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Spiritual awakening in practical terms

February 19, 2021 by Noah

or: 6 tangible ways that my personality suddenly shifted in 2018.

When people hear the words "spiritual awakening" they think of woo-woo magical things like Buddhism and enlightenment. But really a spiritual awakening can be explained in practical, ordinary terms as a moment in your life where you suddenly get a new outlook on the world.

In a spiritual awakening, you may suddenly realize that life is inherently meaningless, but that this is somehow a very freeing insight because it means you can create your own meaning. You don't have to be who you're expected to be but are free to be who you want, and you don't care what others think because you're also not even thinking about them. Or maybe a near-death experience, or grappling with your own mortality can trigger an awakening. It's really the same stuff: you'll be gone and all of your accomplishments forgotten, so what really matters in the world, what are we doing?

I had my spiritual awakening in early 2018, and in very practical terms, a lot of things changed in my personality quite suddenly:

  • I stopped judging others. We're all just humans and we have our strengths and weaknesses and none of us is objectively better than the rest of us. Live and let live. We're all just silly hairless apes trying to figure it all out.
  • I don't take myself so seriously anymore. This I think comes generally with age, you pick your battles more carefully and don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff.
  • I no longer look anxiously toward the future. It isn't here yet, and when it does get here, I'll be able to handle it. I've handled everything else in life so far.
  • I don't dwell too much and regret my past. I'm always free to change my habits and pick up a new hobby. The past doesn't drive me; it all starts now.
  • I'm very slow to anger. I may not control what happens to me, but I am in control of my emotions, and my emotions can quite figuratively be the difference between heaven or hell on earth when I see it all through the lens I choose.
  • I consciously live my life now. Almost everything in life requires consent, and I stopped saying yes all the time and getting myself into life situations I didn't desire. And yes, that also means I'm free to consciously choose to waste some time with videogames once in a while, because time enjoyed is not time wasted.

But a BIG one is that I feel free to just not take the whole Human Game too seriously. What's the Human Game? It's all of the traditions and social norms we humans have come up with. The life plan of birth, marriage, kids, retirement; gender norms; the "9 to 5" work week; the scourge of social media on society; basically everything we do to distract ourselves from the fact that nobody knows what the fuck is going on or why the universe even exists at all.

It's all optional. You don't need any of it. You play along with the game because you find it fun for now. But it's just a ride. Some choose to go sit on top of a mountain for the rest of their days.

Since 2018 I've been more consciously choosing which parts of the game I play, and not worrying about the rest of it. I've been "de-googling" and don't, or can't, use many popular social networks or messaging apps. Not as many people can message me anymore, but that's just fine for me as an introvert. I can only manage so many relationships anyway, and the people who put in the effort to keep in touch are the ones worth keeping around.

Having 500 friends on Facebook never meant I had 500 friends.

But what is it like?

Now, when somebody goes through a spiritual awakening, a common side effect is that they get some crazy thoughts in their head. They may then go down rabbit holes of woo-woo magical nonsense, which all suddenly takes on a lot more meaning, in search of answers, but I think there are no answers. Just people who've experienced something ineffable that escapes language, and they came up with lots of symbols and stories to try and communicate the feeling. None of it makes any sense until it does.

I can't describe what it feels like, just the practical effects it had on me in real life. And I'm not really out to 'convert' anybody, either, as I know that everybody is already where they need to be right now and everybody wakes up at their own pace. Maybe your spirit wants to experience what it's like to be you for a while before you can wake up and take the wheel. There's no words anybody could write that would 'pop your bubble', and when people try, that's how you get religions and spiritual woo-woo nonsense.

So be nice, have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff.

And it's all small stuff.

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Test emails posted on February 23, 2021 @ 06:13 UTC

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Noah (@kirsle) posted on February 23, 2021 @ 06:14 UTC

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