How not to end up in a spiritual niche or dead end after spiritual awakening.
Whatever your perspective of the moment, it’s just a phase, if you let it be. This applies to the insights and experiences you enjoy as well as the ones you don’t.
For those of you reflexively intoning that you are totally indifferent and have no more preferences, that you don’t judge experiences to be good or bad, enjoyable or tedious — I will oh so gently and lovingly invite you to get a grip on your own reality. While it’s true that after spiritual enlightenment the big, clunky machinery of preference is wiped out, the very subtle, quiet and nearly undetectable mechanics remain. While there are those who truly are indifferent — just as enthusiastic to eat a wood fired pizza or a plate of pigeon guano — I am quite certain they are not reading this blog.
Let’s look at a few of the experiences that people tend to have post awakening, and how they can arrest their development by getting fixated.
Loss of the personal “I”
This is huge and can take quite some time to adjust to. However, you might fail to adjust to it, and instead get trapped like a piece of existential lint in the bellybutton of No Self. People can fixate ever so subtly on the absence of a personal self for a lifetime.
Noticing the world is populated by automatons
You wake up and realize that most people, if not everyone, around you is a zombie — totally asleep and plugged into the Matrix. You go through a period of feeling misanthropic, anti-social. You feel you have nothing in common with people, you are an outsider. You might fail to adjust to it and live the rest of your life feeling out of step, out of place with everyone in the Mugglesphere.
The cessation of normal emotions
You stop experiencing “normal human emotions” in response to life situations, like excitement, happiness, sadness, worry, feeling “hurt” (as in, you hurt my feelings). You subtly fixate on this inability to have normal emotional responses, assume it is permanent and fail to adjust.
What happens naturally is that you notice these changes, and you might freak out for a while. That freak out might be pretty subtle or include a full on gnashing of teeth, complaining to everyone who will listen, searching out books and blogs to confirm your experience, etc. After this is adjustment. This is where you get a grip, let the freak out phase subside, and adjust. Adjustment is not the same as resigning to something, it’s not passive. It’s a period of incredible growth, as you take in this new perspective and let it be like an elevator that takes you to a whole new level of being in the world. You expand around it, not contract around it.
If you fail to move into the full adjustment phase and get stuck in noticing or freaking out, or if you arrest your adjustment by moving into passivity or resignation, the phase will become a feature of “you”, of your life, of your experience.
Imagine installing a flashy Broadway style sign on top of your front door: Now Featuring…NO SELF! With the hit songs Can’t Get It Up (emotionally null remix) and No One Understands Me (Sleepwalker ballad of the year)
This also applies to experiences or conditions that are generally considered positive, like the onset of siddhis or unusual abilities, or the experience of various bliss states. You notice, you freak out (that freak out might not be gnashing of teeth in this case, but freaking out on the positive side), and then you either adjust/grow/expand or you get a cheap 30 year mortgage on a nice cottage in your particular Spiritual Grotto.
Let it be a phase, or else you’ll end up with a feature.
If you haven’t read this companion post, please read it now. If you already have…it’s worth a second go!