“I’ve just had a spiritual awakening!”
Many of us would have heard this being said, by someone or the other, at some point in our lives. But have we ever wondered just what exactly is this spiritual awakening or how and when does it happen?
After going through a series of life’s experiences which I am sharing below, I see spiritual awakening as a very common and natural phenomenon; as common and natural as the sun rising in the east. Just that, like the daily sunrise, we ignore the awakening, as we trudge through life. Pausing and reflecting periodically can truly be a spiritual experience.
Let me explain it by answering some questions.
What is Spiritual Awakening?
Spiritual awakening is no sci-fi theory experienced only by saints and messiahs or some heavenly beings living high up in the mountains. It is really a stage in our lives which we all go through at some time or the other. Spiritual awakening simply means waking up to our own inner self or tapping into our higher selves to find a greater meaning to life.
When is it that we get spiritual awakening?
Well, there is no defined time or moment for this spiritual awakening. The awakening happens when people go through some very difficult or happy transformational events. It can happen at any point in one’s life, provided the person is “ready”. For some people, it may take one year to wake up to it, for some others it may take five years, while for some it may take their entire lifetime and they yet may not get it.
When I say provided that the person is “ready” I mean that the person should be in a state of mind to realise that she/he has had a spiritual awakening and also understand why they had it; because often, people have an awakening and don’t even realise it.
This may require going beyond one’s own selfish desires and thinking about something greater than oneself. It is also not as if once you have had a spiritual awakening, it is the ultimate point. Spiritual awakening is a never ending process which we keep going through, till the last moment of our lives.
How do we get this spiritual awakening?
When we are in the “correct state of mind” and the circumstances are right, the spiritual awakening automatically happens. When is it a “correct state of mind”? Spiritual awakening is a process of self- realisation and self-discovery that comes when we dispassionately evaluate situations. It is the process of realising and discovering the true purpose of one’s life, the reason one was born in the particular circumstances. So, when we encounter situations that become turning points in life; which deliver a huge impact on our minds and a learning that changes the way we handle situations; and, if we are open to dispassionately evaluate, it could happen.
My first awakening
I had my first spiritual awakening in 1995 when, at the age of eight, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I had to get operated immediately. The operation was a risky one. While in the operation theatre, I actually saw death in its face. The doctors were able to remove the tumour, though not completely, as it was too large.
After my surgery several questions came to my mind. Why is it that I survived? Out of the million people diagnosed with brain tumour, I was one of the few who were able to get the correct treatment and come out alive. Surely my life must have some greater meaning, some greater purpose that I survived? I was born with a mission.
It was then I realised that, through overcoming my illness and coming out successful, I would be able to show the way to so many others who were suffering. That became my mission; the reason I was born in the circumstances that I was in.
This was my first awakening!
And then the second…
Since a part of the tumour couldn’t be removed completely, there were several other complications. I underwent nine more surgeries after that. Every surgery gave me an opportunity to learn something about myself and also taught me many lessons, such as patience, endurance empathy etc.
Since a part of the tumour was resting on my optic nerve, I lost complete vision in my right eye and 60 percent vision in my left eye. For a long time I kept pitying myself, until one day, in Bangalore, I saw a completely blind beggar seeking alms. I then realised how fortunate I was. Compared to this man who had no vision, I at least had 40% vision. I was so much luckier than him. So what was I complaining about?
This was my second awakening!
A cause that changed my outlook
Due to the tumour, I faced many upheavals in my academics. Because of my impaired vision, I lost the 2nd year of my graduation. After that, I felt like a loser and felt like killing myself. My mother then told me two things.
First, a winner is not one who wins a race or tops the university when all is hale and hearty. A true winner is one who refuses to give up, despite all the obstacles he faces.
Second, killing myself only meant that I was a coward and was running away from my problems. So I decided that I was born to win and that I was surely not a coward. Hence killing myself was not an option anymore.
During my vacations I worked with a NGO, teaching dramatics to some slum children. It was a life changing experience! I found teaching to be a very therapeutic exercise. One day, due to some reason I could not go to the NGO. When I went the next day, the children hugged me as if they hadn’t seen me for years. I wondered to myself why this sudden attachment? I had just joined and they had already grown so fond of me.
I then realised that for these children this education does not come easy. So when they get it, they value it more than their lives. Whereas in regular schools and colleges the students need not even ask and they get what they want. Hence, they do not realise the value of what they get.
This was one more awakening!
My Journey Ahead
I now began working towards improving my health. I realised that if we have the possibility to get an illness, we also have the ability to cure it. I started working on my mind, body and spirit, the three elements of perfect health. I exercised my mind by doing crosswords and Sudoku puzzles; exercised my body by doing regular physical exercise and exercised my spirit by doing daily prayer.
Since I had the tumour, I also developed epileptic attacks. But I got over that too, by working on my mind and spirit, as most problems stem from there. I found writing poems and blogs as a constructive way to express myself. My medical condition also improved by leaps and bounds; and though the tumour is still there, I know that I am on the road to perfect health.
If one were to ask me, if I could live my life all over again would I want to change anything? I would definitely say no. I would also want the same obstacle and problems as they have made me a better and stronger human being.
In conclusion, I would like to thank God for all which he has given me, the good, the bad and the ugly.
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