Many people use the terms spiritual awakening and spiritual enlightenment interchangeably, but there’s actually a huge difference between the two. This often creates a lot of unnecessary confusion among spiritual seekers, and in this episode, I’d like to clear this confusion completely.
The confusion arises because even the two definitions in themselves are not clear. You hear various people saying that they’re woke, enlightened or realized, and you can’t be sure what exactly they’re referring to. The truth is that there are several stages of spiritual awakening and even of spiritual enlightenment, and I created videos about both of those.
You can think of it like the belt system in martial arts. A beginner in karate is always wearing a white belt, and as he advances forward, the color of the belt is gradually becoming darker. First it’s yellow, then green, afterwards brown, and finally he acquires the black belt after many years of training and discipline.
The stages of spiritual awakening is similar to this process. It’s a learning phase that often lasts for many years, and it’s good if you have a Master who guides you to becoming a Master yourself. But when that finally happens, life doesn’t stop. Although you should indeed celebrate the victory for a while, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels for too long.
Like they say in Zen: before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. Acquiring the black belt in this analogy is equal to achieving spiritual enlightenment, while chopping wood and carrying water means living an ordinary life.
After you’ve become a black-belt karate master, you don’t just retire from the dojo, do you? No, you keep evolving, keep learning, keep going. Perhaps you can now start teaching others, or preparing them for competition, or help organizing events. But you still take part in the activities, now perhaps more than ever. The teacher who stops learning is a failed student.
Perhaps you don’t know, but the black belt also has 10 degrees called dan in Japanese. When you first get it, you are only a first dan Master, and there are 9 more to go. This is the same with the spiritual journey: although you become a Master when you get enlightened, your learning is far from over. But the colors of the belts are not changing any more, because the underlying state of consciousness is the same, and can never be taken away from you.
Let me give you another example to really grasp the difference between the two concepts. Before you started your path, you were unconscious, spiritually asleep. You may had nice dreams, you may had nightmares, or you may had been in deep sleep, in blissful ignorance. Most people actually sleep through their lives, dying totally unconsciously and not even know about it.
But for you, something along the way disturbed your sleep. Perhaps your dream brought too much suffering, or a spiritual teacher told you something that alarmed you, or something simply didn’t feel right. The process of spiritual awakening started at that moment, but it doesn’t mean that you are already awake.
Just like when you wake up from a long sleep in the morning, the spiritual journey takes time and often much effort. Oftentimes you dread waking up, and even if the alarm clock blares, you hit the snooze button. You are in a limbo between being asleep and fully awake, and while reality is already pulling you towards itself, your dreams still have a hold on you.
In conclusion, awakening is gradual, while enlightenment is sudden. Opening your eyes takes only one moment, but reaching the right mental and physical state when that happens by itself can be a long journey. And when you’re totally awake, you can truly start living and stop dreaming and suffering.
In this free report, I’ll reveal my number one secret to spiritual enlightenment that almost nobody else speaks about. Download it now below, to find out what it is! I can guarantee you, you’ll be surprised!