How To Integrate A Spiritual Awakening Experience

A spiritual awakening experience can powerfully transform how we see ourselves and the world. But how do we integrate a peak experience into our daily life?

Have you ever had a spiritual awakening experience? A big aha moment that profoundly changed how you view yourself, life, and/or the world? Peak experiences can be powerful catalysts for growth. But once we come down from them, it can be challenging to figure out how to integrate them into our lives in a meaningful way.

However, if we don’t do this, we’re likely to miss out on the full value the experience has to offer us. It can slip through our fingers as a blissful memory. Or worse, trick us into thinking we’ve attained some permanent state of enlightenment that doesn’t require any additional effort from us. It can disrupt our lives, interfering with relationships, or leave us with a sense of dissatisfaction with what we now view as mundane or aggravating by comparison.

In today’s post, I’m sharing a step-by-step process you can take to translate peak spiritual experiences into your everyday, lived reality. I’m also showing you how to avoid several ego traps that commonly arise in the wake of big awakening moments. These traps can feel like they’re reinforcing your spiritual growth, when in fact, they’re impeding it.

When we contemplate a peak spiritual experience with the intention to glean its wisdom – and embody that wisdom in our daily life – we empower true transformation.

What Is A Spiritual Awakening Experience?

To start, let’s just establish what we’re talking about here. What constitutes a spiritual awakening experience? I confess, I feel clumsy attempting to define something that, by its very nature, transcends human language. But I’ll do my best. I’m intentionally keeping this definition as broad and inclusive as I can, while still offering some relatable meaning, because I know I’m not the authority on what counts as a spiritual experience. I offer this definition merely so we may have a shared way of talking about it moving forward. Your definition may vary, and if so, by all means, please hold onto your own as we dive deeper.

For the purposes of this post, I’m defining a spiritual awakening experience as any experience that opens our eyes to our spiritual essence, reveals the illusion of our ego patterns, and/or connects us in some profound way to that which is bigger than us – however we may call it. (God, the Universe, Source, Life Force, etc.) It lifts us out of our everyday monotony and shows us a bigger picture – one which we are a part of and with which we are intricately interconnected.

How & Where Do They Happen?

Spiritual awakenings can happen in a variety of contexts. Some examples include:

  • meditation
  • prayer
  • spiritual contemplation
  • reading a spiritual text
  • church (especially rites of passage, like conversion or baptism)
  • yoga (especially with a chakra or kundalini awakening)
  • spiritual retreat, workshop, or other event
  • while receiving a healing modality
  • in the wake of a near-death experience
  • a psychedelic experience
  • a sweat lodge
  • a powerful dream

Of course, this list is by no means conclusive. But regardless of how or where a spiritual awakening experience happens, people tend to know when they’ve had one. There’s a marked difference in perception, a heightened sense of awareness that can’t be ignored. The world suddenly looks different. You suddenly feel different. It rarely occurs during the ordinary routines of our life, because it’s an extra-ordinary occurrence. And this is precisely why it can be difficult to integrate into our workaday life.

The Aftermath of a Spiritual Awakening Experience

After a peak spiritual experience, it’s common to feel an after-glow. Because we’ve just been jolted out of our ordinary perception, we feel lighter. The weight of our everyday concerns has lifted, and this energizes us. We feel uplifted, charged, and even blissfully at peace. And with our new insight, we feel a sense of clarity. It’s as though the jigsaw puzzle of our self, life, and/or the universe has come together in perfect order. There’s a feeling that it all suddenly makes sense, even if we can’t put that sense into words.

The after-glow feels so good, most of us want desperately to hold onto it. We want this to be our new normal. In fact, one of the ego traps we’ll explore later is the expectation this should be our everyday reality in order for the awakening to hold merit. While relishing in this yummy bliss helps us naturally want to embrace spiritual growth, it’s important we resist the urge to cling to it. If we mistake that good feeling as the whole point of our awakening, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

Because the after-glow will fade. There’s no avoiding that. It’s a high like any other. The gravity of everyday life will set in. We can soak in the glow and fully enjoy it, but at some point we need to dig deeper into our spiritual awakening experience to find the golden nugget it’s offering us. What wisdom have we dis-covered? And how can we apply it to our daily life in a way that keeps us aligned with it, even in the midst of life’s inevitable ups and downs?

