Awakening is the uncontrolled demolition of all the things you imagined to be true about yourself, outside world, society and universe. It can be an overwhelming experience, often unwelcome, which can generate fear, apprehensions, unusual sensations, including physical and mental symptoms.
For most people is a very unsettling experience to say the least. It is a though experience not knowing what is happening, losing grip in consensus reality and fearing that one is going mad. On top of this, you don’t know where to run, as there is no previous experience, point of reference, or someone who can be trusted to talk to about the experience, and find solace. There is a great urge to talk about these strange events and find understanding and meaning, but at the same time one might be not so comfortable to approach the subject. What prevents this is the unwanted experience of being criticized by others, even ostracized, specially from people who never went through a similar experience.
Awakening can be and is a frightening and lonely time, feeling stranded on an unknown and dark ocean, abandoned by life.
After the initial terrifying experiences, the process might evolve, and open up to a spectrum of intense mystical experiences, where archetypal or transpersonal beings show up, depending on personal background. One might encounter angels and daemons, or be in awe, mesmerized by glimpses of panoramic cosmic visions, or a transcendent feeling of unity and love connecting everything. This last part of the awakening process can be different from person to person and greatly depend on the background of the person and the way “the down fall phase” was endured.
One this is for sure, you never know when awakening will strike. Awakening can erupt spontaneously or be trigger by trauma, childbirth, accident, religious ceremonies, drugs, meditation, ecstatic dancing, yoga, chakra work, shamanic rituals, hero’s journey process or other activities.
The duration of the awakening process can be short or extend over a period of years. In general, there is no reliable way to predict its duration. One thing is quite certain is, once the process starts there is no way to stop it. The best approach is to follow it to conclusion.
Down The Rabbit Hole
The initial gloomy states of consciousness are in general characterized by a number of symptoms as follows:
- Mood swings
- Existential loneliness
- Sense of alienation
- Feeling powerlessness
- Intense fear
- Feeling that one is going mad
- Worries about death
- Excruciating loneliness (feeling abandoned by friends, family and God)
- Emergence of traumatic past life memories
- Fantasies of dismemberment (quite common in the Shamanic tradition)
- Emotional outbursts (i.e.. start crying on slightest thing)
- Physical symptoms (pressure on the body, overpowering force moving through the body, tremors, rapid changes in temperature, rapid heart beat, electrical charges)
- During this period one might change the way one dresses or the overall external appearance.
In general there is a great need to talk about the experiences one had or is having. This might make friends and family further withdraw due the strangeness of the content of those experiences. In the end, this may amplify the sense of loneliness and alienation one is having.
It is very hard for a person going through awakening to find someone that understands what they are going through. A person that will listen to them without any sort of judgement, or telling them what they should do.
One of the hallmarks of awakening is the explosion of intuition, inspiration and imagination. There can be an explosion of creativity. During this period logic and rational thinking may take a secondary role in the person’s life.
Divine Bliss and Ecstasy
It is not all dark and gloomy. For some people the first stage might be brief or almost nonexistent, and they do enter directly into bliss fields.
Meditators repost seeing “beyond the veil” where one feels connected, ecstatic, in perfect cosmic unity, blissful, raptured, in overjoyed.
This part of the experience brings healing, peace, and a sense of integration and purpose. One may feel transported beyond time and space, encounter celestial beings, and in ecstatic visions of splendor, transcendent beauty and radiance, held and enveloped in iridescent light.
The experience of these realms seem more tangible and more real than the consensus reality.
Entering those realms is experienced as a suddenly awakening from a dream, which was previous called “reality”. It is like lifting the veil, or suddenly passing through the door to another dimension of consciousness.
These situations may encompass the disappearance of personal boundaries where one, the others and the world are the same. There is no separation. Here, the loss of social masks and ego are experienced in a gentle way, flowing, with no fear or trauma. At the same time, our self image may become expanded, like space could easily be folded.
