Monday, May 19, 2014

Spiritual Awakening Crash and Burn

spiritual darkness, spiritual confusion, spiritually lost,
Everybody loves the bliss state. It's the state of awareness and feeling that is constantly confused as being the spiritual state that you're supposed to get. But the awakened awareness embraces all states of awareness. Now, life certainly feels a lot better when we aren't at war with ourselves, but as many of us stabilize and relax into awakened awareness, it feels more like a deep and abiding sense of peace and love that simply is. It's no big deal.

When the bliss state first comes, it feels like a big deal. It can feel that way because--depending on what you've experienced with love--it is one of the first moments to provide an incredible depth of love, clarity, and peace that you've ever experienced. Just imagine the first time you tried a really yummy food and multiply that feeling by about a billion. But as we integrate into love, clarity, and peace, that sense of high dissipates because we aren't living in quite so low a place of apathy, anger, hatred, despair, guilt, shame, and perpetual fear. Take that bottom out, and the top level isn't quite so top anymore. It simply is what is.

But many of you won't try to address these core pains. You may simply try to reach higher and higher and get upset when that bliss state keeps disappearing. You are headed for probably more than a few hard crashes.

The Deconstruction of You

I wrote in a blog post some time ago about the importance of sacred destruction. I am using this term to point to all the inner obstacles and pain we carry that keep us separate from ourselves. And yet--as many of you know--even this is love and is embraced by love. Generally speaking, it is helpful to understand how to orient the mind to this spiritual truth. I often like to use the metaphor of ice in the ocean. Is the ice any less made up of water than the rest of the ocean? No. (Even if there are scientific differences, just run with the metaphor. You'll see where I am going.) They're both water. Fear is like ice on the ocean of love. It's just frozen. With fear, you're frozen into place and into certain cycles and behavior patterns. As that ice melts, things get uncertain and unclear until they release into the ocean. You lose reference points. You lose the old shape of yourself and your life. The more you resist this, the worse it gets. The resistance--not the melting--is what I'm referring to as the crash and burn. It's when you are truly holding onto your old life and your old pains when you need to be letting go. But it's okay to fall apart. That's how we make space for something new to be born.

Fighting the Spiritual Awakening Process

Most things generally comes down to this on the spiritual path: Are you accepting what is or are you resisting it? Because so many people are resisting their spiritual awakening process (generally speaking this is the time right after awakening until you re-stabilize in the months or years ahead), I have to write a lot about this topic. If you're not fighting the process and are completely at peace, you probably didn't go trolling the Internet for information, right? You'd be simply at peace with both the good feelings and the deep scrubbing soul cleansing moments. Let me be clear--deep scrubbing soul cleansing moments are not a lot of fun. Some of the most intense ones come when we finally accept and embrace the process. This is because if we are still in conflict with ourselves, the initial cleansing is still very superficial. For as deep and intense as it may seem at the time, you are actually barely just scrubbing the outer surface of issues. It's another reason why there tend to be multiple layers to shifting and healing.

Digging Towards Core Beliefs and Issues

Especially with core beliefs and issues, they tend to be systemic in a person's life. They've infiltrated the mind, heart, body, and subtle energy. While it's all intertwined, the healing that goes on for each aspect of you may not be happening simultaneously. Be thankful for that. Taking one manageable piece at a time helps you to process and integrate the healing appropriately for you. So you may only be working on the mental understanding of your issues with self-worth before digging down into the heart of the matter. And then when you're really hitting the core beliefs down in the gut, it's a whole other level of inner and often physical discomfort. You may find such level of pain within you that you can only assume that the spiritual awakening is doing something to you. But it's not. You're simply no longer numb to this pain you've been carrying your whole life.

And if you are not ready for this intensity, this is another point where people may try to run away and fall down hard. Because going back to the old unhealthy habits will tend to make everything even worse. This leads to an even worse crash and burn. You just zap yourself of any remaining energy, and it can start to get really dark.

