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Why Is Everything So Heavy? The Challenges of Spiritual Awakening

There’s a period right after spiritual awakening where everything might feel confusing and you may find yourself wondering, “Why is everything so heavy?”


Experiencing an awakening is a wonderful and often necessary thing. It can also be a brutal experience, as everything you once knew or thought you knew can be pulled out from under you. Why is this? After a spiritual awakening, why is everything so heavy, or seemingly so?

Waking up spiritually can lead you to reconsider your relationships, friendships, career, education, where and how you live, even your hobbies and pasttimes. All of this happens as you wake up from the “dream” or “illusion” that there’s nothing beyond material reality.

We might refer to this moment as the post-awakening blues.

These feelings of disorientation, confusion, and even fear can arise in that moment where you find yourself between your old life (the illusion or dream from which you’ve awaken) and the new, soul-centered life you haven’t yet created.


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When Everything Feels Heavy & Other Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening

Waking up leads you to remember that there’s a spiritual reality behind all things. And that your life is meant to have a deeper meaning and purpose. But, for a while, you might feel as though everything is really heavy and you can’t make sense of up or down anymore.

Here are some additional “symptoms” or indicators of spiritual awakening:

  • losing interest in your human reality (i.e., mundane daily life, job tasks, deadlines, household chores, etc) or feeling really burdened by it
  • realizing you’ve built a whole career based on someone else’s expectations for you (or based on cultural values, like “success = working a traditional 9-to-5 job with benefits”)
  • realizing you’ve built a whole life or marriage (or both!) based on cultural or familial values, and not on what your heart actually yearns for
  • feeling disconnected from most of the people in your life, or realizing you have little in common with them
  • feeling bored or frustrated with work or activities you used to enjoy
  • feeling disoriented about how to move forward
  • feeling like your “old life” doesn’t fit you anymore, yet having no idea what the path forward looks like
  • physical aches & pains (temporary, not long-lasting) especially around the head, crown & third eye areas

Waking Up to the Truth

The catalyst for my own spiritual awakening was a physical illness. I started experiencing symptoms of this illness in my early 20s, and it led me to seek out doctor after doctor. I was looking for answers outside of myself. Looking for some kind of magic pill that could make everything better again. Someone to tell me what I needed to do to be healthy and ok. Some answer to why is everything so heavy?

Despite my frantic searching, I didn’t find that. It was crushing to discover that traditional western medicine had little to offer me. Even they didn’t have the answers.

So, feeling terrified and alone, I had to confront the reality that there were no answers outside of myself. No magic bullets. No one who would save me and make everything better.

Although this was a devastating truth to discover, it eventually led me to begin searching for the answers inside myself.

Returning to Who You Really Are

Alternative and spiritual practices like meditation, mindfulness, working with the Tarot, acupuncture, breathwork, and energy healing supported me in this journey back to myself.

The important thing is that these practices didn’t give me the answers themselves. Instead, they helped me access a much deeper knowing of myself and the dysfunctional patterns I had to release to feel healthy and whole again.

This journey back to myself forced me to recognize that I had gotten lost in the dark wood of error. According to author Martha Beck, this is a place of profound loneliness, confusion, and lack of purpose. When you depart from your true path and authentic self, you can get lost in this dark wood. And, as Beck says, “things get worse the further we travel in the wrong direction.”

This is the moment when a catalyst – like a physical illness, a divorce, a betrayal, the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one – can shatter your illusion and wake you up to what’s really happening. To help you realize how far you’ve strayed from your true path.

Why is Everything So Heavy? There’s Good News

The good news is that, once you discover you’ve been lost or asleep or caught up in some illusion, you can begin this journey back to yourself.

There’s no set roadmap or blueprint. There are no directions. No tour guide to tell you exactly where to go or how to get there. But the journey gets easier and more enjoyable and more profound the more you trust yourself, return to your heart, and allow your inner compass to guide you.

In the meantime, here are some specific ways to support yourself as you move through the post-awakening blues:

  1. Be kind & compassionate with yourself. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. You don’t have to figure everything out right now. There’s no rush. Your new way forward will require you to drop down into your heart and begin following your inner guidance. No one is going to step in and hand you a clear roadmap. Getting used to living your life from your heart, not your head, will take some time, practice, and self-compassion.
  2. Grieve your old life. It’s ok to take some time to grieve the old. To grieve the places, people, and things that are no longer aligned with you. It’s also ok to grieve that you can’t go back to sleep now that you’ve woken up. Being awake takes a lot of responsibility and asks you to step into your life in a more committed, self-aware, and profound way. Most people resist this because it takes much more work than just being “blissfully asleep.”
  3. Turn to spiritual tools & practices. Use everything you’ve got in your spiritual arsenal. Learn new tools and practices. This might include meditation, mindfulness techniques, prayer, chanting, yoga, ritual, Bach flower essences, herbal support, working with the tarot, journaling, breathwork, etc.
  4. Get healing support. Connecting with a healer or therapist who understands the spiritual dimension – and what it means to wake up spiritually – can be a lifesaver. This is especially helpful if you find yourself disoriented or confused about the path forward. While a healer can’t give you all the answers, they can help you explore your true soul purpose and how to start finding the answers within yourself. For example, you can explore my Akashic Records Healing Sessions here.
  5. Adopt a supportive mantra. As many times per day as you can, speak a soothing mantra to yourself. For instance, you might say, “it’s ok to be confused, this too shall pass” or “you’re not alone in this” or “it’s ok to take one small step at a time, you’re doing the best you can.” Place a hand on your heart as you speak these comforting words to yourself. You’ll figure this out. And you’re not alone.

With love,

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Beck, Martha. The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self. Penguin Random House, 2021.

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

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