My additions to the list “12 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening”:

1. Growing ability to accept mess

Life is messy.

Look at a forest – messy. Ponder the ocean – untidy. Creation does not exist in straight lines and neatly organized little boxes. Everywhere you look, fecundity, creativity, and beauty emerge from mess.

Only human beings are obsessed with tidiness, predictability, and control.

As I rest in the confidence of the strength that resides in the depths of my true being, my capacity to live with mess and unpredictability increases.

There is a deep flow to life. I do not need to push the river or force the tides. Time comes in and goes out. Life is unfolding. I am part of the great flow of all beings held in love. I can trust the rhythm and find rest in the mess of reality.

2. Greater ability to embrace pain – both my own and the pain of others

Confronted with pain, the inevitable temptation is to rush to find a fix. But, my attempts to fix the pain in my life or in the lives of others are seldom effective.

I can hold the pain; I can bear the pain; I can allow the pain to break my heart open to a deeper awareness of that presence which sustains my being. I can stand with you in your pain. But I am powerless to eliminate the pain.

Most people are not actually looking for a solution to their pain when they share it with someone else. They are looking for someone who is not frightened by the reality of pain and who is willing to be present with them in their struggle, bearing witness to the possibility of a power that is not overwhelmed by pain. To be this person, I must be deeply acquainted with the uneasy terrain of my own pain and live in full acceptance of the inevitability of suffering in this time-bound temporal realm.

3. Greater discernment

While judgementalism is totally incompatible with the spiritual life, discernment is a profound symptom of “Spiritual Awakening”

Discernment is not judgment. Discernment is wisdom. It is the wisdom which comes from seeing clearly what is going on and acknowledging the realities of my situation.

In order to discover discernment I need to look and listen carefully. I need to hold lightly my perceptions, prejudices, and agendas. I need to remain open to new possibilities and alternative ways of seeing.

Judgementalism comes from being fixated with the surface of life. Wisdom comes from seeing more deeply.

4. Life is less driven by likes and dislikes

I am not bound to the perpetual roller-coaster of what I like and what I do not like. I am able to acknowledge that this is what is going on now. I see that life is going in this direction. I understand that it will change. I can find steadiness and peace in the midst of these changeable circumstances, even though at this moment the circumstances of my life may not be those I might have chosen.

I no longer seek to escape the present moment, projecting all my hopes and aspirations into some imagined glorious future, or regretting some romantic past. Now is all I need. These circumstances are enough for my spiritual growth.

5. Greater acceptance of what is

I cannot work with anything that I do not begin by accepting.

Acceptance is not resignation or defeat. It is awareness. Acceptance means I open to the reality of my circumstances as they are. I will always make better choices and decisions from a place of acceptance than I do from a place of resistance and rejection. Empowerment emerges when I accept the reality of what is, before rushing to attempt to change my situation.

6. Less reactivity

When I am reactive, I operate like a machine. My choices and decisions are unconscious. I am like a silver ball bouncing in the pinball machine ricocheting off whatever is the strongest external stimulant in my life.

As I become more conscious, I live less as the victim of everything that is going on in the world. I am free to choose how I respond rather than having my choices dictated from the outside.

 

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