This post is being updated in 2022. Originally written in 2012, I’ve left the original down below because I want to emphasize how I’ve learned and grown. Please read it to understand more about where I’ve come from and to embrace the process of dissolving your ego. We don’t instantaneously spiritually transform and know EVERYTHING.
Too often we want and expect our spiritual teachers to be mythical, ethereal avatars of perfection.
But we’re aren’t.
We grow and change even as we are always here now in the present.
So let me talk to you about what it means to integrate a spiritual awakening after almost 15 years since my initial awakening and almost 12 years of teaching.
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Spiritual Awakening and Spiritual Transformation
For the duration of this post (until you get to the original), let’s think more in turns of spiritual transformation than awakening.
Spiritual awakening is the start of the conscious breakdown of illusion. It’s like the ego is an air conditioner unit that has frozen the entire space around you. When you look at life, you look at it through this distorted prism of ice. Well, the air conditioner isn’t working so good suddenly, the ice is melting showing you pockets of reality. That’s kind of what a spiritual awakening is.
What do you do?
You can choose to transform or not.
Sure, sometimes it feels like you have no choice. But you do, and even if things go on their own for awhile, all things change. Whatever initial push to transform comes, it will eventually end.
Are you really ready to do the work to transform?
Processing Issues and Attachments
What people wake up to is that they have a whole bunch of issues and attachments. People who choose to spiritually transform start focusing on the painful ones. Why? Usually, the person wants to get rid of these, but oftentimes, people are so attached that they don’t even want to get rid of their pain.
Because who would they be without it?
Won’t people leave them if they lose it and change themselves?
Won’t they lose everything if they let go of even one little attachment?
Early on, the ego’s objections are strong. You’ll have to find out for yourself if they are true.
Along the way, you’ll go through a variety of kinds of grieving that take a person into the emotional and physical core of an issue to become aware of it, breathe, grieve, and release. This will happen quite a bit. It can even become a little addictive as you realize how great it feels to get rid of this old junk
But it also asks a lot of your energy and can be tiring.
Rest, Rest, and More Rest
In one of my other posts, the title is Surrender, Surrender, and Keep Surrendering. Surrender is the start. We have to accept and let go of resistance of whatever is going on in our lives and in our spiritual awakening and transformation. When things really get to processing, we have to surrender to the fact that we need to rest as part of integration. And rest some more. And rest some more.
I swear I spent a good part of my early 30’s lying on a couch or my yoga mat doing just this. Super exciting, right? haha.
The reason we need a lot of rest is because we have emotional, psychological, and physiological capacities. They get depleted. Expanding those limits takes time just like running longer or lifting heavier weights takes time to expand those abilities.
Furthermore, the ego can trigger a lot of fear–which is a powerful body response–because things are so new and unknown as well as potentially very painful or traumatic if someone has trauma. This can exhaust someone. If someone has trauma, they also need to find trauma therapists to help them process this. Awakening doesn’t do it all for someone.
So we have to remember that if we can are going to integrate what we learn and heal, we have to rest. We have to give our bodies, hearts, and minds time to recalibrate before trying to “live our truth”–whatever that may mean–much less move on to the next issue.
Integration and Taking Your Realizations Into Daily Life
I think this is the real question a lot of people have. They want to know how to take a realization or spiritual shift and now “do” something with it. In Western culture, it’s always about doing.
When people most want to do this, they are the least ready. Thinking of integration as a way to do something is a common sentiment for people early after a spiritual awakening or major spiritual realization. You actually need a lot of time to integrate, and there are so many other attachments and issues that need to be addressed before you can fully engage with life from this sense of clarity, which is kind of what integration means for a lot of people.
Now, this doesn’t mean avoiding actions you already know to take. That’s something different. I’m talking about arriving at greater clarity in terms of how you live, what you actually like, and so forth. That takes time because we all start of so deeply entrenched in so many unconscious attachments. It’s just how it is, and it takes time to unwind them.
This reality frustrates a lot of people, but then again, who is getting frustrated?
Dig Deeper and Dig Some More
As I said, a lot of people are in a rush to do things, but this is a patient path.
