Awakening is a journey in which we move from limitation to freedom or from the unconscious to the conscious. Whether you take this journey intentionally or something unexpected propels you onto the path, once it begins there is no turning back. At times the journey can seem challenging, but no matter how tough, the extraordinary destination exceeds anything that may have happened along the way. The result of a full awakening is freedom from suffering, boundless joy, clarity of mind, inner peace, and a fulfilling life. This state holds everything we desire. There are five stages to awakening. As you learn and understand the stages, you can recognize the journey and avoid pitfalls. Use the included guide to navigate. There is no right or wrong way and everyone is different. All will be perfect and beautiful.
Stage One: False-Self
In stage one, a subtle awareness of something more is beginning to grow. In this stage we are mostly asleep and do not realize it because we are entrenched in mass consciousness and simply going through the motions. This is a time when we are generally following the rules of culture and the land. We do not usually seek answers or question reality beyond what is absolutely necessary. Our identities define us and we live these identities in the construct of our society. We may take on the role of victim or perpetrator because unconscious programming rules us. We tend to live in a black and white world with a rigid model of thinking. This is because there is a desire to fit in and be accepted so we sacrifice our needs and compromise our values.
Self-worth is likely conditional and attached to the roles we play or some other way we believe we prove our worthiness. We believe we are the ego with no awareness that there is a greater part of us. In stage one, happiness is based on external things, so to feel happy we attempt to control reality, places, people, and experiences. Although we attempt this control, it is more likely our emotions rule and our actions and reactions simply follow from moment to moment. There is no connection between thoughts and experiences because we have no direct ability to create reality. Despite our unconscious nature, in stage one there is a feeling of something more that makes us uncertain about reality or life.
Stage Two: Questioning
In stage two the doubts of stage one turn into questions that are meaningful and the first signs of movement into consciousness are experienced. We experience a growing discomfort in our lives and a feeling something is wrong begins as we question mass consciousness and rule, belief, and law reality. Things that were once comforting are no longer satisfying and the normal places no longer provide relief. We will question our identity, but continue to try to prove our worth. We may feel lost or betrayed by life and others. We may blame religion, culture, family, or the world, but still feel powerless. We have not yet realized to take back power, we must first take responsibility.
We search for answers during this time while still holding on to certain beliefs that are limiting. When we challenge these beliefs, fear pulls us back to keep us asleep. In our discomfort with reality, we may experience confusion, anxiety, or even depression. We will just be going through the motions. This is the beginning of our internal programs breaking down. We will begin to understand happiness cannot be found in the outside world, but we are still playing the game. This stage can be full of emotional triggers and possible trauma. We may feel highly vulnerable, but do not yet realize what is coming to the surface will be healed and released. Since the outside world no longer offers satisfaction, the journey inward is about to start.
Stage Three: Introspection
In stage three, we begin a journey of introspection. While stage two found us rebelling against the external world with little success, we now seek answers inside ourselves. We can start to disentangle from the mass consciousness and releasing limiting beliefs. As these beliefs are released, we may experience relief and grief as we grieve the life we never had, but be relieves that we are breaking free from limitations. We will start to realize how asleep we have been and see that others are still asleep. We may try to wake them up, but our attempts will be seen as judgmental. Our eyes will be wide open and others will feel our judgment, possibly getting defensive. We are viewed as different or crazy and will eventually keep our growing awareness to ourselves, rationalizing it is better to be silent than judged. We probably have little hope others will awaken.
We will remain focused on everything that is wrong in our lives, but still resist letting go. The process of letting go is the work of this stage and as we learn to let go, we may make changes like leaving a job or even relationships. We may reject our past identity and try to fully withdraw from society. Our former world model is failing and there may be a growing sense that we are all connected, but feel disconnected. In this stage, you will likely feel lonely and misunderstood. You may question why you started this journey or the point of it. You may consider going back to your old ways, but know it is too late. Issues of worthiness may surface because we want a way to feel worthy. Our desire to fit in and be accepted is slowly drowned out by a desire to be awake and free. In this quest, we may choose to take part in some spiritual practices like meditation and yoga.
In this stage, we may first experience real power, but if the ego claims it, we may have humbling experiences. We may now be able to see the connection between beliefs and a creation of reality. We no longer look outward for happiness, but do not know how to find it within just yet. Peace and freedom may take precedence over happiness. This is usually the longest stage, as well as the most challenging, but it is the most important as well. The stage is marked by resistance and letting go, with fleeting moments of clarity. You are making room for your real self to emerge and integrate. When the ego loses hold, there tends to be a realization that there is no life purpose. This can be liberating, though there is a foreboding sense that awakening will cost you everything, yet offer something greater.
Stage Four: Resolution
Stage four is when a resolution to the true self finally overshadows your false self, or ego self. The struggle from the first three stages ends and a deep peace and knowing settles in about your true self. You no longer need to seek answers. All your beliefs have received an overhaul and those that remain support only peace and harmony, as well as balance. You will have mastered letting go and surrendering to your higher power. You have also learned to access an inner power without ego control with doubts being replaced by faith and trust. Your past and present will make sense as you have forgiven everyone, including yourself. The previous unconscious programming has been replaced with consciousness without emotional or mental prisons. You have taken responsibility for your life and freed yourself and others that were affected by your judgment and expectations. You can allow yourself to be who you are without a need for approval or acceptance.
During stage four, you integrate insights and create a greater understanding of your journey. You may share, but do not feel it necessary. You may feel called to help some others on their journey or become a mentor. It is common to have a spiritual practice like yoga or mindfulness because it feels good, not for another reason. You may also have increased intuition and access to infinite information. The stage itself is marked by living in the moment because you realize there is no purpose to life so love and gratitude can unconditionally flow. You can take stock of yourself and realize you are still you, free from ego-control. Things are no longer necessary to make you happy, though you have no desire to change your life because you have mastered your thoughts. Your higher self has integrated and you can live as your real self. You are awake and fully conscious.
Stage Five: Conscious Creation
Stage five is the ability to consciously create one’s life through an awake state. Many people get to stage four and believe it is the final state of awakening, but it is a bridge to something greater. In this final stage, your deepen stage four attributes and step into your power as a conscious creator. There is no pre-ordained purpose, you now understand you can consciously choose your purpose because that is the actual point. Work and play merge and you find fulfillment in both. Nothing is done out of obligation, but you are guided through inspiration. You will experience a connection to all of life and it inspires you to create. In this stage, you have the ability to attract relationships and form communities for the betterment of humanity.
No matter where you happen to be on your awakening journey, you are where you need to be at this moment.