How to Navigate Your Spiritual Awakening
Aedamar Kirrane provides the ultimate guide to waking up
by Aedamar Kirrane
Spiritual awakening is the highest experience of life, yet most of us in the West have no proper understanding of what’s involved. The whole concept of awakening, the traditional term used to describe the transformation of ordinary consciousness into a spiritual consciousness of love, can often be shrouded in mystery and confusion.
It is the move beyond self-actualisation (on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) into self-transcendence, where we evolve into our higher self and open to realisation that we are one with God in love. Awakening also helps us discover the highest meaning and the deepest purpose of our lives, and draws us into actionable compassion for all those who suffer in our world.
The tragedy of Western culture is that we have become so disconnected from our innate spirituality (and from the spirituality of life itself) that we no longer really know how to engage meaningfully with our awakening. Yet, now more than ever, the world needs each of us to wake up to our truth as human-spiritual beings of love.
My experience of this spiritual disconnect showed up when I began to experience a spontaneous Christian mystical awakening in 2015 – but I had no understanding that what I was living through was in fact an awakening. However, in analysing all that happened to me, I discovered that awakening is a natural life event designed to unfold during the ordinary course of an ordinary life. Discovering our divinity is actually part of the human plan.
Awakening is something that happens to us – we do not direct it, rather it is intelligently guided by God. Surrendering to our awakening (consciously or unconsciously) is how we will heal and whole both ourselves and our broken world.
There seem to be seven key stages on the path to awakening that are of universal application regardless of one’s faith, tradition, or no tradition at all. These are:
1. Hearing the call to awaken
2. The journey within
3. The liminal space
4. Transmission from an awakened mind, and reading the mystics
5. Unity consciousness
6. Consciousness of the divinity of all creation
7. Spiritual-mystical consciousness, or divine union
These seven stages offer an overview of the process, yet awakening doesn’t follow a strict linear path. It spirals repeatedly through the stages continually deepening the transformation of our consciousness.
Waking up begins with the call to awaken – but many of us are spiritually deaf to this call because we have not been taught that certain feelings in fact constitute the call itself. The way we know that the call is already sounding inside us is this: despite meeting the supposed markers of success in our lives, careers and relationships, we nonetheless begin to feel dissatisfied with life. We feel an unnameable and generalised sense of malaise, anxiety and frustration. We increasingly feel empty and our lives begin to lose their sense of meaning and purpose. We long for something more in life but we cannot name what that ‘more’ might be. If you recognise any of these feelings in yourself: you are ready to awaken.
These feelings explicitly signal that we have outgrown the satisfactions of lower level consciousness. Things such as a holiday, a new job or more psychotherapy, for example, are no longer enough to satisfy our deep yearning for something ‘more’. Even though we may not know it, the ‘more’ we long for is to awaken. Once we engage with these feelings of malaise in a new way, the inner journey commences and our awakening has begun.
Stage two, the journey within, also invites a new type of response. It invites us to move beyond the intellect and to embrace the path of unknowing. In every spiritual and mystical tradition the journey to self-knowledge and to God is along the path of unknowing and the singular way to access unknowing is through daily meditation. In meditation we learn the art of stillness and from there we learn to detach from things of the ordinary world and from lower order consciousness.
Meditation is the single most important spiritual practice to help us move through our Awakening. It opens a sacred space for us to meet with our inner self, our spiritual guides and with God. God has often said to me in meditation, ‘You find me in the stillness because I am the stillness.’
Learning to detach and let go uniquely carries us into the next stage which is the liminal space where transformation truly begins. This is the space between worlds where the veil thins and we begin the transition to the spiritual realm and into spiritual consciousness. Now we find that we do ever less and God does ever more. The key is to trust the inner intelligence of our awakening and to surrender further to being guided in all that is happening.
In time, we become comfortable navigating the liminal space both in meditation and increasingly in our daily lives. Then we are ripe for stage four which is the experience described in Buddhism as the transmission of an awakened mind. This occurs either by meeting a spiritual master in person or through reading sacred texts and mystical writings. In some miraculous way – our encounter with an awakened mind awakens our own mind and further catalyses our awakening.
The awakening mind is then ready for unity consciousness, which can be a gradual or an instant appreciation of the inherent connectedness of all of creation. Beyond that, lies the potential for the felt, experiential-knowing of the divinity of all existence. The seventh stage of mystical consciousness is indescribably beautiful union with God in meditation. Our individual existence dissolves into the being of God. We no longer have any finite separate existence, but experience ourselves to be an integral part of what God is. Now the mystic can say, in all humility, ‘I am the I am’. And in all of my own beautiful mystical experiences, I have experienced God to be nothing other than the blazing light of love.
The truth that is offered to each of us to discover in life is that we are beings of love, who belong eternally and intimately to love itself. Blessings as you awaken.