And we have a TON of issues. It’s not just the ones we know about; there is a whole world down in the subconscious that we don’t know about it.
Learn how to stay as awareness and do inquiry to unearth the attachments that are limiting you and causing you and others in your life to suffer. As you do this, more things can process through you. You need more rest, and you are clearing the inner space for new growth to arise one day.
Practical Spontaneous Actions and Inspired Realizations
As the ego dissolves, any thoughts of specialness or unworthiness die off. You are. That’s it. That’s enough.
With that comes a very clear understanding about the practicality of life. This is a deeply grounded and clear space, and being integrated with it means no longer being in resistance to it. Without that resistance, the whole of you moves towards meaningful and practical actions like taking care of your body better, becoming a better social communicator, helping people, caring for your environment, and similar things.
They just make sense to living life well.
Sure, you can take on other projects and issues in the social world, which will always have projects and issues. If you do so, you understand that you are engaging with illusion. Your sense of wholeness is not in jeopardy the way it once was when you engage with illusion. It’s hard to disintegrate again the way the ego once made you because you’ve resolved the attachments and issues that would create that internal resistance. From this deeply integrated and whole space, you live life.
And that’s enough.
Here is the original post. It’s definitely muddled. It’s not how I talk about this stuff anymore. But as I said at the beginning of the post, I’m leaving it to help you see how confused I was. There are some true things in here and some misunderstandings. So please don’t read this so much for direction as for encouragement towards why doing your work is really important to be integrated enough to be clear!
Grounding and Integrating Your Awakening
One of the common sensations people have during a spiritual awakening (also called ascension, kundalini awakening, and enlightenment) is being unable to focus. You may feel light-headed and floating about in a daze. It may be very blissful, and at other times, it may feel like you’re lost in a fog with no way to focus yourself. Congratulations. You are extremely ungrounded. So let’s talk about how we can get you back down to earth. 🙂
Houston, We Have a Problem
The first couple of times we feel like we’re floating off in outer space, it can be a jarring, foreign, scary, or super blissful feeling. A lot of it depends on how much ego baggage is still attaching to the person who is now floating in the stratosphere. None of this is bad, per se. But we do live in this world, so the real question is how do we integrate this awareness.
Lots of people talk about this process in a variety of terms that you may have run across, and I want to be clear about what I’m talking about as always. Here’s a list to hopefully help you understand that ultimately we’re all talking about the same thing. So integrating a spiritual awakening is also called:
- Embodying a spiritual awakening
- Ascending (i.e. spiritual ascension)
- Raising your vibration & anchoring your energy
The more confused ways of discussing this natural process is to put it into these kinds of signs and portents or disease terminology. That’s why plenty of you read stuff out there about:
- spiritual awakening symptoms
- spiritual awakening signs
- ascension symptoms
- ascension signs
I’m extremely cautious about saying “spiritual awakening signs” and listing them out because everyone is different. Ultimately, you know in your heart if you are having an awakening and not a nervous breakdown or severe depression, where many of the signs can be similar. And in regards to “symptoms,” you are not sick or having a disease. You’ve been sick, and now the awakening is actually healing you all the pain inside of you. And there is a lot of pain that often has to come out no matter how good a life we think we’ve lead. It’s just a lot of karmic and cultural baggage, and it needs to be dealt with.
Landing the Rocketship: Coming Back Down Through the Layers
Just like the atmosphere has many layers, so do you. So you may feel some resistance as you come back from these upper realms. But in being mindful and aware of yourself and where you are resisting, you are bringing this awareness down into the world. This is a new way of being (well, ultimately it’s our natural way of being, but it’ll probably feel new initially). However, it needs space; you need space to be you.
I’ve often talked about healing multiple layers. We have to clear out things on each level of us to make space for the fullness of our awareness. As we do that, we are also healing a split that often happens within many people during awakening. It’s like a part of us shoots up high, and we kinda leave a lot of trash and junk in the kitchen as the stopped up drain backs up with water, which is running everywhere. To touch so highly and deeply and then come back into this mess is a shock.
Time to get out the shovel and scrub brush.
