Realizing the truth of existence happens in its own unique way for all of us. Sometimes such realizations — also called awakenings, clear seeings, revelations, or glimpses of enlightenment — come suddenly and change our lives forever. More often, if they do come suddenly, they are integrated into our lives gradually. We may “know” the truth in our mind for a long time before we finally realize it fully, before we know it so deeply that we recognize it as our true nature.

A spiritual realization that causes us to wake up out of identification with body and mind, even momentarily, often comes with a built-in belief that we will never again forget what has been realized. This belief reflects the truth that our realization is simply a waking up to what is eternally true, to what has always been and will always be true. We may forget it again the next day, or it may stay with us for months or years. It may present itself again and again.

Realizations happen outside of time. A realization is not something to be remembered as a past event, or something we should strive to recreate in the future. Such memories and projections are just thought, but a true realization is alive in the present moment.

Spiritual awakenings may arise in the absence of words or thoughts. A simple, empty, silent space is often a characteristic of an awakening. Such an opening or spaciousness can come about in the presence of the love and acceptance of what is.

Nothing causes a revelation of the highest truth. The mind may come back in and say, “Oh, that must have happened because . . .” but in reality, such a glimpse simply arises out of emptiness. True emptiness is not a lack of anything. It is more like a freedom or an intelligent, infinite potential in which anything and everything can arise.

The truth often arrives as an intuition at first. If that intuition is honored without grasping at it or pushing away any aspect of it, it will take root in us, in and as our very being, and blossom fully and beautifully by way of grace. Grace is simply our true nature spontaneously revealing itself.

The important thing about realizations is the degree to which our identity as a separate self, which experiences something outside itself, falls away. An awakening cannot be truly authentic if there is any sense of “me” or doer-ship in it. The “me” is what we wake up from. We come to recognize that what has been realized is what we eternally are, not just something that happens to an individual self. We are not these seemingly separate individuals; what we are is that which manifests as everything.