The awakening journey is rough terrain. It begins like an innocent stroll in the park. It’s a beautiful day. The birds are singing, kids are playing, and you’re surrounded by nature’s beauty. You’re following a path that seems to be guiding you to an unknown destination. It’s about the journey, anyway, so you embrace your unknown destiny. Suddenly, that paved path crumbles beneath your feet; you’ve walked off the edge of a cliff you never saw coming. You lose your footing and begin to fall deeply into unknown territory.
Before sliding off that cliff, you thought you had it all figured out. Now you’re not too sure. If this experience sounds familiar, take a deep breath. Recognize that you’re transforming, much like the caterpillar does in its cocoon.
Here are some tips to help you get through the chaos:
1. Recognize that physical discomfort is normal
The awakening journey releases trauma stored in your physical and energetic bodies. Often, this release is accompanied by aches, pains, and flu-like symptoms. Some people experience issues like arthritis and sciatica, depending on what traumas are being released.
Experiencing pain or discomfort isn’t a sign that you’re falling apart – it’s a sign that you’re falling together, into oneness with All That Is. Whatever vibrations of fear have been trapped in your body must come to the surface to be dissolved. The saying, “the only way out is through” applies heavily to the awakening journey.
Energy healers can assist in balancing your energy, which then allows physical measures to have a deeper impact on the body. For example, if you’re dealing with sciatica, all the pain relief in the world won’t eliminate the pain until your energies are in balance. Once you begin to address your sciatica at the energetic root, you’ll find more relief from the physical methods you employ.
Remember that energy balancing isn’t intended to replace medical advice. If you’re experiencing symptoms of illness, please consult with your doctor.
2. Ignore conventional advice and catch phrases
Conventional advice can be a trap. Not an intentional trap, but it can lock you in the prison of your mind. Quotes and phrases quickly become concepts and sometimes rules to live by, when they were originally intended to help a specific person get unstuck.
For example, when a teacher tells a student, “there’s nothing to do,” and you hear or read this statement, it’s tempting to cling to this as a concept and decide that nothing ever needs to be done. You can just sit in your house and do nothing all day because everything is perfect just the way it is. This teaching, like most teachings, isn’t a truth. It’s a technique given when the teacher knows a student will benefit from slowing down.
Consider that all spiritual teachings you’ve heard might be strategies designed to be used in specific circumstances. Follow them when it feels right, but don’t cling to any of them.
3. Learn to recognize a true “Dark Night of the Soul”
By learning to recognize an authentic “Dark Night” experience, you’ll find it easier to stop resisting the most uncomfortable (and confusing) aspect of transformation.
Many people believe the “Dark Night of the Soul” is an exceptionally rough time when life appears to fall apart, but that’s not the whole story. The “Dark Night,” as described by Saint John of the Cross, is a somewhat lengthy process of being removed from your sensual attachments – including attachments to your spiritual desires. According to St. John, it’s called the Dark Night because it feels as if you’ve been left in the dark; abandoned by God.
As spiritual teacher Adyashanti explains, experiencing during a true Dark Night will relate mostly to your spiritual journey. For example, you might find all the spiritual tools and tricks you once relied on no longer work. You also might push away all things spiritual and wonder why. This is normal. It’s the process that precedes the revelation of Divine love and union with All That Is.
4. Embrace disappearing reactions
Ram Dass once said, “the universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out our reactivity, which is our attachment, our clinging, to pain, to pleasure, to fear, to all of it. And as long as there are places where we’re vulnerable, the universe will find ways to confront us with them.”
With that in mind, when your neighbor pounds on your door at 2 am to complain about your dog, and you aren’t triggered, embrace it.
The journey to awakening is like a roller coaster ride. Once you’re strapped in, there’s no getting off. It’s full of ups and downs, but hang on for the ride, because it gets better after the first freefall.