Does Spiritual awakening have to be a struggle, or is it our belief that makes it so?

A lot of great spiritual teachers say that we have to go through a dark night of the soul before we awake to the full realization of our true self. And when we look at some of the great enlightened beings who walked this earth, that does indeed seem to ring true. Do we have to descend to the deep, dark recesses of our own being and integrate the shadows lurking there before we can ascend and live the full realization of our whole being? Or can we merely bypass those shadows by changing our belief? Or do we need a combination of both? ( I'm talking about a complete awakening, not just living an okay life )

What's your opinion?

asked 10 Feb '11, 20:01

Michaela's gravatar image


Hi Michaela.

I love your question! I love the struggle I am having in trying to answer it for I can completely relate to it.

For myself and from my experience, I have accepted that it is more than just a chance to have a dialog with others on a forum of sharing, caring, and spiritual showmanship.

I'm sure you can identify with the fact that most of us here, including you, actually share our perspective from real experience and a deep rooted desire to resolve this seeming unquenchable yearning to know more about this constant feeling within us that is trying to "awaken" us towards something more than just existing within the confines of accepted human experience.

There is something there always elusive, constantly challenging us to keep reaching towards the understanding and hopefully the eventual awakening towards it (or of it)

I don't know what that "it" is except to find an acceptable fit from ideologies and concepts already in existence.

But some of us are not satisfied with that "fit", including myself.

I am finding myself eliminating most of the answers that are supposed to fill the "vacuum" that is constantly enticing my inner self to keep searching further and deeper.

The "deeper" that I am referring to here is not a depth of complex analysis of the unknown, it is actually a depth of simplicity (I know you will understand what I'm trying to say)

I know that I haven't found it in Religion, Accomplishments, or in the application of the Law of Attraction (for stuff).

Whatever it is that is driving me to keep looking is not found in any of those areas. That's why I think that all those areas, including the "Attraction" celebration are, in the bigger picture, distractions to the inner self that is trying to "awaken" to something completely different from all of these things.

Because of our human experience we need food, shelter, family, love, etc...Etc.

And while not giving up any of these things we have to keep searching for this other thing that is constantly gnawing at our inner self to awaken towards an entirely new direction of inner purpose.

Now we could truly make it a struggle by following on the paths of many of the great masters before us by renouncing our material possessions, breaking up our families, and take a rather selfish inner journey at the expense of breaking agreements we have already taken on in this lifetime.

But I don't think that this is the intended path for those of us living in this particular moment in time upon this planet, discussing these ideas right here.

I think we have volunteered to be the ones to figure out how to be the average person living right now with the full responsibility of life constantly providing an un-ending distraction upon the self's ability to focus, and within these confines, still figure out what this unending desire to "awaken" really is?

So in that perspective, it is a struggle. It is a different struggle than those who have reached "enlightenment".

I believe that what we do, as the individual, becomes the database of "how to" for the collective. And the collective is not exactly looking for enlightenment.

However, the collective IS looking for a way to fill the constant "void" that is driving each and every individual to fill that gap in every way that is available.

And so it is easy to sell every "how to" technique to the masses for they don't know that none of those techniques will fill the void.

Some of us here know that and so we keep searching for that unknown "something" that is missing.

And this search is ultimately an individual journey that cannot be accomplished by discussion upon this forum.

The discussion is where we take a break to come up for air and compare notes with the others also trying to find that elusive "something"

So, for me, it is not a "by believing it is difficult it becomes difficult" thing.

It is difficult, because, it is simply an unknown that is not satisfied by any of the existing explanations or solutions.

And I really believe that this search has to invade our living experience instead of us retreating from "living" in order to do our search.

So, once we become familiar with the state of mind that is achieved from meditating, I believe that instead of meditating for longer and longer periods in the absence of "living" we will benefit more in bringing the "meditative" mind into the chaos of living and learn from that experience instead.

This is what my inner self is constantly guiding me towards.

To find a center within the self, within inner silence (when possible), while fully participating in the madness of living and enjoying life.

I am secretly wishing I could reach enlightenment in this lifetime, but from within me I am getting the assurance, that this is not necessary.

What I am getting is the same old "Know Thy Self" momentum from within.

But not by taking on more and more complexity such as "How to do this" and "How to attract that"

It is more from a perspective of "Stop taking yourself so seriously and begin unraveling yourself towards absolute simplicity"

Or to put it another way "drop the person you are pretending to be and simplify and simplify until there is no baggage left within the self"

Apparently the gap I am trying to fill is only found in accomplishing that simplicity within the "NOW".

That's the message I am getting from within myself.