Steps To Integrate Your Spiritual Awakening Experience

Spiritual awakening experiences typically don’t unfold in the sphere of our logical mind. Instead, they tend to break us out of logic and thrust us into less familiar territory – where knowledge is felt or sensed holistically, rather than filtered through words. In fact, the moment we try to describe it with words, it can feel like we’re losing touch with the spiritual experience itself.

Once the peak experience has passed, and our after-glow is beginning to dim, it’s important we translate what happened into the language we use in our everyday living. We need to process it with our logical mind if we want it to catalyze lasting growth. Otherwise, it may slip away from us, becoming just a transient memory. We’ll wonder if it was real, or if it meant as much as we thought it did.

The following steps can help you with this translation. So you can integrate your awakening into your life in a way that empowers you to be truly changed by it.

5 Steps to Facilitate Integration

The first step is to ask yourself what stands out to you the most about your experience. There’s no need to analyze here. Just acknowledge what pops into your mind instinctively. Let your intuition and higher awareness guide you, instead of introducing your rational mind. Maybe it’s a visual image or a bodily sensation. Maybe it’s a general knowing or a profound insight. Whatever it is, once you’ve identified it, encapsulate it in a few words.

Next, consider how you might be able to relate what you noticed in step one to your everyday life. This step requires more thought. Essentially, what you’re trying to do here is draw a connection between what you experienced during your heightened state of awareness and what you experience in your ordinary life. For example, if what stood out to you about your peak experience is a sense of being deeply connected to all living beings, you might consider how connected or disconnected you tend to feel to other people on a daily basis.

Third, take some time to contemplate the correlation you just drew in step two. Dig deep. What can you learn? What patterns are present in your life that your spiritual awakening experience can shed light on? You’ve been shown an alternative perception. What can you do with it?

If we use our example regarding connection from above, this might mean assessing what’s getting in the way of you feeling more connected to the people in your life. Or, what’s keeping you from opening up to connecting with more people?

Once you’ve gained some insight, turn it into a piece of wisdom you can carry forward with you. In a sentence or two, summarize this wisdom. Again, using the example from above, your wisdom might sound something like this. We’re all a part of this one universe, like cells forming one body. My tendency to judge people keeps me from seeing this interconnection.

Finally, consider how you can embody this wisdom. Meaning, how can you put it into practice in your life? This is where the work – and the real transformation – begins. As time passes, and the high of your spiritual awakening experience fades, this piece is what keeps it alive for you.

What practices might support your intention to live in alignment with your new wisdom? How will you challenge yourself to do things differently, instead of living out old, habitual patterns? Returning to our example, the wisdom gained around interconnectedness might be embodied through loving-kindness or compassion practices. It might start as simply making a point to smile and speak to strangers more often. Or, to join a church, a yoga class, or some other social group.

Whatever you choose to do, the point is you’ve taken a big, spiritual moment and translated it into realized actions in the nitty-gritty world of your daily experience. You’ve grounded the mystical in the realm of the tangible. Which means you’ve allowed yourself to be meaningfully transformed by it. This is integration.

Integrating a spiritual awakening experience helps us unwrap its gifts and apply them meaningfully to our life.

Ego Traps to Avoid After Spiritual Awakening

The high of a spiritual awakening experience can give rise to several ego traps. I like to think of them as opportunities to solidify our growth through conscious choice. After all, if we’re encountering them – as so many of us do – there must be something we can learn from them. Are we going to take the bait? Or are we going to see it for what it is and not get distracted by an ego illusion?

Before we get into the specifics of these traps, I want to point out that getting sidetracked by one of them doesn’t mean we’re trapped forever. It just means we’re taking a less direct path. Undoubtedly, if we remain sincerely dedicated to our quest for spiritual truth, we’ll learn whatever lessons we need to along this alternate route. We’ll realize how we need to correct our course and eventually shift directions.

I’ve fallen into some of these traps myself. Once I recognized how they misled me, I grew from the experience. And having discovered it for myself, I really owned what I learned. So in the big scheme of things, it served my growth. But, if we can avoid being ensnared from the get-go, our path is much easier.

