When will the agonizing process of spiritual awakening end? (Ask Maria)
Thank you so much for your site, I have resonated with so many articles you have written.
I believe I am on the brink of a spiritual awakening.
I can’t really put into words exactly why I believe this, other than my quest in recent months to unveil the Truth which has been interspersed with moments of clarity and peace as the ego makes way for reality.
Unfortunately, however, these moments seem much less frequent than the intense suffering I have been experiencing, including anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts which come with alarming bodily sensations and fitful sleep at night coupled with exhaustion during the day.
I rarely sleep through the night and worry a lot during the day about getting sufficient rest to be able to function in my job and relationships.
I very much want to get to the other side of this process, for stillness and silence to be my resting state rather than the constant chatter of the ego, and to be completely free of the anxiety that seems to have a grip on me.
I feel so exhausted today that I have kind of resigned myself to whatever happens.
If I should die, so be it, I have no desire to continue living in this state of mind.
I want rest, peace, happiness and the joy I am told is my birthright but they seem so elusive.
When will this suffering end?
I know you won’t be able to answer this question but I so desperately need some hope.
Thank you and kind regards.
I asked for a little bit more information from the reader and this is what I received back:
Thank you so much for your response. It came at the perfect time, as I have spent the evening in tears and feel like I have hit rock bottom.
Despite this, there is optimism that there is light at the other side. Thank you so much for your kindness.
To provide some further information, at the beginning of this year, I decided that peace and Truth is what I want to aim for in life: this is my only goal.
I don’t have material, career or family goals, I just want peace.
I have lived without it for long enough, and have experienced a lot of suffering and anxiety so I want to do everything I can to invite peace.
In my life at the moment, my father has a terminal illness and dealing with his deterioration and the possibility of being without him, accompanied by worrying for my mother, has just opened a can of ego worms.
Since deciding to make peace my goal, I feel there has been much backwards and forwards, where the ego quietens for a little while, allowing peace to flood through.
These moments are relatively rare as the ego is generally extremely active, spinning stories left, right and center about every aspect of my life: potentially losing my job, my partner leaving me, losing my looks, my health, my friends, my parents, right down to worrying about losing sleep (which ironically consumes a lot of my waking hours).
I have had many small insights, where the ego was momentarily taken over by Truth, where there is silence and the stories subside.
This is something I would love to experience more of.
In those times, I realize I am not ‘me’, nor am I this body or the thoughts that seem incessant. I am purely presence.
I care not what others think of me, I just want to love and experience love.
However, it seems after these moments that the ego feels threatened and is aware of its demise to the extent that it comes back tenfold, tormenting me with stories of loss and grief, violence and ill health and lost sleep, telling me I must not relinquish control and put my faith in the universe.
Recently, this has occurred a great deal and my anxiety has peaked.
The ego tells me stories that are difficult to ignore, and while I am aware it is the ego up to its old tricks, I still get very easily wrapped up in them.
The ego feels like it’s fighting for its life and it’s doing a good job of surviving.
Last night I hardly slept and today I was emotionally drained.
I have no energy left to fight, nor do I want to fight. I want to give in, trust, be free, yet these concepts still seem distant to me.
I guess, rather than a specific question, I was hoping for some reassurance from you that this is all normal, and that I will be free, since freedom is all I want.
I have no desire to continue a life without freedom and peace any longer.
Thank you too for providing the link to your surrender article.
It was so full of wisdom for me, as are so many of the articles I have read on your page, which resonate very deeply with me.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you again for being there.
Thank you for sharing so openly from your life and where you’re at at the moment.
It will be helpful for others to read because what you’re going through is not uncommon at all.
In fact it’s very common to experience all the things you mentioned when you’re in the spiritual awakening process.
This is however not what most expect to experience once they embark on the spiritual path.
Most people expect the path to be all about love and light, bliss and oneness and so on, and then when the foundation that their life has been built upon start to crumble it can be very confusing.
