Monday, October 10, 2016

Shifting Perspectives: Walking Through a Weird Wonderland

shifting perspectives, new perspectives, tahoe city, spiritual awakening
Both spiritual healing and spiritual growth tend to bring about changes in perspective. Obviously, a spiritual awakening can bring about a dramatic change in perspective depending on the individual. The result is that at times you can feel like you're walking through a hallway of mirrors. You see all these warped and twisted versions of yourself and others, and it can trigger fear for more than a few people. When someone has essentially had only one perspective--has been looking into the same warped mirror--their whole lives, it is jarring to look into another mirror. It is even more jarring to see the truth. This leads to a couple important aspects of the spiritual journey: patience and self-inquiry.

Whenever you notice that your perspective is getting warped and weird, you may want to slow down. Carve out some time in your life to explore these perceptions. The more still you become, the easier it is to begin to understand what is real and what is an illusion. In time, the false mirrors break and shatter. You find out who was holding them up and what they were created of. But you only do this by dedicating yourself to seeing the truth--the whole truth--not just the parts of yourself and life that you like.

Ultimately, what you like is an ego story based off of a lot of past experiences and beliefs, and if you want to walk out of the weird Wonderland of illusions and fragments of truth, then you have to dedicate yourself to seeing with clarity and to seeing what is real.

The Crazy Clown Town After a Spiritual Awakening

Anyone who has had a spiritual awakening has probably landed in a time of confusion and disorientation after any initial bliss phase--if you were lucky enough to get one--has burned off. Yes, it is a crazy clown town sort of experience once any initial high burns off, but it is to be expected. If you were operating by a lot of false beliefs--and most of us are or were--then you are going to be thrust into this weird in-between place of knowing and seeing the light of truth shining in as well as understanding the truth of the life you were used to believing in.

Here are two parts of this fiction you have been living in: the illusion you've been actively creating for yourself and the illusion others have been actively weaving around you and for themselves. Too often people get caught up in the latter rather than addressing the former. As always, it's easier to blame others for their mistakes rather than to clean up our own. And so part of dealing with this crazy clown town is to go into your little house of horrors and start doing some major exorcising. It's time to toss out the poltergeists who say you have to be attractive and the brain-dead zombies who want you inebriated or high all the time. Grab that scarecrow who is always finding something to be afraid of and light it on fire. Yes, purging the pain is not a fun time, but that is part of how you start to find reality within yourself.

Letting Go of Awakening Experiences

Initial awakening experiences often feel great. It's not the awakening that feels good so much as your response to truth. If you let go when you awakened, peace or love or wholeness or all of the above tends to be the dominate themes of an awakening experience. They are byproducts of the real world, but they are not the only human experiences we have, and the awakened state embraces all states of awareness and all experiences.

Unfortunately, people can get stuck holding onto a type of experience that they want to continue to have. This, inherently, comes from the ego self. The ego wants to feel good all the time. This is an insane hope. That's not how human life is, and so you have to let go of any initial high-state experiences and embrace whatever is arising now. Any ego frustration with letting go of those good feelings shows you yet another mirror in your wonderland that is warping your perception of reality. That mirror needs to go. There is only room for clear-seeing on this path, even though the path embraces all kinds of seeing. You are going to find a lot more truth and love by letting go of mirrors and illusions.

When Your Spiritual Awakening No Longer Matters

Getting Comfortable With Confusion

I want to emphasize that this type of shifting perspective experience can arise at any time during someone's spiritual journey. It can happen whether you awaken or not. So, it's not something that comes for those earlier on the spiritual path more than it does for those later on the spiritual. However, the more you've gone through shifts, the less upset you get when you feel yourself walking through Wonderland again. The mature spiritual person knows that this will pass.

Any time a spiritual epiphany, realization, or revelation comes, more light is shined into your ego's wonderland that gives you new perspectives. This leads to a time of re-assessment, and it can also bring confusion as a part of you tries to decide between which of these two perspectives to give credence. It's like suddenly seeing both going left and going right as equally plausible options. Which do you choose? Obviously, choosing the direction of the truth is the "right" answer, but we are often so used to choosing one path and believing that path is what we want that it can become really upsetting to choose another way--at least if you are attached to your habitual choice. When you are not as attached to it, it's not as difficult to embrace the clearer perspective.

