In the midst of the burning of the initial shifts that spiritual awakening calls forth, one often has to ask oneself, “Is this really love?” And of course this is the unconscious ego self speaking. And of course this is love, but since so few of us ever really touch the fullness and bright intensity of our inner most love and feel its brilliant flame, this intensity and the discomfort it brings to the darkness we carry within can feel like too much. It can feel like pure torture if we identify with the unconscious ego and try to just “get through” this whole process or resist it entirely. This intensity really shows us just how powerful we are, and that intensity we feel inside is only a prelude to the intensity that one day soon we will be able to offer in kindness, courage, and determination to the rest of the world in whatever way we so choose.

Why Does It Burn So Much?

The burning is just the old unconscious ego. It is the darkness being ignited into light to reveal yet greater levels of density and darkness hidden within us. As I’ve mentioned before, we tend to go through waves of shifts and integrate love on different levels at different times. That’s why an old issue seems to come back again and again like a needy friend who can’t take a hint. The fire, however, may not be hot enough yet for you. You may still think you can go back. You may still think that this is just something that you have to endure and not embrace. Let’s be very clear here: enduring a shift and embracing a shift are two very different things. Even when we embrace a deep shift (such as clearing out issues around lack of self-worth or self-hatred), the intensity of our own love running up against this darkness can feel like the colliding of tectonic plates. We often can wonder how we could feel so much inner pain in the name of healing, and we find out how much unconscious involuntary resistance we have inside of us.

But this loving intensity is healing you, and you are more resilient than the ego self that thinks it can’t take much more of it. You have to…HAVE TO let go. As much as you consciously can let go of the old ways you thought your life should go, how you should feel, what life should give you, and so forth, the better. It’s the only way to get to the hidden unconscious choices that are still resisting this sacred change.

Dropping Into Your Strength and Resilience

To put a little more context around the situation, imagine what it’s like to really believe in yourself, to really love yourself. Imagine how easy it is to go and do the things you want to do and to speak from your heart. Imagine standing up for yourself in difficult situations and finding the ease of forgiveness for others when they sue you, cut you off in traffic, or take that last grocery item from the shelf that you wanted to get. Dropping into this space of love gives you strength and resilience unparalleled to what the ego thinks it could offer. Because energy isn’t lost in resisting or bemoaning how things didn’t go as planned, you can be more agile to the situations presented to you by life. You can flow to the next opportunity without holding on to the past, and you can appropriately defend yourself if wronged. The deeper you drop into your own love and the less fear, pain, and upset emotions you harbor, the less life can pull you off center. This is just a tiny fraction of the strength and resilience love forges within us with its sacred flame.

And this is completely natural. This is what has always wanted to emerge, but we were taught otherwise. We believed those lies, and we acted them out. In those actions, we created relationships, jobs, housing situations, and so forth. The whole structure of our lives got built around lies, and now your spiritual awakening has ignited the fire of love. All of that untruth is getting burnt to the ground.

Let it Burn, Let it Burn

Most of you aren’t in the let it burn phase. Most of you have not awakened. It’s not an accusation. It’s a statement of fact. The path of consciousness that most people walk is to gradually become more conscious about themselves. This is beautiful. Through discipline and dedication, you can simulate the fire of awakening to some degree. Continue you on, and find the tools you need to really get the fire hot and burning. For those in awakening, once the firestorm is unleashed, you may feel like you are on fire 24/7. I really had so much energy for the first several years that it kinda felt that way. There was no where to go; nothing to do. I was just burning up. So for those of you who are new (because you’re the most likely to resist this burning phase), just let it burn. Let the job you hate go away. Let the boyfriend you love, but you know it’s time to let go of move on to his next relationship as you move on to yours. Let your old home go. Let your clothes go. Let go anything that does not feel true to you, and don’t worry. You will not be lost. You are just beginning to be found.

