Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Bliss State Comes and Then It Goes

I wanted to write to all of you about the state of bliss. It's a wonderful feeling. Most awakenings are marked by this state of awareness at the outset, but not always. And like all states of awareness, it's different for everyone because everyone is different. Usually, there's this profound sense of peace and love. You're very focused in the present moment. Future and past events and ideas disappear in this space, and it is deeply relaxing. You can simply be.

And then something shifts, and that state of awareness goes away. You may wonder if you did something wrong or how to get it back, and within those very thoughts, suffering has returned.

But I Am Awakened? Why Does Everything Feel So Bad Again?
Let's take a step back. One of my blogs that's been popular for some time--and honestly, I think it came out rather well--talks about the difference between healing and awakening. In that post, I talked about a couple general, big-picture movements on the spiritual path.
  • "Awakening: The sustained movement of coming into union with God
  • Healing: The removal of barriers to God
  • Openings: The initial glimpses of God which are fleeting and brief and can be confused with having happened because of a situation."
You can insert "universe," "Spirit," "Great Mystery," "Allah," or whatever term you feel more comfortable with if you don't like the term God. However, the ideas remain the same. A lot of people have really amazing spiritual openings. In those moments, you can touch a bliss state, and then the window closes. You go back to your regularly-scheduled life. The awakening is like a dammed river breaking open. A spiritual opening is just a water pistol squirting you in the face. If this is the first time you've ever felt a little bit of water moving through your life, your ego may want to jump to the conclusion that you're having an awakening. But until there's this inexorable, constant internal movement towards God, you've just had a really beautiful opening. And that's just fine. Remember, there are no points awarded to any particular point on the spiritual path, but it is important to see and appreciate where you are.

Back to the point about why you feel bad. For those who have had an awakening, that rushing water is now colliding with every barrier you've erected to God in your life. In any way that you're in relationships and jobs and situations that don't support you, that water is pressurizing those parts of your life. Things are crumbling everywhere, and you are constantly being pushed towards following your heart. You may be terrified of following your heart and truly believing in yourself too. That fear is a barrier that is trying to wall the awakened energy. In truth, you are divided against yourself, but usually, that energy will overcome that barrier. Because if awakening has come to you, it's most likely because you are ready to become whole.

The Bliss State Comes Back, Then Disappears Again
When you clear these fears and the internal resistance, the bliss state may come back again. It may feel like you're chasing the White Rabbit from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. You barely catch up to it again before it is gone. But I encourage you to look at it from a different vantage point. At each point where you've released an issue, you've healed something deep inside of you. That creates that spaciousness that you feel. You can expand again, and that means going back out into new places and re-creating the relationships that are around you. That can take a lot of work, and then you find your edges again. You find the next level of fears and issues that are inhibiting the fullness of you. Each time you hit an issue, you'll need a different way of being even though ultimately healing is always through presence and the power of your love.

So for instance, last time, you ran up against intimacy issues. So you wrote letters to all the past people with whom you had deep intimate connections. Maybe you sent them. Maybe you didn't. But in writing them out, that helped you to clear the issue on that level. But then you run up against again in this amazing new relationship you have. You want to run away. Maybe you try writing out what's coming up in this relationship, but it doesn't do any good. Now, you may need to talk it through with this new partner. You may also need to do something in particular with this individual. Depending on what's going on, it could be something like creating a ritual to invite each other more deeply into each others' lives and to release any old relationship energy that is still stuck in your respective energy fields. If it's sexual, it may involve a lot of physical closeness to help dissolve issues, and that kind of space requires a different attitude than the one that says sex should always be fun and pleasurable. If someone has deep grieving that they need to do on the sexual level, it needs a lot of love and space for ALL emotions to arise. Anyone who has done this type of spiritual healing can appreciate what I'm saying, and if you do need this type of healing, I wish you the best partner possible to help you in reclaiming that intimate space.

