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As a teen, I heard the story about Buddha and his journey towards enlightenment. When I heard it, I envisioned this profound and instantly understood transition that much take place when we were amid a spiritual awakening.

However, as it turns out, spiritual awakening is much different than I ever envisioned it. First and foremost, awakening doesn’t happen overnight, or all at once. It’s a gradual and neverending process, rather than a final destination. But, those who are in the midst of their spiritual awakening journey are different than those who have never begun.

And many of the signs of awakening are often misunderstood or even overlooked. Below, I have listed the behaviors people don’t realize they portray because they are spiritually awake.

1. You are becoming more conscious.

Consciousness is awareness, and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to stay conscious in the present moment. That may sound odd, but distractions and escapes are all around us. Not only are they all around us, but to pull away from those escapes and sit in the quiet is something that will get you some strange looks from friends and family. However, true consciousness and mindfulness of the present moment are so necessary.

2. You can slow down and reflect.

Taking time to slow down and reflect on the moment at hand is extremely important. A lot of people try to avoid reflection, but the more we move towards the process of spiritual growth and awakening, the more prone we become to taking the time for our personal growth.

3. You are reacting differently to situations that once would have caused an intense reaction.

One of the most profound moments of growth is when you don’t react to a situation that you once would have reacted to impulsively and in the wrong way. For example, when someone says something offhanded- a knee-jerk reaction might be to start yelling at them or call them out. While that might make you feel good at the moment, it might also only add more negativity to the situation. Being able to walk away is likely a better option.

4. You are questioning everything.

A lot of times in life, we get so caught up in everything going on, that we forget to question things, and instead, blindly accept them. But, when you break free of this pattern and begin to question things that you once would have accepted at face value, it is life-changing and a sign that you are awakening.

5. You want to change the world.

Those who are becoming spiritually awakened begin to realize how fundamentally flawed things are in the world. And not only do they realize it- they want to do whatever they can to change it.

6. You stop minding time alone.

Some people would avoid sitting with themselves at all costs. Being alone is often thought of as one of the worst things that can happen. But is it? No, not really. Time alone is beneficial for reflection, and critical thinking. It’s necessary to allow us time to recoup. And once you get used to it or begin a spiritual journey, you will mind it less and less.

7. You are open-minded.

A lot of us spend our lives closed into a little box. But, when you begin shifting your awareness and thinking of things outside of that little box- a whole new world begins to open up to you. Spiritual awakening is much like this, and when we begin to awaken, our mind opens up.

8. When asked, you give great advice.

Those who are awakening give the best advice. A key difference is that those who are spiritually awakening don’t go around telling everyone how to lead their lives. They wait to be asked and if they are asked for advice, they willingly and kindly give it.

9. You are seeking deeper meaning.

A typical day-to-day life with little meaning might be okay for a while, but once you cross over towards an awakened life, you will begin to want more. This journey to find more, to be more, and to become more will become your new pursuit upon embarking on a spiritual journey.