Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Caring For Our Awakened Loved Ones

Awakening as an event in the life of a loved one is like a rock being tossed into a still pool.  The pool, which has been relatively quiet for years suddenly becomes turbulent as sudden waves crest and move out in all directions, bringing a sudden burst of realization and reflection into the life of the person so affected.  If you can imagine that most of our lives that our inner waterways remain quiet like this, like a lake that has never had any significant ripples, waking one day to such an event could wind up feeling disconcerting.

When this event occurs, it is like a bell which has rung.  You cannot go back and unring it.  The event is so fundamental that it begins the process of change within that has a force of its own.  It is our own fundamental nature emerging and it is stronger than any force put before it.  It is like being told a truth that completely changes how you see and respond to the world.  It is so basic that it simply is not possible to put the genie back in the bottle.

If you are someone who has a loved one going through this process, it is important to realize that like it or not, the person whom you love is now in the process of rapid change.  How you respond to this process can serve to make the path easy or hard for you and for them.  This is not so different from any other human interaction, though, and being mindful of what we say or how we think about what we believe we know will more than likely play into this new event.  The truth remains that the person you know will undergo a transformation that is not unlike the process of a caterpillar into a butterfly.  The difficulty for most is that we endure a transition period when our cells are being populated by this energy that comes in waves and moves through our many layers of self.  While it may feel like a lightening strike to the person so affected, the aftermath is where the greatest changes take place because they serve to reform the person in what can feel like radical ways.  The reality about relationships is that when one person changes faster than the other, the differences between the two become much more apparent.  Because of this, it can lead people in relationship to feel like they are either left behind or no longer understood.  This works on BOTH sides of the equation.  If you are someone who has awakened, this can mean that you wind up feeling missunderstood.  When you are the loved one who has not awakened, you might feel left behind.  You might also think that your awakened friend or loved one has simply gone around the bend because what they are trying to explain to you what their new life is like is outside of anything you have experienced.  These are two very likely and very natural responses to have to awakening.  There are as many others are there are people, and the bottom line question becomes are the two people in relationship ready to do the work to adjust to this new event in a way that makes sense to them and that will keep their ability to relate to one another on a balanced and even keel, or will this serve to draw the two apart?  This is a choice that we all make whether we realize it or not.  It can also be a choice that happens very slowly, or very quickly, all depending on the nature of the relationship before all of this took place as well as how it goes forward as all of this begins to unfold within the relationship.

I write about how to care for someone who is going through an awakening in my book Waking The Infinite, and I do so based on what I know what would have helped me had I gotten the support that I needed most at the time.  I am going to walk you through the process some and point out a few of the things that are useful to bear in mind if you have someone who has gone through this awakening.

First, your loved one is now aware of things that are outside your own experience very likely.  They may want to tell you about these experiences as a way of seeking support during a tumultuous time.  Some of the phenomenon may even be things you have some experience with if you are inclined toward matters of the spirit.  But even if they are not, one very important thing to consider is that while your loved one might tell you something incredible over breakfast that sounds impossible or even crazy, there is a reason for why it has happened to them.  Your loved one may not know the whole story any more than you, but the important thing to remember in the moment is to keep from judging whether the experience has any validity or whether you think that it strikes you as a form of delusional behavior. This is where keeping an open mind and an open heart is important.  Even if what you are told strikes you as strange or even deluded, it is important to remember that the person sitting across from you is shedding its skin.  Many skins.  However strange this might seem to you, taking a stance that whatever is going on inside of them may well appear strange but actually has a critical purpose will, I think, help you in achieving the right state of mind that will help and not hinder their process of shedding the latent psychological material that is now being sloughed off.

