The term a spiritual awakening gets bandied around quite a lot , and has perhaps get quite misunderstood for a number of fairly obvious reasons. The term itself has become quite well known through the twelve step movement, and in particular the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, where the twelfth strep reads, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps' . In trying to understand what the term means , it might be as well to look at it in the context of the twelve steps, because that gives it a sense of place and clarity that will probably help explain it. When the twelve steps were originally being formulated, there was some debate about whether the term spiritual awakening or spiritual experience should be used.
In the end , the term spiritual awakening was used in preference, and although there is no specific reason given in AA literature, certainly part of the thinking was that an awakening implied an ongoing process, whereas an experience implied a sort of one off event - although neither is literally true, that is certainly the impression that the two terms imply.
Trying to understand what a spiritual awakening means is pretty much unique to the individual concerned. There is no set definition that anyone else can give or which anyone can interpret for anyone else. Part of the understanding of what a spiritual awakening is is rooted in the freedom the person has to discover for themselves what that actually means. For most people there will be a realization that it is somehow connected to their inner world , and that the awakening has the merits of being a beginning of exploring that inner world, however daunting or scary that may be.It is worth having a vague road map of this stuff before you begin, because then you have some sort of a sense of what is involved, but there is a big difference between a road map that you can us to guide you, and having sat nav which gives you specific instructions every step of the way, and doesn't give you any real sense of being in control of the process.
In the recovery world, much emphasis is placed on a sense of recovery from alcoholism or any ism being an ongoing life process, and in that sense people much prefer the idea of an awakening. Trying to define what a spiritual awakening is, is a much more difficult process, and paradoxically can only really be understood by someone having the experience of having had one. The lead up to the twelfth step in AA lists a number of steps or stages that a person goes through in order to change a key internal dynamic about how the person feels about themselves and the world around them. However you come to define it, that really is at the heart of it – the internal clock gets re-wound and starts again with a much healthier and happier heart.

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