For the first time in history, we have access to a mammoth and unprecedented amount of information.
While this freedom to learn brings countless opportunities for personal growth, it can also get quite overwhelming! There are so many thoughts, opinions, debates, and discussions out there.
Who do we listen to?
Spiritual ascension (or spiritual awakening) is one of many major topics out there which can become confusing very quickly. Everyone seems to have a different understanding of what spiritual ascension means. The plethora of information out there doesn’t help: it can make you quite disoriented in a short amount of time. Personally, I believe that almost all definitions of spiritual ascension are right because it is an exquisitely multi-layered concept and experience that cannot be shoved into a box that easily.
That being said, it does help to categorize and label the different aspects of spiritual ascension so that we can understand them better – and that is my intention for this article.
What I am going to share below is based on my own experience, insight, and observation of myself and other people. You’re welcome to redefine or add to this list however you see fit in the comments.
What is Spiritual Ascension?
Spiritual ascension, also known as spiritual awakening, is a natural evolutionary process which involves the process of shedding the old self and experiencing an inner rebirth. Many people speak about spiritual ascension in terms of being “upgraded,” “rebooted” or being elevated in vibrational frequency. All of these terms are a way of referring to the inner evolution and expansion of the mind, heart, or soul. As the name implies, spiritual ascension is about reaching new heights and transcending old limiting habits, beliefs, mindsets, and ways of being.
Spiritual ascension, however, is not all angels, unicorns, and roses. It is often accompanied by severe and shocking shifts that result in what is called the Dark Night of the Soul. (I elaborate on these dark experiences in my book The Spiritual Awakening Process.)
More In-Depth Help
Want to learn more about the spiritual ascension? In our book The Spiritual Awakening Process, we give more in-depth guidance:
5 Types of Spiritual Ascension
Spiritual ascension (or spiritual awakening) is mentioned a lot in spiritual circles. Everyone has a slightly different definition. But every interpretation can, more or less, fit into the following five categories:
1. Awakening of the Mind
This type of awakening comes when you experience a major epiphany or sudden mental realization. This deep understanding does not necessarily translate to integrated experience, but it does feel like an astonishing flash of ‘enlightened’ perspective that can help you mentally understand life.
How to know if you have experienced one: Have you ever experienced that sudden ‘click’ when a piece of information/word/synchronicity falls into a larger puzzle? This is called a mental awakening. And often such realizations stay with us, motivating and inspiring profound changes in our lives.
2. Awakening of a New Personality
When mental awakenings are consistent and go deep enough, over a period of time they can result in the development of a new personality. This type of transformation and ascension involves cutting away and moving past old limiting and toxic patterns and developing qualities such as self-acceptance, empowerment, and understanding. While this type of awakening isn’t as deep as say, a soul awakening, it is nonetheless still vital on the spiritual path.
How to know if you have experienced one: Think back to the kind of person you were one to three years ago. Are you still pretty much the same person? Or have you made some major life-enhancing positive shifts? If you think you’ve changed (in a good way), you’ve likely experienced a personality awakening. This type of awakening is caused when previously repressed, ignored or shunned parts of the personality have been integrated to create more wholeness.
3. Awakening of Spiritual Energy
‘Spiritual ascension’ can sometimes refer to awakening spiritual energy within the body and energy field. When life force energy (commonly referred to as qi, prana, or kundalini energy) is awakened, major changes can occur on the physical through the spiritual levels. Ancient practices such as tai chi, yoga, meditation, and tantra, help to awaken this energy, but sometimes life force energy awakens spontaneously. This sudden activation is called a Kundalini Awakening, which enters the realms of the soul and total awakening (see the next two types below).
How to know if you have experienced one: An awakening of spiritual energy can feel mild all the way to extreme. (And when I say extreme, I mean intensely overwhelming and often too much to bear.) Common signs of an awakening of spiritual energy involve feelings of enhanced vitality and energy on the physical level, energy rushes, tingling and electrical feelings throughout the body, changes in sexual libido, sharpened awareness, and feelings of cosmic interconnectedness. Negative symptoms can also arise (for the uninitiated) such as mood swings, mania, physical hypersensitivity, insomnia, seizures, loss of appetite or overeating, extreme and scary altered states of consciousness – just to name a few.
4. Awakening of the Soul
Soul awakenings can be brief and sudden, or long and drawn out. Brief soul awakenings are often referred to in Zen Buddhism as ‘Satori’ which is the experience of seeing into one’s true eternal nature. This glimpse of enlightenment is often short and doesn’t last very long (one moment to a few days). On the other hand, long-term soul awakenings are experienced as a deepening of contact with one’s Soul. This could involve consistently uniting with one’s soul purpose, spirit guides, or higher self and thereby understanding and beginning to experience oneself as Eternal and Limitless.