Here are the 3 common ego traps:

Enlightenment Means Bliss

We’ll start with this one, since I already mentioned it. And because it’s an obstacle I’ve heard people lament over many times. With this trap, there’s an assumption that once we’ve had a spiritual awakening experience, we’re going to float through life with an ever-present feeling of bliss. Because we now have the answer, we’re somehow immune to the inevitable ups and downs of life.

It doesn’t take long to realize the fallacy here. Something – maybe even a bunch of things – will come along to rattle our inner peace. Even if we’re able to rise above the muck for a time, eventually we’ll react in a way that makes us question our awakening. And this is the real challenge presented by this trap. We may start to doubt the validity of our peak experience. Was it really as powerful as we thought? What was the point if we can’t hold onto it, if it can be taken away from us so easily?

Or, we keep seeking out experiences that can replicate our initial feeling of bliss. When we fail to access it again, or as frequently as we want, we become frustrated. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel enlightened?

However, if we emerge from our awakening experience grounded in the knowing that enlightenment is an ongoing, everyday process, we don’t expect bliss. We accept that life will challenge us, and that the whole point of our spiritual growth is to learn how to skillfully navigate those challenges. Instead of chasing bliss, we seek to cultivate our inner self in such a way that bliss naturally becomes more accessible. The goal isn’t to attain bliss, but bliss ends up arising more easily. Though it may be nuanced, there’s a difference. And it changes everything.

Thinking We’ve Found The Only (or the Best) Answer

This ego trap arises from either a highly egocentric perspective or an abundance of enthusiasm for what we’ve experienced. Sometimes, maybe even both. It basically assumes whatever insight we’ve gained, or whatever led to our spiritual awakening experience, is the way.

Even though my own journey has been guided by wisdom teachings from many different paths, I’ve fallen prey to this trap before. It didn’t make sense. But nonetheless, it happened. I was so in awe of all my path had revealed to me, I felt certain it held all the answers anyone could need.

This trap can look as grandiose as outright saying our way is the only way, which can cause rifts in our relationships and cut us off from people who’ve found a different way. Or, it can be as subtle as silently discrediting someone else’s experience. However it manifests, there’s a sense that our way is the best or only way to find enlightenment.

When we fully trust in the merit of our own spiritual awakening, we don’t need anyone else to validate it. We can share what we’ve gained simply as an offering that others are free to receive or reject. And having experienced the powerful transformational process of our own spiritual growth, we can honor that process unfolding in others. We can rejoice in their growth, however it may be happening for them.

Believing Awakening is a Destination Instead of a Path

This trap is similar to the first one regarding bliss. However, instead of involving a feeling (bliss), it revolves around our sense of identity. After a spiritual awakening experience, it can be tempting to feel like we’ve arrived. We’re enlightened now. And this belief becomes a part of how we define ourselves. There can be a sense of completion to the process of our growth, which is what makes this ego trap especially tricky. Once we think we’ve learned all we need to learn, we stop looking – at ourselves and at the world – with the intention to grow and see more clearly. A rigidity can set in that closes us off from new perspectives, insights, and lessons.

I’ve had multiple spiritual awakening experiences, each at different stages of my life. And each one revealed new and deeper truths. But if I’d fallen into this trap, I might still be working with only the pebbles of truth I discovered in my twenties. Or, trying to stuff any new discoveries into an old box they don’t really fit into. There’s a quote from Richard Bach that I love, and it applies well here. It says:

This is a test to see if your mission in this life is complete. If you are alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

So long as we’re alive, we’re still awakening. When we own this truth, we remain humble to our process of continued refinement. And with this humility, comes grace. Grace for ourselves, as we navigate the complexity and truth of suffering that come hand-in-hand with being human. Grace for others, as we acknowledge they too are always a work in progress. And grace for the Universe, as we accept what we cannot yet – and may never fully – understand.

Closing Thoughts…

A spiritual awakening experience can catapult us forward on our spiritual journey. It’s a gift from the Universe. But to receive the gift fully, we have to unwrap it. And to get the most benefit from it, we have to actively use it. That’s what the integration process does for us. It helps us unwrap and effectively use our beautiful gift.

