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Discover The Map Of Your Awakening Journey

Written by: Amie Dean, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Tension sat heavy in my chest as I tried to take in a deep breath. On a beautiful sunny California day, you would think my cares would simply fall away. Yet, with the pressures of my graduate school classes and chronic health challenges weighing on my mind, I was feeling cut off from the reservoir of calm I knew had to be inside somewhere.

Off to yoga I went, arriving at this cute, artsy yoga center in Palo Alto, and afterward, I felt a bit more relaxed but still mostly unsettled. In an attempt to calm me further, I headed to the coffee shop nearby to sit with my thoughts, deciding to enjoy a soothing cup of hot Chamomile tea.

Within just minutes of mindfully sipping on tea, and completely out of nowhere, I was jolted into what I felt was another dimension of consciousness. At that moment, my perspective changed, I was no longer looking out of the eyes of what felt like a small self, separated from everyone and everything else in the room. This shift felt expansive as if I was no longer fully in my body. I felt a unification with the barista,, the customers, and the people walking down the street.

I visibly saw that everyone was deep in their roles, their human disguises masked by their true spiritual essence. I saw for the first time, the dreamlike nature of life and how we believe that we are wandering through this world of solid form, believing that we are the person moving from one place to the next. But underneath it all, there is an impenetrable love that holds this dream together, it’s an indestructible love that makes this life, and the dreamlike way we experience it, possible.

I felt a profound kinship with every person I saw and immense gratitude for the warm tea in my hands and the pure moment-to-moment awareness of just being fully present and being a part of this unfolding scene of people

talking and coming and going. It was magical as if I had tapped into the secret of the universe, but this wasn’t a secret shared in words, it was as if this secret could only be shared through a keen intuitive power or what I now call the sixth sense.

Tears streamed down my face, and while it may have looked as if I was having a very bad day to an onlooker, I was in fact now having one of the best days of my life. I fully understood that the stress of the day earlier was only a dream of my mind, an illusion that seemed to swallow me whole at the time.

However, I was home deeply centered in my heart.

The entirety of this experience is hard to put into words, but the best way I can describe it as I look back on this glimpse of awakening is that beneath the thoughts, emotions, and who we believe we are there is an all-encompassing, universal spirit (which you may call God, the divine) that exemplifies this love, and it’s always here. These masks we wear make it feel like it’s unreachable, ungraspable, and unattainable beneath our conscious awareness. But through this experience, I discovered that this love is not far from our awareness, it’s patiently waiting for us to pull back these masks of self to reveal this enigmatic love.

The spiritual awakening journey is one that challenges us to see the dreamlike, illusory nature of life, to open to the possibility that life as we know it is the dream of consciousness, the very dream of our Soul. We have all had nightmares that felt incredible and unmistakably real while suffering through them, and then upon waking up in our warm bed we are relieved that it was only a dream.

I invite you to consider that this is the dreamed-up version of your life. It’s a collection of the changeable sub-personalities, thoughts, inner wounds, bodily sensations, and waves of emotional experiences. When we are in the sleepy ego-mind state, we believe our stories, our reality, to be true. We believe it so much that we are willing to create emotional unease in our minds and bodies, just to be right.

It only makes sense, in the ego-mind state we need this certainty. We are in a mental state of separation from the universe and all that is. It’s absolutely terrifying. From this ego state, we must cling to whatever we can in order to feel safe. The amnesia of who you are has led to the creation of the ego-mind state of sub-personalities which is the mind-made dream we live within.

It’s so easy to forget that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. With every heavy cloud of emotion, thoughts, and sensation that pass over us, we are drawn into the entrancement of its energy over and over again.

Life in its dreamlike nature is seemingly made up of moments of time. And each moment happens so quickly that it seems to slip through our fingers.

It’s the dream of consciousness, the dream of form that births an ego-mind, made up of these sub-personalities. Your sub-personalities may not like to hear that life is dreamlike, and those that know this already will likely think that they are the dreamer of this dream since there is this sense of self, autonomy, of will.

However, what is often missed by these parts of you is YOU. You as the Higher Self in connection with this universal spirit is what makes the dream possible.

In another metaphor, you might imagine that you are the clear blue sky that makes all of the clouds of experience possible. Suffering occurs because we don’t know that we are dreaming the dream of the ego. Of a fixed personality that lives a life separate from the whole.

In truth, everyone lives within their dream; conflict breaks out when we pierce the reality of another’s a dream the ego wants to sustain this state of false control. We sense the dream is fragile this results in experiencing negative symptoms such as anxiety and depression. We face this unconscious knowing that we must somehow validate and work through the collective dreams to share in love, belonging, and peace. There are many obstacles to love when the ego controls the dream. We develop sub-personalities to help us cope with the way things are so we can somehow get back to the Soul that is yearning for us to wake up and return home again.

