What is a spiritual awakening?

A spiritual awakening is the dawning of the insight: we are One; the separation of “you” and “I” is but an illusion.

A person going through the spiritual awakening process may find it disconcerting, unnerving and even frightening. This is because spiritual awakening forces us to question everything we have ever known.

Who am I? What is this world? Where am I? Why am I here? How am I alive?

These are but some of the questions that arise in the spiritual awakening stages. Our entire life begins to feel like a lie or an illusion because we are confronting the deep-seated beliefs and conditioning that have thus far made up our life.

Patterns are shattered to make way for a new, authentic and spiritual way of life. From within the recesses of our being, compassion, love and empathy begins to flow towards every living being. The deeper we travel along the path, the more we become an embodiment of divinity itself. Bliss emanates from every cell and kindness becomes a way of life.

The journey to this destination, however, can feel overwhelming at times. While there are various signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening, the following FAQs cover aspects that are often unaddressed – What is the role of sex in spiritual awakening? Is spiritual awakening possible without meditation? What is its benefit?

The journey to liberation is done alone. Until then, walk with os.me, if you will.

1. Does spiritual awakening have to be difficult?

If you want to have any chance at going with the flow of life (and enjoying the process), it’s imperative to remind yourself that nothing is permanent, suffering is okay. It’s individual suffering I’m referring to. The type that makes us feel that life is worthless.

At the root of such suffering is the clinging to our expectations from life, as if we really know how life ought to be. We forget that everyone and everything will one day be separated from us. No one here truly belongs to us permanently.

Your happiness as is your awakening is completely in your hands. The more mindful you are with your words, actions and intentions, the less aggression you harbor towards others and yourself.

The gentler you are with yourself, the happier you will be. More happiness equals goodness. Our world could do with some more.
Be kind. At all times. And, you are awakened. Samsara, even if transient and illusory, couldn’t be more beautiful then.

Continue reading Impermanence, a post that highlights the transient nature of the world through the story of Guru Rinpoche, a young 8th-century Indian mystic. Spiritual awakening can be painful but changing how you feel about it is your choice.

2. Can we experience spiritual awakening without meditation?

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Yes. Meditation is but one of the paths toward spiritual awakening.

I would like to elucidate the concept of bhakti, devotional service. The path of bhakti is not as arduous as dhyana, meditation. However, it requires complete surrender if you want to experience the truth with bhakti alone. Combined with the practice of dhyana, bhakti flourishes very quickly and yields amazing results.

There are three types of devotees (bhaktas). As follows:

  1. No Bhava: This bhakta is the socialist type. He/She has no desire to serve God or humanity per se. Due to the deluded nature of their socio-religious practices, they count themselves among the greatest devotees of all time. A bhakta of this nature is anything but that. Bhaktas of this category are living in one great illusion.
  2. Borrowed Bhava: This bhakta has not discovered his/her own truth yet. Their upbringing and second-hand knowledge has shaped them the way they are. This bhakta will adopt morality at convenience and desert it when needed. This bhakta still has some chance of realization provided morality becomes the foundation of his living and self-purification, that of his life.
  3. Own Bhava: A bhakta of this is the highest type and a rarity, you have discovered your own truth. This bhakta has transcended the traditional rituals of external worship. Due to a highly virtuous life, and even higher righteous conduct, you have completely purified yourself. In essence, you have become the deity yourself.

Continue reading Bhakti – Devotional Service.

3. What is the benefit of spiritual awakening?

Playing in the act of nature, you can choose from one of the four roles. The more you stick to the same role, the greater the proficiency in acting such a role out. Sometimes a switch is a necessity, at other times, merely a convenience.