I wish you abundant bliss on your spiritual journey, as well as ever-unfolding wisdom that enriches your life’s purpose and reveals the gem of your soul daily. Namaste.

Feel free to save and/or print this graphic for reference and later use. And please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Spiritual Awakening Experience Integration in 5 steps. To receive the full gifts of our spiritual awakening experience, it's important we translate it into our everyday life in a meaningful way.

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Author: Rose Hahn

Rose Hahn's passion for inspiring intentional wellness has evolved over the past 20 years from a personal practice, to working as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, to founding the first neuroscience and mindfulness-based addiction treatment center in Texas with her husband. Currently, her energy is focused on her wellness blog, an upcoming book, and her yoga/music/arts event production company.

26 thoughts

  1. This is beautiful – something that I’m going to come back to read to get the full impact of after some initial thinking!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad it spoke to you. And yes, it can be something to reflect on more deeply to really process. Have a wonderful day! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’œπŸ™

    2. Very in-depth powerful article, I have to come back and re-read the post. I love the way you put light on spiritual awakening. Since I started yoga and meditation, it feels so positive and so much love. Thank you so much Rose for sharing your loving energy and light, I always feel love here. Wishing you too a blissful abundance on your spiritual journey πŸ’žβœ¨πŸ™βœ¨πŸ’ž

      1. Thank you, Nilakshi! I hope it serves your journey. You’re already so full of love and light, and I so appreciate your presence daily. βœ¨πŸ’œβœ¨

  2. Thank you for sharing! I have never heard anyone talk about spiritual awakening in this way. I found it intriguing. As someone who just started practicing yoga, I will be more aware of the spiritual connection. Thank you!

  3. Great post! I have had several spiritual awakenings with what we have been going through during this pandemic. Reading daily Bible verses helps alleviate my fears and gives me the strength to see the positives in life each day and in what the future holds.

    1. That’s wonderful! Our spiritual practices are especially beneficial in uncertain and uncomfortable times. Have a beautiful day, Denise! βœ¨πŸ’œβœ¨

  4. I love that you actually looked at spiritual awakenings in depth. Too often, it is seen as taboo to question or discuss the experience so points of confusion go unanswered. Personally, it felt lonely and confusing especially the first time I experienced it at church as a teenager. Initially, everyone was pleased, but then there was no real follow up to help me understand it or deal with the loss of the initial euphoria.

    1. Euphoria is a great way to describe it. And I experienced something similar in church as a teenager too. We find our way, but it’s so much easier when we have tools to support us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’œπŸ™

  5. Great post! It’s been really hard lately, but I’ve been enjoying meditating and just doing full body stretches and mobility. Feels so good!

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. My grandmother taught me early on in life about staying in touch with my spiritual awakenings and following our spiritual paths in this world. This is a great post!

  7. This is so beautiful! I have been working at finding my path through meditation and yoga. Some days I struggle more than others but I am working on enjoying the journey

    1. Thank you for reading, and for sharing your thoughts! Meditation and yoga are so transformative. Happy to hear your on the path! πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈπŸ˜ŠπŸ’œπŸ™

  8. Thank you so much for this practical advise on something that is anything but practical. There are so few resources available for integrating mystical experiences. I’m sure this will help many more people.

  9. This is the truth my souls been looking for omg. As soon as I read the part about the afterglow fading I immediately knew that this is what my soul’s been seeking. I had the biggest spiritual awakening I’ve ever had in my entire life in spring this year with quarantine, and now my afterglow has dimmed, and i felt like it was my fault. But it really wasn’t, I had fallen into the first ego trap, hard. And now I understand that it’s so important to just do things that keep me in this amazing state of mind!!

  10. This and you are a gift to us all. This was so incredibly helpful and answered most if not all of my post awakening questions and concerns.

  11. This was amazing and I feel I was divinely guided here. Thank you so much. I can’t even put into words how helpful this was. I’m glad to hear I haven’t done anything wrong just because I’m dimming. And you gave us a practical tool for moving forward! Wow. You’re an angel

    1. Thank you so much, Terra. I’m happy it was helpful and wish you many blessings on your spiritual journey. Have a beautiful day! πŸ’œπŸ™

  12. Thank you for this piece of wisdom. It helped me to understand my own experiences and bring clarity. Thank you for the light

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