The shift in consciousness can be a huge creative and lifestyle inspiration..or an existential crisis, depending on how you handle it.
People often think of awakenings as extreme – whether traumatic or ecstatic – these are the dramatic ones we often hear about. (Many yogic/energy teachers are wary of people consciously trying to raise Kundalini for this reason.) But they can be just subtle shifts in awareness and ideology that kind of sneak up. It just may be the wake-up call of getting older, an illness or break-up. You realise you can’t have or do it all – so it’s time to get real and choose. The other big one is realising we are abusing our planet in an utterly non-sustainable way..and no-one is going to rescue us. As a species we need to change track..fast. It is part of the process of emotionally and spiritually growing up. These are not once off events, smaller versions of these shifts happen many times over the course of a lifetime.
Either way, your perception has shifted; of yourself, the world and your role in it.
You might have a few hours or days of bliss and glee. The burst of learning, inspiration and creativity can be really energising. You want to share your joy and newfound insights. A whole new world of possibilities…
Then things get real. Things won’t feel right, until you get the bigger picture answers. People often talk about Kundalini awakenings in terms of dramatic physical symptoms – heat, sleeplessness, hypersexuality etc. What I want to address in this article is the common mental, emotional and ideological challenges people face. Because these are the keys to integrating the shift.
In a tough-love nutshell:
a) You drank of the nectar and had a glimpse. You and the universe have agreed that there are bigger and better things
b) In order to make these shifts, your egoic identifications are being challenged. The ego resists change, however positive it may be.
c) This shift in consciousness is permanent – and it is a call to self-responsibility and action. There is no going back. Resistance is futile, will hurt, and take a lot of energy.
You can fool your mind, but the soul will not be bullshitted with excuses, justifications and distractions. The amount of denial required to maintain the facade results in agitated, ungrounded energy (anxiety, frustration) or emotional shutdown (depression, hopelessness, apathy). It is easy to project this emotional edginess, and “my life isn’t right because…” onto the people or circumstances close to us, or whatever triggered the awakening.
Worst case scenarios are people internally churning until something unrelated triggers off white-hot rage, misery or anxiety attacks. The stereotypical midlife crisis is another (sadly common) manifestation. They have ignored their inner calling to grow and evolve for so long that they feel the need to reject their entire life circumstances and regress to an 18 year old responsibility free lifestyle to feel alive/themselves again. Basically hiding behind a new set of distractions.
My best advice would be listen, learn, embrace and be patient – with yourself and others. Things may feel so off that you want to run away – literally or metaphorically. The external world will shift, BUT there is a delay. Yes, it is a time for change and decisions, but not rash ones. Be gentle with yourself – don’t feel that everything that came before is a failure or meaningless, and beat yourself up. Everything that came before is the journey brought you to this realisation. The lessons tend to recycle until you get it.
Things that used to feel fulfilling may no longer fit. A sense of yearning for a more purposeful life, to feel a part of something bigger, are common themes.The changes could be subtle or dramatic – consciously spending more time with family and friends to cultivate better relationships, more time for personal pursuits, activism, a healthier lifestyle, change of living circumstances or job. It doesn’t mean that you need to reject everyone or everything, but as you change, your dynamics with people will shift. Some people may not be as important in your life – some may leave. People can be genuinely concerned, threatened or jealous about the new you, especially if you have made sudden dramatic changes. Give things time to adjust before burning your bridges.
Higher consciousness states are a purification – the ego needs to be burned off. It requires moving into a place of higher integrity, personal responsibility and sharing your gifts. External barometers of “success” such as money, comparison, attention, high flying jobs, the right partner have less meaning. So it’s a case of finding the new after shrugging off the old.
Time to clear out little icky things about ourselves we’d prefer not to think about. Unless you are The Buddha, you have some – so it’s cool. We’re all in on this journey. So, time for the hard questions:
- What aspects of life aren’t working for you – what changes do you want to make? And how/why will they bring you fulfilment?
Don’t end up with a whole new set of distractions or labels. You don’t need to fit a societal version of spiritual or masculine/feminine or successful. Find what fits you. No “shoulds”.
- What are MY core values? What are my short/ middle/ long term goals?
Hopefully your values and goals are mutually agreeable!! If they have been out of alignment with each other it will explain a lot. Commonly in an awakening comes the realisation that these aren’t in sync, or that they’re not what we thought they were. Perhaps we were operating on societal messages/ belief systems on what a “good” or “successful” person does and should aspire to. The labels we identify with often determine these – a successful husband, an attractive person, a good mother..etc. They may not fit you.
Goals are important to have and strive for – when you see where you are and where you would like to be, it is easier to come up with strategies and direction. Life is evolution. That’s what goals are for – not for beating yourself up with because you’re not there yet. Beware of putting expectations on outcomes “I’ll only be happy when/if..”. If I don’t achieve “x,y and z, I am a failure”. In the western world, we cause ourselves so much stress over the should haves – a partner, travelled the world, a house etc. There is a Buddhist saying about desire being the cause of all unhappiness. It takes you out of the present.
- What are the excuses your ego is hiding behind?
Not talented enough ~ too old ~ I’d look like an idiot ~ I have a mortgage ~ my partner wouldn’t let me ~ I’m too busy ~ if it was meant to be, it would have happened ~ my terrible upbringing ~ the dodgy back.
There is often a reason behind them – scars and baggage are a big one here. Emotional wounds create victim- or fear-based thinking, avoidance and distraction patterns. There comes a point where you cannot progress until these are resolved and released. This may be a matter of journaling and meditation, forgiveness, or professional counselling.
Remember at the time you did the best you could. Now that you have more life experience, knowledge and awareness under your belt you can wrestle your demons into submission. Cue the sleeper hold.
- What are the rewards of your uncomfortable comfort zone?
You get to stay SAFE. SUPERIOR. (= SCARED …..shhh!) You get to sneer at people who are living the life you secretly want to, knowing that you are safely out of the limelight where no one can criticise. The call to higher consciousness involves taking responsibility for yourself. People can spend entire lifetimes running from that, looking for the next fix to distract them.
Admitting to and naming the internal enemies is half the battle. Once you have the conscious answers to the questions, a plan of action can then emerge. It may be short or long term, and subject to change. There are still everyday practicalities and commitments to honour.
That old saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I would like to addendum that: When the student is ready, the resources and answers that were always there become visible.
The ball is in your court. All the best.
What awakening experiences did you have? How did you handle it? What changes did you make?
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