I lost touch with most of my friends after my spiritual awakening. To be honest, I distanced myself from some, and the others distanced themselves from me. If you’re experiencing something similar, don’t despair. As the saying goes, “there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
We take birth into the transactional world to interact, learn, and grow. Any interaction between two people that doesn’t facilitate growth or understanding dies automatically over time, especially in the case of spiritual awakening, and that’s why spiritual awakening is painful.
So many friendships, relationships, and associations die because they run out of things to offer. And I’m not just talking about material things but things like love, compassion, understanding, empathy, and more. If there’s no honestly in a relationship or friendship, how long do you think it’s going to last.
I know it sounds a little selfish, but you’ll see that it’s true if you look at it from a higher perspective. One of the biggest challenges you face when awakened is that you lose your ability to be fake. And that doesn’t go down well with most people cause it creates uncomfortable emotions in them.
Some of them will understand, while others will react as if a nerve has been hit. Especially the male ego is extremely sensitive about the topic of spirituality. What people don’t understand is that you cannot force awakening; it happens on its own when you’re ready.
I was always a shy-introverted kid with artistic flair, but all that changed as I grew up. Not because I desired that change, but it came out of the necessity to fit in. I started reshaping my personality for the appeasement of my teachers, parents, relatives, coworkers, and society in general.
But here’s the problem. If you start changing yourself without accepting who you are right now, the change will not be lasting. That’s what was happening to me.
I was so eager to fit into the pop culture that I was losing some part of myself every single day. Not only that, just to get along, I allowed people to treat me with contempt and disrespect. I was in pain, but I never showed. I put up a brave front, but in reality, I felt broken on the inside.
I grew up in a hypercompetitive environment where the egoic ideas of competitiveness and survival of fitness were given more emphasis than friendship, compassion, and empathy. I tried hard to fit in by going to nightclubs, bars, and gyms with my friends, but I never felt comfortable.
Spirituality, at that time, was a far-flung idea. I found it impractical because I was conditioned to believe that. But every time I went against my true nature, I experienced a sort of discomfort or unease. I felt pain in my soul. It was clear that I was suppressing my true instincts.
We like to believe that we live in the world, but a greater reality is that we create our world based on our perceptions and preconceived ideas and beliefs. You can visually see an object, but what you make of it depends on the kind of mind-conditioning you’ve received in the past.
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Spiritual awakening breaks these preconceived notions, ideas, and beliefs and makes us realize that we’re the immortal spirit having a human experience as the mind and body. For some, this realization can be extremely unsettling initially.
My spiritual awakening brought about a significant change in me. The things I greatly valued once, like power, position, prestige, money, fame, etc., lost all relevance (check out life lessons I learned turning 40 years old). It marked an end to my pessimism and sadness, and I experienced a profound love for all beings in my heart.
Instead of being the thoughts, there was a separation between the witness and the thoughts. In fact, there was no individual-self, an “I” or “me” witnessing, but an impersonal awareness through which the mind’s contents were being seen.
I did not merely see myself as this limited human body and mind struggling to make a worthy life, but as an infinite being that is nothing other than unconditional and abiding love.
I felt so much joy in my heart that all of my negative traits and tendencies disappeared. I had no regrets or resentments with anyone anymore. Not even with those who had wronged me in the past. It was such a liberation experience. I felt so light. It felt like a great weight was gone off my shoulders.
My earlier beliefs about religion, spirituality, righteousness, success, morality, and my notions about living a virtuous life crumbled before my eyes. I could clearly see how putting effort into trying to be something I was not was creating negative emotional afflictions in me.
At one point, I decided to let go of this pain and accept “who I am”. It was then that my problems with the material world began. I was declared unfit, lacking in ambition, and using spirituality to escape life’s challenges. Those who embrace spirituality know that it is one of the most challenging things we do in life.
Not conforming to society’s ideas is often seen as a sign of revolt. My friends could not keep up with me. They never understood my ideas, and I, in turn, never enforced my opinions on them. I was ready to agree on our disagreement, but they were not. Moreover, there was no common ground for us to interact because I was free of past beliefs.
I was basking in so much love that I did not even bother to make my case or give explanations about what I was doing and why. The reason for existence and my higher purpose was apparent to me.