Reaching for Help in the Pitch Black

For those of you with old trauma and pain lurking in the darkness, you more than likely will need help. Things like early childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and other similar traumas are particularly awful. Having different healers and teachers (used appropriately--you don't want to overwhelm yourself) and a strong dedicated practice (meditation, journaling, nature walks, or whatever is appropriate for you) are critical. The strength of the psyche is also important. While much of the work that happens is a destruction of the unconscious ego, you absolutely must be building up a conscious ego that can appreciate healing work, dedication, and being immensely uncomfortable as you heal. Old physical memories may start to surface that can be almost or as intense as an initial trauma. This can be part of the body healing out the pain and finally beginning to process the trauma. Nothing is going wrong in this scenario, but it is really helpful to be prepared for it. While there are some people who can do this deep healing of old trauma on their own, it can be especially useful to have help when you're in such darkness.

Another View of Crashing and Burning

Another common kind of crash and burn happens for the spiritual do-gooder. He or she releases an issue and comes into a great expansion. During an expansion, we feel energized, alive, loving, clear, and so forth. It's an awesome feeling. However, this person may want to immediately share this energy and save the world. They don't understand that during this specific transition and transformation, they need all the energy they've got to delve down into the next issue. Especially when only surface level issues are releasing (and of course they don't feel surface level to the person at the time because they don't yet have the perspective to know this), it's particularly easy to say, "Yep. I'm free and done after that last shift. I'm going to save the world." Knowing that you are complete in your transition is different than thinking you are, and most people aren't deft enough in their inner knowing to be able to differentiate the two. Plus, awakening stirs up all the mud, so a lot of things aren't clear for some time. It's best to go slow. Because while these expansions and contractions continue, it doesn't have to feel like you're crashing and burning with each contraction that takes you into the next set of issues to address.

Common Signs of an Awakening Crash and Burn

You know more than a few of the items on those long lists of spiritual awakening signs, ascenion symptoms, and whatever are really showing someone who has crashed and burned. As I point out in my post about the "5 Sign of a Spiritual Awakening," the main signs are actually very few. The others can be about any kind of spiritual shift.

Anyway, here are a few signs you've exhausted yourself from inner resistance, doing too much, giving away your energy, or some other interesting set of factors:

  • You are feeling intense despair after all the bliss
  • You are hungry all the time (meaning your system is "starved" for energy and confuses food as a way to get it)
  • You are so chronically tired you can't move
  • You are crying all the time
  • You're terrified to the point of constant paranoia

While many of us feel depressed, confused about eating, fatigued, sad, and scared as we process a lot of stuff and shift, it shouldn't be excessive. If so, find support. In general, I always encourage people on the spiritual path to connect with teachers/healers, a preferred teaching (Buddhism for instance), and a community. Your own practice is vital as well. It's all meant to help hold you while you fall apart, and having a spiritual caretaker or two might be nice as well. Here's a blog post specifically about that:

Spiritual Caretakers During an Awakening

The Evening Out of the Waves

Eventually, these ups and downs even out for a lot of us. Part of it has to do with releasing issues. If we have sincerely looked within and processed the pain, trauma, fear, anger, and so forth, we don't need to go so deep into the dark anymore because it's not dark anymore. The darkness is where we do not look. It thrives on neglect, denial, and ignorance, and truthfully, you may be shocked about how ignorant you've been about yourself, who you think you are, where your core beliefs come from, what beliefs are even necessary, and so forth. But as the unconscious ego (which is the one who is being shocked) diminishes and melts away, you simply accept what is arising. You accept that each issue is embraced and released slightly differently. You start to flow with the intelligence of your process and melt more deeply into the unknown because you never will know exactly how this all will unfold. Hopefully, the crashing and burning days start to become a memory while the remaining expansions and contractions continue until you simply are resting in your natural rhythms for spiritual growth in this lifetime.
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