They don’t know what they asked for when they said they want enlightenment or awakening, and once they’re in the process it’s too late to turn around because once Truth has you, it won’t let you go.
This should be reassuring to hear, although once someone is in the midst of one of the agonizing phases they usually curse the day they ever embarked on the spiritual path, or the search for Truth.
So when you decided that peace and Truth is what you want, that that’s your only goal, that was the cue from Life to take you on the ride of your life and all you can really do is to try to stay sane through the roller-coaster of emotional and mental turmoil that follows.
I want to mention something about what you wrote before we continue.
You wrote that you think you’re on the ‘brink of a spiritual awakening’ and I want to explain that bit for you before we move on.
You’re not on a brink of an awakening.
There is no “brink”, no sudden enlightenment experience and you’re ‘done’ (if that’s what you hoped for).
It’s a process, and I believe you are in the beginning of it, but there really is no sudden thing that happens and then you’re ‘on the other side’ so to speak.
So many things needs to happen before that, and as you progress those things will be shown to you one step at a time so I won’t get into that right now.
You wrote a lot about peace being your main goal, that you don’t have any material, career or family goals, that you just want peace, that that’s all you want.
So let’s look at that.
Peace is the opposite of ego.
So no wonder the ego will fight, and it will fight hard for its life and this battle is part of the awakening process.
What Truth asks of you now is to be an individual that can have peace in the midst of turmoil.
Increasing your awareness of the ego helps, but also look at who you really are because at this point there’s still not enough awareness of your true identity.
And this is of course not a concept that you should adapt, like “oh, I’m love, I’m peace and light” and so on and then merely believe that you are those things.
A common idea in the spiritual arena is to believe you are those things but all that leads to is that the ego becomes spiritualized.
This is a path of discovery, not about finding yourself (there is no “true self”), but about discovering and realizing who/what you are.
So self-awareness is crucial.
Ask questions like:
- Who am I in the midst of this?
- What is the ego?
- Who sees the ego?
- Who wants the peace? (which is not actually you but the ego).
These are very deep questions and no one can ever answer them for you (but you already know this).
- Who is exhausted?
- Who is afraid?
- Who worries?
- Am I the worrier? If not, where am I in the midst of this?
And so on.
Close your eyes and ask deeply within yourself, even whisper the words slowly out to yourself as you ask and then get very still and listen.
Observe, feel into the question and allow the sensations that comes up reveal their message to you.
“.. anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts which come with alarming bodily sensations and fitful sleep at night coupled with exhaustion during the day.”
“.. the ego is generally extremely active, spinning stories left, right and center about every aspect of my life: potentially losing my job, my partner leaving me, losing my looks, my health, my friends, my parents, right down to worrying about losing sleep (which ironically consumes a lot of my waking hours).”
Say YES to all those things.
What you are in the brink of is a massive transformation, because the more fear there is (resistance), the more you can be sure that there will soon be a huge shift in you as you keep ploughing through this.
“Okay, so if I have a panic attack, I’ll be fine. If I’ll have one, I’ll have one. I don’t have one now, but should one come, I’m not going to be afraid of it. I’m not afraid of being afraid.”
I can say this because I have been through these things myself (I’ve had panic attacks, severe anxiety etc etc) so you can take my word for it that the moment you decide to not be afraid of fear, fear will loose its power over you.
Do your best to stay in the now but if an anxiety attack would happen, trust that you will be able to bring yourself through it too.
Sometimes it also helps to let other people know that this might happen.
Telling someone can help you relax because then the need to try to hide it, pretending that everything is alright when there’s a war going on inside of you, goes away.
Oftentimes when we bring our fears to the light and show them to others it actually can bring people closer together because we have all experienced fear at some point in our lives.
That is unfortunately one thing we can all relate to in one form or another. Fear.
We may not all have shared all the feelings and emotions that exist, but fear is definitely one that we have all had.
And fear is pure ego. That’s what it is.
But fear always shrinks when we expose it and are not afraid of it, trying to hide it or run from it.
