What is an awakening?

Posted by Jade Garratt

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Jade is a yoga teacher, blogger and health and wellness geek. Her mission is to share the happiness that yoga has brought into her life. Full Bio
Q:

What is an awakening?

A:

Generally speaking, when people talk about experiencing an awakening, they don’t mean that horrible moment when your alarm goes off far too early on a Monday morning. Usually, the term, “awakening,” has far more positive and spiritual connotations, but what does it actually mean?

This can be a hard thing to put into words because the nature of an awakening experience is so personal and subjective, meaning entirely different things to different people.

If we take it at its simplest, an awakening is an experience where illusions are shattered and you experience some kind of Self-realization. Maybe you discover that certain assumptions or understandings you had previously been operating under are flawed or incomplete. Or perhaps you gain heightened sensitivity and awareness. The metaphor of awakening suggests a shift in the state of your consciousness. Experiencing an awakening may allow you to shed your unconscious dream-state and perceive reality as it truly is. (Read more on how to achieve Higher Consciousness Through Vibration and Meditation.)

For many following a yogic path, an awakening may be linked to the yogic philosophy that we are all one and share a universal consciousness. Yogis believe that our perception of ourselves as unique, separate, individual entities is an illusion. This false illusion takes the form of our ego, with all of its attachments to the material world. Thus to awaken may be to experience a falling away of the ego, uncovering a realization of our own unique divinity and interconnectedness. (Learn How to See the Ego for What it Is.)

Some take an awakening as being synonymous with spiritual enlightenment, where the individual identity completely dissolves and the ego is destroyed, never to return. Although valid, that is a very narrow definition. An awakening can be a much subtler, gentler experience. Perhaps you simply become aware that there is more to your consciousness than your chaotic thoughts. Or you may suddenly experience a sense of freedom from your usual attachment to things that previously seemed important.

So, what does it feel like to awaken? Descriptions vary, but many say that such a spiritual experience is blissful. To awaken is a transformative event, and one which can leave you feeling profoundly peaceful, happy and content. It may also bring with it feelings of deep compassion and love for yourself and others.

For many, an awakening is a significant step and landmark on their spiritual path. It may come quickly, or it may be experienced after many years of disciplined yoga and meditation practice. And it may or may not be the final destination on your yogic path - it could simply mark the beginning a new, more enlightened stage in your spiritual development. Whatever it is, it is something that you do not need to (and probably cannot) chase. Instead, through yoga and meditation, you open yourself up to allow for this new experience. (Try experiencing this Meditation on the Universal Self.)

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