The Five Phases of Awakening

Through the ups and downs of my spiritual awakening journey, I noticed there are five common change processes that I encountered. This five-phase understanding came first through tracking my sub-personalities and their related emotional experiences over a period of several years. I noticed that there were patterns in my spiritual growth that occurred over and over again. This insight piqued my interest and led me to begin the journey of talking with my clients about their spiritual journeys and helping them track these changes as well.

There was a common thread, and I found wasn’t alone on this tumultuous journey of ascension. After tracking my client's spiritual journey, I ventured out to offer the six phases of spiritual awakening to my social media and email list community and was excited to see that it was resonating with thousands of spiritual seekers. There definitely is not one pathway or lens through which to view your awakening, and I offer these six phases with the knowledge that this is just one way, one framework which to understand your journey. Through these six phases, I hope you will discover that there is a divine order to the chaotic experiences you face each and every day.

Using the metaphor of waking from sleep, I’ll walk you through understanding the background of these phases and we will spend part 2 of this book deepening your understanding and helping you apply the principles suggested to live a truly awakened life.

The phases are:

Phase 1: Dream Sleep

Phase 2: The Nightmare

Phase 3: Lucid Dreaming

Phase 4: Waking Up

Phase 5: Awakened Living

Interwoven between these phases is the experience of Integration.

We do not necessarily move through these phases in sequential order, in fact, more often, we jump from one phase to another without any organizational pattern. As a reminder, this is an “imperfect” journey and everyone will have their own unique experience.

I caution against turning the phase you are in into a personal identity. For example, if you discover you resonate with Phase 5, Awakened Living, the ego can creep in and become a “spiritual ego” which looks like identifying with this phase such as “I am awakened” or feeling a sense of superiority for those who are not in the same phase as you. Quite frequently our ego-mind grasps something, anything to give it form and structure. This is one reason why it can be so easy to get lost on the spiritual path, we can be blind to our mind attachments.

There is no greater phase than another, one is not better than another. Rather, these phases can be looked at as vibrational energy. Phases 1-3 vibrate at a lower energetic frequency than Phases 4-5. As you ascend through the phases, each one feels lighter and lighter and the volatility of the phases lessens as we move into phases 4 and 5.

To help disentangle the labels we give ourselves through these phases, I encourage you to view these phases as places you are visiting. Just like if you were visiting another country, you wouldn't call it home. This is just one map of consciousness. No matter what phase you are in, you are LOVE. That is your true nature, these six phases can be the pathway back home to this knowing.

The purpose of delineating these phases are to:

1. Discover you’re not alone as you awaken

2. The times when you question if you are backtracking on your spiritual path, you’ll see that your Soul can never truly go backward in evolution, no matter what phase you fall back into

3. Help you better track your journey so you can avoid common pitfalls and remember the love that you are

4. Be a guide on the often lifelong journey of spiritual awakening

Background of The Phases

Phase 1: Dream Sleep


The Dream Sleep phase is known as the “autopilot” experience. It is a sleepy state as if we walk mindlessly through life, disconnected from the inner knowing (not conceptual knowing) of who we are as spiritual beings. In this phase., you feel stuck in old patterns of behavior, feel consumed/run by your thought processes and emotions, spend most of your time with your mind on the future or the past instead of experiencing the present, and run by your Guarding sub-personalities.

This can look like waking up totally exhausted, no matter how much you’ve slept, and feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by your daily routines. Nothing feels satisfying, there is a constant need to control the world around you (which feel exhausting and hardly ever works in your favor). In this phase, you are stuck on a hamster wheel of self-defeating thoughts, cut off from a feeling of peace and joy within. In this phase, you are deeply identified with your thoughts as they feel like the ultimate truth. Therefore, it is hard to break the spell of thoughts, to see them for what they really are which are just sub-personalities and inner wounding in the driver's seat of your mind.

Many clients who are fed up with this Dream phase seek therapy to work together, especially when accompanied by depression and anxiety symptoms.

Phase 2: The Nightmare

The Nightmare phase is associated with the well-known term “Dark Night of The Soul” to explain when a person undergoes a significant and challenging transition directing them toward a more meaningful life experience. Oftentimes, “The Dark Night Of The Soul” refers to a painful shedding of one’s ego identity based on losses, changes in relationships, careers, life circumstances, or even belief systems. Another term to describe this “Nightmare” phase is the “existential crisis” or “Soul loss” in Shamanic terms.

