Why Spiritual Awakening Is Painful

You won't find a more difficult, insidious, or persistent foe than yourself, your own soothing illusions, and yearning for ego security.

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The training that has been done to you and that you have applied to yourself is quite potent, and it has adhered to you like spiritual superglue. It's not comforting to learn that some of your most basic beginning assumptions about your life and existence were incorrect.

It might be perplexing, frightening, and disheartening to learn that the person you've always imagined yourself to be is more of a comforting construct than a reality.

Many of your decisions, actions, beliefs, and relationships may be on autopilot, tied to prior traumas and cycles, or part of desire fulfillment and egoistic, self-placating strategies as part of a spiritual awakening.

You'll have to confront the person you've been – or are pretending to be – and reconcile it with your current journey.

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Friendships, relationships, ideas, exterior definitions, and even your actual house may be required.

It could entail travel, cultural learning, or recreating the horizon you thought you knew so well and discovering that it reaches well beyond your expectations.

You'll have to confront the old version of yourself who wants you to return to safety, illusion, and routine.

You may find yourself doubling back and attempting to re-enter the hypnotic dream. But, eventually, the part of you that is pushing you toward spiritual awakening will force you to look back at the old shell of yourself that is enticing you back to complacency, and you will have to declare, “Not anymore.”

What does spiritual pain feel like?

It had been five years since I started at OSF HealthCare, and I had never been inside the executive boardroom, but there I was, surrounded by members of the palliative and supportive care teams. I felt like the odd man out as I gazed around the room. I kept my eyes down and my mouth shut unless I was asked a direct question, as if I were at the big kids' table for the first time.

I passed the time by listening to and taking notes on potential blog subjects. Sister Jacque (pronounced jack-ee) Schroeder was one of the quietest but most ardent speakers at the table, and she kept alluding to this term: spiritual agony.

I was curious, so I met down with Sister to discuss spiritual suffering. Here's what I discovered…

What is spiritual pain?

Spiritual pain is pain that originates in the “invisible” portions of our lives. Although it cannot be measured on a pain scale, it is extremely real and can have an influence on our physical and emotional well-being.

  • Meaning – having difficulty understanding the “meaning” of life, relationships, and the world around you.

Spiritual suffering knows no gender or age boundaries; it impacts people at all stages of life in diverse ways. As Sister put it, “everyone is on a spiritual journey from the minute they are born,” and “we endure pain and grow as a result of that journey.” Because our society rarely emphasizes this journey, we have a hard time dealing with the agony when it gets unbearable.

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Dealing With Spiritual Pain

I asked Sister if there was anything we can do for ourselves or as caregivers to others to minimize spiritual pain from becoming too severe after learning so much in such a short time. Her response was simple yet effective: breathe and remain silent.

Sister once prayed God for advice when she was faced with some of the most difficult decisions of her life, but all she got was “breathe.” Our culture and lives are moving far too quickly these days, so taking the time to simply breathe offers us something to focus on and keep our minds clean so that the answers we seek can come to the top.

Silence goes hand in hand with breathing. Every day, we are inundated with messages and “noise” from all directions. Having a place to turn everything off and just listen and breathe helps to generate the spiritual and emotional healing environment we want. “God doesn't need time to communicate to us; we just need to take the time to be silent and listen,” Sister explained.

Doctor, Heal Thyself

It's challenging for caretakers to know how to address every aspect of a patient. To treat the whole patient, hospitals have social services, pastoral care, palliative care, and other services. But one thing all caregivers must remember is that we are the medication we bring.

“You can't assist others until you help yourself,” you've probably heard someone remark. This holds true for doctors, nurses, and all other health-care professionals. The caregivers can infuse their spiritual anguish into the medical therapies and coordinated care they deliver at the bedside once they take time to be silent, breathe, and confront their own spiritual pain.

How does spiritual awakening feel?

As Kaiser argues, this is the start of your spiritual journey, as you begin to doubt everything you previously believed. You begin to purge certain aspects of your life (habits, relationships, and outdated belief systems) in order to make room for new, more meaningful experiences. You may sense that something is lacking, but you aren't sure what it is. It's common to feel disoriented, confused, and down during this time.

What are the first signs of spiritual awakening and how do you feel it?

Names like Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, and Jesus spring to mind when asked to think of awakened people. Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela, for example. These motivational figures may make you assume that being awakened is the same as being perfect. If that's the case, attempt to come up with some more relatable examples of awake people. It's helpful to see examples of people who are both flawed and seeking to live a good life with a greater good in mind.

  • Russell Brand, who seems to exemplify a bizarre contradiction of continually questioning and searching for more knowledge while also having a sense of humour in the restroom.
  • Jim Carrey, whose comedic genius aided him in seeing through the mirage of popularity and distancing himself from any desire for it.
  • Oprah Winfrey, who popularized Eckhart Tolle and uses her SuperSoul Sunday show to preach enlightenment to millions of people, has a less enlightened obsession with her weight.

People who model spiritual awakening while not being perfect are what is required to make awakening feel attainable.

Now that you've seen a few examples of awakened people, let's look at how to know if you're experiencing an awakening. The ten indicators of spiritual awakening are listed below.

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What comes after spiritual awakening?

After a spiritual awakening, the good life is to remember to turn inward for answers and, more importantly, the pure substance that makes life worth living. It is not how much we do in the world after a spiritual awakening that matters, but how much love can do within us. We are called to be a loving anchor.

Can Spirit make your stomach hurt?

Even a small amount of alcohol causes your stomach to create more acid than usual, which can lead to gastritis (the inflammation of the stomach lining). This causes stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes bleeding in heavy drinkers.

What is spiritual suffering?

Spiritual distress, also known as spiritual suffering, can occur when religious beliefs and practices fail to provide meaning or have a negative meaning, such as feelings of God's abandonment (Peteet & Balboni, 2013) or when a person's illness experience contradicts their core beliefs (Bartel, 2004).

How do you know if you are a spiritual person?

Speaking ill of others or spreading gossip about them provides no comfort or security to a spiritual person. A healthy mind is one that does not speak evil of others. Spiritual individuals keep their heads down and concentrate on their own journey, embracing others for who they are. They do not pass judgment or criticism on other people's life experiences. When spiritual people don't have anything good to say about others, they don't say anything at all. They halt bad conversations by either refusing to engage or retrieving.