What’s The Key to Having a Spiritual Awakening?

Dr. Davis is the author of The Heart of Healing, Monastery without Walls ~ Daily Life in the Silence, My Little Flowers, Simple Peace ~ The Inner Life of St Francis of Assisi, and The Calling of Joy. His latest book is The Love Letters of St. Francis & St. Clare. Bruce is a regular contributor to Huffington Post. A graduate of Saybrook University, Dr. Davis is a spiritual psychologist and teacher of the essence of world religions. He has taught at JFK University in Pleasant Hill, California, and many spiritual centers in the United States, Germany, and Switzerland. To learn more about him and his teaching, visit his website at Silent Stay Retreat Center.

There are many paths to a spiritual awakening. Near death experiences are in the news and on many bookshelves. People are finding other realms with spiritual teachers, drugs, in nature, with music, drumming, dance, or chanting. Others find an experience of their own divinity in extreme sports, life crises, or in the course of losing a loved one. People can find awakening while gardening, parenting, and caring for the less fortunate. People report experiences of spiritual awakening in dreams, meditation, heart-full prayer, or simply just being very present in the moment. There seem to be many avenues to a spiritual awakening but they all have one thing in common.

What is common to all spiritual awakening is that when we get out of our normal mental world, our awareness finds something greater. At the time we think it is the near death experience, drug, extreme sport, music, nature, or sudden life crises that is the cause of our awakening. But with further exploration we begin to understand it is when our awareness is set free of the routine busy-ness, when we drop the mental baggage we are carrying, we discover another part of ourselves. All the different paths towards a spiritual awakening seem to suggest it is not the activity itself or what we do that counts. It is what is happening within us, which is important. The particular path towards spiritual awakening is an impulse to something very deep and integral to our essential self, our higher self, to God inside of us.

Indeed each spiritual awakening has many common details no matter what stimulated the experience. We find a very present love or light, which is more real then real. Beyond words, this love or light is not observed, thought about, or imagined but is literal, directly present. In these moments our awareness is the light. We are the love. It is who we really are. There is an ever-growing vastness, a borderless experience beyond our mind, beyond our body, seemingly spreading forever. In this expansive realm there is only heart that is mysteriously deep inside our heart. And this heart lives forever. Eternity is very real. The spiritual awakening is an experience of our infinite being. There is literally a home for each of us that we recognize and return to.

Many who have these experiences don’t really want to talk about it. We hide the experience from our selves and others. Not wanting to receive what is really happening, not wanting to sound different in a world that might judge us, many experiences of spiritual awakening sit within people for years yet never go away. A spiritual awakening is too real to put aside, forget, and move on from. It is always a part of us.

No matter how we arrive at the spiritual awakening we feel changed. Our personality, likes and dislikes, our personal story, our material needs, everything is seen differently. There is something more. Our spiritual awakening has given us a glimpse into another realm into another world. Who am I?

With this glimpse into something so freeing from life’s challenges, we naturally want to experience more. We want to live in the awakening. We want to be this love, this light. We want to return to this incredible peace. But despite our experience being so significant, our old personality, habits, daily story stand between us and the embodiment of this awake state. Our personality, and all its wishes to be comfortable and in control, resumes trying to direct our lives. We yearn for being home again in the vastness while finding ourselves living with the same old home, with the same old furniture, with the same old dishes and floor needing a good cleaning.

What all the different paths toward an awakening experience have in common is that when our normal mental life is turned off or down, the awareness of the heart of life is dramatically much higher. People who have a near death experience literally have their mental life turned off. Maybe this is why their awakening experience is often so totally vivid, so other worldly, and life changing. In all experiences of awakening another part of us comes forward. In the awakening experience life itself is brilliantly present. In this moment we know that life continues beyond the body. There is no thought or feeling to the contrary. In fact when we are in the awakening experience there are no thoughts, no feelings, as the experience itself fills our awareness, completely. There is nothing else.

Many people who have experiences of spiritual awakening after coming back into their life story feel as if they are two people. There is the everyday life and there is the spiritual awakening. The two realities feel so far apart, separate. We don’t realize the key to being one person is becoming free of our overly mental world, which has resulted in our sacrificing our hearts. Constant thoughts are a barrier that stands between us and the light of pure awareness. Our mental life filters the pure love in our heart down to little or no love.

We are not two people. There is only one awareness. As we embrace our spiritual awakening, as we absorb life’s beauty, we are the love. We lessen our mental baggage as we practice letting go of what is not important and absorbing our pure heart in meditation and the heart of others in daily life. We do not wait for the greater realms, give up, or just struggle. We can practice drinking the heart of life in all that we do, in all we meet, and most important from within ourselves. Our spiritual awakening continues. The rocks, boulders, obstacles of all kinds move aside as the awakening grows. We are called to absorb our awakening by receiving the pure presence in our heart. We are letting go, enjoying the divinity in our human journey.

Follow Bruce on Twitter: .

The Trauma/Transcendence Interface: The Convergence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Transcendent Experiences

We’re excited to feature this month’s audio presentation by Audrey Lehmann, PhD, from the 2012 ACISTE annual conference. In the coming year we look forward to highlighting the work of many of our great conference presenters. This is a great, very low-cost option to deepen your understanding of the psychological and social context in which spiritual experiences often happen, and expand your capacity to respond more skillfully to clients’ treatment needs.

Dr. Lehmann’s study examines the interface between two contrasting states of consciousness: PTSD-related traumatic states and transcendent states of consciousness, called a trauma/transcendence interface. In this study, the trauma/transcendence interface is examined among those for whom it has led to profound psychological growth and spiritual development, i.e. spiritual emergence. It is important to note, however, that difficult, negative, and/or damaging outcomes of a trauma/transcendence interface are relatively common. Such is the subject of further study. In this research, the interface prompted substantial recovery from trauma and was profoundly life-changing for all participants. Click here for more info and to order a download today!

As we continue to grow and expand our program offerings, ACISTE is always in need of more volunteers, research, and memberships. Please contact us at for more information or donate or join us at We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. All donations are tax-deductible. 

Trackback from your site.


If you have had a spiritually transformative experience and would like to connect with other experiencers privately online in a supportive environment, join our Experiencer Forum.

Share videos, photos, chat, connect and learn from other experiencers. Over 433 experiencers participating!


ACISTE has completed the pilot phase for support groups and is gearing up to offer training to facilitators nationwide. If you have had a spiritually transformative experience and would like to either attend or facilitate a group, please send an email to indicating your interest and location in the United States here.