Maybe you could share with your partner about this if you haven’t yet and tell him/her what you want them to do if you went into a panic attack.
For example, some people want to be held while some want to be helped to a place where they can be alone.
So communicating these things could be good, especially when it comes to close ones so that they are more able to handle it (and help you) should it happen.
The most challenging aspect of this is of course to try to explain why you’re having them (because naturally they will ask) because the truth is that most people have no clue about what spiritual awakening is.
So no amount of explaining to for example a family member would make them wiser because they simply can’t relate to it.
It’s like trying to explain grown-up things to a child; the developmental growth is just not there.
Of course the ideal is to have people in your life that would understand, but the reality is that most people don’t have that, it’s usually a path you walk alone.
If you have a close one that can relate to what you’re going through, consider yourself fortunate and really appreciate their presence in your life because they are very rare.
Would you feel comfortable sharing your experiences with someone you know?
In any case, try to stay in the present moment without thinking too much of what could happen, because right now you’re fine, so let the next moment take care of itself.
As best as you can, relax, and trust. You’re on the right path and all this anxiety is most probably the ego throwing fits and having massive temper tantrums.
Say YES to whatever comes or is being thrown at you, resist nothing.
“Okay, so I loose my job and all my friends, if that’s what will happen then that’s what will happen. I’m not afraid. If it happens it happens”.
“Okay, so my partner will leave me. That’s fine, let them leave me. I’m not afraid. If it happens it happens”.
This is not to be said as if you’re resigning to the threats but you say it with a sense of detachment to them.
That whatever would happen, you would still be fine.
That nothing on the outside could take away your inner peace and centeredness.
Feel into this statements, use your own words of course, but see how it frees you up from the fear the ego is throwing you when you say YES to whatever it says.
That “yes, that could happen, but if it did I would still be fine”.
Realize this: the ego is not in control over your life, Truth is, so it doesn’t matter what it says.
All it can really accomplish is to throw empty words at you, empty words with no power at all unless you believe in them.
Remember I told you earlier that Truth has you now?
I’m telling you, Truth has you now. There’s nothing for you to fear, nothing.
Especially the things that the ego threatens you with.
Let’s not shy away from this but let’s instead look at it with realistic eyes so to speak.
Yes, it may be so that you loose your job, your friends, your partner and all the other things the ego threatens you with, but look at what is right now, what actually is right now.
Right now you have them, right?
So enjoy their presence in your life instead of wasting this precious moment by believing the thoughts in your head.
There’s nothing to worry about.
Whatever you loose or win is none of your business to try to control and none of us know even what the next moment brings.
So it’s kind of hilarious how the ego so pompously thinks it has any power when in reality it has none.
It all depends on if you’re willing to give it power or not (it’s you who make it “real”), so it’s really you that has the power, not the ego.
You’re the powerful one because you have the power to disregard its silliness.
Here’s a few articles that can be helpful to you:
Again I want to say to you that you have nothing to worry about.
Whatever happens you will always be able to handle it because Truth has your back, and the truth is that we can’t know what will happen, ever.
There’s a million ways in which every moment can go and shift its direction, and the more we realize this, the less friction and agony there is because in this acceptance of not knowing is our freedom.
We don’t know what will or will not happen.
What an effin relief that is! Don’t you agree?
We don’t know.
So whatever we ‘think’ will happen is just one little tiny possibility in an ocean of countless and countless of possibilities.
And the ego thinks its knows.. lol. How adorable.
So really, there’s no need to worry or to be afraid of anything.
And know that not even your biggest rants and moments of rage and frustration when it comes to the awakening process can disconnect you from the path you’re on right now.
You’re going through it despite the ego’s attempts to hinder it.
Surrender is always the answer.
Surrender to the process and let it take over.
When the ego says things like “you’ll loose sleep”, you can say “okay, so I loose sleep. Right now I’m awake so I’ll be awake and will therefor enjoy that (because that’s what’s actually happening right now), and then at night when I go to bed, I go to bed. If I sleep I sleep, and if not, then not. End of story, nothing to worry about. Right now I’m awake and that’s all I need to focus on” etc etc.
