To the ego mind, spiritual awakening is an unending tempest that is destroying everything in sight. To the awakened self, there is change, and there is peace and love within the change. The awakened self is like the person perpetually at the center of the hurricane. Here in the eye of the storm, there is the peace and quiet of awakening. This awareness can see how things are changing all around you, and from this space, you are okay with that. The old aspects of the ego that try to cling to control are like running out into the center of the worst of the gale force winds of a category 5 hurricane. Everything is being uprooted and thrown around. Nothing lasts long in your grasp when you resist and hold onto your old life and way of thinking and acting. What can you do but return to the center again and again and allow the storm to do what it choose to do?

Now obviously, spiritual awakening isn’t quite so random as a storm. It is very intelligent. So when it is uprooting things from your life, consider it a gift. Consider that it is helping you shed the things and relationships that no longer serve you. Perhaps it doesn’t feel that way to the ego-mind, but your deeper self can see this and be with this. The initial phases of the awakening can truly feel exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Your senses are alive in a brand new way, and there is an energy unlike anything else that you’ve felt in your life. This is no minor opening or spiritual high from a 10-day retreat. This shift is with you and within you 24-7 whether you are in the bathroom on the bus or at work. And nothing will stay the same.

The Ego’s Continuing Tactics of Control

It’s kind of amazing that during so an extraordinary time of rebirth that people still keep clinging to the illusion of control. Again and again, I’ve been told stories of how people would try to go back to unhealthy relationships, jobs they hated, and so forth because they still bought into the story that that’s what they should have in their lives. The intimate relationship and family issues often are some of the most held-onto issues, and they are often the most immediately hit because they are closest to the center of the storm, which is you if you haven’t gotten the metaphor yet. =) This shift requires others to change even though we never ask them to. It’s because you’ve changed. How you act and how you live in integrity now changes all the agreements you’ve ever had in your life. To try and go back, brings suffering .What’s worse is now you are much clearer about how much suffering you have caused in yourself and others. It’s like having had the callous torn away from the skin, and you are suddenly super-uber sensitive to everything. This isn’t a bad thing. Our desensitized society might have you believe that it is, but that’s a lie. It’s another way we have been taught to be mean and cruel to ourselves and others. Now, you are learning about love.

How much can you let in?

Control and the Closed Fist of the Ego

But many of you are unprepared for a spiritual awakening. This is not your fault. Our society doesn’t do a very good job of preparing people for much of everything. Even our school systems don’t prepare people well. They prepare people to learn more and continue to go to school. They don’t prepare people for working in the work world (although some are doing better with career placement and such things because there are plenty of smart educators who see this issue). So here is an example of something we’ve got lots of practice at and is socially accepted. Yet we still don’t serve our communities well a lot of the time.

Spirituality is even worse. For most of history, spirituality and religion have been about obedience to an organization, not to cultivating a new heaven on Earth and within ourselves. So along comes an amazing shift, and we react to it the way we’ve been taught to deal with most things–to try and control it.

Now control is an amazing thing. Even when people are “out-of-control,” they are still playing a type of control game. In this game, they are choosing a type of experience where they aren’t taking ownership of their lives. Many of you have played this game your whole life, allowing others to make major decisions for you and to show you where to go. Others of you have tried to force life to align with your will to seemingly varied levels of success. So when an awakening comes, you may try to fight it off, wait it out, or even work too hard when you simply need to allow it. There are all kinds of forms of control, and I am sure that you’ll find one in there that resonates with you (I know that I just did). And the thing with control is that it is like a closed fist. A closed fist can receive nothing, and you will simply go through a tumultuous time period and then wonder what happened.

The Wait-and-See Game

One of the interesting forms of control that I’ve noticed with a lot of people is the wait-and-see game. It comes after the “What-the-Heck-is-this/What-in-the-world-is-happening-to-me?” phase and/or victim game. In the first part, the person has no idea what is happening and chooses to respond to the situation with fear. If awakening came and that wasn’t your response, you probably surfed around in bliss for awhile. Ah yes, I remember that part…

The next game comes after you’ve acknowledged that you’re changing. Quite a few people try to become utterly passive and ride out the storm so to speak. That will have it’s lessons, of course. It’s not what I recommend because I believe that you need to make space for the storm. I believe that it’s important to invite it into you to continue the change and to deepen it still. But if you just batten down the hatches and hide in your cellar, the waters will rise and then pass, and you will limit the space for the shift to integrate and become a part of your everyday life.