I have chosen to trust it.


answered 11 Feb '11, 06:46

The%20Traveller's gravatar image

The Traveller

Yes! 'Simplicity' and 'Peace' seem to be two keywords buzzing around in my consciousness lately. And I fully get what you're saying about the whole "Attraction celebration". While I don't admonish anyone being part of that right now - for me the nonessentials seem to hold less meaning. The journey is, without a doubt, an individual one but it is nice to know we're not alone. And crazy as the struggle may be at times, paradoxically there is an underlying knowing coexisting with that "unquenchable yearning". Thanks Traveller :)

(11 Feb '11, 18:01) Michaela

"So, once we become familiar with the state of mind that is achieved from meditating, I believe that instead of meditating for longer and longer periods in the absence of "living" we will benefit more in bringing the "meditative" mind into the chaos of living and learn from that experience instead." This is it Traveller, this is how I experience it.

(11 Feb '11, 18:13) Wade Casaldi

Hi Michaela. I like how you describe it (paradoxically there is an underlying knowing coexisting with that "unquenchable yearning"). Those few words describe exactly how I feel as well, making it not necessary to be frustrated or struggle against the pace at which I have travelled so far. And Wade, thanks for your comment, I am thrilled to know that I can identify with your perspective.

(12 Feb '11, 12:02) The Traveller

"And I really believe that this search has to invade our living experience instead of us retreating from "living" in order to do our search." I love how you put this Traveller. I have been having this constant low level internal nag that I need to retreat to find the quiet to hear myself, but your comment makes me look at it differently, which is something I always need and so often seem unable to provide for myself. To me the ideal would be to integrate my inner and outer life instead of suppressing one for the other at any given time.

(13 Feb '11, 10:16) aquamarine

Thank you aquamarine for your comment. I am changing my approach to my own inward quest after learning from others (past & present) that have adopted this different approach. It starts from the premise that our inner reality and the outer reality are reflections of each other, and therefore everyone around us also form our inner source as well.

(15 Feb '11, 03:34) The Traveller

Since we are them and they are us, our own transformation depends on everybody else, not just ourselves. By staying within the chaos what we learn can easily be taught because everyone can relate to existing within the chaos and wanting to achieve an inward transformation. But more importantly our source is their chaos. We can’t eliminate the chaos within us without helping everyone else to stop their own inner chaos.

(15 Feb '11, 03:35) The Traveller

I'm not sure I'd use the words "depends on everybody else" ( just has connotations of handing over our own power )... undoubtedly our own transformation is 'affected' by everyone else since they are the reflections we need to mirror which areas have to evolve. Your last sentence says exactly how I feel... As we begin to improve, there is a natural tendency toward wanting the same for others - I think Inward Quest probably exists because of that.

(21 Mar '11, 21:15) Michaela
showing 2 of 7 show 5 more comments

Divine Contrast

While talking to a potential new candidate for conversion and in a state of utter confusion and fear the conspiracy theory advocate brushed off the existence of God “Don’t make me laugh. What kind of God would allow these greedy, power hungry, murderous, war criminal bankers to run the show here on Earth? There is no God!”

To his total surprise, a soft melodic female voice began talking in his head:

“Have you forgotten that everything came from nothing, so everything that Is, is Divine; and that there are as many plans as there are stars in the universe? And do you really believe that by perpetuating other people’s plans and by instilling fear in others, that those plans will be less likely realized?” She asked, and then reminded him...

“No my son, that is not the way of Divine creation. Everyone has free will to create and experience any idea they so desire; there is no right or wrong, no judgement. And without the contrast of the unwanted, how would you choose your future? What would be your measure without Divine contrast?”

And thus the Divine female began to enlighten him on the purpose of his-story.


answered 12 Feb '11, 02:59

Eddie's gravatar image


The word 'acceptance' comes to the forefront - Thanks Eddie :)

(12 Feb '11, 17:38) Michaela

Nice. Accepting that dark and light is part of us and will always be within us, allows us to choose only light if we so desire...

(13 Feb '11, 01:31) Eddie

When I am on-line I'm the kinda of person that has maybe 4 or 5 different tabs up at the same was IQ and one was my g-mail that I had open and started to read My JKOnline Daily Quotes from the archives of J. Krishnamurti (thanks Eddie) and part of the quote (was a three parter)Beyond belief
and a couple of lines from the text that really grabbed me were:
Belief is corruption because, behind belief and morality lurks the mind, the self the self growing big, powerful and strong.
But it is only in freedom that you can find out what is true, what is God, not through any belief, because your very belief projects what you think ought to be God, what you think ought to be true.

