For those of you already shining brightly, you alone may know what amount of self-discipline and love that's taken, and yet there are some ways that it has also been effortless. Here is yet another paradox of the spiritual path: there is no where to go and no work to be done, but there are great and immense shifts that require a lot of focused energy. If your head starts to turn to mush as I write about this, it's okay. Focus on the energy in these words; they too are made up.
Thus the scouring of all the dark corners of your soul will go through phases, and I felt like writing about some of those phases for those of you plunging into the dark within.
The First Light in the Room
For many of you spiritual awakening is the first light in the room. It may be the first time you've ever really looked within yourself. For some others, a spiritual opening (an spiritual experience that shows the truth, but does not last and abide) or some kind of realization has offered that initial spark. And for yet others, you've been groping blindly in the dark for some time to find a little light. Well, I hope you're finding a little in these words, and for those whom the fire is already roaring, I hope this post will add to those flames. But as some of you already know, that first light in the room--especially if it is a spiritual awakening--is only the first step. It is not the end goal as many egos think it is. Awakening does not make you instant perfection; rather, it shows the perfection in all things. It is also that inner light that shows us how we've badly come out of alignment with ourselves. It is like the doctor that comes into the room who can finally diagnose you with a broken leg after years of not knowing what was wrong. Now that you can see that the leg is broken, the bone must be set. Healing must begin.
The Choice to Heal or NotIt may sound ridiculous, but we have to make a choice to heal. If we don't, the broken bones in our lives won't heal. For many people, life is okay enough to make healing look like a bad thing. Sure, my spouse is abusive; my job is crappy; but everything else is good. Of course, the ego has no real perspective to clearly evaluate what is truly good, but until we really make a commitment to seeing from another vantage point, we can't see much. And seeing from the awakened space can be extremely unsettling if there are things that are really broken in our lives. Interestingly enough, the awakened space doesn't force healing on us. It can seem like that, but rather, we all truly want to get back into the health of our natural flow of energy in life that it seems like we get thrust into a vast, fast-flowing river.
For those of you not in awakening, you will have to more ardently choose to heal because that inner flow and that inner drive may not yet be strong enough to carry you through difficult healing moments. This is why spiritual traditions talk about needing a community, teacher/healer, and a teaching. This triumvirate helps to supply the crucible and fire to bring impurities to light and burn them out. Outside perspectives help you to see the dark parts of you that you cannot see. I wrote awhile ago about blindspots and how to find them, and this is where community is tremendously helpful to all of us.
Moving Through the First Layers of HealingI also have written about finding your edge for the first time and how important it is to see that no matter how dark an issue appears, it can be released. A lot of people really aren't ready to work with me until they've already passed that first benchmark because of the intensity of the work that I do with people. Otherwise, they think I'm telling them to grow wings and fly instead of hearing that they are holding onto five boulders and are already plummeting to the ground. If you're already in that situation (which is the state of most of humanity), dropping the boulders and trying to grow wings doesn't sound so crazy.
And yet we are committed to these boulders. These boulders are fear, shame, anger, hatred, self-loathing, depression, and too many more to list out. I've talked about them enough, but with that focused intention to heal and release, you will let them go. It will become natural to do so, and you'll begin to see how much energy you'd dedicated to holding onto them in the first place. Think about it. Think about how much energy it would take to hold onto a one ton boulder. This is no different than staying angry all the time. You have to think angry thoughts. You watch news programs and read articles that make you angry. You have angry conversations with people that range from complaining mildly about stuff to full on outbursts with people. Your whole life's energy is dedicated to daily anger to keep this in your life. It's exhausting. When you can start to see this, you will suddenly understand why awakening seems to bring fatigue--it's because we're simply seeing that we're already exhausted.
The Descent and the Next Layers DownOften after going through a set of issues and feeling the wonderful expansion of reclaiming yourself, it's a little easier to continue to descend. Many of us want to know what other painful things we are holding onto so that we can clean out the closets and the garbage of our souls. We want to feel light, open, loving, and free.
This is a good thing.