What’s interesting is that the wait-and-see game is one that only the person his or herself can know if he or she is playing it. Because sometimes, lying on the couch sleeping about 14 hours is being in a space of allowing. Other times it’s a kind of victim mentality that says, “Oh just let me get this thing over with so that I can get on with my regularly scheduled life!” It’s a very big difference in mentality as you can see.

The Waters Rise, The Pressure Grows

Of course, you–the deeper you–was ready for this (being ready on the soul-level is very different than being prepared on the physical plane). So a part of you is trying to invite the waters in. To switch metaphors, a flood can bring nutrients and new life to the fields of your life. If you have been tilling the soil and setting up channels, that water rushes in and enriches you for the rest of your life. If you haven’t, you can still go out and till the fields. In some ways, no matter how prepared any of us are (and I consider myself slightly prepared, although I had no idea I was getting ready to awaken when that shift occurred), the fields still need tilling as you find new rocks and new openings are unearthed in you. Anywhere that you have a dam or blockage inside you, the pressure grows more and more unbearable. I recommend finding the blockage and letting it go. Things will get muddier and messier before they get cleaner. We don’t leave in a clean world of black and whites–it’s a multi-colored universe, baby. So if things get blurry and indistinct, that’s just coming into alignment with what life already is. It too will pass.

No Control Does Not Mean No Guidance

I differentiate between control and guidance. Control is trying to force our will onto the world around us. We try to manipulate situations and people to align with what we think we want. Guidance is much softer. We ask for the things we want and need instead of demanding or manipulating. We paddle our boat in the stream of life, but we don’t try to direct the course of the river. We know that is futile.

Consequently, we aren’t forcing the awakening. We aren’t trying to create a new rigid spiritual structure of practices to make ourselves the penultimate enlightened being. We are accepting the shift and seeing what it asks of us. We’re observing where it is naturally taking us, and we are paddling along to miss the occasional rock or low-point in the river. By taking ownership of the awakening shift, we find much more ease. If we don’t take ownership in co-creating a new sense of ego-self and a new life based in love, we feel like we are holding onto a rock for dear life and are being stripped naked and half-drowned by the storm that is surrounding us. It’s not cruelty. It’s actually what you really want. It’s not God punishing you either. If anything, the inner pain is coming from you and is being caused by your inner resistance and fear striking against your own deep readiness to burst forth into a new life.

The Movement Towards Love and Difficult Lessons

Where this is all taking you is down the path you have chosen to travel in this lifetime. This is something that you know in your heart, and sometimes, that path has a lot of difficult lessons. If you have any illusions that the spiritual path will make your life easier and less troublesome, let me break those illusions now. The spiritual path takes you where you have chosen to go. If that is to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan, you probably are going to face quite a bit of resistance and hardship in your life. Yet, in your heart, that is what you are called to do. I had one friend say that knowing what she is supposed to be doing makes her feel almost incapacitated and overwhelmed. Such can be the feeling of our greatness coming up against our smallness. In those moments, all I can say is to keep breathing. You are moving towards living from a space of love one breath at a time.

Continuing Reminders About Discomfort

Spirituality is not the latest drug. It isn’t about painfully torturing yourself through hours of meditation either. It is about being love and acting from that space. The discomfort you face while practicing being in a space of love while others are not is the type of discomfort that I’m talking about. There are all kinds of useless forms of discomfort. Useless discomfort is when we are trying to gain something or prove something to someone else. The awakened self has nothing to prove or to gain. It doesn’t want money beyond having money as a tool to help with survival and to assist in the soul’s path. That’s about it. And money isn’t that important or that difficult to gain, which are often other illusions people have. Because when you trust this process of integrating a spiritual awakening, everything you need will show up when you need it. Sometimes that requires you to take conscious action, and sometimes it requires you to learn how to consciously receive. It is always changing, which is why you need to keep practicing being mindful of yourself and listening to the emergence of your inner knowing.

But you can try to wait out the storm. Plenty of people do. It’s not my place to tell you what to do. I can only tell you that I am so glad that I did embrace the great shift. I worked with it as consciously as I could to shed away old fears, karma, and resistance. I am so so very different than who I once was, and those who really know me can see this while others who are still projecting their stories onto me probably can’t.

That’s one other thing to mention. Your change does help change the world, but many people will not choose to come with you or embrace you in a new way. I encourage you to let them continue on their journeys without blame. They are only doing what they know to do. And as you may have learned, there is a lot out there that we don’t know about. For many of you, spiritual awakening was one of those things, and now you know a little more about it. And it’s up to you what you choose to do when the inner storm comes to take you to your brand new inner world.


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

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