I did not seek validation from anyone because there was no need. There was not even a shroud doubt that I was doing something wrong or that I was wasting my life. I was clear about my path.
Many of my friends started distancing themselves from me at this stage because they saw me as an undesirable influence or perhaps a threat.
Most people say that they desire to learn the truth, but they lack the courage to digest it when confronted. The idea of seeking truth seems unnatural and impractical because we’ve trained our minds to believe in the falsities of life.
While I understand that we cannot be entirely honest with the world, but nothing stops us from being honest with ourselves. Many of our problems arise from the fact that we continue to deceive ourselves. We use false beliefs to justify our unkind deeds.
People are capable of great violence when their beliefs are challenged. They commit crimes and don’t even shy from taking a human life in the name of religion. The crucifixion of Christ is an excellent example of that. It was humans acting out of the collective fear.
You’ll see when you learn to let go of fear and are prepare to lose everything; people start fearing you. A conditioned mind is easy to control, manipulate, and subjugate, but an open mind cannot be contained or subjugated, and that becomes a threat for some people.
Coming back to my story, within a couple of months of my spiritual awakening, I resigned from my high-paying job as an IT software developer. I immersed myself deep into the practices of mindfulness and meditation.
Deep in my meditation, I experienced a sense of great joy, an emptiness that revealed my true nature. This emptiness is not an object of knowledge, so trying to make sense of it logically and rationally will not lead to the truth. It is a different kind of realization that comes only when the mind is sufficiently quiet.
In the early phases of my spiritual awakening, I was disturbed by the idea that my friends and other people I had spent so much time with were not interested in my company. To be honest, at that time, I felt lonely and depressed.
Just because I did not want to pursue my unconscious habits of the past like going to movies, picking up women in bars, engaging in meaningless political conversations, gossips, or pseudo-spiritual talks over drinks, I became uninteresting to them.
The thing is that once you’re awake, it is difficult to go back to sleep. This awakening is different. You cannot unsee something once you see it. Similarly, once you realize the truth, it’s not possible to unrealize it.
Therefore when it happens, it is likely that you’re going to lose some of your friendships, relationships, and associations. However, this should not deviate you from your spiritual path.
Staying on the path means being true to yourself. Your awakening will give you your real purpose, and it will guide you on how to go about it. When you learn to follow the spiritual path fearlessly, the divinity within you will eventually manifest.
You don’t need a guru. Your higher self will guide you at every step with love and care and utmost compassion. When we rise above our selfish motives and work for the world’s greater good, we start attracting the right people.
The people who I connect with now are in tune with my thoughts. I don’t have to pretend to be in a certain way because they accept me the way I am. I’m not a perfect human being, and they understand that. Nobody is perfect. Perfection does not exist.
The genuine compassion lies in our ability to accept people with all of their shortcomings. But that said, It doesn’t mean that you should take abuse from people. No! The first person you need to be compassionate towards is yourself. You should safeguard yourself from people who have the tendencies to cause physical or psychological harm.
But you may ask, “all this fine, but I have to live in this world. Isn’t it psychologically damaging to deny social connections since we are social creatures and there is a fundamental human need to connect with others?”.
I’m not saying that you have to disconnect from the world or give up on people who don’t support your beliefs. In fact, I am asking you to free yourself from beliefs so that you can better connect with others.
It is your conditioned mind that believes itself to be the limited mind-body complex. And it has convinced you that there is nothing beyond the mind. That is probably the reason why you seek scientific explanations for everything.
The mind is not interested in knowing the truth; it is only interested in validating what it already knows. It will always keep you a skeptic and make you believe that that’s the best way to navigate life.
On the other hand, awakening will help you transcend the mind’s barriers and realize the unity in multiplicity, the experience of oneness in diversity.
Physical reality is also a part of our spiritual experience. Therefore, giving up material life is not the solution. Firstly, you have to accept who you are and then aim for spiritual progress.
When you realize your higher purpose and work towards it, the universe and the entire existence will help you. I have discovered my higher purpose, and I work towards it every single day.
I take solace in the fact that many people benefit from my work. I don’t make much money out of it, but I feel so rich when I see how my work helps others.
I may not be able to eradicate all the evils that plague this world in my lifetime, but I’m content that I’ve been a part of this beautiful journey where I have made a small yet significant difference.