Awakening is most commonly first a vague sense that there is a YOU in the background behind your thoughts. It can happen suddenly and profoundly, or be sparked by a momentary 'spiritual' experience.
Before the first glimpse of the Awakening process we do not even know that we are asleep. Just as in a dream we do not know we are dreaming and just go with dream, the same is true before Awakening - we are going through the motions of life.
When we are getting closer to Awakening we start to feel unfulfilled or uneasy about commonly held beliefs and perceived wisdom.
We start to wonder: Is this all there is? But because we are totally immersed in ‘living our life’, we are not yet compelled to explore beyond our immediate wants and needs. Achieving goals and success, maintaining our lifestyle are what matters most.
Unconscious programming runs us, so we live in a rigid model of the world according to our specific beliefs, conditioning, culture and society.
In this 'normal' state of consciousness there is a great desire to fit in and be accepted.
We tend to ignore intuition and focus on what can be proven, is known to be fact, or science can prove.
We do things we hope will bring us approval or help us be included in our desired community, family, culture, business, religion, etc. Self-worth is attached to identity, the roles we play, what we own and how we are viewed in the eyes of others.
Our ego – our sense of self - mostly runs the show, so we have little awareness that there is anything more to who we are.
Happiness is based on externals so in order to feel happy we try to control our reality, other people, places and experiences.
Our beliefs, thoughts and emotions determine our actions and reactions, but this is beginning to change. The pull toward Awakening is strengthening and our inner doubts about the ‘rightness’ of our lives is growing. We increasingly feel disturbed by the inequalities and suffering we see in the world.
Very commonly during this period we join groups, and support causes that are trying to do good and right wrongs.
We will have a tentative look at esoteric and spiritual teachings, but this will be approached with scepticism and some resistance.
It may be quite a while before life comes along with situations that force us to look more deeply within.