Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grounding and Integrating Your Spiritual Awakening

One of the common sensations people have during a spiritual awakening (also called ascension, kundalini awakening, and enlightenment) is being unable to focus. You may feel light-headed and floating about in a daze. It may be very blissful, and at other times, it may feel like you're lost in a fog with no way to focus yourself. Congratulations. You are extremely ungrounded. So let's talk about how we can get you back down to earth. :)

Houston, We Have a Problem
The first couple of times we feel like we're floating off in outer space, it can be a jarring, foreign, scary, or super blissful feeling. A lot of it depends on how much ego baggage is still attaching to the person who is now floating in the stratosphere. None of this is bad, per se. But we do live in this world, so the real question is how do we integrate this awareness.

Lots of people talk about this process in a variety of terms that you may have run across, and I want to be clear about what I'm talking about as always. Here's a list to hopefully help you understand that ultimately we're all talking about the same thing. So integrating a spiritual awakening is also called:
  • Embodying a spiritual awakening
  • Ascending (i.e. spiritual ascension)
  • Raising your vibration & anchoring your energy
  • Grounding
The more confused ways of discussing this natural process is to put it into these kinds of signs and portents or disease terminology. That's why plenty of you read stuff out there about:

  • spiritual awakening symptoms
  • spiritual awakening signs
  • ascension symptoms
  • ascension signs
I'm extremely cautious about saying "spiritual awakening signs" and listing them out because everyone is different. Ultimately, you know in your heart if you are having an awakening and not a nervous breakdown or severe depression, where many of the signs can be similar. And in regards to "symptoms," you are not sick or having a disease. You've been sick, and now the awakening is actually healing you all the pain inside of you. And there is a lot of pain that often has to come out no matter how good a life we think we've lead. It's just a lot of karmic and cultural baggage, and it needs to be dealt with.

Landing the Rocketship: Coming Back Down Through the Layers
Just like the atmosphere has many layers, so do you. So you may feel some resistance as you come back from these upper realms. But in being mindful and aware of yourself and where you are resisting, you are bringing this awareness down into the world. This is a new way of being (well, ultimately it's our natural way of being, but it'll probably feel new initially). However, it needs space; you need space to be you.

I've often talked about healing multiple layers.  We have to clear out things on each level of us to make space for the fullness of our awareness. As we do that, we are also healing a split that often happens within many people during awakening. It's like a part of us shoots up high, and we kinda leave a lot of trash and junk in the kitchen as the stopped up drain backs up with water, which is running everywhere. To touch so highly and deeply and then come back into this mess is a shock.

Time to get out the shovel and scrub brush.

Facing Your Inner Resistance
Yet, you'll notice that a part of you may be hanging onto this inner mess, and that's going to cause resistance. Resistance makes it supremely difficult to ground and embody this awareness. So oftentimes, people get stuck. The first main area is the mind. When you deny this awareness, you really can get lost. I spend quite a bit of time helping people to simply accept this process. The next part is usually the heart. People don't really want to open themselves to love. It stirs up all the things that they haven't worked out and all the ways that they haven't acted from the space of love. This often ignites a process of grieving to clear these wounds and forgive ourselves. Then the stickiest and nastiest issues are often down in the body. Some of them have been there for so long that they don't have names. They're just like dense, black gunk in the joints and different places of the body. This is where physical practices like hatha yoga become wonderful additions to your practice to address these levels of resistance in the terms on which the body communicates.

Appreciating the Awareness of Each Aspect of You
I don't think I've mentioned this recently, so I want to encourage you to appreciate the wisdom and awareness of all of you. Your mind can be very, very wise when you re-train it in service of spirit and Truth. But so too is your heart, and so too is your body. Your body is so smart. It can tell you how much to eat, how much to exercise, how to make love with a partner, and so forth. Anyone who loves dancing knows what it's like when two bodies really start talking to each other. There is no leader and follower anymore. You're simply dancing in the rhythm shared by you both. Isn't that absolutely beautiful body wisdom?

But too often the mind run by the ego is trying to maintain a hold over everything, and that idea has to be let go for you to integrate the fullness of your spiritual awakening. Until then, you are in resistance, and the pain can be excruciating.

Physical Activities and Tips for Grounding
So let's talk about the body specifically, although all aspects of you have to integrate to fully embody this awakening. If you are looking to get a little bit clearer and focused in this world, conscious movement is really helpful. Each one of you will have to decide how much you can do because I want you to honor that a lot of your energy still needs to be focused inwards. Don't get caught up in too much external exertion unless you are intuitively guided to do so.
  1. Walking/Hiking. There's nothing like a short walk, especially in nature, to help you find your feet. If this isn't enough, really focus on your breath and the sensation of your feet in each step.
  2. Hatha Yoga. All I mean by that is physical yoga--yoga includes a lot more than poses, but Western Culture uses this word in a very narrow way. Find a yoga teacher you like or a yoga video you like. Do some poses. Find out what you need. Do you need to focus on areas with resistance and stiffness? Do you need a long or short session? Really tune into yourself. Don't just do what the teacher says. A good teacher will remind you to go at your pace and stop when you need to.
  3. Running. I've had good luck with this. All my life, working out has been a way to shed out internal debris and get clear. But as I said, keep it short. You're not training for a marathon. There's no where to get to, and you certainly aren't using this to maintain a body shape ideal.
  4. Conscious Movement & Dance. Where I live, there are new types of free-form dance that really allow you to explore the fullness of your body. If you don't have this nearby, set aside time to dance to music in your house/apartment/living space. Give yourself permission to fully explore your range of motion; don't just stick to what you think makes you look good.
  5. Meditation. Honestly, if I'm in really, really high energy, meditation helps me the most. Sometimes, I need to do this before doing anything physical to get the benefit of the physical activity. It's like it takes me down through one layer of the atmosphere, and then the physical activity can take me the rest of the way back to earth.
Calming Yourself During Really High States
You can really get up into high spaces, so I just want to let you know that you'll be all right. Sometimes, it's actually perfect to just allow yourself to be there. In this instance, it's important to let go of the judgment about where you should be in this process or how you should feel. There is no where to go. Just rest in the outer reaches of space if that's where you are. You will come back to this world. It's natural, but it won't feel the same. Embodied spiritual awareness doesn't feel the same as we integrate it. When you're first flopping around on the beach, you can only dream of it. And then when you finally find water, you think you're drowning. But after awhile, you simply get used to living and breathing in this element...this element which is simply you in your fullness and which is simply love.

So relax. You are going to be okay, and hopefully some of these tips will help you to get grounded and focused when you need to and to properly integrate your awakening as you need to.

The lovely picture for today's spiritual awakening blog post comes from my student, Jenn. Thanks so much!
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