A new kind of clear vision is often reported. The mind is open and free to experience without the filter of worried and ego recurring inner talks, The mind is still to see through the lies and manipulations without being affected by it on a personal level. Almost like a chess player that can see 10 or more moves in advance, effortlessly.
Even these last positive manifestations can cause trouble to unprepared people. This may happen due to previous religious beliefs incompatible with the experience or alternatively due to feelings of unworthiness. Both of these situations can cause fear and emotional pain, even when afterwords the experience is reinterpreted as a positive one.
It is really important to have support, mentoring or even psychotherapy. It is important to have qualified and experienced help, clearly suited to support and facilitate the whole process.
What I mean by this is a very particular kind of help that doesn’t block nor is invasive of the process. Help that doesn’t try to sell you an priori belief, but on the contrary honors your experience as is. The whole idea is to let the process unfold, allow the person to find its own meaning and personal purpose. Sometimes, they might reach to believe that they have a new mandate from heaven which they must fulfill (against all respect for self and others). In other cases, due to the influx of transpersonal energies the ego might “inflate”. This creates a situation where the person believes that she is the only one that saw the light and she must impose it to others, even against their will or wellbeing (the missionary or guru syndrome).
Varieties of Awakening
There are different varieties of awakening, even the name can vary from culture to culture: awakening, satori, illumination, grace, etc.
Following is a list of varieties of awakening, which probably you heard of, and others not so much. The following are the principal varieties of awakening:
- Peak experiences – Quite common in mystical groups, and has to do with experiences of connection or union with a wider and broader consciousness, a kind of unitive consciousness. It is merging with the whole, it is losing boundaries, followed by a strong and positive emotion. In general during those experiences one loses track of time and space, there is a sense of sacredness, cosmic wisdom, sharp insights about life and the universe, and a lasting and positive after effects.
- Kundalini awakening – The Kundalini, coming from the Indian tradition, is called the “energy snake” or life current. Has this name because it is said to lie coiled at the base of the spine, like a serpent. According to the Indian tradition to foster spiritual development one requires that it rises through the spine. Doing so, higher states of consciousness are perceived. As said, this can be a spontaneous process or ignited by meditation, Kundalini yoga, intense lovemaking, childbirth or intervention of a guru. During the Kundalini rising one may experience rushes of energy, extremes of emotion, violent shaking or even “speaking in tongues”. It is possible to encounter archetypes and beings, see the most beautiful geometric patterns and shapes, hear celestial music, smell beautiful sent and odors. In general the Kundalini awakening has a very healing effect.
- Near death experiences – They have a profound and last impact, opening up the door for a type of spirituality. On the other hand, those memories might cause difficulties, specially if the person is more rational inclined and a non-believer. Another sort of difficulties might also arise from skeptical people close to the person who experience the NDE .
- Reborn – psychic and psychological renewal through return to the center
- Past life memories – The person is confronted with previous event that shed new light and explanation about one’s actual life, creating a profound understanding and healing.
- Shamanic crisis – All the shamans go through this kind of awakening which is also an initiation. It may involve, “journeys” to the underworld or the world of the dead, visions and rites of dismemberment, ritualistic ceremonies, the meeting of personal power and guidance in the form of animals, the so-called power animals. There can be also experiences of annihilation, which are followed by resurrection, rise and ascend to non earthly realms, celestial in essence.
- Awakening through psychic perception – Is in general, the discover of a much sharper form of intuition and augmenting of synchronistic events.
- Communication of channeling with spirit guides – These can be either the so-called guides or in other cases autonomous parts of the Self that reach the conscious level and become a part of life.
- UFO encounters – Experiences of encounters may precipitate the awakening. Even traumatic abduction experiences, can be worked through.
There are much more to say about Awakening. This article is a brief summary of a broad, complex, frightening and liberating experience.
Do please share your ideas or personal experience on the subject and contribute to a clear understanding and acceptance of this issue in our western society.