Spiritual “awakening” is uncomfortable. No. I take that back. Spiritual “awakening” is PAINFUL!

While most of us engage in spiritual discussions and religion-inspired spiritual debates, we all also know that true “spiritual awakening” doesn’t come from reading and interacting with others or participating in “greater good” activities.

What I didn’t know was that spiritual awakening comes from going through a life-changing event – a loss of a relationship, a job loss, health issues, or a financial loss, etc.

I learned this first hand a few years ago when a life-changing event happened to me. Thankfully it wasn’t anything tragic. But it was devastating. It shook me to the core. I felt raw, vulnerable, unable to understand why it had happened. “Why me?” was all I could think.

This “crisis”, if I may call it that, involved my entire being – physical, emotional, and mental. And therefore it was mistaken as an emotional crisis. Most of my loved ones thought that I was suffering from depression.

I couldn’t blame them for thinking that. I went through an emotional period in which I spent a lot of time being angry, frustrated and engaging in bouts of crying. I lost interest in meeting friends and family. I lost interest in work – me, the super-type-A who thrived on implementing new ideas!

I withdrew into a shell. Even my home was too large for me. I preferred spending time in my room, with my door closed.

Basically I went through the same emotions that a grief-stricken person may go through. Cause I was grieving too.

At that time, my spiritual advisor forced me to look inwards. He told me that I had a choice on how to deal with the life-changing event – either I could take advantage of the opportunity to “awaken” myself spiritually or not.

I chose to awaken!

His advice was simple – cut away ties, trim the fat (as in friends, family, possessions, attachments), and find solace in solitude. He told me to “use the solitude to connect with God and the Universe around you.”

And so that’s just what I did.

I examined my beliefs, my value systems, and my relationships. I questioned my entire existence – from my lifestyle and financial goals to all the activities I was engaged in and all the relationships I had. I searched for the “meaning of life.” And of course I questioned the reason for the loss I had experienced. “Why me?” was a constant question I asked myself. And the Universe.

I also spent hours alone. And during that solitude, I engaged in simple breathing exercises, listening to Wayne Dwyer, chanting mantras, and reading Krishna’s teachings. I also spent numerous hours at the local temple.

Daily, I also spoke with my spiritual advisor trying to understand the meaning of all that I was experiencing.

And I learned to move forward – putting the loss, the anger, the grief behind. I created a new lifestyle that was more in line with who I was becoming. I eliminated those activities and relationships that were simply “fillers”. I cut myself off from the world I knew so that I could connect to the Universe I didn’t know but wanted to.

I stopped watching or reading the news in the morning – why start my day out with information that was sure to dampen my spirits?

I withdrew from all online activities – deactivated Facebook and stopped tweeting. I also declined most social invitations.

And every free minute was spent chanting mantras that I had learned during this season of spiritual growth.

Now it is three years later. I’ve found my center. I’ve found inner peace. I’m content. I’m in tune with the Universe.

Sure, I still talk more than I should. But it’s less than I used to. I still feel strongly about many things in life. But just not enough to engage in debate with others over it! I am back on Facebook but I use it for my own purposes. I accept those invitations that I feel good about and decline the rest.

I’ll be honest. It’s not always easy. And I’m not always successful in curbing my tongue. But I’m better than I used to be and I continue to work hard at it.

My biggest learning from this season of awakening is that God wants us to get away from the noise – all the opinions and the arguments and the dissenting thoughts that create unnecessary ruckus, negative vibes and negative energy which prevent us from progress.

I learned that God was waiting for me in the quiet. All I had to do was shut up and listen!

Ahh! Solitude! I welcome thee. Now, I can finally hear God!

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