Friday, July 27, 2012

Spiritual Awakening and the Purification Process

One of the things that people don't expect during an awakening is the purification process. In my ebook, I broke the spiritual path up into three sections: connect, heal, and awaken. I did this specifically to help people in preparation for an awakening. The heal section is essentially about purification, and while this idea of purification isn't about an ideal of purity, it's about facing and releasing pain and issues. In so doing, you make space for awakening to naturally and more easily blossom in you. If you haven't done much of that when awakening erupts, then part of the next phase after some of the initial fun moments (which I talk about in this YouTube video) will be the intense purification and healing process.

Nothing Is Linear in Spiritual Awakening
I know that I have a lot of regular readers, and for you especially, I don't want you to think that there's a chronology to awakening. Well, there is and there isn't, and for everyone, it is different. Some people don't really go into a high bliss state first. For them, the eruption of awakening is synonymous with the start of the healing/purification process. And this can be immensely painful.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I don't talk about spiritual awakening symptoms because you're not sick. You've been sick, and you're getting better. I have talked about some of the physical challenges that come with awakening, and there are some commonalities that many people have in their healing process. One is the extreme fatigue. Not everyone gets this, but many of us, have so much internal work clearing and healing and awakening all at once that we have no energy for the external world. Furthermore, most of us lose energy and interest in doing anything that isn't true to ourselves and to spirit. This can make it seem like you have no energy for anything as well, especially if most of your life has been full of lies and dysfunction. You can test this easily enough. See if you can do things that you truly love. If you can't even do those, then you really do have awakening fatigue (As always, checking with a doctor is never a bad thing. I don't want people to try and claim "awakening fatigue" for everything when there may actually be a medical reason. After you get the doctor saying, "well, we can't find anything wrong with you," then go home and spend the next several months on the couch). If you can do what you love, then the awakening is really just helping you to see that you need to focus on love and what is real. Because the awakening (and in truth this is you doing this; you and the awakening energy are the same) have removed any of your energy from functioning in the old, unhealthy situations (which can include jobs, bad relationships, going out to bars, and so forth).

What Is Happening in the Purification Process
Now, as many of you know, I'm extremely cautious about using New Age terminology. There's a whole macro-ego identity that's grown up around New Age stuff, and some of it just seems outlandish and non-practical. As always, my goal with my writing is to make this stuff approachable and relatable (I had a nice compliment from a 20-year old about being relatable this week, so obviously, I'm achieving that goal with some of you =). But one way to co-op a New Age term is to look at this in terms of raising your vibration.

Pain and old issues are like chunks of ice in your body. It makes it difficult for you to move. The awakening energy that you've unlocked is like an intense fire. It's moving the chunks of ice in your body from the vibration of ice (molecules are moving very slowly) to the vibration of air (molecules are moving extremely fast). For those of you science people, you know that means you have to go through two state changes, and that requires a lot of energy to do so. That's exhausting. I often describe the spiritual awakening process as running 3 marathons at once. Consider this image if you are in awakening to have some appreciation to the level of inner work that's going on.

Doing Your Part in Purification
You also have to embrace this awakening too. I see some people who really are just trying to ride out the storm. It's a kind of victim mentality that is going on where the individual is like "Let's just get this over with, so I can get on with my life." It's unfortunate. It is missing the opportunity to heal and be more fully you than ever before. That's why doing your part is critical to really embracing the purification process as well as just allowing it to its fullest. Each chunk of ice needs healing and attention in its own way. Sometimes it is just lying on your yoga mat allowing yourself to feel all the emotions and thoughts that are arising. Releasing them with your exhalations, and filling yourself up with more of yourself on inhalations can be simple ways to embrace this process.

However, other times, you may need to be more active in facing an issue to unhinge it from your identity. If you have a strong victim identity, you may need to face some things that have happened in your life more directly whether its facing an old friend over a past wound, talking to a psychologist or spiritual teacher, finding an energy healer (although in awakening you want to be careful about doing too much of this; you are already in an energy healing process), or even just journaling things out. There are many different tools, including meditation, that can help you to bring more awareness and love--more heat--to the these chunks of ice that have kept you frozen for most of your life.

