When the Spiritual Path REALLY Hits You

road, hitting the road, getting spiritually serious
There are moments when what the spiritual path really Is hits you. 

I'm not talking about any initial spiritual shift. The initial shifts typically show us rather obvious personal issues that we've been ignoring. In the more enjoyable initial spiritual experiences, we often glimpse a piece of reality, but we have no idea what it means to surrender to reality yet. Actually, most of us think we can have it without giving up anything...you know, hold onto your cake and digest it at the same time. Which isn't possible, but that's what we hope.

None of those early moments are what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is when a person really gets it at a new level. For example, Jane finally understands that she has to let go of her attachments to find freedom from suffering. I mean she feels it like a slap to the face because she is realizing how much her attachments--unpleasurable and pleasurable--are all making her suffer. And she suddenly feels like everything else has been a defense or attempt to bargain with her ego. She can't get around it. She has to accept this, or her time on the spiritual path is done.

That's more of what I'm talking about. It's an internal make or breakpoint, and it's time to find out if you really want spiritual freedom after all.

The Choice for Freedom

I like to regularly remind people that we have to choose this path. Before realizing there is ultimately no choice or chooser, we have to choose to break our constant reinforcing of attachments and illusions. If we don't choose, we'll stay in our illusions that we constantly and unconsciously reinforce.

It's just how human beings are.

But initial choices are fraught with ego goals, assumptions, and attachments. They aren't particularly conscious. They are very self-serving. So even though many of you have chosen this path, you also really haven't yet.

In my one-on-one work, it can be several years before the path really hits a student, and suddenly they're looking strangely at me. Yes, it's like they're finally starting to see me and this path, and the ego response is something like, "Ohhhhhh. That's who you are, and that's what you meant by surrender." 

Yes. That's what I meant.

Now that you understand, now you can make a conscious choice--well, at least as consciously as it can be made now.


conscious choice: making a decision based off of an understanding of reality.

unconscious choice: making a decision based off of illusions

Choosing Spiritual Freedom

Slapped by Reality

In some ways, the spiritual path hitting you is like being slapped by reality.

Wake up!

This isn't a game. This isn't some new self-help/self-improvement program to achieve your ego desires. We're not here for your health. We're not here for your happiness. And God only knows we're not here for your safety--there's no such thing! We're all gradually being ground to dust!

Now, I know some of you may be feeling a little slapped reading this. Then wake up! No more nonsense spirituality. Soulmates, spiritual purpose, manifestation, and other pop culture spirituality words and illusory goals can burn in the fire of reality. It's time to make a choice, and now that you're seeing more of reality, choice is possible.

Unless the illusion is still too intoxicating for you.

Reaching for the Bottle of Illusion

And usually it is. Usually, our illusions about how we want life to go are too strong after a spiritual slap. A person typically needs several slaps, but when it finally hits home, wow, the ego complaining that can erupt. 

Face-to-face with reality, many people make an about-face and want nothing to do with the spiritual path. They'll search for a way to ditch this whole spiritual escapade. For others, they feel like they've already crossed over into a point of no return. Now, they have to surrender that next level of attachment that they didn't want to surrender.

It's like that closet practice that a lot of people do. You know. A person goes to their closet and throws out the things they don't need. It feels great, but a lot of stuff that a person doesn't really use or need gets overlooked. The stuff with which the person has the most amount of attachment remains. You already know what that is. Now you have to go back and throw that stuff out too.

Or find a way to get drunk off the bottle of illusion again.

Spiritual Turning Points (video)

New and Re-newed Spiritual Realizations Arise

As usual, crossing a threshold like this goes through a time of uncertainty and internal ego grinding. Afterwards, deeper understandings emerge as the person is clearer in themselves. Inner clarity leads to outer clarity. When you no longer are looking through a pair of kaleidoscopes (aka the ego) at the world, suddenly you can see more of what is actually going on.

The realizations that stem from this deeper clarity illuminate more truths. You see that this path truly is about reality. It isn't about believing stuff that people told you to believe. It isn't about claiming some idyllic life. It Is just about surrendering to what Is.

And some of the spiritual realizations you have will be the old ones you've already realized, but now they sink in deeper. Those truths are often still just as simple, but they grow in power through your acceptance.

Completing Cycles and Crossing Thresholds

The Continual Renewal of the Present Moment

Spiritually Sucker-punched in the Heart

Then things may go along well until you get hit again, and one of the next level hits is at the level of the heart.

