I was recently teaching a young woman how to meditate and found myself wondering whether her “depression” was actually the beginning of a spiritual awakening.
When I asked her why she wanted to learn, she shared that she’d been experiencing mild anxiety and depression for some time. She wanted to feel more peaceful inside and her counsellor recommended she give meditation a try.
What we uncovered as the session progressed, surprised both of us.
This young woman was experiencing the inner conflict and turmoil that often accompanies the process of spiritual awakening and a transition that is referred to as a “dark night of the soul.”
As her story unfolded, she told me that she had no idea who she was. The majority of her life decisions were based on what she felt she should do and not what she felt she wanted to do. She explained that she didn’t seem to fit in with many of her friends and family who were urging her to get a certain type of job in order to make a good living.
She was feeling torn between the messages that she had received about what she needed to do to be successful and what fed her deeper interests and passions.
What has this scenario got to do with awakening?
My client was beginning to feel the pull of her soul and the deeper truths about who she was at her core and her authentic self.
She was experiencing the signs arising from her soul that perhaps she wasn’t following her own path. That she needed to pause and get back in alignment with who she was and not what others were expecting of her.
The reason people awaken is because they have finally stopped agreeing to things that insult their soul.” Anonymous
She was feeling confused about the cause of her inner turmoil.
There are some who believe that the soul withdraws energy from things that aren’t meant for us.
After learning about this, this young woman had an epiphany- perhaps she wasn’t “depressed” after all. Perhaps her soul was sending her a message that she was moving in a direction that wasn’t meant for her. She was going through this “dark night of the soul” to ultimately become more fully herself. To shine her own light in the world.
She was confused by her inner restlessness and wasn’t aware of the difference between her conditioned, habitual thinking and the yearnings of her soul.
She didn’t understand that there was a life force greater than herself at work behind the scenes, creating conditions inviting her to awaken.
Are You Listening?
The truth, however, is that the majority of people who receive this invitation have no idea that it’s an invitation.
When we ignore, deny or turn our back on the invitation because we don’t see it for what it is, we often experience symptoms such as emotional issues, physical health problems, relationship challenges and jobs that don’t feel aligned.
More and more people are being called to make this shift.
Awakening is a normal part of the evolution of our consciousness.
Unfortunately, most people do not understand what’s happening. This spiritual awakening process and the accompanying “dark night of the soul” is often misunderstood. People experiencing awakening react as if there’s something wrong when in fact it’s a natural and beautiful, albeit often difficult, process of growth and change.
As we continued to explore what this awakening felt like for her, this young woman experienced a sense of relief.
She was curious about spirituality and was feeling drawn to learn more about a creative life force that she intuitively knew played a significant role in her life. She went on to explain that she found herself asking the big questions in life: What is the purpose of my life? Why am I here? Why have I suffered in my life when most of my peers seem to be happy?
All of these signs pointed to the realization that this woman was being invited to awaken.
What is Awakening?
Awakening reveals that which had previously been hidden from our view- making it a confusing time.
It involves a process whereby we shift our worldviews and begin to see things differently and more clearly.
It’s an invitation to let go of who we are not, in order to uncover who we are meant to become.
It’s about awareness and beginning to see more clearly the difference between our small self (ego) with its conditioned, habitual way of being and our essential self or our soul.
Our spiritual awakening calls us to shed the beliefs and habits that no longer serve us in order to step fully into our authentic selves.
It’s a process of unbecoming and becoming all at the same time.
In my work as a Meditation Teacher and Transformation Coach, I’m seeing an increasing number of people who are feeling this inner urge to awaken. This shift is creating an opportunity to look inside ourselves and find the answers in order to live in alignment with our souls.
In the following interview, I chat with Yasmin Elzomor about her awakening journey that began in her 20’s. We explore how her journey through the dark night of the soul shifted her relationships and sense of purpose in the world. It’s an inspiring interview!
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(Original post, July 19, 2018; Updated June 30, 2021).