It’s always amazing to those of us who are allowing the full embodied awakening to happen just how physical it can be. I know that there are more than a few pages and groups out on the Web dedicated to “Awakening Symptoms” and what-not. I don’t really like the terminology. It makes it sound like you have a disease. Cheating others, bad-mouthing others through gossip, getting in fights, defending your ego by bashing another’s sense of self worth–that’s a disease. Awakening is the healing part of it. It’s more like you just said, “Hey, my right foot is broken.” And like the coyote from Looney Tunes which only knows something is wrong once he’s noticed it, we suddenly realize how bad our foot hurts. So if anything, think of awakening as a very big rehab session, and you’re in it for as long as it takes to heal.

Why Is This So Physical?

The spiritual path leaves nothing out. So to really be opening into this space is to accept this energetic shift on all levels. Can you tell me where energy stops? If the whole universe is simply energy in motion, where does it stop in you? Do you really think it could just stop with your thoughts? I think there’s so much ego entering the spiritual path these days that a lot of people think just that. They think of enlightenment/spiritual awakening as a new concept. Once they understand it, then they’re done. Voila!

But it’s not a concept. Well, at least that’s such a small tiny fraction of awakening, that’s it’s silly to even associate it with a concept. Except that concepts help us to understand and from that understanding, we make space to allow the shift. That’s one of the most important parts of this process–allowing. At each influx of this energy–this You energy–it goes deeper. It almost feels like starting over again because you feel so raw and vulnerable. With that, you have to let go deeper. You have to accept more of your true self back in. You have to let go of all the ideas that you have around how this experience should go, and then you have to let go of the process of letting go because the construct of a practice may even begin to get in the way after awhile.

Trusting the Natural Intelligence of the Awakening Process

This is another reminder that spiritual awakening isn’t really a process. It’s the process of changing our lives that’s a process. We are so used to mechanically doing the same types of things and having the same types of reactions that we have to change all of that. In many ways, awakening is more like a total hard-drive wipe. You are erasing all these old patterns that cut yourself off from yourself and others. Then you have to download new programming. The more you fight it, the more painful it gets.

Your body memories have to be changed too, which is part of why this is so physical. In many ways, you have to allow the natural intelligence of this process to do it’s work. The body doesn’t think like the mind. When and how it releases and lets go is still a little bit of a mystery to me, and I’ve moved through a lot of stuff for about 4 or 5 years now. Sure, yoga and other conscious movement practices are extremely helpful, but I can’t tell you if I need to sit in chair pose for the next 4 minutes to burn out something. I’ll have senses of where in my body I should work, but it’s not always the work that allows it to let go. Sometimes, it’s the work and then the relaxation later on. Sometimes, it’s just forgetting about the whole process and sunbathing in the park for the day. Only the deeper intelligence of the process truly knows.

Deepening Your Intuitive Practices

Many of you already know that I’m all about cultivating your intuition. You can’t get very far on this path if you don’t because so much falls outside the realm of the rigid rational mind. If you’re new to using your intuition or how I talk about it, check out this link. Your intuition is the best way to tap into your deeper intelligence to figure out what your body needs as you clear out a lot of the karmic sludge that’s bound up in muscles, bones, and cells. This stuff runs so deep that it makes you weep. Sometimes, the body simply feels like a store-house for centuries of family shit, and guess what? You’re the person now shoveling out most of it. It’s not that you can or should take ownership for all the ills of your family, but there’s a lot that we all carry. All of it has to go, and trusting your intuition around what you need to release it will make this much easier on you physically.

