Having spent my life in the spiritual, metaphysical, and new age fields, I have seen a plethora of spiritual awakenings. I have watched friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances pass through awakenings that were deeply impacting to their lives. It’s a paramount transition for anyone who experiences such a passage, but while it may be divine and intensely life changing, it can also be a formidable transition. Having witnessed abundant awakenings, I have dubbed this transition: “The Enlightenment Trap.”
The Enlightenment Trap is quagmire many people fall into after their spiritual awakening. It is a period when they may begin to feel loss, grief, fear, and confusion by the shifts happening in their consciousness.
If we fall into these traps, they can be massively debilitating. But recognizing these traps before, or during a spiritual awakening, can help prevent falling into them. These may occur directly after an awakening, but may also be delayed depending on the person and the pace of their progression.
Trap One: Eliminating The Less Enlightened
Going through a spiritual awakening can be awe-inspiring to those who partake in it, but for friends, family, or coworkers it might sound like we’ve gone made. It may feel like we’re suddenly an outsider to even our closest confidants, especially if they are still participating in unhealthy behaviors or are not spiritually minded. In many cases, I have seen people go through an awakening and eliminate loved ones immediately because they feel it’s required to sustain their new consciousness. While sometimes this is the only option, primarily if they are participating in unhealthy behaviors that hinder our own healing, I suggest taking a different approach.
As opposed to making a production of eradicating people from our lives, we can take a more passive approach, which is more lending to our experience, and less damaging to others. As we begin to raise our vibration, people in our lives who are not in alignment with that vibration will begin to fall away. Some people may have negative reactions to our changes because of their own fears, but it is important to realize this is fear being projected onto us and never take it personal. When we raise our vibration we will naturally begin attracting others who are supportive, loving, and understanding of our experience. Instead of creating unnecessary chaos by breaking up with everyone we used to know, we can focus on filling our lives with a new tribe, simultaneously filtering out the negative, unsupportive people.
Trap Two: Self-Judgment
Feeling such a powerful connection to God/Spirit/Source lets us feel unconditional love. But when that feeling wears off and ego sets in, we may begin judging ourselves, harshly. People begin looking at their love lives, sex lives, mistakes, diet, hobbies, and lifestyle and begin to notice how little those things make them feel the omnipotent connection.
Feeling the love of an infinite presence can be humbling, but blaming or shaming ourselves is a hindrance to our awakening and the ego’s foothold. Whatever we have done in our past is what we were capable of at the time. Through conditioning, upbringing, or our own negative experiences, we believed that those things served us, no matter how dysfunctional we may now believe them to be. This is where self-forgiveness is imperative. As these feelings of personal condemnation arise, we can forgive ourselves for any behaviors we are now ashamed of, forgive ourselves for believing there was no other way, and for ever believing we were separate from the light we now know in our heart to be definite.
Trap Three: Addiction to Healing and Spirituality
Years ago I had a client who spent thousands of dollars every few months on what she believed would be the key to her healing. She was putting her family in debt with her spending on courses, programs, services, and certifications, but was frustrated because she still lacked results. As soon as she finished one modality, she would immediately rush to a new one. She was so desperate for change but wasn’t giving herself the time to integrate what she was learning or let healing transpire.
It is motivating when we discover that we have the power to change our life. It’s only natural to want to expedite the healing process to start living the life we have dreamed of. I highly encourage everyone to try various classes, workshops, and services to see what is the best fit and the most helpful at each stage of our growth. When it becomes a trap is when we don’t give ourselves the leisure to let the healing take place. Instead of pressuring ourselves to consistently do more, we can sit a spell, allowing ourselves to incorporate the work we’re doing, which is how tangible healing occurs.
Trap Four: Changing to Resemble “The Enlightened”
There are many clichés of what spiritual people look and sound like. It’s often believed that conscious minded folk do yoga, eat restrictive diets, only associate with other conscious minded people, and even dress a certain way. When people have a spiritual awakening they may look to these clichés for direction to shape their new identity.
While some of these clichés may be true to some extent, these are better reached through personally raising our vibration, not by forcing ourselves into those molds. We do not have to force ourselves into the role we want to play, or even be spiritual the way someone else is spiritual. By healing, growing, and raising our vibration we begin to resemble a healthier, happier version of ourselves, not someone else we may believe to be enlightened. That may mean we bear resemblance to other spiritually minded people, but by attaining those attributes through our experience it becomes mirrored through authenticity not imitation.
Trap Five: The Identity Crisis
Whether we view our past as good or bad, it was a personality we identified with. But in an effort to uplevel we don’t realize how much we are letting go. All our habits, coping mechanisms, mindsets, relationships, and beliefs are being placed under a microscope and thrown out without the proper transition it takes to integrate new ones. Which may lead to an identity crisis.
We may ask ourselves, “If I no longer want to be the person I was, but am not fully changed, then who am I?”
A caterpillar does not rush its metamorphosis. While we do not see its transition in the cocoon, a long evolution takes place and it emerges as a butterfly. For many of us, we believe a spiritual awakening is the representation of going from a caterpillar to a butterfly, but that is not the case. Having the awakening is just the beginning. Our awakening is the moment we realize we are a caterpillar and that we are destined to become a butterfly. The awakening and everything that follows is our evolution in the cocoon.
The advice I give anyone experiencing their own metamorphosis is to observe. By observing we allow our newfound self to integrate, and may also be divinely led to our next phase of healing. Changing our consciousness is not only about doing, it’s equally about being.
After a spiritual awakening a deeper part of ourselves is provoked, and while ready to shine, it is not forceful. It is content with its awakened state and happy to marinate while awaiting its next junction. Our ego is what stimulates these traps, telling us we aren’t doing enough and that if we don’t do more we’ll fall back into the person we dread being; our old self. Our initial spiritual awakening may only be a moment, but it is bait our higher consciousness uses to lure us to reach our highest potential. An awakening is an opportunity to embark on a lifelong quest and conquering the ego that sets these traps is an essential part of that journey. By accepting our quest, we have the capability to transcend our ego to a higher consciousness, thus leading to a happier, healthier, awakened self.
To Your Enlightenment!
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