In the first section of this article, the author describes exactly how it is for me after a heart opening and the sight of the Self at Xenia, two fourth-chakra experiences of what Vedantists – and she – call “spiritual awakening.”
It’s so accurate I get goose bumps. I love the deconstruction of the constructed self she then sets about to do.
Falling Back Into Duality (Spiritual Awakening Process)
Maria Erving, Oct. 9, 2018
It’s common to, after a spiritual opening of some sort, at times feel stuck in the middle of Truth and illusion, and be flowing back and forth between the old and the new.
When we have experienced an opening or even spiritual awakening, and we know – in the deepest meaning – the false self to be a product of the conditioned mind and nothing more, we’re still reverting back to it time and time again.
Oftentimes when we think we have figured it all out and we feel a sigh of relief, believing we have arrived to a safe and firm plateau in our evolution; then swooosh, we’re dragged back again!
After some awareness has occurred and we have had some glimpse of Reality as it really is, the reverting back happens with us kicking and screaming, resisting it with all our might, spiritually speaking.
And to be drawn back, or revert to the old, time and time again can be a very difficult process to go through, but so much easier when we have some awareness around what’s going on.
This is something I know many people are experiencing and the ego can be very deceiving and manipulative in it’s ways of projecting doubt and even blame onto ourselves.
Many think they are doing something wrong, or that they are not doing it right (whatever spiritual practice they do), so I wanted to shed some light on what’s going on.
The ego is a fiction created in the mind, and by the mind
Thoughts and beliefs about who we see ourselves to be are far from the Truth. They are merely ideas of who we think we are, conceptualized versions of who and what we imagine ourselves to be, and most people believe their minds, or the image that they have of themselves.
That’s why being on the spiritual path includes times of such fierce purging of the old that it almost becomes unbearable.
The ego will not give up easily!! It knows it’s the death of it, and who wouldn’t resisting their own death, right?
It will keep re-creating itself (the mind is re-creating and building the images up again and again) and Life itself (or “God”) will tear it down, purge and purify you from the false, and this is when we feel tossed back and forth between the old and the new, between ego and spirit.
This process can be fierce at times, and create huge mental, emotional agony and turmoil.
In this process we will keep going from one belief system to another until one day we realize that all beliefs and thoughts are false.
Nothing of the mind is true, beliefs are nothing but ideas and opinions and they are fleeting, they change all the time, but the problem is that we (as humans) take them to be true, and that creates a conflict with What Is.
There’s always a conflict; the belief that life shouldn’t be as it is, or should have been different or should look better tomorrow, and it’s all mind-made lies!
Life is as it is, and it doesn’t matter what opinions or wishes we have, it will never bend itself to meet our expectations.
Spiritual surrender happens when we have come to the point where we’re on our knees, totally accepting that we don’t really know anything – when we finally understand that Truth is way beyond our thoughts and beliefs and that there is no way we can figure out any of it.
Everything we thought about life and ourselves will need to be stripped off and everything that we are not will be going through a demolition process called the ego death. The false will die.
When this is happening we will be flowing in and out of alignment for a number of reasons, but the main reason is that the ego doesn’t like to not know, and that is required to continue on the path to liberation; the willingness to enter the not-knowingness wholeheartedly.
That’s where the conflict occurs, between the egos need to control, and the need to let go of control altogether.
We have to realize that we don’t know anything about anything, and surrender to life that really is in control, and always have been.
The only thing in the way of the flow has been ourselves, or the person we have been taught to believe we are.
The ego will panic, it will do all it can to take the control back, it will deceive us into thinking that if we just re-arrange our thought-system we will feel better, if we just change our beliefs into something else we will feel better, but that is all a deceptive play of the mind.
No matter how much we try to control our mind, focus our thoughts and all that, all it does is that it keeps the mind busy, thus keeping us away from the present moment.
The mind will always be in opposition to ‘what is’.
All these attempts to control will eventually end up in some kind of failure (not that there are any real failures in life, but you know what I mean), and the seeking of solutions continue until true surrender occurs and that oftentimes happens when we feel utter defeat and we can’t take it anymore.
When we’re spiritually on our knees waiving the white flag of surrender, absolutely exhausted by our own attempts to make life into what we want it to be.
What happens when true surrender occurs is not what most people expect or think.
For me, when my authentic surrender happened, I expected deep, indescribable sadness and all kinds of negative things; I literally thought I would just have to crawl back to mediocrity and that I would never be able to enjoy life.
But what happened was nothing like that at all.
I felt liberation, such relief and love and.. I can’t even describe it.
Liberation from the mind, from illusion.
All spiritual paths are pointing to the same truth and that is surrender, but no matter how much we conceptually know that – we will still keep taking the control back, time and time again.
Until we stop. One day the letting go of control and taking it back just have to stop.
I have done this myself numerous times in my own life, until the day came when I declared DEFEAT.
That’s when life really begins to take form, and it can take a whole other direction than we could ever had imagined.
But before that happens, we will be drawn back to duality, even if we know that we are One with Life itself.
We know, because we have tasted it. We know, because we have experienced it, we have seen it, we have lived it.
But still, back to duality at times. (Reverting back living from the “I” that is separated from the whole, from Oneness).
And I can’t think of anything more annoying (and painful) than to really know truth, but still the mind takes back control at times, especially at times when we’re standing and being in the brightest light of our own being-ness.
That’s when the resistance from the ego will really kick in.
The ego will make you think there’s problems. It will make you worry, become fearful, feel resentment because your hopes and dreams have not come true yet and so on.
There will be depression, utter sadness, hopelessness.
