In Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, Tolle describes the time in his life in which he had an epiphany which you could describe as a spiritual awakening:
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then I suddenly became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: The ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
The ‘self’ that Tolle was describing was the personification of his mind. The state he was in before he had the epiphany was a state of unconsciousness. He was identifying with his mind – he thought his mind was himself. Unconscious mind identification happens to all of us, and is a major source of our suffering.
It’s freeing to detach from mind identification. The same mind that constantly comes up with negative, self-defeating thoughts or projecting to the future or revisiting past events – you can simply observe. Observation of the mind brings a new level of awareness and consciousness and brings you into the Now.
If you were to have these same thoughts and identify with your mind, you will suffer. You end up attaching too much to your thoughts. You don’t end up using your mind – your mind uses you. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it.