Awakening is a word we use to describe a radical shift change in our consciousness. And it is the key stage - but it is still only the beginning.
Enlightenment is another word that can be used to describe the same process, but is sometimes understood to be a deeper more profound development, post Awakening.
One thing is for sure, Awakening or Enlightenment is not a definitive experience with a clear start or finish. Not that all agree on this.
Some believe that being Awakened, Enlightened or 'Fully Realised' is a definitive state. Some say that The Self, Source, God Consciousness (or one of the many other terms) are a destination one can arrive at. And, yes it is true that there is an abiding state that one settles into that is unchanging, but paradoxically it continues to refine and deepen.
We come to an experience of infinite Oneness, but the definition of infinite is endless, boundless, limitless.
The experience of Awakening is the opening of the door to this endless journey of discovery.
The relative manifest existence carries on and the world and our experience evolves within and as it. The substrata is unknowable.
The mind and ego are still there as aspects of manifest existence and thought or belief happen. The ego can also come in like a thief in the night. Even great spiritual teachers can be influenced by their unseen ego and come to believe they are the embodiment of the divine.
Our programming gradually burns off, pure awareness deepens.
Emotional or mental prisons melt away.
We start to take responsibility for every aspect of our life, no longer blaming anyone or anything.
We lose interest in trying to prove our worth because we have come to know that any such ideas are based on conventional beliefs that we have transcended.
We experience a deep and profound connection to all of life. The need and desire for the old paradigm of relationships has shifted and we no longer yearn to fit in or be 'normal'. All relationships improve, and the new people who come into our life are better aligned with who we are.
We integrate our insights and develop greater synergy between who we are and what we do. We no longer take anything personally, and another’s behaviour has little or no effect on us.
Our spiritual practice has matured from trying to get somewhere or accomplish something - it is now a natural expression of our inner life.
We may experience increased intuition and the ability to access other realms of intelligence.
Life is marked by living in the moment.
Our love for life and all living beings is expressed as gratitude and appreciation as a common state of being.
We know the workings of the ego and false belief systems in the unconscious mind, so the judgemental concepts of good and bad no longer have meaning for us.
We have an intuitive knowing that the purpose of our existence is to contribute to the unfolding of the creative process that we are an expression of. We therefore know that we are not in control, rather we ask for the grace to be of service and available to fulfil whatever is our highest purpose.
No matter where we are on our journey we know we are exactly where we are meant to be - it is a never ending story, beyond our comprehension - and that's absolutely fine!