Let’s start with some vocabulary before getting into the topic.

Spiritual awakening. On this blog, I use this term to discuss an internally driven shift that dissolves the ego and attachments revealing truth and reality.

Ungrounded. Unable to understand how an idea applies in the human world of separation.

Separation. Sometimes called duality, this is what we focus on and how we experience life through our senses. We experience ourselves as separate beings.

Oneness. Sometimes called non-duality, we are all ultimately one. Additionally, separation and oneness co-exist. I have talked about how that isn’t a conflict in a video. You can click on the link at the end of the post where that is explained more.

Okay. So now that we have some definitions, let’s talk about how people can awaken and find themselves totally ungrounded–lacking an understanding of how their realizations apply in the world.

BTW, I have a free newsletter if you’re interested in getting in touch with me:

Many Spiritual Experiences Beyond Awakening

I seem to feel like doing a lot with definitions today, so here’s another one–spiritual experience: any experience of reality.

We can have spiritual experiences all the time. As the ego illusions dissolve, we stop seeing any experience as anything but spiritual because everything is an engagement with reality. At the highest level of realization, this includes illusions because they are equally included in oneness.

But those ideas have to be realized. A spiritual realization is an understanding of how reality works. The more deeply realized something like “we are all one” is, the more you understand how to rationally engage with life.

But our initial spiritual experiences as well as the initial years after a spiritual awakening (yes I said years) are when we have the most illusions and attachments. These things distort our realizations as we try to fit our realizations into our ego stories. This corrupts how we understand what we see.

For example, you can open your eyes first the first time ever and look at a pond on a bright sunny day and see a pond. You’re amazed at seeing a pond. You want to tell everyone else about what you saw!

However, you may have your eyes open, but you don’t realize that you have sunglasses on your face. This makes the pond seem dimmer and darker to you, and that’s what you describe to others. Worse yet, you could look at the pond wearing kaleidoscopes as glasses. From this state of seeing, you’ll see all sorts of crazy distorted fragments, and you’ll tell everyone about how trippy reality totally is.

The stuff you are looking through is the ego. Even though you and others are looking at the EXACT SAME REALITY, your perceptions are vastly different.

And how you may try to interact with life based on a kaleidoscope view would lead to some very strange actions–and it does.

Kaleidoscope (a poem)

How to Let Go of Your Ego

Giving Up the Bliss

Additionally, some initial spiritual experiences are very enjoyable. In moments like this, the ego likes what it has. With how some spiritual teachers and traditions talk about blissful experiences and make those experiences sound like goals, the person is likely to think they have “achieved it.” 

But really, the ego is happy. Not too many egos get upset when they feel bliss, although some self-hating types do. The majority are totally happy being blissed out. So they kind of disappear into the background.

Now there are different types of bliss, and the high state one is typically not one that is functional in life. During those bliss states, I strongly recommend people to not drive or do things that are either dangerous or require precision. It can cause quite a mess.

Unfortunately, people want to stay here, and they will argue with anyone who questions this experience. I get emails from people who also want to be affirmed that they are “awakened,” but what this means is that their ego wants assurances that they can keep this experience.

They can’t. 

All experiences come and go.

However, they don’t want to understand this part of reality. They just want to get the bliss back.

I Don’t Care About Your Bliss (and 3 Types of Bliss You Should Know About)

Additionally other types of bliss normalize. For example, it initially feels amazing to be in a warm 80 degree Fahrenheit room after being out in freezing weather. But then that normalizes, so this bliss appears to go away. But really, you have normalized to being more open and less closed, for example. You’ll only remember your openness when you freeze/close up again.

Which is actually fine. Surrender and spiritual freedom allow us to have any and all experiences.

Spiritual Bypassers Crossing Here

Creating ideas about the spiritual path is another common aspect of someone who is totally ungrounded. 

Creating ideas is easy. A lot of people find comfort believing virtually anything they want to believe. Thanks to social media, people can find groups of people to endlessly echo their beliefs. They never really test them in real life; they only look to life around them to find examples and situations that seem to reinforce the beliefs that they already have.

This is a whole other kind of spiritual bypassing compared to the bliss seekers/holders-onto that want to bypass other experiences a human being can have. The intellectual spiritual bypassers hope that their ideas will give them want they want. They can be following any spiritual belief system or anything at all. For example, some people would rather do endless Tarot card readings to hopefully get some cards that reflect to them ideas about a future they want rather than looking at themselves and the present moment that they are creating.

Or there are a whole bunch of people trying to marry science and non-duality to feel safe somehow. They can philosophize for hours on how we are all one and science proves this, but can they surrender to their mother’s passing? Can they handle a career change? Can they open to love? Can they let love go?

Surrender allows all these things, but the intellectual bypasser is floating in a sea of ideas that have no practical use, despite many of them claiming to do just that.

Skipping Steps on the Spiritual Path

How to Stop Spiritual Bypassing (video)

Skipping to the Crash

I’ll skip over all the stuff people do to get a blissful experiences back on the spiritual path. I’ll also skip over the trading of spiritual belief systems and scientific ideas that people do as the intellectuals try to find a better way to think. These are exactly the same behaviors as any kind of addiction. Addiction is, after all, an attempt to control one’s experiences.