Many enter this phase through a challenging loss or series of losses including but not limited to, the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, a home, going through a divorce, a breakup, etc. Within this crisis, there is an existential question such as Who am I? What's the point in this life? Or thoughts such as “Nothing makes sense anymore” or “Something needs to change” Oftentimes with the underpinnings of depression or a feeling of being emotionally numb. There is a difference between clinical depression and this Nightmare phase, which will be explored in further chapters.

Phase 3: Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is the awareness that one is dreaming, and therefore in this phase, there is a sense of urgency to change the dream. In this context, the “dream” is how the mind experiences waking life through the ego-mind. There is an exploratory feel to this phase as if you are discovering new terrain within yourself. There is an openness and a curiosity about life and a desire for healing. You are led by both your Guarding and Guiding sub-personalities in this phase but your will to heal and discover your true self is more powerful than the conditioning of your past.

This might feel like traveling to an unfamiliar place where you explore aspects of your identity that once felt solid and unchangeable but now creates curiosity within instead of the heaviness of the question “Who am I?” in the previous phase, now it feels more like “Who am I” with a sense of lightness and possibility. . There is a hopefulness, and strength to work through traumas of the past with an emphasis on healing and transformation. This is typically the time when clients seek coaching with me, and when many of my clients transition from counseling into coaching work together.

Phase 4: Waking Up

Waking Up is the phase of possibility when hope becomes a reality instead of a vague idea in the mind as it was in Phase 3. The heaviness of life begins to lift and there is less strain and struggle in one's life.

“Waking up” is how one might wake up from a dream (or nightmare). Once a person awakens from the dream, they realize that not only are they cognizant of the ego dream as being a false reality now, but there is also a sense of freedom and openness to this new world they find themselves in. For some, it may be something like exploring a new land they have newly traveled to, the sights and experiences are more vibrant and alive. My experience in the cafe characteristically began in this phase and deepened,, launching me into Phase 5 for that glimpse of awakening.

Phase 5: Awakened Living

Awakened Living is choosing to live in the present, witnessing the moment-to-moment experience of reality unfolding. Unlike Phase 2 Lucid Dreaming, this experience is more like “lucid living,” a full awakeness in our day-to-day experience. When we live from a lucid inner state, we are mindful, accepting, and open to any experience. In comparison to Phase 1, we sleepwalk through our lives in dream sleep, where unconsciousness prevails.

While everyone's experiences in the Awakened Living Phase will vary. Sometimes I experience a less intense stillness that quietly permeates from within, other times I feel an unmoveable trust that all is well, creating a natural alignment with my Higher Self, guiding me to effortlessly surrender and move with the flow of life. There are variations of intensity in all the phases, but perhaps in this phase, there is greater variation dependent upon what you most need to experience to communicate with the Divine.

My more temporary and much more intense experiences in this phase have felt incredibly spacious as if I am living from an expanded version of myself. Deep compassion comes naturally and there is a powerful oneness felt with all, such as in the cafe example.

Let’s come back to the example with the cafe, in my case, I was in Dream Phase 1 Sleep before I went to yoga class (and it is possible the asanas in yoga opened channels of energy so I could experience the higher vibratory phases). After yoga class when I headed to the cafe, I moved into Phase 3, because my energy had shifted enough to be able to intentionally bring mindfulness to the present moment as I sipped on my tea. There must have been enough of an opening in my mind and my energy at the time for my heart to journey into Phases 4 and 5.

This is an example that shows how quickly we can move through the phases in just one day. However, we all have a primary, “default” phase regardless of how often you flip through these phases. Your default phase is the phase you fall back into as your norm, or what you experience most of the time. At the time, mine was Phase 3 and therefore, Phase 4 and 5 were just glimpses of the deeper awakening I still needed to integrate fully enough to experience it as my everyday reality before I naturally moved back into Phase 3 at that time.

Want to learn more? Take the Phases of Spiritual Awakening Quiz to find out what phase you are in and join our Facebook community to learn even more and dive deeper into your awakening journey:

Password: awaken

Follow Amie on Facebook or visit her website.


Amie Dean, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Amie Dean is a certified clinical trauma counselor and an Ascension Coach. She helps driven, empathic women, struggling with self-criticism and not feeling good enough, heal their inner child wounds so they can live an authentic, spiritually awakened life true to their soul's mission. She is the founder of One Awakening, a transformational online community to heal core wounds together and awaken spiritually. In her signature Awakened Living Program, she is a guide for increased self-awareness and Higher Self realignment.



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