Burning up our unconscious ego self is not appreciated in common everyday society. It’s not like we’re standing on the corner talking to our friend, Jiff, on the way to work, and we’d say, “Yep. I’m burning up a lot of ego today. Feeling really raw and hollowed out.” And Jiff would say, “Oh yeah. I know those days. Be gentle with yourself, dude, and stick with it. You’ll be clearer at the end of it.”
Nope. Never heard that conversation outside of a few select friends in my life, and certainly, I never heard that conversation between random people on the street.
And yet, this is so utterly natural. There’s nothing bad about letting go of our ego selves in anyway. Yes, it can be intense. But intensity will pass. Going into the intensity and breathing with it helps, but it can get really hot inside. You can really feel like you’re in the center of God’s fire. You are being burned up by divine grace.
Because this process of dropping the ego–this burning–is not well known, the tendency for many is to get out of the fire as soon as they can. It is particularly bad when someone first starts heating up, and it also is bad when a person moves from one type of issue or inner space to another (like moving from head issues to heart issues). That’s when the unconscious ego rears itself up and says, “Enough is enough.” I’ve seen this backing off when leaning in is required so many times. But you don’t have to do this. Hopefully this spiritual awakening blog post can help you to choose to lean in and burn away all this old pain and find deeper spiritual freedom.
The start of the burning may be because of a spiritual awakening or simply someone started doing some inner work. There doesn’t have to be full blown bonfire to start burning up the unconscious ego, and there are plenty of useful spiritual tools and techniques along with therapies to start to get a handle on this beast. It’s actually great if someone has already begun to deconstruct and understand their unconscious ego before anything really ignites. It gives the person the courage and perspective to know that they can handle inner pain and come through it better. When a spontaneous spiritual awakening arises with no preparation, people can freak out very badly. Thus, we see that spiritual preparation often has little to do with spiritual readiness for an awakening. The soul decides when we’ll be graced to awaken. Preparation is like tending the farm so that the seeds have ample space to grow, but we do not make them sprout.
Once there is any amount of inner intensity going, it is always the “worst” someone has ever experienced. Later on, this may seem laughable to you once you’re really burning, but that’s part of perspective. I can’t emphasize enough that a spiritual awakening and any inner work you do give you valuable perspective on yourself. Without perspective, you have difficulty seeing that you can change and that change can be greatly beneficial. Our initial unconscious ego is often extremely ignorant, and so we think we have to be the way we think and act. But most of those thinking habits and actions are chosen. Starting to burn up with the light of your divine grace really shows you where the restricting walls are and forces you to understand the choices you’ve been unconsciously making. If you pay attention to what is upset within you, you can join with the fire, get to work on those self-created limitations, and really start to heat things up.
Increasing Intensity: The Spiritual Bonfire Burns Brighter
Breaking through your first couple of significant issues is huge. Once someone does that, they are far more likely to buy-in to do deeper work. To be fair, some people look to for an inner plateau and get out of the fire the minute an issue resolves. Plenty of other people mistake the ending of one issue or one set of issues as the resolution of everything. It rarely is. It is the rare human being who drops all issues forever. I think some of this is simply biological. I believe we build up a lot of neurological redundancy in our brains that we have to reckon with through continued spiritual practice. But that’s just my theory.
But speaking more optimistically, many people do see how working through their issues and sitting in this fire has helped them. The fire of divine grace and the release of an issue often illuminate more issues as well. Once you’ve burned your way out of your prison cell, you have a whole new perspective on the cell block you’re still stuck in, and you’re getting a greater feel for the prison in which you’re housed. Generally speaking, you need to turn up the heat to get at these larger inner structures, and after you’ve let go of a first set of issues, most people want to go after these bigger fish. Sure you have kicked the eating disorder, but now you can see more clearly the self-hatred that it grew out of. And that self-hatred is still there. If you don’t deal with it, it’ll grow up into a new disorder/prison cell to entrap you once more. In understanding this, you choose the fire and go more deeply into the issues.
The more you burn away, the more you can see. You may realize how little service your unconscious ego and the resulting patterns have been, so you more actively look for support. Where initial support is often about getting out of inner intensity and/or getting through this spiritual thing, this next phase is when someone may look more earnestly for help in burning hotter. They look for spiritual teachers, communities, and tools to get at what has been revealed because they know only more freedom is on the way if they can simply be with the intensity, if they can just endure the burning.