Part 2 was Agitated by beliefAnd 3 was What is and from part 3
"Surely, a man who is understanding life does not want beliefs. A man who loves, has no beliefs he loves." the thoughts running thru my head are that the downfall(dark night of the soul) is just a look at the past. It is not where you are now .
Stop believing and just be.


answered 12 Feb '11, 10:50

ursixx's gravatar image


Thank you for those wonderful insights and words of inspiration

(12 Feb '11, 11:47) The Traveller

Thank you ursixx for the quotes and links and, inadvertently , to Eddie too. Some very profound insights :)

(12 Feb '11, 17:44) Michaela

Nice find ursixx. I have the 'Book of Life' and shall have to digg it out and re-read it. Always bearing in mind that K could be wrong :)

(13 Feb '11, 01:28) Eddie
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments

it is what u make it. i am a channeler now but i went through YEARS of disconnection n violence,, i do understand what the question is but it is all what u make it to be,, some can do it w/ no problems, others (like me) must strugle, for me the strugle was the reason i can see life w/ open eyes now,, some do not need to be submersed in the dark b4 they experience the light !! love n light, rob


answered 20 Mar '11, 04:58

TReb%20Bor%20yit-NE's gravatar image

TReb Bor yit-NE

edited 24 Jun '13, 13:56

Thank you Rob :)

(20 Mar '11, 13:15) Michaela

u r quite werlcome, love n light

(20 Mar '11, 14:33) TReb Bor yit-NE

Great question Michaela. I think we purposely make it a struggle at times. Why? I am not sure. I do agree that at times we have to descend to get the bigger picture.

I believe it was Siddartha who went from a prince and having it all to a beggar who had nothing in order to see the whole spectrum to then see that neither was ok and "the middle way" was born.



answered 11 Feb '11, 01:04

jim%2010's gravatar image

jim 10

Hopefully we'll 'realize' the answer to that "Why?" - Thanks Michael :)

(11 Feb '11, 01:35) Michaela

Awakening, as a noun, can refer to "the act of awaking from sleep", or to "a revival of interest or attention". This implies the belief in a previous state of sleep, disinterest, and/or distraction... hmmm?

Descent and recession, ascent and realization... these are all experienced and created in the same exact way :)


answered 11 Feb '11, 01:16

Hu%20Re's gravatar image

Hu Re

I hear you Hu Re - At our essence we are fully 'awake'. However, most of us, as humans, live in the sleep state and haven't fully realized that 'awakened' state :)

(11 Feb '11, 01:33) Michaela

I have found many times my greatest enlightenments when I had been at my lowest and had to do something because I was tired of suffering. Like when I am so sick and suffering that I can't take it anymore and say, "THAT IS IT, I HAVE HAD IT WITH THIS!!! YOU'RE OUT OF HERE!" Then I start doing everything I can think of and at that point some unconventional thought of logic pops in my mind like why not reverse this. Or your antibodies and white blood cells await your command to attack the sickness. Something different to try comes up, like one time I was so depressed I got sick of being depressed and I flung my arms as I said, "I HAVE HAD IT, I AM THROUGH WITH THIS DEPRESSION!!!!" when I did that it was like I threw the depression off of me into the floor gone!!! I felt great!!!!!

So those times I needed to go through the darkest darkness before I saw the raising sun, but other times was as simple as awakening from a dream I was having that gave me an idea. Other times I am just relaxing or reading and an enlightenment comes. These all come from me I understand and they really are simply a recognition that there are other ways of dealing with things that are much faster. It is like I am watching a magician on stage trying to figure out a trick and a helicopter picks me up and flies me over the magician and the stage and now I look down and can clearly see how the trick is done. It is just changing your perspective of how you view something to arrive at an awakening that what you were indoctrinated with may be a false way it certainly is not the only way and probably is not the best way either.

Other times it is as simple as changing a belief, "oh this is what I experience believing this is hard, alright I'll believe this is easy then and see what that brings me", bada-boom! instant progress!

For me no matter what way enlightenment comes I 'm digging it. :-)


answered 11 Feb '11, 18:00

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

Thanks for sharing Wade :)

(11 Feb '11, 18:05) Michaela

Michaela enjoy it, that is the key, don't look at it as a quest or work but as excitement like a child looks at learning new things. :-D

(11 Feb '11, 18:20) Wade Casaldi

Oooow Ahhhhh! :-D

(11 Feb '11, 18:20) Wade Casaldi

Great answer! You illustrate beautifully how, no matter where we are at, the moment we identify with it as "This is where I am" everything else aligns around it to continue to keep you there. And over time it is hard to see that identifying with your situation as "you" is what shuts out the rest of the unlimited potential of "YOU". Your change of perspective through "play" is a wonderful tool. Thank you for sharing :)

(12 Feb '11, 12:13) The Traveller

Exactly most of us look at our beliefs in a two dimensional way, this is the way it is, it can't be any different. So a line is a line, but if we are not afraid to look at our beliefs in a three dimensional way we see that line is actually a cube or tetrahedron. Oooow this has so much more to it than I had thought! Wow if this means this, then can that be different too? Ahhhh!