When we’re not pouting like children (spiritually speaking), feeling victimized and unfairly treated by life, there’s some serious tears to be cried of the worst sort of ugly-cry we can imagine. Believe; I have done it all myself.
It’s not for the faint-hearted to ever embark on the spiritual path, let me tell you that!
If you’re not willing to die for Truth (go through ego death that is) then turn around and run the other direction.
The ego knows exactly where to hook you emotionally, and it knows your deepest fears and worries, and WILL trigger them – believe me.
When temptation doesn’t work, it will go for your fears and make them bigger an scarier than ever before.
When we work with ourselves and when we build our awareness around what’s going on, the path will get easier to maneuver.
We begin to become more and more aware of how it plays it’s games.
We begin to notice how the problems disappears the instant we enter peace, and peace become our number one goal.
All other goals will naturally fall away. They will mean nothing to you. Only Peace and Truth will matter.
We come to realize that only the mind create problems, while in fact there aren’t any problems at all.
There’s an “I” that is not affected by any of the drama that’s going on, and the more we realize that, the more we fall into it – the more we fall into our own true nature.
When the relief comes with the letting go, or surrendering to what is happens, then the distorted thoughts about being held captive by some invisible force also disappears. There was no force there to begin that held you captive, it was all mental. A story.
Awareness comes from questioning and investigating our thoughts and beliefs, but not to replace them with new ones.
Relinquish them altogether, free yourself from the mind.
Ask yourself when the fear kicks in:
- Who is it that is thinking these worrisome thoughts?
- And who is threatening whom…?
Until we honestly and with sincere desire only want to know what is True, we will feel as we’re trapped between our fears and cravings, our desires for life to be different.
We will keep flowing back and forth between ego and spirit until we finally surrender.
Know that what you think is not real at all, and the way to do that is to uncover all you think is real.
Fierce undoing of the ego is required, and our willingness to it is enough. Life itself will do the purging, you just have to go with it, if liberation is what you truly want.
It’s not always easy, but the more we surrender and live moment to moment, we are opening ourselves up to discover what’s already present.
One thing to remember is that the flowing back and forth between the old and new comes from flowing back and forth in time (in reality time doesn’t exist); either we think of the past or the future, by worrying or desiring, holding on, resenting, not accepting.
Remember that only the ego does that; while the spirit lives in the Now, so by bring ourselves back to this moment, we will find peace, because it’s already here.
A few examples to clarify what I mean; one is to be keenly aware of what’s going on right now:
Many years ago when I was in rehab I was also heavily medicated and I had decided to get clean from all medicines as well as my addictions, and looking back I realize that it was then when I learned to surrender to the present moment by letting go moment to moment.
Whenever I felt the need to take the medicines, I said to myself: “Can I wait ten minutes to see if I still feel the need for them?”, and then after ten minutes I asked myself the same question again, and again and again, until the day came when I was completely off all kinds of pills and medications.
This process of surrendering to the moment helped me to take less and less medications everyday until I one day was totally free from all of them. Some days I had to take it minute to minute, and it helped me to become very aware of the shifts in my emotions and the cravings of the mind.
Ultimately I wanted the real Peace, not the fabricated one that was made by chemicals.
Something that can be encouraging to know is that the doctors said that I would never be able to live medicine-free because of the damage I had caused my brain by my drug addiction.
That’s what they said, that I was doomed to be on medications for the rest of my life in order to be able to function normally and be happy in life and they were literally throwing pills after me, but I refused to continue, I was determined to heal and free myself COMPLETELY.
There was the temptation of the ego (to continue taking my meds when things got tough) as well as the fear/anxiety that comes from withdrawal of any kinds of substances; my only choice in the moment was my attitude, and that’s how it is for all of us.
We can fall for the temptations and fall back to the known and familiar in any life situation, or fall back to frenetically try to prevent our biggest fears from happening; but it’s all a play of the ego.
The only control we have in life is our attitude to it.
I was determined to become free, and I made it through; I could not be healthier than I am today, I have been free from drugs and all kinds of meds for about ten years now:-)
It wasn’t easy, but I made it through by surrendering to life on a moment to moment basis.
Another thing you can do when you feel you’re being pulled back to the old you (ego consciousness) is to be very aware of what you’re doing Right Now, and tell that to yourself, preferably out loud, but without any further explanations.
The ego will try to get you to get into arguments, explanations and justifications and so on, but you just state with a matter-of-fact attitude what you’re doing at the moment and with the inner knowing that you have no clue about what’s to come, so there’s no use in trying to figure any drama out until it comes up (which they seldom do, most of the drama we create in our minds never happens in real life).
We really don’t ever know what’s around the corner, so just let those beliefs go.
“Right now I’m walking here”, “right now I’m watching this”, “right now I’m doing the dishes”, “right now I’m reading this book”,and so on. No explanations, just a clear statement that this is what you’re doing in this particular moment, which is your whole life.
When we do this, it’s amazing how the ego’s voice just crumbles by itself, it just falls away, because the less attention we give it, the less noise it makes.
Remember, the mind creates itself, for itself, but you are not it. You are the observer of it all.
We can all learn to be the witness of thoughts come and go without getting hooked in believing them.
Feel how awareness itself feels, not to just how it feels to be aware, but how awareness itself is experienced.
This will eventually lead us to stand in Truth alone, and the wavering back and forth will have ceased.
The experience of going back to duality and then back to oneness will eventually cease and the best thing to do before that becomes the new ‘norm’ is to bring our attention back to the Now.
Moment to moment, surrendering to Life and not-knowing-ness is what leads us to liberation from that which is not real.
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