What is everyone actually talking about?
Oh my goodness. You cannot go more than three steps into a book on “spirtuality,” a website on the “New Age,” or even a self-help seminar without hearing about “spiritual awakening,” “ascension,” or “enlightenment.” I have seen some describe “enlightenment” as a process, and others regard it as a state of being, a type of realization, or something to be acquired from somewhere/someone. Some seem to have taken “ascension” quite literally in the physical sense — at some point, our bodies are going to simply float away, to another planet or world.
What is everyone talking about?
In this very brief article, I am going to boldly offer my concise perspective on enlightenment, ascension, and spiritual awakening. Obviously, each could be the subject of a book or a dozen. But I would like readers to know how I use these terms and offer a contemporary perspective, free from historical traditions, ideologies, and various cultural cloaks.
Your inner/outer journey
To begin, I do not see enlightenment, soul ascension, or awakening as having anything to do with “religion,” or even “spirituality.” Unless, of course, you separate spirituality from your life and create a distinct category for those experiences, awareness, and questions that have to do with 1) who you are, 2) why you are here, and 3) what you are going to do with each moment that unfolds before you. At their essence, none of those inquiries need be separated from any aspects of “day to day” life — be it your work, your relationships, your spouse, your home, or any way that you use your time and energy.
What I am emphasizing here is that the soul path (the so-called spiritual aspect of life) is not separate from everything else. Rather, “everything else” is a reflection of that journey. Where there is joy, where there is harmony, where there is power and flow, where there is peace — there is alignment with your Source.
Where those qualities are in absence, there is the opportunity to see the patterns, perspectives, beliefs, or choices that prevent essential flow and awareness. In either case, you are never “outside of” your spiritual path, but rather, your awareness and energy are in-alignment, out-of-alignment, or coming-into-alignment with your deeper purpose and direction. It’s that simple. Where are you right now?
What is enlightenment, then?
So, in a way, that makes “enlightenment” a bit anti-climatic. You never “get there.” It’s all relative. There is no end to en-lighten-ing, that is, evolving your awareness and creative capacity. It is a wondrous eternal project for any being that chooses to embrace it.
My approach to enlightenment comes from the perspective of multi-dimensional energy. Everything that exists is in relationship between energy and awareness. Together, they co-create your reality. Your “un-enlightened” reality. And your “en-lightened” reality.
So let me repeat. A state of awareness exists in relation to frequencies, or levels, of energy. They are inseparable. Depending upon how you approach enlightenment, it can be described as “perceiving” or “being” from a particular frequency or plane of energy. If the frequency is maintained, then the state of awareness is maintained. If the vibration decreases, the awareness appears “lost.” People tend to go up and down in their dominant vibratory state, and thus, awareness.
Therefore, the experience of realization, and loss of realization, reflects a shift in your dominant energetic vibration. You can “pop” up and suddenly see clearly. Then, seconds or days or months later, you slide back into your (lower) vibrational patterns of perceptions and choices. And so the clarity, the bliss, the wonder, and the expansiveness is apparently lost. But not really. It does not “go” anywhere. It is always there. You just are not tuned into it. It is like choosing a radio station. When you are listening to one radio station, all of the others still exist even though you don’t hear them. They have not “disappeared” — you can always adjust the dial.
Enlightenment + Soul Ascension? Either/Or? Both?
To understand the “ascension” process, we can take the “tuning the radio” metaphor a step further. From a particular physical place, certain radio stations are “available”. Likewise, from a particular place of awareness, some frequencies are available and others are not. As you evolve in your awareness, more and more frequencies become available. They appear “new” just as when you suddenly come into range of a radio station that you couldn’t pick up 10 miles ago.
In one respect, reality is a totality — everything exists everywhere all of the time. However, we do not tend to experience everything-everywhere-all-of-the-time. To be both honest and flippant, it’s just not that practical. When you are focused into a physical body, your experience is naturally focused into the most immediate and physical relevant surroundings. Something happening in another galaxy will not help you steam asparagus for dinner.
However, what you are able and willing to perceive, in a given moment, should not be confused with what is possible to perceive. In actuality, there’s a vastness out there, if you are willing to train your mind, elevate your energy, and open yourself to worlds beyond your imagination.
That vastness of experience can be understood, energetically speaking, in terms of a multi-dimensional reality. In short form, energy organizes itself into bands of frequencies, like layers in a cake. Inside that band of frequencies is a distinct “world.” Like a chocolate icing world and a sponge cake world. Very different. The farther apart the layers (vibrations), the more different those worlds are. This results from what I discussed earlier: awareness reflects energy. If the energy is very different, then the awareness, and hence reality that is created, is very different. Just consider how different your life and world “feel” if you are angry or at peace.