Illuminating Deeper Issues and the Need to Change Tactics
As earnest as some people can be, most people hit their edges. In those times, they ask, “How much more of this is there?” Those times are key junctures. Those are times when you have to say, “Yes,” to the process again. While many people feel like awakening takes them over, the longer things go, the more important it is to chose it. It becomes increasingly important to dissolve any separation from the awakened space and the “you” that feels pulled along by the raging river. You are the river. You are the awakened space. There is no separation. The very idea of separation is illusion.
If we do not see this, then we can unconsciously resist things. We unconsciously hold back in ways that we do not realize. Eventually, it seems like most people have their energy find a new equilibrium after major spiritual shifts and work. At which point, where they are flowing is where they are flowing. How conscious they are now is widely variable. Not everyone really embraces awakening, and when things shift from the mind to the heart, many people don’t want to deal with that new level of intensity. Or if the shift goes from the heart space to the body, people may feel like they are starting all over and are just done with these shifts.
And I can’t say what is right or wrong here. That’s not how it is. These shifts are simply opportunities for us. How you engage with them is up to you.
When the focus of the energy changes to new areas that we haven’t really explored, some of our old spiritual work and tactics go out the window. Rationalizing the heart space rarely works if at all. Instead, processing old emotions and having our hearts open further often requires a slightly different orientation to the work. If someone is very intellectual, they may have thrived through the phases of shifting that brought mental wisdom and spiritual realizations. But when the energy goes deeper, the mind feels totally out of its element. Things like journaling become almost useless. The person is on a new kind of a merrier-go-round of emotions
Certainly, a lot of things are all going on all at once in awakening, especially at the beginning. But I’ve found that it tends to locate in different areas as you heal and grow. Thus, the mind, heart, body, and subtle energies all seem to get their due if you really let yourself burn in the awakened fire. As such, you see deeper issues and deeper layers to issues that you have already worked on. It’s all divinely intelligent, but it can get intense. So you have to keep saying, “Yes,” to the shifts and the demands of this expanding, wild brush fire that you are.
The Nameless Pains and Gunk
Initially, a lot of things don’t seem to have names, but a lot of our pain becomes more and more understandable once we’re paying attention. The truly nameless stuff really is this multi-generational, past-life, and/or cultural karma that seems to seep into human beings. Some of it may have little to do with you, but yet it has influenced you. Some things may have only a very simple name/idea such as, “I am not good enough.” That may actually be the whole story. You may realize all the ways you and others in your life have acted this out, but there’s not much more to intellectually know about it after you’ve cleared out a lot top-level and mid-level issues in your heart, body, and mind. So you sit and burn. There’s nothing more to do. You watch all the sensations, energies, and emotions arise. You breathe. You watch them continue to come. You watch your remaining ego self scream to get out of this. You breathe more. You continue to welcome everything, and you burn.
There are plenty of dark issues that you’ll never know what they are. It doesn’t mean you don’t inquire. It is my experience that few people really get to these issues. Most issues are very easy to understand, and a lot of them link to our fundamental issues. Fundamental issues are simply:
- The drive to survive/fear of death
- The aversion to pain/fear of discomfort (which you have to face to learn how to burn up issues)
- The drive to procreate
These issues underpin most human issues I can think of, and they, too, leave a gunky build up on people’s souls. There’s other stuff too. There are all kinds of energies we absorb, and as we drop into deeper stillness and in the center of this raging divine fire, we are burning those out.
Surrounded by Inner Clarity and Light
As you allow this inner cleansing process, clarity and light become your functional reality. You don’t really need much of a conscious ego to see and understand life. You can see just fine. The burning away brings out your inner divine light, and that is the strongest source of clarity the human mind can find. This clarity is the space of union between you and the Divine. That’s what has been emerging from within. All your resistance in its multitude of forms to that inherent union was pressurized, ignited, and burned away. The deeper you go within, the brighter your light becomes, and it truly does touch all places and spaces in this universe. Light goes everywhere.
Still, there is more. The is more because most of what I have described is the healing process. It is the return to your natural luminosity. There’s more. There is so much more to you than you yet know. There’s more human spiritual growth that can arise as you allow your light to expand. Allow, allow, and allow! Where your growth goes is unknowable, yet so intelligent. This growth will show you many things, and this deeply intuitive flowing may surprise you and those old remaining mental processes that still can somehow cling on amidst this bright light. But the longer you bring your attention to this inner space of oneness and lightness, the more everything continues to change and grow, dynamically, intelligently, and perfectly.