Why is Spiritual Awakening So Hard? How to Integrate

Did you expect your spiritual awakening to be difficult?

Spiritual awakening is a destructive process. You are now confronting your previous self and having to see the cold harsh reality. Instead of looking away, you must turn inwards to find relief.

This stage of your spiritual awakening is setting the path for the rest of your journey. You have many thoughts, beliefs and identifications that you must sort through. This time in your journey is about finding truth. It’s the ultimate letting go of your former self and realizing who and what you really are.

Why Spiritual Awakening is Difficult

jumping off a spiritual cliff

The core definition of spiritual awakening is “letting go”.

Imagine you’re on a cliff, you’re thinking about jumping off but you’re scared. All of your friends jumped, they all came out safely. Yet you’re still scared.

Your body is telling you not to move, paralyzed in fear. Your friend comes up behind you and pushes you off.

You land safely in the water.

Awakening is just like this. Sometimes we are not ready for what the universe is about to show us. We awaken into a new world suddenly without any idea how to process this experience.

Most don’t awaken fully. We find that separation in our minds for just a split second, and that is enough if we are brave enough to move forward.

It’s easier to go back to living in an egoic state. It’s easier to not give up things that you thought you once loved. It’s hard to continue ripping open the small opening in the void and finding out the true reality of nature itself.

But it doesn’t matter, what is done is done.

You can fight it, but you’re fighting a losing battle.

Most of everything you once loved will be taken away from you.

You will lose friends, you will lose relationships, you will lose hobbies, you might even decide to quit your job.

This process is extremely painful.

No One is Ready

It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t woken up what it’s like on the other side.

Awakening is like riding a roller coaster, you just have to ride one yourself to understand what the experience is like.

I wasn’t ready when I awoke. I had a sudden awakening that came right before college. Was I ready then?

Hell no. That ruined my college experience. Instead of going out with friends, I was sitting alone in my room trying to process the sheer insanity of spiritual awakening and what it all means.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way. That integration period is necessary so that you can move forward. You are holding beliefs about yourself and the world that must be tested. You’ll have to go through them one by one until you strip away every layer of your being.

Until there’s nothing left.

That’s what awakening is. It’s the stripping away of everything. Awakening cuts to the core of humanity. It’s painful looking back and realizing you aren’t the same person you were before you had awoken.

Almost everyone wears a mask. Awakening rips away your egoic thoughts/desires and throws away any sort of mask you tried to hide behind.

A bit scary, right?

But imagine what it’s like living without a mask. Never having to second guess who you are and what life is about.

The pain is worth the years of enjoyment to come.

Staying On the Path

The farther you are on your journey, the harder it is to strafe off the path.

Now, what do I mean by this?

Adyashanti once said something along the lines of “The farther you are on your path, the higher the stakes”

We don’t get the option to hurt, lie, cheat or steal. Our spiritual awakening doesn’t get the option to live a life that is a lie. We don’t get to give into our egoic desires.

The farther we are in the journey, the more in line with our soul we must become. This can be difficult coping with because it might conflict with who we think ourselves to be and we must begin letting go of that idea.

I had a great attachment to money. It was never enough. I wasn’t happy, and I couldn’t find the joy in the present. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating, I felt on top of the world yet at the lowest low at the same time.

My body was rejecting my entire experience. Over time I had most of my wealth ripped away from me.

I’m not blaming anyone other than myself for my own actions, but how ironic is it that my biggest fear came true?

I had to realize, in every moment there is something deeper. We cannot look outside of our experiences for any sort of fulfillment.

There is always the option to accept our present reality. This is why it can be so difficult.

I didn’t accept that my purpose on this planet was to help others and give back. My ego didn’t want to live a life for others. I just wanted more.

More turned into less over time and I finally gave into what I knew to be the truth for so long.

I was closeted about my spirituality, about my ability to help others.

We must ACCEPT the present rather than deny. Imagine how many people are living lives they aren’t in line with?

How many people stay in a relationship out of fear?

Countless people work a job they don’t want to because they’re afraid they might fail in their dreams?

How many people are addicted to substances out of fear of reality itself?

How to Deal With Your Spiritual Awakening

The way we deal with this is simple, yet difficult to execute.

We just let go.

Our journey is going to be nothing but this.

People we love will die as we get older. Family, spouses, children.