(12 Feb '11, 20:39) Wade Casaldi
showing 2 of 5 show 3 more comments

My simple belief is that it is only a struggle as long as we resist. Yes walking this path is going to peel back layers and layers of the onion and that can be uncomfortable. However, when each layer is removed, it brings about a greater understand and compassion for the life that we choose to live as souls in human form.

My mental image of life is that its like a game of Snakes and Ladders. When we arrived on earth to play this game, the board was upside down, so hence we tried to climb up the snakes and slide down the ladder..............very difficult and painful at times. Our Spiritual Awakening allows us the opportunity to turn the board the right way around and play the game with ease.


answered 14 Feb '11, 13:51

Susan%201's gravatar image

Susan 1

edited 14 Feb '11, 13:57

Yes, it seems that when we have had time to assimilate what the latest layer has revealed, there is always a much greater sense of understanding and peace available. Thanks Susan, and welcome to Inward Quest - Nice to see someone from my homeland:)

(15 Feb '11, 00:11) Michaela

Hi Michaela, as they say life is a paradox. So I would answer by saying yes we have to experience the suffering and darkness and no we dont. We need to because we live in a world whereby the truth of our existense have been hidden from us by our own kind whether intentionally or not I am not sure. Because of this we have to suffer pain unnecessarily. However if from the first day of our conscious awareness of being alive we were informed of the truth then the suffering would be needless because we would have been able to shape our world accordingliy. Whether this is by design I dont know but thats just the way it is.


answered 11 Feb '11, 22:18

Drham's gravatar image


Thanks Drham - I don't even think we needed to be 'informed' of truth that first day, we just needed to be 'allowed' to live from that place of awareness we entered this world from. I don't think it was ever hid from us intentionally - I believe those who tried to teach us did their best with where their own state of awareness was. And I really do think we had to experience 'everything' we did to get to where we are now :)

(12 Feb '11, 17:49) Michaela

My experince involves the Chakras. As each center is enlivened, a certain amount of "dust" is shaken off. When I first reawakened them after they had been glitchy and/or static for several years, the "dust" was more like a mudslide. It began with a gentle (and I kid u not) sweet sorrow for childhood wounds, but the creciendo was more like a mudslide or tsunami. I literally writhed in pain for the hungry, the abused, the battered and raped. That was not anywhere near sweet.

Since then, I breathe through the chakras almost every day, and my "dust" has become a rainbow and a song.



answered 12 Feb '11, 13:39

all2gethernow's gravatar image


edited 12 Feb '11, 18:55

Thank you for those beautiful words - I really do think the deeper we go, the greater the potential for bliss. Happy you're enjoying that rainbow and song :)

(12 Feb '11, 17:52) Michaela

I don't think we have to face struggle, but there is some discomfort while we are adjusting our vibration to a better feeling place. As we focus on feeling better and keep at it , discomfort starts to dissipate.

I think as we hear these stories of people who went through darkness to find light, we start to believe that this must be the path we have to take. But if you start this journey, and believe that the only purpose of this journey is to focus on light, you don't have to face the darkness.


answered 12 Feb '11, 19:44

Nikki777's gravatar image


Thank you Nikki :)

(13 Feb '11, 22:53) Michaela

Someone said to me "what is wholly desired is not difficult". So maybe it's just all the conditioning and false beliefs piled on top of the truth of who we really are, and our investment (for whatever reasons) in the reality of the former, and lack of contact with the latter that means we end up suffering more than we need.


answered 13 Feb '11, 10:23

aquamarine's gravatar image


Something to ponder Aquamarine. Thank you :)

(13 Feb '11, 22:54) Michaela

drop belief and experiance! i will give you example: i can make you believe that if you go in water you will drown! so that belief will stop you from going in the water and learn to swim! then you would be missing that experiance! i know this is pretty physical but it all start in the mind! in meditation when they talk of a mind with no mind there is no veil in the mind! all as been understood and put to rest!


answered 16 May '11, 20:33

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

Thanks for the links :)

(16 May '11, 23:41) Michaela
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