My main point here is to always be in the moment and disconnect from your thinking patterns that takes you away from *here*.
(A little side-note: Magnesium can be helpful when it comes to sleeping better, just make sure you do your research so that you get the highest quality and that you get enough of it.)
There’s no resentment or anger or anything in this, but a mindset of kind of dismissing the ego, in a detached way with no emotional drama attached to it.
Like “yeah, yeah, I loose my job, and everything, blah blah blah. Right now I have my partner, I have my job etc so right now I’m enjoying it. Whatever could or would happen is none of my business. I choose to enjoy what I have now. I choose to be in peace now”.
The ego is very clever.
I have to give it that.
It goes after our biggest fears and always attacks where we’re most vulnerable (remember this).
So I want to ask you;
How would it be to dismiss the ego as if nothing it said would throw you off path?
Because that’s what this is about, it’s all about that, and that’s why it goes after you where it knows you’re the ‘weakest’.
How would it be to let whatever it says simply roll off your back and then you just go on with your day enjoying it as much as you can with the understanding that yes, that (the threat) can happen, but so can million other things too?
This moment right now is all we’ve got, this moment is our whole life, all else is in the mind (memory/imagination/fantasy).
What you will find is that the peace of mind you seek is not dependent on these things, the things you’re (the ego) is afraid of loosing.
Those things are not where peace comes from.
The ego lathes on to form, to things, people and so on, but whatever you seek (such as peace) is what Truth asks you to find within yourself.
Then you will be free always.
“.. it seems after these moments that the ego feels threatened and is aware of its demise to the extent that it comes back tenfold, tormenting me with stories of loss and grief, violence and ill health and lost sleep, telling me I must not relinquish control and put my faith in the universe.”
So you do the opposite of what the ego tells you.
Ego is about control while Truth is about letting go of control, so you can safely let go of control.
I’m telling you, this is what it all will come to in the end anyway so save yourself years of agony by surrendering right now.
Throw yourself into the arms of the Universe without hesitation.
“.. I want to do everything I can to invite peace.”
I would say; don’t invite it, it’s not out there, it’s within you, BE it. Right now.
Right now, if you feel there’s fear, anxiety etc, ask “what is obstructing the peace that is already here?”
You will find that it’s the ego’s stories that are obstructing the peace, but as soon as you see through them, there’s peace.
So peace never goes anywhere, it’s just that the ego becomes like a veil that obstructs it.
You have the power to rip the whole veil off and throw it away.
Then peace is there, as it’s always there.
Here’s an article with an exercise on how you can see through fears:
Go after the ego with vengeance and it will shrink into nothingness.
Don’t let it shrink you, You go after It, and some pretty amazing things will start to happen and shift in you.
Be determined like your life depended on it.
Do the exercise over and over again if you have to, and I promise you that you will see exactly what is real and what is not.
The ego will be left behind more and more as you progress so keep moving forward.
It’s not you who is exhausted, it’s the ego.
It may feel as if it’s you, but that’s because your identity is still in the false self, so the most important thing you can do right now is to allow for this process to unfold by surrendering fully to it.
In your email you wrote;
“If I should die, so be it, I have no desire to continue living in this state of mind.”
This is the attitude that will help you get through this faster and easier as it’s always the resistance to the process that creates the most pain and agony.
The dedication to come through to ‘the other side’ will help you progress.
You could even use this as a shield to the threats of the ego by saying dismissively as it attacks you that;
”Yeah, whatever, I’m willing to die for Truth so there can really of obvious reasons be no fear in me.
So whatever, you just do your thing and I do mine.
Truth has my back and I’m fully committed to go through this process come hell or high water.
I don’t care. What I care about is Truth. So the threats are really not working on me anymore.
I don’t believe you anymore. I’m with Truth now”.
Speak out loud with a calm voice (again, no drama needed) as if you’re just reminding yourself of the fact that you’re going to be true to Truth no matter what.