Ascension is the process of elevating your energy and awareness into new worlds of perception, experience, and creation. Going from one layer to the next, so to speak. You can ascend within a dimensional reality (energy plane or “world”) as well as between dimensions. The latter is what most people probably mean or expect when they talk about “ascension,” but the process and outcome are similar. You elevate your energy, awaken your awareness, and experience a new world. That new world is both what you experience (inside), and the reality that you share with others.
When you perceive from the viewpoint of energy and awareness, “enlightenment” and “soul ascension” are not distinct. In particular spiritual or religious systems, a pre-designated plane of energy/awareness might “qualify” as “enlightenment,” but it is not an end point. From one perspective, it is yet another beginning of realization of the next possibility, or the next world of awareness.
What is the experience of “spiritual awakening”?
The process of elevating your energy into the higher dimensions — so-called “ascension” — is the continual process of increasing and sustaining higher and higher frequencies of energy (in your energy system, physical body, mental body). It is a process and practice for most people, just like training for a marathon. When you start, it takes effort to run five miles. Then five miles is easy and 10 miles is the challenge point. And so on. Every time you raise to a higher frequency, the path is extended and deepened a bit more. It’s like the prow of a boat breaking through a wave — now the rest of vessel can follow.
One of the most amazing — and to some, challenging — aspects of the soul ascension process is that you cannot see the next step until you are there. Each new “place” of awareness is a new vantage point of understanding, feeling, realization, and creation. This new vantage point is marked by the “awakening” experience — suddenly you see, feel, or experience something that you never did before. With open eyes, the previous moment (or years) seems distant and unreal in a way.
To make the “awakening” experience more concrete, it is much like the revelation that comes during a burst of creativity. You suddenly see your project or creation in a totally new way. Everything that led you to that point doesn’t matter anymore. You go forward with this new idea, insight, or vision. Life is filled with such “awakenings.” I distinguish these “personal” or “creative” awakenings from “spiritual awakening.” Spiritual awakening, in contrast, has quality to it that goes beyond any temporal or physical object or experience. You come into connection with your Source, the eternal Divine, and/or a heart-centered knowing of your true essence.
Spiritual awakening comes forth in many ways. But it is not random or accidental, even though the pathway leading to a moment of awakening is inexplicable or unexpected. As said above, awakening reflects a shift in your awareness. And such shifts are usually “triggered” by an elevation of energetic frequencies in your soul-level energetics. Sometimes it is difficult to explain why a being crosses over a threshold, but many times, it is a direct result of an energetic activation. The “soul activation” turns on the “ignition” of your deeper awareness and your ability to receive particular frequencies of energy and information.
As you experience spiritual awakening, and “ascend” in energy and awareness, you learn and adjust the compass bearing for your journey. I like to call it “next-step spirituality.” When you open into embracing what is beyond your imagination, then you give up, to a large extent, the strategy or road-map that got you to that step. Because more is now possible than every before. Why would you limit yourself with an outdated map? It is like looking in the rear view mirror at the highway exit that you just passed to decide where to pull off for dinner in 30 minutes. Not much help.
The en-lightening or soul ascension process keeps you looking, paradoxically, simultaneously into the present and future. If not, then you stagnate, thrash, and generally become frustrated and stuck. Those sorts of experiences are not really “problems” or “tests.” They aren’t much other than an outdated guidance system that is failing to take you to the next step. But that’s a subject for another article …
The briefest “how-to” ascend and en-lighten yourself suggestion
So how do you approach the process of enlightenment, ascension, and spiritual awakening?
Here’s my three-paragraph, soaring bird’s eye view on bringing the fullness of your life into your soul’s journey.
I suggest balancing your practice and intention between 1) reaching for new awareness, and 2) sustaining or integrating an increasingly higher dominant energy frequency in ALL that you perceive, think, and do. There is no end to en-lighten-ing, that is, evolving your frequency and awareness. As I said at the beginning, it is a wondrous eternal project for any being that chooses to embrace it. The question is whether and how you embrace it. There are endless possibilities of how to create your soul’s journey and path, depending upon your your preferences, intentions, and where you are at this moment.
I see some people go through their ascension process with lots of resistance — holding onto energies, beliefs, and patterns — and they work out the resolution of those with a good bit of drama and difficulty. Others do it with reflection and keep the process more within themselves. Neither is inherently better or worse, except to the extent that you experience the effects of dramatic energy releases and shifts (yours or others).
In many ways, the “how” and approach to enlightenment and soul ascension is a question of personal (soul) style. I’ve seen two skiers, one with great muscle, power, and effort charge down a slope. Right beside is another skier, far less physically robust, who whips over the snow with a clean edge, skill, and effortless grace. Both get to the bottom of the hill at about the same time. One is pumped up and sweaty, the other is nonchalant and looking for where to eat his lunch. As I said, same destination, just a question of preference in your “style” of how to get there.
Many blessings, and enjoy the amazing journey.