The Pitfalls of Awakening

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“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid anymore.” ~John Steinbeck, East of Eden

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his quote absolutely nails what I experienced. I closed my eyes the first time I meditated and 20 minutes later, when I opened them, the entire world was different. The colors were so bright and the trees were twinkling. The birds became my best friends and the earth my mother. It felt like the entire world was wrapping its arms around me.

That was just the beginning.

Four years have gone by and I have learned a lot. I realized after about six months that I’d had a very unique experience of spiritual growth. And that I was truly whole. But I was also clear that everything had come on fast. What I didn’t know was what exactly was to come.

For about three years, I lived in a state of ecstasy. I spent my days “professionally” talking to people about Transcendental Meditation, my experiences and freedom. I also did a lot of walking and traveling with my dog all over the country, alone. I felt so complete. Love was pouring out of me, and every person I met seemed like a long lost friend. I needed nothing, I desired nothing. As I said, I was free.

Then came the second part of this story. I went on a two-week meditation course and was meditating five hours a day. Everything was going well, until it wasn’t. Towards the end of the course, I had another extreme reaction -- in one of my meditations, I completely exploded. My heart started racing faster than anything I’ve ever experienced. I began seeing black “smoke” pouring out of the other girls in my course and I had the feeling there were hundreds of “other” people in the room with us.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I thought I was going to die.

Apparently, I was having an extreme “kundalini awakening” (“kundalini”: Sanskrit for “coiled one,” referring to a primordial energy located at the base of the spine. Symptoms of “typical” kundalini awakening can be found at: http://simonarich.com/kundalini-awakening-symptoms).

What I felt, though, was like diving headlong into a total spiritual emergency. And this experience lasted for days! I mean, I was too scared to even close my eyes! During this period, I had extraordinary abilities: I could see into the hearts of everyone around me. I was completely broken open.

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The End of Your World

Uncensored Straight Talk on the Nature of Enlightenment- by Adyashanti This book comes as a response to a growing need for direction on the spiritual path, especially for those who have either found themselves fully immersed in or gradually experiencing "a new world, a state of awakening . . . oneness." Read the Book >

Once again, I was on my knees begging God to help me. It seemed like I was bouncing between heaven and hell and I simply couldn't handle it.

Since then I have been forced to make major changes in my life. I looked at my friends differently, keeping close to those with whom I felt aligned, and letting go of those I didn’t. Clearly, I couldn’t continue eating the way I used to, so I began eating a mostly plant-based diet and little-to-no dairy. I am a pizza addict, so I didn’t give that up completely. But now food has become my fuel and vegetables and fruit are my safest bet. I also found I need more time alone, and staying up and partying the night away has just fallen by the wayside.

It wasn’t an easy fix. I didn’t want to believe that I had changed, but there was no denying that I had. The universe just wouldn’t let up. If I ate the wrong thing, I got sick. If I stayed up too late, I couldn’t think the next day. If I hung around people that I really didn’t like, I felt depressed. On and on it went. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies; it’s hard work to unlearn everything you have ever known. But with every turn I made, I seemed to be guided by a force that I wasn’t in control of.

I also have developed an extreme level of empathy. How couldn't I, after all this madness?!? The anxiety that followed the incident I just described was nothing short of overwhelming. Since I have never had any type of nervous condition—I think I was born fearless—you could see how this came as a major league shocker to me.

Fortunately, I find I am progressively being completely reborn.

What stands out the most is the fact that I have been strong-armed into really changing. The Universe doesn't let me get away with anything anymore. Eating healthy food has taken on a new meaning for me, gone are the nights of casually drinking till 3 a.m., and doing things that my soul says “no” to are simply out of the question.

And my passion for the naked truth has become my new obsession.

My speaking is meant to shake you awake, not to tell you how to dream better.” ~Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to make it very clear that going down this path of awakening or Self-realization is not all fun and games. You will destroy the person you thought you were. You will abandon your old belief system. You will make decisions that the rest of the world might not understand. The sense of oneness with other individuals will confuse you one moment and fuel you the next. You will experience a million different emotions. There will be a clearing of your soul. Food (or throwing Frisbees to your dog on the beach, who knows?) will become your medicine. Nature will become your family. Synchronicity will be your guru . . . and your world will never be the same.

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Is it worth it? You bet your ass it is. Once you know your truth, you are free.

P.S. I am way better now, but oh my Lord, has it been one hell of a ride.