With any shift in perspective, you will will need to get comfortable with confusion. You will need to get comfortable with feeling strange and unusual for a time. As people see more, their sensitivities tend to open up too. The mind, heart, and body need time to adjust. If you are also getting used to the newness of feeling your natural self, then you'll be noticing the strangeness of how you are used to living and feeling. It could be like stepping out of a tar pit and getting washed off. You've been covered in tar your whole life, so being clean and naked outside of the pit is quite an unusual and new experience for you.

The overall combination can be quite odd, and this can trigger the fear of the unknown. That guy is going to be one of your best buddies for a lot of your spiritual journey, so get used to him. The fear of the unknown guy will show up in his clown gown proclaiming that every new thing you see, feel, or perceive is somehow a dragon about to eat you. He is almost always wrong. If he played on the local baseball team, his batting average would be so low that he'd get kicked off the team on the same day he joined up. You should work on kicking him off your team. The fear of the unknown will never help you.

Emptying Out Your Ego

Really Stirring up the Inner Dust

With deeply ingrained core issues, confusing time periods can get worse. Like I said, they can arise at any point on someone's spiritual journey. Even for those of you who have moved through your initial fires of purification, healing, and growth, a new level of inner change may come and take you to another level of awareness. It's okay. You haven't done anything wrong. You haven't missed anything. This is part of the way a lot of human beings tend to change and grow.

Consider my favorite apple tree metaphor. You could be sprouted from seedling (awakened), but you may not have flowered and born fruit yet. Most of your time was spent growing up and growing rooted into the present moment. But now that those phases of growth have passed, you may be a big enough apple tree to make your first harvest of apples. That's quite a different experience. Suddenly you're flowering and growing fruit, but if you're somehow surrounded by evergreens, you've never seen this before. So this is a brand new experience that you have no perspective on. However, this phase is happening naturally. There's not much effort to it--which is always a sign of something true and natural. But to remnants of the old ego self, it can be a very strange time. You are wondering, "What is this I am feeling?" and "What are these things sprouting out of my branches?" Even as you are blossoming into a new level of beauty and truth, these old parts and habitual ways of thinking may still twist what you are seeing and reflect strange ideas back at you.

Thus, a major new level of spiritual opening can really stir up the dust. But with patience and gentle self-inquiry, you will soon find yourself with luscious fruits and amazing gifts dropping from your boughs and nourishing others.

Why Spiritual Awakening Can Be so Uncomfortable

Parting Ways With Another Layer of Illusion

It seems that human beings naturally move through layers of issues and illusions. Even deeply healed and whole people on the spiritual path run up against new layers of illusion. The nature of ignorance seems to almost be a kind of law that this is how we must do this, although nothing is certain. Ignorance simply means that we don't know what we don't know. So how do we know an illusion is even there if we don't know it is there?

For those who have done a lot of deep inner work, you should probably recognize some of the signs. You start to notice ways that you self-sabotage, resist, or otherwise cycle through repeat patterns. You may start to notice patterns that you thought you'd healed but that are re-arising. You may also notice how your inner process works. When it naturally kicks into gear, that's a sign that something is about to be illuminated. The better you are at knowing yourself, the more quickly you can find illusions.

Certainly, third-party help from a spiritual teacher, friend, or benevolent stranger can help you see things that you couldn't see before. And as I said, if this illusion is a really big one--like we are not real, we are just energy--then the shattering of that illusion can be profound. It can take awhile to sit with that and understand what that means to living human life. That can totally re-write how you perceive yourself and this world.

Getting Out of the Rabbit Hole

Eventually--as with any shift--things settle. You adjust to your new level of understanding. I suppose you could resist it and that tends to lead you down the tunnel of darkness towards greater pain, self-hatred, and even a dark night of the soul. Resistance is a path towards pain and suffering, and acceptance is the path of love. Whenever we accept these shifts, we naturally move towards their conclusion no matter how strange and weird things feel or seem in the process. When we fight them, we merely expose more of our ego and our commitment to lies and illusions, and things can get more warped. The haunted house inside you gets scary. As always, the truth of life is just showing us what is real, and in understanding reality, it becomes easier and more natural to live. Life gets simpler when we let our perspectives shift towards seeing the truth. In seeing the truth, we allow ourselves to flow in the most honest and loving way we can.
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