The Difference Between a Mystical Experience, Spiritual Experience and an Actual Spiritual Awakening
There’s a lot of spiritually awakened egos out there.
The only thing that that leads to is stagnant states of illusion.
When the ego makes you think you have had an awakening you probably believe that you have “arrived” and That’s It; that you’re officially ‘done’ and somewhat special and ‘chosen’. Now you see yourself being among the ‘awakened ones’.
You are so far from being awakened you don’t even know.
I didn’t know about Advaita or the concept of non-duality only a couple of months ago, I mean, sure, I had heard of the different teachers and gurus, Zen and Buddhism and all that, read about it and so on, but not very deeply.
To me for example Ramana Maharishi and Papaji are new, although I may have stumbled upon their quotes in the past, but that’s all.
And I have listened to some Adyashanti and Osho and so on in the past, and I was aware of my journey being about ego death; keenly aware.
But then life started to move me away from everything I had previously known and I was drawn to Advaita and suddenly I realized what has been going on with me.
It has really helped me to connect the dots and also to understand the difference between the spiritual experiences I have had throughout the years and even from childhood.
I have always known that there has been a difference in them because of the fact that they have all affected me in different ways, and now I could also categorize them and put them into different boxes of understanding.
The difference to where I’m now in my own understanding, is that they actually are a part of different process than I previously though, or even knew.
The most important thing I want to point out to everyone who’s reading this is:
Don’t think you’re ‘done’, or that you have somehow ‘arrived’ just because you had a mystical experience.
A LOT of people all over the world are having mystical experiences, it’s actually very common.
Here’s my description of some of the different spiritual experiences in a nutshell when it comes to my own experiences:
A mystical experience can for example be an out-of-body experience, which I have had numerous of throughout my whole life. They don’t initially change or transform you, but they give you a glimpse of a different reality.
Another one could be that you see an ascended master in your dreams that brings you tremendous peace and who speaks to you and guides you, and you will know it’s a very special thing because the wisdom and the peace is not of this world.
My own special meeting was with Jesus a few years ago when I went through some really difficult times in Spain.
Another mystical experience could be that you’re saved by an angel, or an angel shows itself to you, which has happened to me too when I was 15 years old.
You never forget these mystical experiences, but they don’t necessarily change who you are (they are not transformative when it comes to your own self) but they will definitely be with you for the rest of your life.
A spiritual experience can for example be a third eye explosion-kind-of thing where you feel for an intense (often short but very intense) period of time as ‘having come home’.
I had one of these maybe 8-10 years ago when I was on a sound healing course with Chris James.
I went in for the classes full throttle and whole heartedly and sang my heart out, and in the midst of doing that I had a profound, intense, (almost orgasmic) experience of my third eye exploding and my mind expanded in all directions, I even heard the ‘pop’ (or, “explosion” might be a better describing word) of something cracking open, and I felt that I had come home.
I even get goose bumps now that I think back on that experience. I cried and cried, feeling home for the first time in my life. It was such a wonderful experience. Absolutely wonderful.
The thing with spiritual experiences like this are that they always feel really really good.
They are like “oh, ah, how magnificant! Oh, this is what life must really be, I’m home at last!” -kind of experiences.
They feel very special (blissful) and they are opening us up, but they are not about realizing oneness and our true nature as in self-realization. A spiritual experience is a part of the awakening yes, but it’s not The Awakening.
This is where I have noticed that many get stuck (without knowing it), thinking they have had a spiritual awakening.
A spiritual awakening is not the same as having a spiritual experience.
A true spiritual awakening usually involves some serious Dark Nights of the Soul because it means that what you have thought you once were, you realized you’re not at all, and where to go from there is not up to you.
It’s about whole-hearted Spiritual Surrender, and that means just that; all has to be surrendered and oftentimes it’s not a voluntary thing but something that Existence itself brings upon us.
Spiritual Awakening is the REALIZATION of Oneness.
You may have known about Oneness as I did, on a conceptual level, and thought it was a nice thing to know and talk about, but you really don’t have a clue before you have experienced it for yourself; and when you do; you will never (ever!) be the same again, it will absolutely change every concept you had previously held about Oneness.
- I have had many, many mystical experiences throughout my life, more than I can count.
- I have had a few spiritual experiences, not as many as the mystical ones,
- and I have had two spiritual awakenings. I might have a third one too that I have just realized lately that it might have been one, but at the time I didn’t know what to make of it. (This was about 15 years ago)
One of them happened maybe 5-8 years ago where I saw myself being one with everything, there was no end nor beginning to me and I was in awe of it. I was experiencing myself as everything; everything floated and was one with everything. I can’t describe it with anymore clarity than that. There are no words to describe the awesomeness of it.
I suddenly realized that there was no “I”, that “I” was One with the nature, flowers, the wall, door, everything.