The Finding of You

It takes a certain amount of humility to admit to ourselves that we don’t know who we are, that we may never have known who we are. This humility, unfortunately, usually comes after we’ve gone through big shifts. If you haven’t had deep inner releases or other inner shifts yet, I can only encourage you towards this fact. Until you look at yourself deeply and at length, so many things like to hide. We hide the reasons for our beliefs and actions. I could list out a huge number of assumptions people make about their lives, which they never question. Therefore they never really know why they think should get married, have a family, do a certain type of job, live in a certain type of house, think a certain way, evaluate themselves a certain way, dress a certain way, and so on. The awakening, however, brings the clarity that has been lacking to see through these illusions. Suddenly, you realize you don’t like high heels at all and stop wearing them. You realize that you don’t want to be a father, so you have to let go of the woman you’ve been dating who wants to have kids. You quit law school because you absolutely don’t want to be a lawyer and no longer care if you make a lot of money, which is why you got started down that path in the first place.

This is just the beginning. Depending on how someone thinks, this little fact may be overwhelming and demoralizing. For others, it will fire the spirit within you to look more deeply. Let it be the latter. The rewards are far greater.

Spiritual Awakening Is Never What You Expect

I’m not sure what most people expect spiritual awakening to do, but I always get the sense that people assume it’ll make life easier, more joyful, and ensure that everyone likes them all the time. But a spiritual awakening just takes you towards your soul path in life, whatever that may be. It may be that you are to have a difficult life, but if that is where your heart takes you, then that will be the most rewarding life you could possibly have. Any regrets that might have felt like splinters in your mind and heart will disappear. When we are honest with ourselves, we know when we feel like something is true to us. We know when we are lying to ourselves, and the fire of our own love illuminates both.

At each level of awareness, our inner clarity grows, and we find more strength to be with whatever life gives us. Our tolerance towards hurting ourselves and others diminishes because we feel the interconnection with all things. In many ways, we become super human, not superhuman. In this way, we become more and more sensitive to everything going on in life, but we don’t make it about ourselves. So I think this is another aspect that is unexpected for many people. Some people assume that awakening will make us immune to the pains of the world. It does, but only in the sense that we don’t take on the pain of others. But we still can feel the pain in those around us (to greater or lesser degrees as some of us have this type of energy awareness more so than others). This is part of why it’s clearer and clearer to us what is healthy and promoting life and what is unhealthy and perpetuating suffering. And generally, most of want to minimize the amount of pain and suffering being passed around as much as possible.

The Soft, Gentleness of Love Deepens

But lest you think that love is always so fiery in awakening, let me assure you that it offers a deeper level of softness, gentleness, and intimacy than many of you have ever experienced. This too you’ll have to take me at my word because until you’ve gotten some perspective on different levels of love, it’s easy for the ego say, “Oh, yes, I’ve had all that.” The unconscious ego has very little perspective. The conscious ego is the one that says, “There are some things I do know, but there is also so much that I do not.” In the space of love, it gets easier and easier to own what we truly know and to admit what we don’t. There’s no need to be what we are not or hide behind false humility.

Thus, the fire of awakened love forges us, burns away the darkness and blockages, and opens the doors to greater depths of connection. Each release you feel gives rise to greater space within you to share with yourself and with others as is appropriate. This deep sharing, however, must be done sparingly during the initial shifts because you are still getting used to you.

This Isn’t Fairy Tale Love

Clearly, this aspect of love isn’t the one in the fairy tale books. Love can be a harsh taskmaster on this path, but only because it’s needed. And this love is just us. We’re trying to right the ship, whip ourselves back into shape, and so forth (you can insert whatever metaphor you like here). It’s not a pretty process at times. It can get messy (You may like this blog post: Permission to be a Hot Mess on the Spiritual Path). But it’s worth it. It’s amazing how much love is inside of us that has been locked away by our fears, judgments, angers, sadnesses, shames, and more. Transmuting that dense material into the purity of love can take a lot of heat and fire. Thus a spiritual awakening arose in you and set you on fire.

Just stand in it.

Stand in the flame.

Burn away.

See what is left. You may be surprised what may one day grow from the ashes.


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

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