Facing Your Inner Resistance
Yet, you’ll notice that a part of you may be hanging onto this inner mess, and that’s going to cause resistance. Resistance makes it supremely difficult to ground and embody this awareness. So oftentimes, people get stuck. The first main area is the mind. When you deny this awareness, you really can get lost. I spend quite a bit of time helping people to simply accept this process. The next part is usually the heart. People don’t really want to open themselves to love. It stirs up all the things that they haven’t worked out and all the ways that they haven’t acted from the space of love. This often ignites a process of grieving to clear these wounds and forgive ourselves. Then the stickiest and nastiest issues are often down in the body. Some of them have been there for so long that they don’t have names. They’re just like dense, black gunk in the joints and different places of the body. This is where physical practices like hatha yoga become wonderful additions to your practice to address these levels of resistance in the terms on which the body communicates.
Appreciating the Awareness of Each Aspect of You
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this recently, so I want to encourage you to appreciate the wisdom and awareness of all of you. Your mind can be very, very wise when you re-train it in service of spirit and Truth. But so too is your heart, and so too is your body. Your body is so smart. It can tell you how much to eat, how much to exercise, how to make love with a partner, and so forth. Anyone who loves dancing knows what it’s like when two bodies really start talking to each other. There is no leader and follower anymore. You’re simply dancing in the rhythm shared by you both. Isn’t that absolutely beautiful body wisdom?
But too often the mind run by the ego is trying to maintain a hold over everything, and that idea has to be let go for you to integrate the fullness of your spiritual awakening. Until then, you are in resistance, and the pain can be excruciating.
Physical Activities and Tips for Grounding
So let’s talk about the body specifically, although all aspects of you have to integrate to fully embody this awakening. If you are looking to get a little bit clearer and focused in this world, conscious movement is really helpful. Each one of you will have to decide how much you can do because I want you to honor that a lot of your energy still needs to be focused inwards. Don’t get caught up in too much external exertion unless you are intuitively guided to do so.
- Walking/Hiking. There’s nothing like a short walk, especially in nature, to help you find your feet. If this isn’t enough, really focus on your breath and the sensation of your feet in each step.
- Hatha Yoga. All I mean by that is physical yoga–yoga includes a lot more than poses, but Western Culture uses this word in a very narrow way. Find a yoga teacher you like or a yoga video you like. Do some poses. Find out what you need. Do you need to focus on areas with resistance and stiffness? Do you need a long or short session? Really tune into yourself. Don’t just do what the teacher says. A good teacher will remind you to go at your pace and stop when you need to.
- Running. I’ve had good luck with this. All my life, working out has been a way to shed out internal debris and get clear. But as I said, keep it short. You’re not training for a marathon. There’s no where to get to, and you certainly aren’t using this to maintain a body shape ideal.
- Conscious Movement & Dance. Where I live, there are new types of free-form dance that really allow you to explore the fullness of your body. If you don’t have this nearby, set aside time to dance to music in your house/apartment/living space. Give yourself permission to fully explore your range of motion; don’t just stick to what you think makes you look good.
- Meditation. Honestly, if I’m in really, really high energy, meditation helps me the most. Sometimes, I need to do this before doing anything physical to get the benefit of the physical activity. It’s like it takes me down through one layer of the atmosphere, and then the physical activity can take me the rest of the way back to earth.
Calming Yourself During Really High States
You can really get up into high spaces, so I just want to let you know that you’ll be all right. Sometimes, it’s actually perfect to just allow yourself to be there. In this instance, it’s important to let go of the judgment about where you should be in this process or how you should feel. There is no where to go. Just rest in the outer reaches of space if that’s where you are. You will come back to this world. It’s natural, but it won’t feel the same. Embodied spiritual awareness doesn’t feel the same as we integrate it. When you’re first flopping around on the beach, you can only dream of it. And then when you finally find water, you think you’re drowning. But after awhile, you simply get used to living and breathing in this element…this element which is simply you in your fullness and which is simply love.
So relax. You are going to be okay, and hopefully some of these tips will help you to get grounded and focused when you need to and to properly integrate your awakening as you need to.