Also, if you want to have a good laugh about all this you can respond to the ego by saying something like this:
“Oh, I’m so scared, I’m shaking in my boots.. lol. Seriously, that’s all you’ve got? You’re cute”, and then go about your day completely dismissing its attempts to control your emotional and mental state.
It might sound silly to do this, but it really works because it helps bring lightheartedness to the whole thing and it creates distance to the ego drama.
Try it! 😀
Be dismissive and ignore it, while at the same time confront it and go after it with all you’ve got and soon the tables will have turned to your advantage and benefit.
I’m so sorry to hear about father. I hope his transition goes as peacefully and painlessly as possible.
In this transition you play a role and it’s a transition for him as well as yourself, and your mom and the rest of the family of course.
It’s a time of big changes and transformations for all as it always is with any crisis or challenging times we go through in life.
And challenging times and crisis always brings with it an opportunity for growth.
This could be an opportunity for you to love and be peace in the midst of a challenging event in all of your lives.
Since that was specifically what you said you wanted, then here’s your chance to be and have just that. Peace and Love.
Say to yourself:
“Peace is not out there, it’s here (and then put your hand on your heart)
I already have it, right here and now.
Love is here also, and I’m ready to give it, I want it to touch everyone I meet from this moment on.
It’s my choice, it’s what I want, it’s what Life wants through me and I’m all in”.
And then ask within yourself:
“What is there to learn for me in this situation? What is the gift here?”.
The gift could be something like learning to love more deeply for example.
Or it could be a teaching about forgiveness, or about learning to be in the moment, to appreciate what you have right now, about intimacy, or whatever it is for you personally, you’ll know the answer when you ask this question.
You can also ask questions like:
“What is asked of me, what is Life calling me to do in this situation?”.
Peace might in the beginning feel like it’s moment to moment choice but in reality you are the peace you seek, it’s just that the ego is covering it with fear so you don’t seem to have access to it (but you do have access to it).
For example, you wrote that there are times where ‘the ego was momentarily taken over by Truth, where there is silence and the stories subside’, but it’s not really the ego that is being overtaken, but spirit taking over you.
The Truth of your nature comes home to itself, or touches its home-base for a brief moment and you get a taste of what your true nature is like.
There’s no ego there. Ego can never have real peace.
Lastly you wrote;
“I guess, rather than a specific question, I was hoping for some reassurance from you that this is all normal, and that I will be free, since freedom is all I want.”
All that you’re experiencing is very normal, it’s what everyone goes through, just in different contexts as people have different fears and so on that the ego attacks when it’s threatened by Truth.
And I believe you will get through this easier than most because of the attitude you have towards the process itself.
If you just keep moving forward, throwing away all the layers of ego that you work yourself through, you will become free.
Although at this point it’s still the ego who wants peace but you think its you, so there’s some inner work to be done in regards to that.
See the questions you can ask yourself that I mentioned earlier in this article and let Life open up the next direction for you as you do this self-inquiry.
Every question you ask takes you deeper into yourself.
How long it will take no one can tell, but the more you surrender, the ‘faster’ (or smoother) it goes.
Surrender is the name of the game, it all boils down to this.
And each time you surrender (because that too is a process that goes deeper and deeper each time) you simply ask what is next for you to do and then you surrender (let go) of that too (and to that which is shown to you).
Always stay open, curious and receptive and also attentive to the guidance you get from Life.
Never stay with a concept. You may use it for a while, but never stay with it.
Awakening leads to the freedom of beliefs, concepts and ideas about Life, existence, yourself, everything that you think is true and real.
Beyond this point it can’t be described, that’s where you have to go and find out for yourself, so never believe what others say, only accept your own direct experience and nothing less than the Truth and that’s what you get.
Trust this above all; Truth has you now and will not let you go.
You’re just where you’re suppose to be and all is going just as it should so you can relax into this, knowing that it will all go well.
The more you relax into the process, the more you trust your path, the easier and smoother it goes.
Surrender and Trust are the keywords to remember always.