) You’re having trouble sleeping (or sleep a lot)
Sleep happens differently in a spiritual awakening. Last year, when I was having a spiritual awakening and shedding my childhood/generational trauma, I went from sleeping 6 hours a night to needing 9 hours of sleep a night or more. Your brain needs extra time to sleep, recharge, and rebuild itself after a tearing down of the “old you”.
You might also experience insomnia. Difficulties falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and very vivid dreams are all signs that your brain is processing something big.
9) You feel like a lot of things are meaningless
Feeling a little depressed is not at all uncommon while becoming spiritually awakened. You’ve just made a huge shift in your world, and you may feel like before your awakening you were wasting time.
Or perhaps this new perspective has cleared all the toxic positivity that infested your life before, and you’re wondering if you’ll ever feel hopeful again (you will, or at least in my experience, I did).
If you’re feeling lost and aimless, then head over to this post to discover what to do if you’re feeling unsettled because of a spiritual awakening.
10) You can hear that voice in your head talking incessantly
Mickey Singer talks about his spiritual awakening back in the 1970s in his book The Surrender Experiment (which I highly recommend reading). His first step into a deeper spiritual world was recognizing that voice in his head and learning how meditation could quiet it down.
Finding your ego yapping at you all day long is a very clear sign of awakening.
11) You feel like a part of you has died
If you’re feeling like a part of you has died, that’s because it has. Spiritual enlightenment is death of the ego (self/oneness) and acceptance of interbeing, so you’re experiencing your ego dying away.
This death (like any death) can be emotionally painful. You may also feel relief. This is totally normal. You aren’t the same person you were before.
12) You experience bodily pains
Just as all beings are interconnected, your body, mind, and soul are linked in such a way that if a part of your soul changes, so will your body and mind.
A subtle sign of spiritual awakening is body aches and pains. Perhaps your joints feel tighter than they used to in the morning, you’re having headaches or neck tension, or you feel like you need to get a massage every week.
These manifestations of a spiritual awakening in your body are real, not just in your mind.
13) Sometimes, you view your life through a lens
Have you ever had the experience of suddenly viewing your life from outside your body? I have, and it’s an interesting experience.
Maybe it happens when you’re rocking your baby to sleep at night–you see yourself with your little one as if watching a TV show. Or maybe it happens when you’re talking to your boss and you completely lose your train of thought (that one has happened to me as well).
This viewing of your life from a different perspective, literally, is a sign that something is changing in your life.
14) You mourn the loss of a part of your life
As mentioned above, you may be feeling like a part of you has died. I do recommend taking some time to grieve the loss of part of yourself that went away in the awakening.
You may be mourning the loss of a career path that you suddenly want to change. You might need to grieve the loss of family and friends who no longer fit in your new life. You might just be sad to see that person you were suddenly morph into someone new.
These are all valid. Grieving is a natural part of the process, so allow yourself to have some time to embrace and gently let go of everything you lost.
15) You get lost in thought
Another spirit to mind connection, often a sign of spiritually waking up is that you’re consumed by your thoughts. Ego is trying to hold on, and you’re desperately trying to figure out what is going on with you.
You might find yourself having flashbacks to past events or drowning in the desire to “figure out” what’s happening with you. Either way, you should take some time to write these thoughts out as they come up in order to free them from your head space and give them room to breathe.
16) You feel less emotional than you used to be
Although there are many cases that your emotional blocks break open and you feel like you’re drowning in your feelings, sometimes, you might actually feel less emotional than you did before.
If this is the case, you may have been overly emotional before, and waking up spiritually has helped moderate your flow of emotions. You might experience feelings of calm, peace, inner happiness, and all kinds of other feelings of contentedness.
17) You’re finding more joy in life
While spiritual awakenings can be painful, sometimes a sign of this awakening is that you are actually happier!
You’re starting to find more joy in life, embracing the simple pleasures that life brings you every day, every moment.
18) You have accepted and surrendered to your path
Whether or not you struggled or found pain in your awakening, you might reach a very peaceful state of acceptance and surrender. You might feel that you’re letting go of the expectations you place on yourself and others around you, and that you are happier to just go with the flow of life.
This surrender is working in conjunction with the energies of the Universe (God, Goddess, Mother Earth… whatever you want to call the divine power). You’re likely to be able to surf the waves of your life a little easier and don’t get knocked under as easily.
19) You feel angry
Because an awakening can unearth a lot of things from our past—trauma, abuse, pain—you might develop feelings of anger. Sometimes you might be angry at life or the situations you were put through. Other times, you feel angry at people who were close to you, such as parents, grandparents, friends, siblings, or past significant others who may have hurt you in ways that you didn’t realize until now.
It’s okay to feel angry, as much as you might want to control your anger, it’s impossible to do without hurting yourself further. Make sure you find an appropriate outlet for your anger, like journaling, running, or doing something creative, like knitting or writing poetry.
20) You feel closer to death
With any spiritual enlightenment comes the inevitable feeling that your life is finite. Getting out of our comfort zone reminds us that all things, good or bad, must come to an end, and that includes our own life.
Letting go of our physical body is something that must happen to everyone, and we never know when it will happen. But when you experience a spiritual awakening, you know that you are birth and death simultaneously.
As mentioned, this is often the first hint to me that an awakening is coming. I find that dissociative states are the ego holding onto the “old worlds” of your life.
Your awakened state is telling you to live in the moment and become present, but your ego wants to maintain the self and prevent itself from dying away. If you’re consumed with thoughts, fantasies, dreams, and ideal worlds, you just might be experiencing a spiritual awakening.
There are so many ways that you can recognize the signs of a spiritual awakening in your own life, and they look different to everyone. But the common threads lie in the death of the ego and a deeper connectedness to the world around you.
When you experience an enlightening moment, you can never really go back to being the person you were before: you are forever changed.
Are you experiencing signs of a spiritual enlightenment or awakened state?
What kinds of things are you going through?