Is A Spiritual Awakening Painful?

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If you’re undergoing a spiritual awakening you may be wondering what some of the strange physical symptoms are that you’re experiencing and why they’re happening. The most likely physical symptom of a spiritual awakening is fatigue, or extreme tiredness and this can in many cases lead to physical pain. So yes, a spiritual awakening can be painful. Let’s find out more.

Is A Spiritual Awakening Painful?

Why Is A Spiritual Awakening So Painful?

Only some of the stages of spiritual awakening are actually painful. Some are blissful. Unfortunately for many the painful stages seem to last the longest. The pain comes for a variety of reasons and most are rooted in the physical tiredness and stress that the awakening causes us.

It may sound strange that a spiritual awakening causes physical stress, but the internet is littered with many people’s personal experiences which confirm this. And on closer inspection it stands to reason. You’re undergoing a huge transformation. You’re literally waking up. You’re the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

Pain In The Early Stages of Awakening

In the beginning stages of spiritual awakening it is rather like your body waking up in the morning from the overnight sleep. If you’re anything like me, you wake up stiff, painful and in need of some flexing and stretching to get moving without pain. (A cup of tea helps too). This similar effect happens in your body as your mind wakes up and realises it has a deep and meaningful connection with so much more than just itself. It will take some flexing and stretching to help it get rid of those early morning pains.

This is the most likely reason for physical pain in the early stages of your awakening. (For further information about the 6 stages of spiritual awakening, follow this link). This sort of pain of awakening doesn’t linger too long as you can shake it off fairly easily, just like when you get up in the morning.

Pain in the Middle Stages of Awakening

As you go through the stages of the awakening and you begin the process of throwing away your old ego, it starts to try to bring you down. Your ego doesn’t want to be let go of. It fights against you. This can cause stress hormones to build up in your body and you may find your sleep is disrupted.

This is the time when your pain level is likely to be at its highest. If your spiritual awakening is causing you to lose sleep, you will be physically tired. Your mind is constantly processing new information and new feelings as you navigate the process. You will feel mentally exhausted as a result too.

This pain will feel like your legs do when you run up and down stairs twenty times. Or if you’re lifting great weights in repetition. It’s the pain of exercise and it burns. But worse than that, it can also be mixed in with the pain of anxiety and stress that’s being experienced too.

Increased Intuition Can Lead To Anxiety

Your intuition is becoming more honed and you pick up on things more easily. As you’re becoming more in tune with your surroundings and events you become more sensitive to the energies and intentions of everything that’s happening around you. This can create significant levels of unease as it’s not something you’ve previously been trained to deal with. Unease can lead to stress which manifests itself in the abdomen and interferes with rest and digestion. You may develop stomach aches and changes to your bowel habits as a result.

Emotional Blackmail From Your Ego

And then there’s the feeling of grief, which is emanating from your ego as it’s being let go of. Your ego will give you all sorts of strong emotions during this time, rage, disappointment, grief, fear. It will throw all the negative emotions it can at you in a desperate attempt to stop you trying to get rid of it. Ego is a false friend though. Don’t be manipulated by it.

This aspect of the awakening process will be the most tiring and the most painful. Because this is a going to feel like a constant fight with your ego, which you may feel like you’re losing. You may even feel like you are dying as your ego projects how it is feeling into your consciousness. Embrace that feeling as best you can to help let go of it.

Pain Toward the End Stages of the Awakening

The pain at the end of your spiritual awakening will be related to spiritual awakening fatigue – you’ve done well but now you’re ready for some rest.

This pain will be less intense than the pain during the middle stages but may feel deeper and more a ‘part of you’ than something that’s ‘happening to you’. You’ll be beginning to accept this pain is inevitable and be resigned to learning to live with it. The good news is that you won’t have to. When you are coming to the end of your awakening the pain will diminish and should completely disappear.

This pain will feel a lot less like the waking up in the morning type pain – you won’t be able to flex and stretch this one away. It’ll feel a lot less like the ‘marathon’ or ‘exercising’ pain from the middle stages. This will feel like the pain you get at the end of the day after all that exercise and stress melts away again and you begin to relax.