This doesn't come from the desire to be perfect (although others may confuse it as such); it comes from the natural aspiration to be free. This may sound like I'm mincing words, but truly I am not. However, I cannot convince you of this; you simply have to walk the path to understand.
As you go, however, fewer people may be able to follow you down. The top-level issues you had to deal with which may have seemed invisible to you at first were clear as day for most other people. Consequently, you may need different helpers and external mirrors (i.e. other people) to show you those things about yourself that you have not yet discovered. It also requires even more vulnerability and self-love because you're going to find some dark nasty things that you've been neglecting potentially for your whole life. People often confuse this as discovering that they're bad people, but I prefer to simply say that you will find out how much you've been the architect of your own pain and suffering as well as how you've perpetuated it in other's lives.
As I said, a lot of love is needed down here.
The Continued Humility to Hear What You Don't Want to HearYou also need to continue to have humility to hear reflections from other people that you don't want to hear. The ego spends most of its time trying to reinforce a particular story and a particular idea about who you are. But you are not a story. You are a not a set of traits. You are a being of infinite love, and even these words are too small and narrow to encapsulate that truth. They are simply words, but they point you towards something. Thus also with messages we don't want to hear, we have to learn how to see where they come from and where they point us towards. Not all information we receive from the outside world has much to do with us. So coincidentally the deeper we go, the more we will notice how much other people simply speak from their ego programming. In noticing that, we have to pay even closer attention to your inner knowing to feel what resonates as truth and what resonates as simply illusion and how the other person is projecting their story onto you. People will never stop doing that, but at the same time, other people do have helpful thoughts and ideas. Learning to sift through this flux of information can become both easier and more challenging as you go.
Another Layer of Darkness Burns AwayEach time a layer of darkness burns away, all that is left is light. All that is left is you. Life actually simplifies even if for awhile you have to have new disciplines in your life. Sometimes there are dietary changes because for whatever reason, certain foods seem to reinforce different densities and issues that are stuck in us. For instance, eating vegetables seem to be really helpful when clearing lower chakra issues (issues in the low belly and pelvic region). Meats and starches seem to clog things up and get in the way. After you've cleared what you need to clear, your eating may come to a renewed balance, bringing back the foods that were reduced or removed from your diet. However, this will be dictated by whatever frequency and vibration you naturally hold and which foods support you in that energy levels. Keep in mind the spiritual path is simply taking you to your natural vibration where you are simply being you and are no longer trying to act as anyone, hold onto pain, and do the enormous amount of stuff we do to play out a myriad of illusory games in this world.
All Alone in the DarkAt some point, there is just you in the dark looking at things that an extremely few number of people can see if anyone else. By now, most other people probably think you're quite a shining beacon of love, and of course you are. How could you not be if you've focused so much energy into love, self-knowledge, and releasing old wounds and pain? But you know where you need to go, and if you feel the light of awareness has not yet come to the balancing harmony it wants to, then you must follow it further. Go deeper still so that no corner of darkness remains. This is what is often referred to by other spiritual teachers as going all the way. I will very rarely tell people that this is necessary. I believe we all have our sacred soul paths and soul contracts, and when allowed, we go to whatever level of awareness we are supposed to in this lifetime. That very rarely means total self realization where none of the ego tendencies are still present within us. However, this space is a beautiful and sacred space, and it is available to all of us. So don't let the ego start telling you that this is a hard or difficult thing to achieve. It's nothing to achieve. It's already here, so there is no process to get to it.
But as I mentioned earlier, in that aspiration, a process may arise. Here in the deepest dark corners of you, other things my arise. Old forgotten karmas, family lineage issues long lost, and many other dark, malicious tendencies aimed at yourself and others that have been so buried that you had no idea they were there may be discovered or re-discovered, as many issues have infected the whole of your system for most of your life. Now, you have finally found the nasty roots. But the good news is that your light has grown tremendously if you are here now. The depth of your intuitive awareness can cut through even pitch black, and while others may not understand the depths of the inner shift, intensity, and even physical discomfort you are experiencing, you will know that it too is all illusory. Any upsetting things will pass and love will unite throughout you to illuminate us all.