Physically Unbearable Moments

This post seems to be focusing on the physical, so if any of you have questions about emotional karmic sludge, feel free to post a comment or message me directly through the contact form. Anyway, this process is just a radical shifting of everything, and wherever your issues are located in your body, you may feel intense pressure and pain around it. Now, here’s my big caveat: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use all tools at your disposal when dealing with physical pain. Don’t get so lost in the idea that this is a spiritual thing that you don’t see an MD. MDs are great. They can do all kinds of wonderful diagnoses and surgeries and so forth. I am not a fan of overly New Agey-thinking that believes Western medicine is just stuck in the rational mind and should be avoided. Every tool from Ayurveda to sound healing to psychic surgery to laproscopic surgery is here on this planet to help you. Use them all. Especially when the pain feels unbearable.

I will tell you that for issues that are predominantly from a spiritual shift, if there’s pain, you’re holding on. You may not even be consciously holding on. I appreciate what a chiropractor once told me about involuntary muscle clenching. Voluntary muscle usage is when we use our muscles to do something like make a fist. Involuntary muscle clenching is when a muscle doesn’t stop holding on. In so many ways, karma is like that, and we go through waves of energy that wash in to loosen some of it up, clear it out, and then a new wave comes to get more of it. It does this until there is no longer a blockage–no longer a holding-onto–and the energy can run through you as a clear conduit for the divine.

Becoming a Conduit of Light and Love

Ultimately, you are being transformed heart, mind, and body into a conduit for the divine. It’s a beautiful purpose, and there are ways where there’s absolutely nothing that you need to do in this process. And there are times when there’s a ton that you need to do. Only you can know that, and only you can allow this karmic sludge to leave you. Consider this like a major house-cleaning/going-out-of-business sale. You’re letting go of everything. This can be a scary thing, but as a teacher once said at a meditation group I’d been attending, “The divine will ask everything of you, and in return, it will give you everything.”

Have faith in the process, and let go.


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Jim,
    i would like to first thank you for this blog as it has really helped me a lot. i have read almost every single post and has been a God send.
    Right now i am struggling with physical energy or lack of to be exact. My kundalini is awakening or awakened (i supposes if it was fully awakened i would not be in this state). i have been going through an intense period of tamas, lethargy, depression and apathy for everything. Even the things i used to love like yoga and working out require intense force. There was a time i could not wait to wake up early and get on my mat now it takes every bit of energy to force myself through a few asanas. i realize i am going through an intense shift, cleansing and dying of the ego. On top of the karmic emotional sludge as you mentioned. i cannot get myself to even meditate hardly anymore either. i have such deep resistance towards everything and am finding it difficult to function due to extreme lack of energy. All i want to do is sleep and this body feels weak, in a sense dying like you said. i do know that i have chronic anemia and have had it for 7 years at least. Anyhow, do not want to get into that. Yes, i have been to a doctor, yes i am taking iron and yes i have tried everything under the sun to cure it including Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs just to mention a few and nothing works. (whole other story)
    So to make a long story short i am now addicted to coffee for one it gives me that pseudo enlightenment feeling. Not only does is make me do things i cannot make myself do otherwise it also gives me confidence to face things i feel i cannot. i know it's wrong and i am hiding behind and addiction to get through this wreckage but with this lack of energy it seems to be the only way i can get myself to function during the day and get tasks done otherwise i am afraid i will just sleep around the clock and turn into a buffalo. i also understand when kundalinini awakens addictions can come back and mine is coffee and the sad part is i love it but i seem to be in conflict or maybe that is all an illusion as well. This ego continues to find reasons to make me feel guilty. It' s so cunning.

    My question for you is: do physical conditions and issues get worse? How do i know if this lethargy and fatigue are part of the process or am i regressing spiritually? i feel like i am too gone to be saved. i cannot even get myself motivated to look for a job because i have zero energy, motivation or even care. i don't seem to care about anything anymore and it scares me. It does feel like i am dying and going completely insane.
    i know you may not know but will i ever get energy back again and how long is this going to take? i can't take much more. i need to awaken quickly or it seems like i will slip back into unconsciousness. That is what the fight feels like. This body wants to sleep and my being wants to wake up.
    Anyhow, thanks for letting me rant.


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