Getting hit in the heart is a deeper level of knowing. A common realization that gets realized at deeper and deeper levels is around this understanding of true love. True love is unconditional acceptance of everything.

But earlier on, we like to think of love as only enjoyable experiences. Or people like to think of it as a state that you can enjoy all the time. People say that, "All is love." This is true if we are saying that all is consciousness, but that's not an experience. That true love is the perceiver of all experiences.

So when a deeper realization of what I just said hits, a person can be floored. They realize that all of their emotions are part of love. ALL of them.

That includes terror, self-loathing, hatred, disgust, shame, depression, despair, and many others that almost no one equates with experiential love. And it's not like those powerful emotions become more enjoyable from understanding that All is love. In many ways, those experiences are intensified as the person's heart is more fully open.

Suddenly a new ego revolt rises shouting, "I didn't sign up for this!"

The Spiritual Gut Check

But we're not done yet with the ways we can get hit by spirituality. We're not done with the many, many levels of unconscious attachments, hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Until we fully realize something, we're still fooling ourselves and playing games in the world of illusion. And let's be clear, lots of people on the spiritual path do this. Few human beings want to accept the totality of life. It seems safer to stop and create a few new illusions about our chosen-ness, special-ness, spiritual accomplishments, and more. It's so much easier to create a spiritual ego.

Beware the Spiritual Ego

I see this all the time.

With the spiritual gut check, more illusions are exploded, and it's close to impossible to hold onto specialness, spiritual accomplishments, and whatever else has been fabricated. Here's a common illusion and attachment many people have: You will one day get to a safe future.

This is more common stated as, "You will live happily ever after." It isn't real. Most of you intellectually understand that. But deep down, we really, really want it to be true.

And Western Culture has millions of people striving to get to that future moment of total safety. And on top of that, Christianity's promise of Heaven has millions of people striving to get to that future moment.

Clinging to a belief that a future safe afterlife can be achieved and then realizing that there is only Now can devastate a person. It can bring about a crisis of faith if someone like this just realizes it on the mental level alone much less getting the gut punch. But it is true all the same. The future is always unknown, and we'll never be in it. We are only here Now, and the external world can still do whatever it wants to us no matter what we believe. There is no safety.

With the gut punch, there is an added level of terror and tension that rises out of the body. It's not fun. But of course, on the other side of surrendering your resistance to these truths is a profound level of strength that only the undivided body can offer.

Undivided in Ourselves/Internal Oneness

On the path to realizing total oneness, a lot of what we are doing is re-uniting in ourselves. We have so many attachments, illusions, and false beliefs that they carve us up into competing pieces. As we realize and accept the truth, those false lines and internal boundaries dissolve. We become one in ourselves. That naturally is experienced as peacefulness and strength without trying to make ourselves feel peaceful and strong. From that state, the way we live fundamentally changes.

But once again, all of life is change. Realizing this, we don't hold onto these new ways of interacting or any state/experience. We are beginning to engage with reality, and we understand that the external world will continue to hit us with all kinds of things until the day we die. But now, there is a deeper sense of rest internally because we are not fighting ourselves, and we are not resisting those hits.

And perhaps one of the bigger realizations that people have is that, once again, the suffering and the feelings of the spiritual path hitting us was caused by us. It was caused by us resisting reality, and when that resistance drops away, suddenly, those hits disappear.

Spiritual Oneness Experiences


  1. Hi Jim - Thank you for this work.  I appreciate the "slap" of today's blog.  I was just noticing my own current trend/experience of wanting-to-have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too in my life/spiritual practice when today's blog notice popped up for some well timed assistance on that front.  Most helpful.  

    1. You're welcome. As usual, all I'm doing is pointing to the truth.

  2. Jim, a sincere thank you for this (and all other) post. Time and time again, having been reading these articles for close to 2 years (or maybe longer), I am amazed how much the chosen words, the metaphors, and the ease of reading these posts resonates with me. There is such an abundance of truth here. And yet...and yet, while it all makes sense on a conceptual level, I can't seem to find a way out of my own prison of suffering. How many slaps and sucker-punches will I need to take before I finally awake to reality and just let go? I am tired of suffering.

    1. Whatever changes you need to make in your life that you know you need to make and have been avoiding, do those.


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