The Expansion and Contraction Continues
Depending on your awareness, your soul's plan for this lifetime, issues inside of you, and countless other things, this type of intensity may go on for years. That's a difficult thing for many people in Western Culture to imagine because we've be trained to want everything right here and right now. We've also been trained to avoid a lot of difficulty, especially if it's emotional. I mean there's this nonsensical idea of "no pain, no gain" out there, but it's very infantile. Furthermore, that mentality generally has you pursuing worldly goals that generally matter very little to the soul. If you have this attitude, you will be humbled by how much your soul does not want to suffer in the pursuit of money, trophies, beauty ideals, relationships, or even spiritual ideals (spirituality isn't an idea, it's a way of being). You are being taken back to a simpler way of being, and ironically, you're probably going to go through a great deal of inner discomfort because of how much resistance you will placed against love and simplicity. You will probably keep saying, "I can't let go of that. I have to have that." Whatever "that" is for you, it will go. We truly don't possess anything, and part of the awakening will show you that.

But Am I Doing Something Wrong?
This is such a tricky question because it comes from a space of ego. I've talked about higher truth and truth of the moment before. The higher truth says that there is no possible way to do something wrong. You're being tuned in to this space. The more tuned into this space you are, the more you can see what is or is not appropriate for you. For instance, it's not appropriate for most of us to be beaten by a spouse. At the level of the higher truth, nothing is going wrong in that scenario. It's just another part of the unfolding of the universe, and pain is equally a teacher as those things that are pleasurable. Many things are going on wherever deep pain is being shared, and the divine plan is so much greater than we can see that in waking up, we learn to appreciate the service that pain offers us.

However, in the truth of the moment, you will be very clear about what pain and difficulty is appropriate in your life. You'll realize where you've added additional pain, and the more your awakening takes hold within you, the more you'll be able to consciously decide whether you want that pain in your life or not. I know that this is a very different way to discuss pain. Most of you are like "I don't want ANY pain in my life." But that's not how this world is. If you stub your toe, you'll feel pain. If a loved one dies, you'll grieve. These are part of the many unfoldings of life. But when a loved one dies, you will now be able to grieve fully and let go. That is the gift of awakening as opposed to being lost in the mind and the world of duality where you'll try to argue with this reality. You'll want this person back. You'll swear that you'll never love again. You'll do all these very unhealthy things to yourself. This is creating unconscious pain and suffering, and a lot of this is probably coming up in your awakening. So bring more awareness to it. What is is that you're feeling? It's not wrong to be feeling uncomfortable emotions and physical sensations. They are equally a part of the spiritual path as the bliss states. Just be with what is present for you.

Coming to Resting Points
Many of your spiritual shifts will have resting points although everyone is different. Some people seem to try to swallow the whole thing at once on every level. As I said, everyone's awakening is different. As you come to those resting points, you may suddenly feel incredibly normal. That's great. That's part of integration. If you are truly allowing the awakening, you are integrating the bliss state into your everyday consciousness. Now, what's interesting about that is that when you integrate to a state of awareness, you won't really notice it as being anything special. The first time you feel a state of bliss, it's amazing precisely because it's so foreign to your current consciousness. It's like getting a cup of water where you're dying of thirst in the middle of the desert. You're like, "Wow! This is the best water ever! How do I get more?" But the more you integrate this awakening, the more your thirst is quenched. When you're not thirsty and are surrounded by water, a cup of the same water is great, but nothing to write home about. That's what you are doing here. You are bringing your awareness to rest in the bliss state, although this doesn't mean that you're always happy and floating about. By embodying it, we can act from that space on a daily basis, and when we're all doing that, that's going to re-create the entire world.

So bliss states come, and bliss states go. Like all states of awareness, they are ever shifting. All feelings and sensations come and go. The important part is to learn to accept them all as equally sacred.

Today's photo is a gift from my student, Jenn.
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