by Madison A. Baker: Spirituality is one of the most important aspects of human life.
Spirituality plays a vital role in everyone’s lives, whether they are deeply religious or claim to not be spiritual at all. A healthy spirit is crucial to maintaining physical health and well-being, to navigating life events both large and small, and to developing your personal understanding of the universe.
While some people are always connected to their spirituality, others need to be called to it. In other words, they must experience a spiritual awakening or calling. And when that happens, it cannot be ignored.
Spirituality is difficult to define. Its meaning has shifted over time, making doing so even more challenging. Part of the definition of spirituality is precisely how undefinable it is. It’s almost liminal — both of this world and not, both everywhere and nowhere, both universal and unique.
Generally, spirituality refers to grand ideas about life, purpose, existence, identity, and humanity. It is closely tied to your daily life, your overall health, and how you view the world. Everyone is a spiritual being, and everyone has their own unique beliefs. There is no wrong way to be spiritual as long as your belief is genuine.
Spirituality can come into your life in any number of ways. Some people may be born with deep spiritual connections, while others need to discover it. In other words, they must have a spiritual awakening. It’s literally awakening to your spiritual life and the universe itself.
Recognizing a Spiritual Awakening
Because spirituality manifests so differently in the life of each individual, it can be hard to recognize a spiritual awakening or experience. However, having a spiritual experience is just that: a distinct experience. Recent research has found that the brain exhibits a pattern of activity specific to a spiritual experience. Even if you have trouble recognizing or understanding it, a spiritual awakening is a truly unique experience.
While it may feel differently for everyone, there are a few unmistakable signs of a spiritual calling, including:
- You feel different. Not just a little different, but like your very essence has changed. It may be hard to describe or explain this internal change, but you know something is different at your core.
- You feel disconnected from old friends or lifestyle choices. Your old ways of living seem like the habits of a different person. You feel the need to move your life in a new direction.
- You begin to let go of whatever is cluttering up your life — old possessions, unhealthy habits, toxic relationships — and start to focus on moving forward. You begin to make constant strides toward improvement in all areas of your life.
- You feel overwhelmingly connected to the world around you. You have a newly heightened sense of compassion and care deeply about the Earth, humanity, and the universe as a whole. You start to love and feel loved by everything in existence.
There is no right or wrong way to start these internal shifts. These feelings may develop over time, come to you in a dream, start to grow after a strange experience, or come to you during a meditation or reflection.
Try to embrace these feelings when you first start to notice them in your life. Don’t turn away from them or let them fade from your mind and memory. Ignoring your gut, especially when it’s calling you to a new spiritual path, can have severely negative effects on your life.
Denying your spirituality is just as unhealthy as denying any other facet of your life or identity. It can lead to:
- A lack of connection in your life and with the world at large. You are shutting out a part of yourself that can help foster love and connection with others, which can make feeling connected with the others and the universe difficult.
- Emotional or physical illness. Spirituality is vital to well-being, both physical and emotional, and ignoring its importance in your life may cause you to feel unwell or unhappy.
- Internal and external chaos. Your thoughts and emotions may become disorganized as you try to move past this event in your life. This may begin to reflect in your external life as well, and may present as disorganization, trouble keeping to a schedule, or a messy living environment.
- Spiritual bypass. This involves using a spiritual practice to avoid, instead of embrace, your spiritual connection. You may work to repress or ignore your spiritual growing pains instead of fostering them. Spiritual bypass can also lead to a deterioration of emotional and physical well-being.
Listening to your spiritual calling can be difficult, as it is not always a wholly enjoyable experience. Spiritual evolution is a neurological growth process, and different faith practices affect the brain in different ways. You may face upsetting or uncomfortable realities and feelings, experience spiritual anxiety or depression, or feel lonely or isolated as you go on this journey. Your journey will be unique to you alone.
But the growing pains, unpleasant though they may be, will allow you to face a new dimension of your life. The reward will far outweigh the pain if you accept your spiritual calling. You will discover your true spiritual path and welcome spirituality into your life in the way only you can.
Madison Ann Baker is a writer, Netflix-binger, and pop culture enthusiast who lives in Idaho. Literature and linguistics are her two passions, both of which she studied in college. She enjoys writing about animals and health and wellness, but dabbles in a little bit of everything. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her Borador, Dash, and re-reading Harry Potter