In some strange ways this pain might start to feel good – just as the relaxing of sore muscles feels good during a massage, or a hot bath. This pain may start to feel good because you know it’s an easing of the tensions and stresses and you’re beginning to realise there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Other Painful Effects Of Awakening

In the sections above we’ve gone over the physical aspects of the pain you might feel and tried to give some idea of what it might feel like and why it’s happening. We’ve talked about the bodies physical reaction to the ego’s desire to maintain control. Let’s now look at some of the other ways this awakening can manifest in us.

Awakening Can Cause An Existential Crisis

You’re about to lose your identity (if you haven’t begun already). You went to school for 12 or so years and learned about the world and how it works. You learned all the physics, maths and chemistry you could take in. You learned the history of your land and the geography. You may have learned a bit about politics and woodworking. And all of these things are 3D physical lessons, all very important and useful.

But you never learned who you really are. You were taught that you are a watery bag of bones and that your purpose is to ensure the survival of the species. And you were comfortable in that reasoning because it’s easy.

And now you’re learning that it’s basically a big deception. You’re now starting to learn that who you thought you are, actually isn’t the real you at all. And that makes you wonder who in fact you actually are. You might begin to wonder if you even really exist at all. Everything you thought you knew and trusted isn’t the reality.

That’s hard to cope with!

Emotional Crises From Awakening

Oh yes. You’ll likely cry. A lot. This is a painful process and will leave you emotionally reeling as you begin to uncover that firstly, you’re not the centre of the universe, and secondly as you’ll uncover that everything and everyone is connected.

As you begin to open up you’ll find emotions that you repressed throughout your life so far as you denied the existence of anything outside the 3D. You’ll take the lid off and have a good look inside at what you’ve hidden away. The older you are the more there may be inside.

And these emotions will come out again once you open the lid. They may feel overwhelming. If they do, reach out to someone else who can help you deal with them. We are all connected (this will be the biggest reason for the emotional release after all) so reach out to someone like-minded, perhaps who has been through it themselves. If you find you’re really struggling with the emotions, professional help is available and should be considered.

Spiritual Reasons For The Pain of Awakening

Resistance Leads To Fatigue

As we begin to awaken we will have the urge to continue in our ‘blissfully’ unaware state. Our ego of course will try to trick us to ensure we stay that way too. But for many of us it’s much more comfortable that way. We resist the truth of our existence because the story feels better.

Some of us, indeed most of us initially can’t handle knowing that there’s much more going on than we were told and we like the way it was. So we resist and look for ways out.

But this is fighting against yourself. The more you resist the awakening process the more pain you will experience. Be kind to yourself and try to relax and let go of the resistance you’re feeling. Let the process carry you forward rather than continually trying to swim upstream.

Openness Leads To Stress

Becoming more open as we go through the awakening process can lead us to uncover emotions which we’ve mentioned above. These emotions need to be dealt with. But perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, becoming more open also leads us to become more empathic. And that leads us to feel other people’s emotions too.

If we’re struggling to deal with our own emotions, how is it fair that suddenly we have a higher sensitivity towards others emotions as well? This is heaping salt into the wound.

On the plus side, you’ll become empathic to the positive emotions of others too. You’ll feel happiness more strongly, pleasure too. The downside is you may acutely feel their devastation, depression and anxiety too.

Learning when it is appropriate to close yourself down, or isolate yourself off is important. You don’t need to experience other’s emotions (or even your own) all the time. Take some time off now and then and have a break. We’ll go into that more below.

Healing Hurts

Finally, healing is painful, it hurts. And when we’re undergoing a spiritual awakening we begin to realise we have a lot of healing and forgiveness to do as well. The mind is very good at concealing pain that’s been there for a long time and buried. But the awakening process brings all this into the light again and with it can come the pain of healing.

Again, go easy on yourself. When you’re healing from a physical ailment it’s acceptable to take the time you need to recover. So it is with your awakening. Rest is an appropriate form of recuperation and you will need to rest occasionally and let the healing happen.

How To Cope With The Pain Of Spiritual Awakening

The biggest thing to remember when dealing with the pain of spiritual awakening is that there is no rush. Your awakening will happen as it happens and you cannot force it. You can’t speed it up by doing something right or slow it down by taking the time to relax and take care of yourself.

That last statement is the important one because when you realise that by allowing yourself to take time out doesn’t cause any problems for the awakening itself, it becomes easier to allow yourself to do so.

