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What Is a Spiritual Awakening?

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What Is a Spiritual Awakening?

The Matrix breaks and a new reality forms. There seems to be an error in the system you once bought into. Everything you once believed as real and finite seems illusory. The conditions and limitations unconsciously attached to your being, fragment and dissipate.

The Zen masters call it ‘satori’ the true nature of reality, Hindus  refer to it as returning to the atman or the higher self, and Theravada Buddhists speak of it as Nibanna, or enlightenment. Call it what you want, it all holds the same truth, the essence of freedom. There is a shift in consciousness that disrupts pre conceived notions of reality and self. This is the awakening process, a departure from the material plane into the spiritual realm.

A spiritual awakening is simply the connection to the higher self and a mystical state of consciousness. Many people do not have access to the higher self because their minds are clouded by distraction, eaten up by trivialities, and consumed with negative egoic thoughts. The masses are in a deep hypnosis, a collective sleep on a hedonic treadmill going nowhere. But sometimes life fragments, and we are jarred, and shaken up a bit. A spiritual awakening occurs when the material world can longer be milked, there is the yearning for something beyond the limitations of the mind and body. Life becomes spiritualized. 

Ekstasis and Catharsis 

 A spiritual awakening does not always look like a Buddha sitting under a tree in quiet meditation alone. As humans, a spiritual awakening  can be much messier, much more raw and chaotic, and this is okay. Awakenings can take place in a sort of mental breakdown, when the fundamentals of existence are confronted.The real questions we can no longer close our eyes, become apparent and there is no escaping back into the comfort of unconsciousness. Once you see you cannot unsee. 

Awakenings can also happen in pain’s polarity, through joy. There are various methods that lead to the same place of clear seeing. During plant medicines spiritual awakenings awakenings can be induced from the higher wisdom of ekstasis, which is a state of extreme bliss or ecstasy from a cosmic perspective, or in the form of catharsis, a type of release after undergoing adversity. 

In ekstasis, we feel the enormity of euphoria and universal bliss through a higher perspective beyond human form. Love, and oneness, sweep over as a visceral undeniable feeling. There is a sense of interconnectivity, that you are a part of the whole. The space time complex breaks, and we live in the eternal present moment. In the now, there is no past to be depressed about, and no future to be anxious about. In the now is infinite possibility. 

Spiritual awakenings can also happen from catharsis, or feeling suffering and letting it go. This happens often with plant medicine ceremonies because the medicine works with the subconscious mind. Memories and emotions that are buried very deep within can then surface and be given room to witness. 

The awakening can happen when being finally confronted with personal problems that were before unconscious. As Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” When we can make the unconscious conscious, it stops ruling our lives. When we lose the attachments to our pain, we can be free to ascend to higher states of consciousness. In the letting go process, there is a release of the ego, it dissolves. 

This means that all personal preferences, identifications, and thought forms release themselves momentarily. As Eckhart Tolle says, “​​The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these are you.” 

Outside of the ego there is no separation. Everything becomes a divine mirror, because you are in everything and everything is in you. There is no need to suffer when there is no concept of self who can suffer. 


In our human lives, dictated by emotional states, suffering can be grace.  The most life altering moments that seem negative are when the greatest shifts occur. Many times people go through a spiritual awakening after extreme suffering. Old outdated models are disrupted and we are shaken up out of prior habits or patterns. A car accident and losing bodily mobility, the death of a loved one, or a devastating heartbreak. The model you have of reality is broken and life is asking you to reconsider your ideologies and adapt to the currents  of change. 

Suffering can open deeper parts within your spiritual heart to compassion and kindness, that are buried within you, just waiting to arise. As Ram Dass says, “When you look back at your own life, you see...the sufferings you went through, each time you would have avoided it if you possibly could. And yet, when you look at the depth of your character now, isn't a part of that a product of those experiences? Weren't those experiences part of what created the depth of your inner being?

There is a call to action during suffering to face the unfaceable, to bear the unbearable, push past your predicament.. When we suffer we are able to see what is truly important in life. We then sculpt our lives in a new, often more wise way. 

Want to ascend to higher planes of reality with plant medicine?


Post awakening

 After a spiritual awakening your lens of viewing the external world has sharpened as your inner world has evolved. Many of the things you once enjoyed  may now seem futile. Going to the bar with friends does not seem as interesting as it once did. Maybe you even quit your job that is not serving you, or leave the country and seek the unknown. Life is risk, and the spiritualized heart embraces the mystery instead of falling into a false sense of security. Life expands and opens when we are less attached to fears. 

Since many spiritual awakenings occur through ego death, there is less of a fear of physical death. When we have an out of body experience we see that we are not our bodies. When we enter universal oneness, we identify less with our minds and its stories. Out of the mind, we see the divine order of life in each moment and are attuned to the subtleties we may have previously overlooked. 

After a spiritual awakening there is a knowing beyond intellect and logic. You can witness the magnetic intuitive pulls beyond logic, and witness the synchronicities. A higher guidance is leading you  to the right place, instead of you following outside orders or a linear model of living that was taught and programmed into you. There is a deep trust that blooms, for life has never been against you, but a part of you, an expression of your being. 

 As awareness heightens, and you are in the now, instead of living within the constant negative thoughts, the beauty of life seems miraculous. Since there is less involvement in the melodramas of daily life, the shift of focus is into the present, and it is truly the greatest gift. 

“Heaven is not a goal; heaven is the presence right now.  If you are present, the divine is available.  If you live in the moment, you are enlightened; there is no other enlightenment.  And then ordinary life is so extraordinary.” - Osho

 Signs of a spiritual awakening

  • You spend more time alone in contemplation
  • The things that once interested you do not 
  • Self realization, seeing your thoughts as a witness
  • You are aware of life unfolding before you
  • Alignment with inner truth rather than societal standards
  • You have inner peace in situations that were once irritating
  • Empathy increases and compassion from the heart center
  • Neutrality and equanimity is the default setting instead of drama and passion
  • Non Attachment to people and material goods
  • Life becomes your spiritual teacher
  • You feel connected to deeper meaning
  • You can hear your soul speak
  • You are not a slave to emotion but follow higher consciousness

Ready to awaken to your higher self?

Behold Retreats facilitates private retreats and small group plant medicine retreats in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, with either Bufo, Ayahuasca, Psilocybin, or San Pedro.

They provide a comprehensive 7-week life-accelerator program to help you prepare and integrate your experience alongside 1-1 coaching or therapy sessions with one of their expert team members.


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