Perhaps you can remember having a dream one night that seemed utterly fantastic, amazing, and entirely impossible.  This dream may have left you feeling very different when you woke up.  Something ABOUT the nature of the dream simply shifted how you felt as you went through your day.  The dream itself was so fantastical that it could in no way adhere to ordinary reality, and yet, somehow, the quality of that dream left you feeling completely renewed, refreshed, and feeling different.  Perhaps you found you had inner resources, at least for a time, that you thought you did not have.  If you can remember ever having a dream like this, then I would like to suggest that you approach your own beloved's awakening experience in a similar way.  You may not be able to understand how it is that your loved one is now communicating with a binary star cluster, or an angel, or a future version of themselves, and it may be that all of these perceptions are simply an approximation of what it is that really is going on.  It is possible that there are glimpses of Gods or Goddesses, demons or other shadow creatures.  There could be impossible to believe synchronicities happening that all seem incredibly important to your loved one that simply go over your head and you do not understand.  I caution you to resist discounting these experiences.  I say this because your loved one is like a person on a train who is describing their new experiences to you only to find the following day, the view from the train window has changed from verdant forest to rolling plains, and then to a beige desert-scape.  Further, in seeing all of these changes and range of experiences, their own understanding of what it is that they are going through also changes or is somehow revised in some small way, or placed into a still larger, more inclusive framework.  What I am saying is, be patient, don't take anything as entirely literal, but don't seek to discount it either.  The truth is that your lvoed one IS facing an important truth about themselves and the world.  Some of this can be more like dream than waking for all of the archetypal images that can crop up. It was Carl Jung that did a lot of work using archetypes as a way to help sasist people in healing.  He was aware of this because he saw how these cropped up so often in his analysis of his patients.  Whether "real" in the physical sense or not, the deeper truth is that these types of experiences can be the medicine that aids in helping to move a person emotionally and cognatively to a new place within themselves.

Second, I suggest knowing the many symptoms of awakening so that you can understand that this is not a mental break happening.  The challenge here is that if medicating the symptoms is attempted, it can only serve to extend the process for the person.  There are other ways that these spiritual emergences can be handled, and as far as I know, none of them involve medication of ANY kind.  Bear in mind that the change taking place is so broad based that it can include what seems to be very real physical pain happening.  This pain, though, tends to be related to intense forms of tension in the body.  All pain that I have ever had in my body has all been related directly to holding on to something.  This implies a form of holding, a clutching action emotionally or mentally.  All of this resolves into a kind of emotional and psychic tension that becomes so severe that it reads in the body as pain.  But how could such a psychic reality be felt as physical pain?  There are many examples of how the body can read or register pain that is in truth psychological or spiritual.  The etheric energy pouring into the body moves through every system, from the nerves to the physical tissues.  The brain is well known for taking this psychic material and placing it in a place within sensing that makes sense to it.  The clue is that there has been no form of physical injury that brought this on.  the other clue is that there is a good deal of distress or anxiety associated with the physical effects most often for the simple fact that most of it comes from a sense of not being at ease (dis-ease).  I am going to also say that you have to be careful.  What might seem to be etheric could also  be a very real physical malady that is manifesting in the body, so you don't NOT want to go see a doctor!  What I AM saying is to be careful about JUST trying to treat a symptom when its source is still unclear.  All of this is a balance because on the one hand you do not want to medicate when the problem is spiritual, but neither do you want to ignore the issue in case it winds up being something that could wind up being a very real physical problem!  What I am saying here is that when it comes to taking prescription drugs for anxiety or other psychological disorders, care must be taken in weighing the advantages of doing so over the repercusions of taking the medication.  While anti-anxiety drugs can be useful in helping to break a cycle of anxiety, few doctors like to prescribe them for extended periods since this points to a deeper problem that is best solved by correcting what is causing the anxiety in the first place.  Most anxiety stems from a fear, not a physical malady, and so the solution lies in clearing up the inner "malady" which will in turn shift and change the physiology away from the stress hormones that wind up putting a person on edge in the first place.

Third, it is important to consider that we all have within us the means to heal ourselves and to get to a better place.  Those who insist that we do not are themselves grossly underestimating our own potential as human beings.  If we lean on outside sources to heavily, we can miss the opportunities inherent in our own inner functioning to resolve the problem.  Many people have simply been trained that they are not capable of getting their arms around the problem.  As a result, I have had people get upset with me when I insist that we are more resourceful than we know and that it is only when we are tried that we discover the resources we didn't even know we had.  Excessive fear is as destructive as excessive optimism.  Both can do harm, and the essence of life is in the balance of the two. Within us are triggers that can aid us in releasing stubborn psychic material, and the realization that they are there does not come until the moment arrives when the test comes.  This does not mean that one should go through torture.....but there are aspects of the experience that CAN feel torturous.  An example of this difficulty is what we oftne call the Dark Night Of the Soul.  This is in fact a not-well understood passage from one state fo being to the next.  With it can come some very real physical effects such as excessive adrenaline which can make a person feel like they are being torn apart emotionally. In most of the cases I have heard about (including my own), this particular rough spot was cleared up by the person learning how to control HOW they felt in order to control their own physiology.  Kundalini puts every little thing under an intense microscope of awareness and small things become VERY big.  This is in truth a saving grace, but it is not a grace that is easy to master.  But once it IS mastered, the mastery is genuine even if it is hard-won.  For myself, I learned to hone my physiological response so that I could keep from feeling the harder parts of the experience.  This resulted in my learning to release latent fear that had built up over years.  The single most helpful thing during a process like this is for the person to know that you at the very least feel for them, that you are behind them in getting through this.  In the overly bright light of the experience, sometimes it is helpful to have a soothing and kind voice who does not judge but is as compassionate as possible.  True compassion, then is without questioning.  Nurses in a hospital may have never had to go through how an illness may make them feel, yet the great ones give care regardless and provide support without judgement.  This is where helping someone rid themselves of a personal demon by keeping judgement to yourself instead of suggesting that this is all created by years of bad living or wrongful feeling.  Responding in this way hardly helps the situation.