How to know if you have experienced one: Have you ever had a moment in which you felt the division between yourself and the World disintegrate? Have you ever shifted from the ego-perspective to the universal-perspective? Have you experienced any moments where you’ve felt deeply aligned with your life purpose? These are all signs of a soul awakening. Developing virtuous qualities such as compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, and unconditional love also accompany soul awakenings.
5. Total Awakening (Enlightenment)
Enlightenment, or total ego death, is a rare experience in which the ‘self’ dissolves and all that remains is Unity With All. This state is called by many names: Oneness, moksha, non-dual awareness, Buddhahood, illumination, and so forth. Such an intense state of being can arrive spontaneously or through years of spiritual study and discipline – but in both instances, total awakening is a gift of grace, it isn’t something that we can “achieve” in the normal sense of the word. When enlightenment occurs, there is an experience of being both nothing and everything all at once; it is a state that transcends thought and the mind itself, it is a Mystical Awakening. The ego is finally seen, understood, and overcome, and all that remains is the Pure Awareness, Presence, Love, and Truth.
As we can see, spiritual ascension comes in many different shapes and sizes, with the ultimate form of ascension culminating as Total Awakening, self-realization or enlightenment.
Many people get confused on the spiritual path, so I hope this article has helped to provide more clarity and mental awakening. ;)
Well good to know that I’m going through total awaking. And definitely paying with the accension flu pretty bad because it was out of nowhere. But this helped me understand a bit better as to what’s happening to myself.
Over the course of 30+ years I have experienced all of these…as we continue to grow in spirituality we ascend to higher experiences.
Mediums have told me I am an earth angel to help the people and earth and an old soul born over many dimensions….I also am an empath with some mediumship abilities which can be a blessing but a curse too if it’s not controlled in terms of how things affect me.
I had my first shamanic journey recently and there is still so much more to learn about spirituality.
Keep growing everyone and make this a better world and place to be for yourself and others…focus mainly on positivity and good karma!
I don’t know how to explain what I experience.
I met a well know minister and as he walked to me I could see a form coming with him. A full form clear from the shape of him body I had never seen this before just wanting to understand about it
I had a 5 hour episode of very powerful spontaneous orgasms without any physical or mental sexual stimulation after ingesting cannabis. The spontaneous orgasms were moving very slowly from my pelvis all the way to the top of my head through the center of my upper body. The orgasms felt spiritual and not physical accompanied by non threatening red and orange raging flames transforming to a blue cooling color and exploding into a bright light. Each color was heightening the strength of the orgasm. Was I going through kundalini awakening or was I simply going through a strange high?
I’m at #4 and it’s simply beautiful. It’s something I pray everyone gets to experience. I mean, that’s why we’re all here, right? For the experience, right? This is one experience I pray we all share in, and if my understanding is correct, we WILL all share in as we shift to 5th density consciousness. Love + Light
My awakening was quite a bit different than what is described here, but it has elements from all of these, except Kundalini. I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in any sort of religion or spirituality, until one day I stumbled onto a line of reasoning where a rational, reasonable, educated and well-grounded person could choose to believe in an entity that could be described as “God”, without having to buy into the notion of “magic”. That realization, that the existence of a higher power was not only possible, but likely, kicked off a spiritual awakening that continues to this day. Now, being a rational, reasonable, somewhat educated but certainly well-grounded individual — who also happens to be a mental health care professional — suddenly developing spiritual belief, where before there was none, is a HUGE red flag and a genuine concern. At that time, I had no idea what a spiritual awakening was and had never even heard the term, so it was a great relief to find this site and learn that what I was going through could be spiritual in nature, even though it still could possibly be psychological. This site was an amazing resource for me, with… Read more »
Hii, im 16yrs nd i’ve experienced all of them. i’ve gotten into third eye jus recently nd i already experienced all the things i was supposed to. im still learning on the way as well, thanks to this, it helped me a lot more nd i hope i can become more powerful nd positive<3 more than i was before
Hi Aletheia, I have been experiencing a Spiritual Awakening over the last 2-3yrs. Stages, firstly I have alway’s been very self aware so any slight change in my body I’ll know. It’s hard to remember what came first but I recall I’d get energy hits, shocks to my body while sleeping. Sleeping got very disrupted. I remember also I’d be so vividly concious when falling to sleep I’d seriously not help but focus on incredible pictures that would appear, incredible snowflake patterns, stories etc…I would be so drawn in that I felt I had no body just thought. This was incredible. I felt alot of my past negative habits and emotions would start appearing more in my day to day life. Gradual but amazingly without thought I all of a sudden started changing my reactions to things, arguements with my partner, ways I approached situations. I wasn’t even trying. My soul/body was ready to evolve to a new kinder softer approach to life. This was wonderful for my partner & my relationship. Things would service, get delt with, grow from it & move on. Connectedness grew, we could communicate without anger. From the beginning I noticed my vision was so… Read more »
I agree that enlightenment is a gift of grace. I want others to know that through life’s experiences hardwork and a dedication to truth and knowledge, that enlightenment is achievable. There’s no greater gift one can receive other than eternal life.