We will die, there is no way of getting around that. As bleak as it may sound, this is the key to peace of mind. This is the key to life and awakening itself.

I can type the words fairly easily, but practicing it, in reality, takes patience. Often life doesn’t wait for us to let go, it forces us to let go. It pushes us off the cliff if we are ready or not.

I lost plenty of friends along the way. My family thought I was going mentally insane. I had no one to talk to.

I was so lonely.

I was scared and felt like a child. Depressed and angry. I felt as if there was just a cloud hanging over me at all times. This lasted for what must have been a few years.

Even 10 years later I still have to deal with letting go. And by letting go I mean REALLY LETTING GO.

Letting go is not just a thought. It’s not an action. It is the feeling itself. The feeling knowing that this too shall pass.

We get two options in our lives. We can harbor all the pain, all the rage, all the destruction inside of us OR we understand that our attachments cause us suffering and it’s time to let go of it all.

Just. Let. Go.

Sometimes we bang our heads against a steel wall when we just had to jump through the window.

When we awaken, we must come face to face with everything that has conditioned us throughout our lifetimes. This can be brutal if you lived a difficult life. Having to face all of your previous traumas, internal conflicts, and your beliefs. The idea in itself is a bit daunting but doing it, in reality, is a different story.

You can’t expect to work through this in one day.

It could be months, it could be years for some.

Go easy on yourself, realize that you have time. Realize that this too shall pass.

Understand you aren’t alone, the universe is with us at all times. We are being shown what we need to be shown in the present moment.

As hard as it may be, we must face the void. We have to have the courage to stand up inside us and face our biggest fears, our biggest regrets, our biggest failures.

Our duty is to meditate and inquire, we cannot hide behind a computer screen watching netflix.

We have to be thoughtful, we have to be kind.

Things will get better. If you’re reading this and you’re going through a particularly hard time on your spiritual journey, realize that this is the biggest gift you can receive.


Without learning how to let go, we wouldn’t wake up to what reality is. If we didn’t get pushed off that cliff, we would have never jumped in.

Spiritual awakening isn’t about you, it’s only the realization of the totality in true nature. Spiritual awakening is a difficult process that can sometimes take years to resolve until life feels a bit more “normal. If you require assistance, you can personally message me any inquiry you have and I will attempt to help you along your journey.

If I had to tell you one thing, it’s that it won’t be hard forever. The reason why spiritual awakening can be so difficult is that it literally is the destruction of everything you thought you once knew. While it does sound a bit harmful, the end result of awakening is anything but.

There is a whole new world waiting to be explored. Don’t get stuck, continue looking inward, you have all the answers inside of you.

A good mentor who I truly believe in is Adyashanti. You can check out his Youtube channel here.

About Roy Cohen

Hi there! I'm the founder of Claiming Clarity. My passion in life is helping people live better. If you'd like to learn more, check out the about page.

6 thoughts on “Why is Spiritual Awakening So Hard? How to Integrate”

  1. Hi Roy,

    Thank you for this article, so beautifully written.

    I have been practicing, reading and meditating for years. I once had the experience of complete mind stillness and a couple times of that deep peace or just experiencing life without looking at it. Often after a silent retreat, or during. But it always left. I find it so difficult to accept reality and I honestly I am not sure what exactly I am asking for, but I really want to let go of everything, but it is so scary and difficult.. why can’t I do it ?

    Thank you & I hope to hear from you soon

    • Hey Niya,

      Thank you so much for commenting, it means a lot to me in these difficult times :).

      “I find it so difficult to accept reality and I honestly I am not sure what exactly I am asking for, but I really want to let go of everything, but it is so scary and difficult.. why can’t I do it ?”

      I would begin by investigating “who” it is that wants to let go? What are you holding on to, exactly?

      Question these thoughts as they come up. I’ve found that in my own life, I’ve had to let life progress to let go. I had years of turmoil that I couldn’t digest for the life of me. The only thing that healed it was time, and that’s part of accepting the present moment. Instead of trying to chase the deep peace that you mentioned, why not accept the moment, as it is, right now?

      That’s what true peace is. It isn’t a feeling of goodness or happiness, it’s being ok with what’s in front of you. And that can be the most difficult thing in the world, I understand.

      I suggest taking a lighter approach to the situation and not try to pressure yourself. You’ll not get anywhere trying to find what’s already before us.