I am elucidating the four roles for you. Ascertain which one you are playing presently and then work from there. As follows:

  1. The Penitent: The Penitent treads the ruinous path of self-pity, constantly whinging and has decided to cling onto his deluded belief about himself especially in regards to his inability to live a meaningful life. The hallmark of The Penitent is that he is always begging and is never happy.
  2. The Peasant: The Peasant accepts whatever is handed down to them; whether that is religion, philosophy, rules, teachings, methods, relationships; everything. They will accept it, mostly unquestioningly. They do not even dare to seek their own truth or make amends.
  3. The Peer: At some point in time, often due to an inner awakening, The Peasant asks himself the most important question of his life — ‘Is there a better way to lead my life?’ When pursued, this question is sufficient to set the ball rolling. The Peer starts to build on his newfound individuality.
  4. The Potentate: The Potentate has discovered his own truth. He fully understands that mere great physical effort does not equate to extraordinary results. Nature passes on its divinity to The Potentate choosing him to serve humanity and help numerous people along the way.

Continue reading Nature and You, to further understand spiritual awakening and the irreversible changes it brings about.

4. Do spiritually awakened persons have sex?

I receive a large number of queries from seekers who are unclear about the role of sex on the path of spirituality, they wonder if practicing celibacy is necessary for self-realization, if, abstinence is a prerequisite to attain that transcendental state.

In order to help you build your own viewpoint, let me offer you four perspectives on sexuality:

  • The Vedic Perspective on Sex and Spirituality:

Some Vedic texts, notably Bhagvad Gita, equate celibacy to practicing an austerity. In brahmacaryamahinsā ca śārīraṁ tapa uccayatē (Bhagvad Gita, 17.14) celibacy is defined as tapas, penance, of the body. Any penance is done to gain strength, such strength you may use for the fulfillment of a certain objective.

  • The Yogic Perspective on Sex and Spirituality:

According to yogic texts, celibacy is about chastity and not necessarily abstinence. It is not an austerity one needs to practice to get somewhere, it is simply a way of life to help the practitioner remove distractions and live a life of balance, the middle way.

  • The Tantric Perspective on Sex and Spirituality:

Tantric take on sexuality is rather unique. It regards the human body as a temple, it considers reproductive fluids as sacred offerings, it accepts all elements as divine, it treats everything equally. Yoga and Vedas are important constituents of any tantric practice. Most tantric rituals utilize yogic practices and Vedic eulogies and mantras.

  • My Own Perspective:

Sexuality is the basis of your physical existence, it is part of your being. It is as sacred as your love for God and as vital as your breath. Some of the greatest yogis, sages, seers were married. They lived in their hermitages but they had consorts. This is the path recommended by the Vedas, slow and steady, go with nature.

Continue reading Sex and Spirituality.

5. What are the after-effects of spiritual awakening and meditation?

Duality is the beauty of our existence. Joy and sorrow, heat and cold, good and bad, they coexist. A state of perfect inner serenity, free from the ripples of selfishness, that arises from meditation not only helps you live through the contradictions of life, but actually appreciate them.

Fearlessness is also a natural byproduct of good meditation. Vedas call it advaita. Fear only arises in duality, in a sense of separation, that somehow you may lose the other one or that they may harm you. But who can harm you when there’s only you around? There’s no fear in a divine union.

This state of perfect union is the final stage of meditation. In this state, meditation ceases to be an act. Instead, it becomes a phenomenon, a state of mind.

Whenever I meditated, deep sensations would continue to build up to a degree that I felt as if my body was not made from flesh and bones but it was simply a conduit of sensations, a container of energy. The container itself was made from nothing but energy. I pulsated as if there was no physical reality to my own existence.

The rigours of meditation aren’t for the faint hearted. Above everything else, in the beginning stages, it requires extraordinary patience and self-discipline.

The sum total of all we have ever been over the billions of years, across myriad life-forms, is eternally present in us, with us, around us. At all times. It’s not just a matter of saying. If you continue to walk the path of meditation, one day you’ll experience, know and understand the truth in my words.

Continue reading Swamiji’s experience of awakening and bliss in Million Thoughts – A Book for Meditation.

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