As we have been talking about spiritual awakening, I thought it might be useful to share my own spiritual awakening experiences with you. This first article will provide you with some background details regarding my life leading up to my awakening, while, in Part Two, I will relate the awakening itself.
I hope that doing so will make the topic more relatable, and help you to recognize the signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening in your own life.
The First Step: Difficulty at the Beginning
The transcendent heights of spirituality are often not aimed for until one has reached an all-time low in their lives.
This was certainly the case with my own life.
For most of my life, I was not a very happy person. Though I’ve seldom doubted the gifts and talents I possess, I felt completely out of place in the world around me.
I was bullied throughout most of my teenage years, and felt such a distance between myself and my fellow humans, that I often felt like I belonged to another species. I would fantasize that I was an alien, and that I would one day transform into a completely different being. Then I wouldn’t have to pretend to be human anymore.
From my earliest years, I felt bewildered and detached from the world around me. The way reality and society structured itself simply made no sense to me. People seemed content to leads their lives in what seemed like nothing less than a self-imposed hell. I felt like it was my responsibility to radically change the world, and bring people back to the truth.
But first, I would have to figure out what that truth was!
Experimenting with the Self
Throughout my teenage years, I experimented with many different identities. I would wear the most outlandish clothes I could find, and often change my style and appearance at the drop of a hat. I would alter my personality by changing my accent, posture, and general disposition, and note the reponse it would effect in people.
These flamboyant displays of mine only further separated me from people, and reinforced the notion that I was irreparably different from everyone else. It did, however, teach me that the notion of a fixed identity is largely an illusory one, and train me to put on and take off certain mindsets at will: an ability I would later put to greater use when I discovered acting and meditation.
Music as God
Though I had been raised a Christian, and had taken it quite seriously, praying to God regularly, I became discontent with the guilt it seemed to demand I feel. Its doctrines were wildly inconsistent, and simply could not stand up against even the mildest inquiry from rational thought.
In its place, music became my God. Music offered me the solace and warmth I could not find in other people. Unlike everything else, it made sense! I would sing and play guitar for a minimum of five hours a day, and listen to as much music as I could in the spaces in-between. It became my bastion of truth in a world of falsity.
I was convinced that, through mastering this magical medium, I could change the world, and make it a more harmonious place.
Science: My Second Attempt at Religion
As I became older, and even more isolated from people, my idealism gave way to misanthropy. I became enamoured of science and medicine, and, like a good rationalist, I fiercely objected to anything that smacked of spirituality or religion.
This cold attitude encouraged me to the see the worst in everyone and everything. I became rude and heartless, more as an experiment and self-defense mechanism than anything else.
This was one of the loneliest periods of my life and I was piercingly unhappy. I was to carry on in this mindset for a number of years, even though the scientific tenets I was following were evidently as shaky and inconsistent as those of Christianity.
The Final Nail
After going to university, leaving home for a year, I ended up in exactly the position I swore I never would.
I was working fourteen hours a day in a music store, which made me miserable, and left me with no time or energy to pursue the things I actually cared about. I would stare at the mountains on the horizon as I came to and from work, dreaming that I was disappearing into them.
This misery was only further exacerbated by my first long-term relationship, which had been unrelentingly torturous and destructive from the get-go. My health was deteriorating, I wasn’t eating properly, and the hours I was working left me no time to recuperate. I felt like my life had been drained of meaning, and I would sooner have died then carry on in that fashion.
So, when I took a day off sick, and finally had some space to think, I realized I could never go back.
I quit my job, made a resolve to re-awaken my search for the Truth, and, from that moment on, everything began to change.