Did you go through any kind of spiritual experience that made a change in your life?
What did you think of this experience?
Did you ignore it, or did you take it seriously? Did you attempt to investigate it?
Do believe it was some sort of spiritual awakening?
Not every spiritual experience is a sign of spiritual awakening – enlightenment. Sometimes, it is wrongly interpreted as such, and sometimes, it is just the first step toward it.
Being inspired, experiencing inner peace, having a vision, being in trance, and other experiences, do not necessarily point to spiritual awakening. This could be just a temporary fleeting state. The experience might relate to the mind, to some not so ordinary mental activity that is erroneously construed as spiritual awakening.
Even if it is spiritual awakening, it needs time to mature and become permanent.
Tom was sitting on the floor, meditating in front of an Indian guru, in an ashram in India.
He was experiencing a sort of immense inner happiness, which he never experienced before.
His mind was calm, and his thoughts were not as frantic as they used to be. He was sure that what he was experiencing was going to change his life.
It was a very hot day. However, he hardly felt the heat. He just sat there, looking into the eyes of his guru, oblivious to his surroundings.
Suddenly, a feeling of great bliss began streaming throughout his entire body and mind, making him feel light, and slightly giddy. He was experiencing a sense of peace, and the awareness of being a part of a vast and endless consciousness. He felt so content and happy that he wished this state would never end.
It was difficult for him to think. His mind, as if stopped working, but at the same time he felt more alive. This experience lasted for about ten minutes. When it ended, Tom gradually returned to his ordinary consciousness.
When Tom came back to his ordinary consciousness, he was certain that he experienced enlightenment. He was certain that he realized his true Self.
Later, on this same day, a thought started playing in his mind, whispering to him that he could become a spiritual teacher, after going through this spiritual experience. But can he become a teacher? Has he really attained this so called, “Realization of the Self”? Is there really such a thing called enlightenment? And if there is, what is it?
Is There Instant Spiritual Awakening?
This is usually a gradual process. Even people who seemingly had instant awakening had to work toward it in some way.
Has Tom really achieved spiritual awakening and attained enlightenment?
Due to his earnest desire and the sense of euphoria of being in the proximity of the guru, Tom experienced, for a short time, a different kind of consciousness.
He went through a deep spiritual experience, but it was one important step on the way.
The memory of the experience will linger on, making him eager to repeat it. However, the habits of the mind cannot change overnight. He had a glimpse. The veil over the vast ever-present consciousness was lifted momentarily, because the mind has become silent for some time, letting him experience this inner state.
What does Tom have to do now?
Has he reached the final Spiritual Realization?
Has he achieved spiritual awakening?
No, he has not. If he values what he experienced, has to start to work to make this experience happen again and again.
What Helps the Attaining of Spiritual Awakening?
The Power of Concentration
This is the ability to hold the attention fixed on one single object or subject. This ability can be strengthened by practicing concentration exercises.
When this ability is well-developed, it becomes easier to silence the mind, which is a most vital factor for spiritual experience and spiritual awakening.
Practicing meditation calms the mind and the thinking process, making it possible to silence the mind and experience a state of inner peace, another vital factor for attaining spiritual awakening.
This is an important ingredient, essential for spiritual awakening. Emotional detachment is a skill that can be learned. Real emotional detachment is not indifference or not caring about others. It helps you loosen the shackles of attachment.
Emotional detachment frees you from too much involvement with thoughts and worries, from taking everything too personally, and from being too much affected by what people say and do. This of course, leads to inner peace, and a step up on the ladder leading to spiritual awakening and enlightenment.
Reading Spiritual Literature
This helps raising the vibrations of the mind, motivates and inspires. Reading about the life and teachings of spiritual teachers is also a great help. For me, a source of great inspiration were, and are the words of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Mouni Sadhu, and a few others.
Being in the Company of Spiritually Awakened People
This might not be so practical, since it is not so common and easy to find them.
When there are no clouds, the bright beautiful sun is seen. When the mind is silent, thoughts do not distract, worries do not trouble, and you become aware of the light within you.