The path to spiritual freedom is the exact opposite in many regards. We GIVE up control. We give up our ideas about life. We surrender to the many experiences that move through us.

But first, most people have to crash out of that ungrounded state they’re in. Their ideas fail. Good feelings disappear. They are confronted with their spiritual illusions.

Do you accept this?

If you do, then you can begin to do the REAL inner work to dissolve your attachments and all the resistance you have to your experiences and to life.

If you don’t accept this, then please move on to this cute guinea pig video.

Guinea Pig Video

How to Do Inner Work Class Description

The Dark Night of the Soul

The Gift of God’s Grindstone

God = the infinite oneness of consciousness

Yes, I know. More definitions. God usually needs a clear definition because so many people have so many definitions and often aversion towards the word. If there’s an ego aversion, we know there are attachments to work on releasing.

In general, the world around us is the grindstone, and again and again, we have to be shown that we cannot live in high states and made-up ideas. Many people have to be thrown back down to the ground and run over again and again by reality before they begin to accept that maybe they’ve got things wrong.

This is particularly hard on those who have created a big spiritual ego. They think they’ve got a correct set of beliefs through which to understand and control life. This is very different than a true conscious ego. The true conscious ego is temporary and flexible. We develop it to learn to inquire into ourselves and into life and to stay curious. 

The spiritual ego gets rigid and dogmatic. It has beliefs that it must defend and practices it must do. In pursuit of high states, safer experiences, healing, or whatever the person wants, a person will have to keep doing something to keep generating experiences.

But that won’t always work. So the person keeps striving and striving and striving in one way or another. Essentially, the spiritual ego is in resistance to life. 

The conscious ego does what is actually necessary to live life. Then it is dropped.

So people have to be ground on the grindstone again and again until they are ready to surrender

Spiritual Humility and Life Under God’s Grindstone

Surrender to Get Grounded

I know that “getting grounded” is kind of a sub-industry in the spiritual world. People have all kinds of techniques and whatnot to do. I mainly have one–surrender. Be where you are. Stop trying to be someone else or somewhere else.

Stopping requires no energy.

It’s also totally free.

Through surrender, true inner work begins to arise as a person sees what they don’t want. They discover that they actually only like parts of themselves and their experiences. There are other parts of themselves that they don’t like.

Rather than learning to like things we don’t like–like an annoying hang nail, persistent allergies, or the really nasty muscle knot in your upper shoulders–we surrender. We surrender to allow the fullness of the experience that is happening NOW.

What Is Spiritual Surrender?

Backsliding Into to “New” Spiritual Beliefs

Yet the human tendency is that people will continue to not want to see reality. They often prefer to live in an ungrounded, fantasy world. So if the grindstone lets up, they backslide into to creating “newer” and “better” spiritual beliefs. People run back to the world of ideas where anything can be imagined and thought to be real.

I’m not going to argue with that. I–like many other spiritual teachers–will let God’s grindstone return to teach you and show you how much suffering you create for yourself and others

It’s like believing a dog is a horse. You keep trying to ride your terrier, but she collapses under your weight every time. You get more and more angry at the poor dog, who is suffering from your maltreatment, but you won’t accept the reality in front of you. So instead, you go online and find a few hundred people with similar spiritual beliefs who give you all kinds of nonsense about how “in time” you’ll be able to ride the dog. That you must “earn this right.” That it “was not meant” to be today.

I know you know what I’m talking about.

Ironically, when someone else plays fetch with the dog and everything seems easy, it looks magical to someone stuck in their ego. But all that happened was that the individual grounded in reality saw a dog and addressed it on its terms, not his/her own.

Your Beliefs Are Not Real

Zero Steps to Being Here Now

There are now over 1,000 blog posts on this website, so I’ll let you dig in to more of them if you want more thoughts about spiritual awakening. But the short and sweet of it is this: surrender to what Is. Let go of your attachments to things that do not exist like your ideas of what life should be. Let go of passing experiences, and allow the process of reconciliation in your mind with seeing reality without the distortion of the ego kaleidoscope.

That’ll plant your feet back down firmly on terra firma. 🙂

Spiritual Awakening Help and Tips Guide

Awakening is Only a Beginning (video)

How Oneness and Duality Can Coexist (video)


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


  1. Thank you, Jim. As always. I really appreciate this article. The social media issue for me is beginning to seem like a hindrance for growth. Especially at an early stage. There are some wild things on there that really threw me off – it was supposed to I am sure. I am so glad you were the first teacher that I watched the most of. You’ve saved me a lot of pitfalls.

  2. Hi Jim,

    This is all the advice we really need to hear – ‘Stop trying to be someone else or somewhere else’

    There’s nothing more grounding than truth, the problem as in my case is that truth is often a hard pill to swallow.

    I wasted so many years trying to find escape hatches into the allure of delusion and ‘spiritual’ philosophies.

    Hope others don’t make the same mistake I did (at least for as long as I did).

    Best wishes,

  3. Hi Jim,

    You may be unaware that the phone number input field on your sign up form says that it is optional but the form cannot be submitted without entering a phone number.

    If I leave the field empty I receive the error message: ‘Phone number is invalid’.


Write A Comment