Surrender to the Process

Stop resisting. Let go of the desire to speed this up. Ignore the ego’s demands to be noticed. As we saw above, resisting only serves to create more pain. It’s akin to a tug o’ war – you’re on one end of the length of rope and your ego is on the other. Let go of the rope. Your ego will fall on its butt because it’s being pulling against you so hard. And your neck and shoulders (most of the pain is here, right?) will immediately feel more relaxed and less painful.

Take a Bath With Bubbles

You can do this regularly. It’s important to take time out for yourself to relax even while you’re undergoing a spiritual awakening. A time out means time where you’re relaxed and thinking of nothing in particular. No thinking about housework or 3D stuff. And no thinking about spiritual stuff. Just exist in the soft bubbly water of the hot bath.

Put on some chillout music or whatever it is that makes you feel the most relaxed. This will end up being almost meditative – and that’s not a bad thing. Many of the answers you’ve been seeking recently will come to you just as soon as you relax and quieten everything down.

The music and space for yourself will quieten your mind. Bubbles and warm water will soothe your aching body. This will allow you to rest and digest again and should help ease any abdominal pains or ailments you have too.

Hot baths and relaxation is highly under-rated.

Get Back To Nature

Again, this is about taking some time out for yourself. Get away from it all, even if it’s just for half an hour or an hour. Get away from too many people – so long as the area in which you live is safe to do it of course. Spend some time just existing, in nature. Walking can be good as this lets your mind empty as you take in the surroundings.

The beach or the forest can be good places to go for this but if you don’t have anything nearby, then parks and lakes can be just as relaxing. Sometimes just taking the car to a lake and sitting watching the water-birds come and go is enough. It can be especially relaxing if it’s raining at the time!

The important point is to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and to empty your mind of awakening thoughts too. Relax and just exist.

Find Someone Who Can Assist

Finally, having someone around who understands what you’re going through can be very helpful. There’s a saying that a problem shared is a problem halved and it’s definitely true when it comes to a spiritual awakening. This can be a scary time and the stress of fear causes its own pain. Having someone who you can call or talk to about what you’re going through can help reduce the fear and uncertainty and can help you know that you can get through it.

Be Mindful Of Medical Conditions

It is important to consider that chronic ongoing pain may be a sign of a medical issue. As with so much that is to do with the human body, context (or in the medical world, history) is the key. If you’ve started your spiritual awakening and the pain comes on and you’re mostly expecting it then it is highly likely to be related.

But if you’re experiencing pain, or bowel problems that have come out of nowhere and you’re not on an awakening path then you should strongly consider getting a medical checkup before attributing the pains to the awakening process.

Context is key. How did you feel before you started awakening. Are these pains disproportionate to the strength and speed of your awakening. Do they feel like they’re associated or are they in an area of your body you wouldn’t expect.

Chest pains should never be ignored. Seek immediate medical attention if you have sudden onset chest pains, particularly if you’re short of breath, nauseous, sweaty or feeling faint as well. Chest pains should never be ascribed to spiritual awakening, or anxiety unless and until the more medically sinister heart attack has been ruled out. There are many reasons for chest pains of course, but it’s important that you get checked out medically to be sure.


Spiritual awakening can be painful physically and mentally. The spiritual awakening process can be hard and is very likely to make you tired. For some people, spiritually awakening is exhausting. This tiredness, or extreme fatigue can cause physical pain in itself. At other times the pain is brought about by the stress of opening up so many emotions and dealing with the issues that brings.

But for most people the spiritual awakening they go through is very worth it. The pain, both physically and emotionally, will get easier as they go through the process. The key is to surrender to the process and not try to fight it. There’ll be enough fighting with the ego.

Take time to relax and be comfortable by yourself, whether that’s in a bath, a meditation or by a lake in your car. Find someone who can help you through the process.

And if you’re experiencing pain that you don’t feel is right, do seek medical help – don’t just put it down to your awakening, get it checked. It may well be the awakening process, but put your mind at ease and get it checked anyway. If you’re not sure (and the pain isn’t sudden onset and acute) then you can journal your symptoms for a few days/weeks and see if there’s any pattern emerge that helps you identify what the pain is associated with. This is also a good way of discovering when your pain starts to reduce and your healing process is becoming easier.

Thanks for reading, we hope you found this post useful. If you did, please feel free to share it using the buttons below. Also, we’d love it if you dropped us a comment and told us of your experiences or asked any questions you might need answered related to the pain of a spiritual awakening.