  2. Hi Roy
    I’m 50 and I’m just going through this now. Like you I have obsessed over money for many years and now through my own actions it is mostly gone. Sometimes I think that the deeper part of me did this so it could wake me up, but maybe that’s crazy.

    Part of me is feeling terrified, shamed and worthless and part of me feels like this is the best thing ever. I wake up some days so happy and others almost suicidal. I feel like I’m going crazy. However in the peaceful times do now feel like I am awakening. I really don’t understand anything at this point. I feel so lost. I cannot see how my life can recover. I look for comfort in my life but there isn’t much.

    Any thoughts or guidance you can give would be most appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hey Scott,

      Before we proceed, I’d like to urge you that if you ever have any fear that you might hurt yourself that you should ask for help. I know how weird these situations can be, but we are never alone, even if we think we are.

      Regarding the other part of your message.. that’s part of life. I didn’t mention it in my blog post, but my mother and father both had their lives shaken up at around your age. They both lost their high-paying jobs and now work for much less, but I would say they are both much happier and better human beings. I’m not sure it was a “spiritual awakening” as described on this blog, but they for sure had to learn their own lessons about life.

      I always think about how I never stop learning, even almost a decade after waking up. I still have issues that I deal with daily, my life isn’t perfect. That’s the picture I try to paint for everyone and hope people can see. Awakenings aren’t perfect and for 99% of people, you still have work to do after the fact. What I would recommend is letting yourself integrate into your new experience as much as possible but still take care of your responsibilities.

      Around 3 years ago I lost every penny I had to my name, lost all of my belongings (even the shirt off my back!), and had to start over.. after years of hard work. It was hard as hell.. but I got through it and looking back, it was 100% needed to learn the lessons that I have now. Take a deep breath, ask life what it’s trying to show you, and try to face it as best as possible. Be patient yourself and if you need anything, don’t hesitate to reach out.

  3. Hi Roy,
    I absolutely resonated with everything you’ve written here. the part about letting go is fundamental. my favorite word right now is “surrender.”
    i have been on my awakening journey for over a year now. i began to question reality at a point in my life where I was making the most unhealthy choices for myself mentally, emotionally, & physically. it definitely wasn’t something I was ready for. I started out with meditation daily as a means of coping & suddenly my whole sense of life began to shift very deeply.
    throughout this last year I’ve caught my spiritual ego many times. I actually believed at a point I had reached enlightenment & then was hit with another huge ego death, & realized that was a cover up for not digging farther.
    I desire to dig farther every day, however the more I do, the harder it gets. I’m at a moment where i feel stuck. I wake up & I desire to be sleepy again so I could just go back to sleep because I wake up to a strange reality where I’m not sure what to even do with my day. it’s like I’ve died & gone to an afterlife & there’s nothing here. I don’t want to sit & do nothing because that feels insane but I don’t want to do any of the things I used to love doing, or even work like I know to be financially stable I should be.
    what are your main tips for this particular phase? Is there something I can remind myself every morning to make my day more of a day, & not feel like I’m still asleep & in a weird dream?

    I appreciate you so much.

    • Hey Emily,

      Thank you for stopping by, it means a lot :).

      I wanted to touch upon this sentence “I desire to dig farther every day”. What is it that WANTS to “dig farther every day”? Everything you need is already here, right now. And as your journey continues, you’ll have to make that realization over and over. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting it to be more substantial than it is, but that’s the beauty in all of this, it is SO simple. If we stop expecting any outcome and experience life as it is, it’s eternal beauty.

      If I were you, I would not make any drastic decisions. You’re in a phase where everything seems upside down, but you’re still a human with basic needs that can’t be ignored. I would make sure that you have your monetary needs met and try to spend some time alone, sitting and meditating. Do what feels right.. that’s what’s most important. You may have led a life through your ego and now all a portion of your ego is gone and you’re realizing the past you isn’t you any longer. If that is true, you need some time to sort out what’s true and what isn’t any longer.

      I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself! These phases are natural and happen to almost everyone who has a spiritual awakening. Try not to think too hard on it and be present. I know that’s such a cliche thing to say, but the irony with spiritual stuff is that the harder you try to find it the more difficult it will be to make any substantial realizations. Take a deep breath and tell yourself it’ll all be ok, because it will be :).

      If you need anything, feel free to reach out. Take care!



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