Enduring the Intense Discomfort
And yet, this may still be intensely uncomfortable. It may be downright painful. As I said, so long as there isn't any medical issue here, you will simply have to find space to be with that pain. It has been inside you the entire time. It has dictated how you were living your life, and now it's being drawn up and out of you. All the sharp edges are still there as you're pulling it up into your awareness. Perhaps a better metaphor would be like finding chunks of shrapnel inside of you. The awakening is cutting open the scar tissue and reaching in to pull it out. The energy that you can get back when that issue is gone can be amazing. You may feel like you've never felt so good in your life. I've seen it in sessions with students. When some old poison has been pulled out, their whole energy field can shift. But this usually comes after the healing is done.

While awakening and healing are ultimately the same, they are also different. People in intense healing can sometimes confuse it with awakening. Imagine you had two broken legs and one day you could stand and walk a little bit. You might consider this the pinacle of the process, but then one day, you learn to run. Awakening is like running. Healing is like fixing the broken bones. In the awakening process, you are often doing both simultaneously: healing the broken bones and learning to run again. That's intense. If any of you have ever gone through serious rehab, you can probably imagine just how difficult that would be.

Preparation Before the Spiritual Awakening
For some of you, you intuitively started the purification process beforehand. What might that have looked like? Here are a couple things that I did and some stories I have heard from other people:
  • Stopped using drugs, alcohol, and other substances. All of that crap gets in the way of you being you.
  • Dramatic diet changes to eat healthier. This usually takes people away from sugars, salts, fats, and meat to some degree towards more plant-based food. I went vegan for the first time ever in 2007 for a couple days, which ended up sparking a big clearing experience on a hike.
  • Doing more appropriate exercise. Some people start doing exercise to clear out issues. Others get away from exercise habits that are ego-driven (i.e. trying to achieve a body size or type).
  • Started meditation or going to spiritual groups.
  • Began reading spiritual texts. This is really about purifying the mind because most of the ideas floating in our heads are pure garbage that leave us locked in bondage to things and ways of acting that don't serve us.
There's also an intuitive way that people who are heading towards an awakening do this. For one thing, they aren't often thinking that they're preparing for an awakening. It suddenly seems like the right thing to do. I didn't know that I was heading towards a big purifying/purging experience when I decided to try being vegan for 3 days. It just intuitively felt right. I stopped drinking alcohol in April 2007 because it felt like it was getting in the way. I had no idea the awakening I was headed towards in August, but I could feel this growing urgency and impulse to do this.

With all that said, this does give those of you who aren't in awakening some ideas about what to do to prepare for this. And this is the focus of my ebook "Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening." I'm interested in helping you prepare so that when the awakening flood comes, your fields will be clear enough from rocks, boulders, and icebergs to fully accept the waters and create a bountiful harvest in your life.

And the Purification Process Continues
No timeline can be applied to the purification and healing process. Everyone is different. Everyone is moving to a different level of awareness too. While I go to great lengths to avoid any kind of hierarchy, people will all awaken to different levels of awareness and abilities. Sometimes, it's simply better to say that you will become fully whatever it is you truly are now that you are no longer resisting it. If you are a pine tree, you fully accept being a pine tree without trying to be an apple tree any longer (If you are a stay-at-home mother, you will fully accept this without trying to be a career woman which has never felt true to you.). The tree metaphor generally works well because there are many different trees that offer many different things, and the purification is getting rid of anything inhibiting you into being whatever tree you truly are. That is different for everyone. A redwood tree may need lots more room and space to grow into itself. A birch tree needs much less. In that same way, each of us will have more or less healing going on depending on the pain we are carrying and the work we are here to do on this planet.

Ultimately, the purification process dies down, and you move into other phases of awakening that can be more expansive as well as challenging in other ways. It is different for everyone. Purification lasts different time lengths. All I can say is that it will pass no matter how challenging, and the best thing you can do is to fully accept it without resisting what is happening. This is a sacred and beautiful process that is healing you and allowing you to finally be you in your beautiful and loving fullness.

For more thoughts on purification, enjoy this video:

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