And all colors were very clear and alive, floating and flowing, no ending, no beginning.
This lasted for maybe a few minutes. Time ceased to be, it may have been going on for half an hour for all I know; it didn’t have a meaning to itself as everything just ‘was’ in everything and time dissapeared.
This changed my whole perspective of who I thought I was, I had realized that there is no ‘me’.
The absolute biggest spiritual awakening I have had to this date was the one I had in spring 2011, that was when everything completely changed for me.
Here’s a post I wrote about that back then that describes parts of what happened; both the good and the ugly:
What basically happens is that the seeking dissolves (the planning and plotting, wanting life to be any different or better than it is), there’s no more seeking going on anymore.
When you have realized truth, what is there left to seek or know? What is there to change or ‘create’ when we realize that we are not running the show after all and at all?
This realization came to me after a very difficult time when I was brought to my knees and declared defeat, (more about that in the post) and by “defeat” I mean Defeat with a capital D.
It’s beyond merely giving up, it’s a profound and sincere Surrendering, which I didn’t know at the time I made the choice, but afterwards when the liberation came.
It doesn’t have to happen this way, but after having read and listened to many of the non-duality teachers the last month or so, I see this as a very common thing in the process.
The most important thing to know about spiritual awakening, I think, is that it is not the arrival to Enlightenment!!!
It’s NOT the end of a process, it’s the beginning! Of Awakening that is. Enlightenment is something different again.
When you come to the realization of who you really are, all else will have to be relinguished; that means all your previously held beliefs and concepts that are not of your true nature (and I do mean ALL of them; has to go!), and all your previously held spiritual practices and interests will loose their importance and interest, you will basically dissolve into nothingness.
You will enter a spiritual desert where there is only emptiness.
And then, form that point on, the living of that truth you realized, can begin being lived.
It may take years, or not, but often times it’s not a one-time occasion at all.
After the initial awakening the rest of your ego construction will begin to crumble big time, and I didn’t know this at the time last year when I had the realization of truth, but I remember begging and pleading God to just take whatever is not of him because I couldn’t take it anymore; it was very painful. Very much so. It was pure Hell.
It’s anything but comfortable and wonderful as spiritual or mystical experiences can be. They are very different.
The rest of your opinions, concepts, beliefs and thought system’s are going through a process of dissolving and it’s not even a process of re-buidning or re-creating yourself of “manifesting a new life” or any of that.
It’s about realizing and remembering who you really are. And That Which You Are is not something that is evolving or becoming; it’s unchanged and complete in itself. Always and forever.
A true spiritual awakening is usually not permanent, but absolutely life altering.
This is when the journey really begin, and it may (or may not) take a few spiritual awakenings to truth before it becomes a permanent way of beingness in this world.
But very few come to actually LIVE the realization 24/7 the first time of realization and liberation from the illusions of Life and who we really are.
That’s what awakening is about; it’s not about the nice and blissful moments of openings to Reality that only lasts for a moment or two.
The process of spiritual awakening includes going through Fire and Hell and not very pleasant at all at times.
I’m not awakened fully yet myself (and maybe I won’t be in this life time; it’s not up to me), and I’m so grateful to myself that I have never stopped asking or inquiring myself or God for True Wisdom, or taking on a role as anything before I can do it with a sense of integrity and being truly real.
So to get to my main point:
Please don’t think you have arrived to a permanent spiritual awakening when all you had was a spiritual experience. (Not that they are any less significant, they all have their own place on our path)
Don’t even think you have arrived because you had a Spiritual Awakening!
That awakening is probably not going to be a permanent being-ness for you the first time around, as our conditioning is still pretty heavily intact and the awakening is merely the beginning of the new you, which you have no clue of what or who it is and it’s not for you to create in any way.
The journey is about fully surrendering to the Truth you realized and let It has its way with you.
If you somehow think you’re done, or that you have arrived, I can assure you that you haven’t even began your true awakening.
Your ego has taken on the role as being awakened, and that is all.
Don’t get stuck there, be aware of any smugness or arrogant thoughts about being special in any way (which are the characteristics of the ego) and first and foremost;
Please be true and honest about your experiences with yourself.
Do not fool yourself, but take a closer look at what really happened.
It could be that the only thing that has awakened is your ego who want’s you to think you’re spiritually evolved and ‘done’.
Be aware of the fact that the ego doesn’t like growth so if you’re left in a stagnant place of ‘arrival’ of some sort; then you can be sure that that’s your egos’ handy work.
If you feel some resentment or annoyance with what you read right now; then that’s your offended ego talking.
No, I don’t know you or your story, but be Real, that’s all I’m asking. Not with me, but with yourself.
The last thing this world needs is a bunch of spiritually evolved and awakened egos running around in their specialness!
Be real with yourself; was what you experienced a mystical experience, a spiritual experience or was it indeed a true spiritual awakening?