More and more people are asking themselves this question and thankfully western culture is becoming better equipped with some answers. Spiritual awaking can be a glamorous term but the reality is that an awakening can be life altering and chaotic. When that happens it is called a spiritual emergency. There are many things that can trigger a spiritual emergency:
1.) Societal pressures: When people have been living their lives for the perception of others, their true selves lies hidden. Trying to fit the mold of society can limit the souls journey and an awakening is the emergence of the truth of a person. A shattering of limiting beliefs and the realization that there is more to what is seen can stimulate a change of perception of the world that leads to a shrugging off of the old and stepping into a new vision.
2.) Is there more to life? When you start asking the bigger questions and wanting to know more about your existence, your purpose, your place in the cosmic view of things you make be at a juncture of a spiritual awakening. Twelve astronauts have spoken of their shift in how they see themselves in the world after trips to space. This is called the overview effect. They have spoken about the awe they have and the transcendence into an understanding of connectedness. Here is a video about this phenomenon.
3.) Depression: Many times depression can be precipitated by not living your true existence. The soul weeps that you have lost touch with the recognition of the purpose of being here.
4.) Trauma: Many spiritual emergencies occur after a near death experience, death of a loved one or a very fearful incident.
5.) Childbirth: Many women will realize that bigger picture after giving birth. The act of what occurs brings to light the feeling of miracles and phenomena and a total unity and oneness with another human being.
6.) Intensive spiritual practice. Many of the great world wisdoms have known of the possibilites of enlightenment. Asian cultures have always explored the bigger picture and the importance of an inner perception. Meditation, yoga and other practices can be a foundation for the feeling of connectivity to the universe.
7.) Repressed emotions: The emotional load has limits and there is a fragile turning point when we do not manage emotion well, storing them until a danger zone. The psyche will reach a limit and explodes when the reality of our lives is revealed through an awakening.
When an awakening sinks in there is a vast list of symptoms. People talk of a unity consciousness and a blissful existence where they may feel unconditional love for the first time in their lives. They often describe themselves disintegrating and becoming whole with a universal energy. There is also a sense of knowing, receiving information from the external world without even asking for it, a ripening of intuition. Many will hear voices, channel messages and receive psychic abilities. The sensitivities of smell, noise and others energies and emotions can play havoc with someone in a spiritual emergency.
There are also physical changes as the energy begins to emerge and rise within the sacrum of the body and spreads throughout the body. There can be a sensation that you have been plugged in and cannot unplug yourself from intense energy. This can even be painful as an overload on the nervous system. Another symptom can be amazing synchronicities and the ability to see past lives. You may also have the experience of being out of your body astral traveling at night or even during the day.
For many these spiritual experiences are manageable and do not effect your life, for others they can be very overwhelming and destabilizing. When there is not a framework for understanding and when the experiences are not validated it can be very chaotic and disturbing. Friends and family may find it very difficult to understand and to help and many end up in the mental health field where there is little to no support for these types of events.