Do you have a hunch that you might be going through some sort of spiritual awakening? If so, today’s podcast episode will show you what stage of the process you are at and how you can most gracefully move on to the next level and experience greater peace of mind.
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While I believe we are all on a spiritual journey whether we know it or not, there are certain stages where it becomes more clear that we are in fact on some sort of path of discovery and learning. The turning point for me occurred in the spring of 2011 when I hit what you might call “rock bottom”…
Up until this point, I was just getting by in life. I wasn’t particularly happy with my life. I was just doing what other people told me I should do. I had anxiety and depression off and on for as far back as I can remember, but I thought it was just a ‘normal’ part of life.
This brings us to the first stage, which most people spend much of their lives in…
Stage 1: Conformity
In the “conformity” stage, we are just going through the motions in life. We are more concerned with fitting in and being accepted by those around us than we are with thriving mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Growth at this stage is relatively stagnant.
However, this stage can also act as a springboard to the next level. There may come a point, as it did with me, where you become “fed up” with the way things are. “Is this all there is to life?” you might ask yourself? This may lead to the next stage, which isn’t always pleasant, but a necessary step nonetheless…
Stage 2: Crisis
At this stage, you might feel like your life is falling apart. You may no longer see the meaning or purpose of ordinary life. This may come on naturally with time, or it may be sparked by a life crisis of some kind, such as an illness or personal loss of some kind.
This stage is uncomfortable, but if understood properly, it can be a great blessing in disguise.
I hit this point in 2011 during my freshman year of college. I was suffering with very severe social anxiety at the time, probably worsened by all the alcohol and fast food I had been consuming. To top it off, my girlfriend of about 2 years decided to break up with me. While it was very painful at the time, I now consider it one of the best things to ever happen to me, because it led me to the next stage of my evolution…
Stage 3: Courage
This is a critical step that many people fail to take. In order to pass beyond the “crisis” stage and not fall back into the conformity stage, you must step into courage and take responsibility for the situation rather than blaming someone or something else.
It would have been very easy for me to blame my girlfriend for all my suffering back in 2011. But I refused that temptation and did some real soul-searching instead. I looked within myself and asked, “Why is this bothering me so much? Why am I so weak that I need to depend on others for my happiness? What decisions have I made that have led me to this point in my life?”
When I was honest with myself, I realized that the problem was with me and no one else. It was my own fears and insecurities that led to my suffering. Taking responsibility for my life led me to the next stage of awakening…
Stage 4: Curiosity
When we realize we are the creator of our life experience, we become curious about how to change. We become open-minded and willing to learn from others. We let go of pride and become open to guidance and mentorship.
For me, this manifested as a voracious appetite for books and the knowledge within them. I began reading about 1-2 books per week on the topics of self-improvement, psychology, philosophy, spirituality, business, health, etc. After a while, I began to understand myself a lot better, which led to me letting go of a lot of guilt, shame, and negative feelings. This catapulted me to the next stage of my evolution…
Stage 5: Enthusiasm
The letting go of fears, doubts, and insecurities led to a level of enthusiasm and passion for life. I was in love with knowledge and growth. I wanted to share my journey with everyone. I overcame so much, and it felt natural to want to teach others how they could do the same.
The only problem was most people were not open to receiving this knowledge. I slowly realized that many people could not relate to my journey because they were still down at the lower stage of conformity. Not that it made anyone a bad person. They just didn’t have the same desire for growth that I did.
While initially it was disheartening that most people didn’t share my enthusiasm, I eventually became okay with it and realized that no one can be forced to want change and growth. Some people are just content with life as it is, and that’s okay. The desire comes when it comes. All occurs in its right time…
Stage 6: Wisdom
After I realized that I could not force change on others, I became more deeply introspective and focused on my own growth. I began to see that life is a purely subjective experience and therefore my judgments of others really said nothing about them and said everything about myself.
At this stage, I became less emotional in my decision-making. I began to pay more attention to my inner world to see where flaws in my understanding of life still existed. I focused on shedding away negative emotions, biases, and judgments so that I could see life more clearly. This led to me experiencing much more confidence and inner peace, as well as some very profound spiritual experiences, which I will talk about in a future episode.
I feel that a part of me is still at this stage of the journey, but the desire for the next stage is growing within me…
Stage 7: Surrender
When you clearly see the limitations of the human intellect, you begin to get curious about what is beyond. You start to ask yourself deeper questions like, “Who am I really?” and “How do I even know that I know anything at all?”
This stage of evolution requires deep humility. The ego, or human mind, is rooted in pride and assumes that its opinions and perspective are right and true. But the more you evolve, the more clearly you see the limitations of your own understanding. This brings about the desire for what is more meaningful, such as love, connection, joy, and inner peace.
At this stage, mental interpretations are devalued and the subjective realm of existence becomes supremely important. Opinions don’t matter much anymore. Love is the guide for decision-making at this stage. In other words, it’s a switch from the mind to the heart. Instead of trying, there is surrendering, which leads to the love, joy, and peace that we all desire deep down.
(Rare) 8th Stage: Enlightenment
With continual surrender of all mental positions, emotions, judgements, assumptions, and interpretations, etc, the mind becomes silent and one resides in eternal peace. This stage is very rarely reached, as it requires intense devotion and unwavering commitment, but it is a possibility for the serious spiritual student.
I’m certainly not enlightened, so I don’t feel qualified to speak on this in great detail, but I would highly recommend you look into the work of Dr. David R Hawkins if you’d like to learn more. His book titled “Letting Go” is a great one to start with.
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