Awakening isn't just about your loved one.  Awakening is also about you as well.  You both are moving through this transition together.  It may be that the two of you can be perfectly great together without either of you needing to feel what the other is feeling.  it may be that what your loved one needs more than anything is someone who can be a rock solid anchor in a stormy sea.  I know one woman who is a close family friend who went through awakening and while her husband is a very practical guy, a mechanical engineer and she a dreamy artist, the two of them make the relationship work.  He doesn't need to venture out in to the ether while she does, but this does not cause him any problems.  Somehow, they manage to strike a balance in their different worlds.  The quality they each bring, I sense, is a simple appreciation for the other.  While she could not be technically minded, she probably likes how her spouse IS technically minded, while her broad dreamy artistic side helps to bring a counterbalance to their lives.  The foundation in this case is mutual respect.  This respect, though, can be easily eroded with an eye roll or a sharp comment that shows a lack of awareness about the other person's worth.  Both of you will need to matter, and while your loved one might need a tremendous amount of patience and resources from you during this time, all of life is a give and take, and what you will probably find is a loved one who comes out of the most turbulent parts of this experience feeling renewed, more at peace, and also ecstatically happy and ready for life to begin anew.

How long does the process of awakening take?  Well, Id say that such a question is itself flawed and need revision.  The process of awakening continues.  It is itself a spiral of awareness "upward" into still broader ranges of consciousness.  It is a refining of the self, and it is really hard to say how long this will take.  I do not see it as a process with a beginning middle and end.  Some of the most noted people who have awakened have shown remarkable harshness in their later lives, which shows that there was still more work to be done.  You do not "self perfect" necessarily.  You spiral upward.  What you are unable to slough off will remain for another day.  This is the same for anything in life and awakening is not some silver bullet.  it is true that those awakened can be just as deluded about their progress as anyone not awakened.  People can get stuck, and the awakened can be driven to fits of rage simply because they don't know HOW to deal with the forces now at work within them.  Just because you are awakened does not mean you suddenly stop being human. So what is the answer here?  The answer I think is to continue living life, to drop expectation to the degree that you can and simply enter the Moment and enjoy it for all it is worth.  Life is a great mystery sometimes, and while we can effect change in the moment, sometimes great understanding can also come through our own spirit or intuition that no act could ever trigger or surrender to us in the moment.  Living with our seemingly dual selves is key.  How does the earthly rough and tumble parts of us learn to soften and evolve in the presence of the divine self shining through?  This is a process that goes on day by day.  It can be ruthless and seemingly unforgiving for how careful we all must be in keeping ourselves balanced atop the crest of a wave of bliss that is the only good place to be in the entire experience.  As such, we will slip off the wave.  When we do, learning to observe what led up to that slip is fodder for learning the next go-around.  We wait for the next wave where we become silent and still and happy.  Here, we are lifted up onto the crest of the wave as if by magic and we ride it in until our feet rest on the sandy shore with a big smile on our face.

Awakening is not an excuse for people to behave badly, but this can happen.  Emotions can run high and the single best thing to do is what we do in every healthy relationship; we communicate, we do not point fingers and we learn to reach concensus and bear enough humility to see our own frailties without fear of recrimination.  Being emotionally honest and open while also compassionate is key I think.  When I say this, I do not mean a false-sense of compassion, since this never served anyone.  If we seek to be easy on others when it means ignoring the truth, this method of relating will itself have a natural expiration date.  So the love we bear is best when it is true, without strings, and is patient and childlike in wanting to know what awaits around the next corner.  When I say childlike, I mean the sense of openness and wonder that we all have when young about the world.  It is known that when we imagine what it is like to be like a child, we actually change how we think and feel.  Artists, for example, can be more imaginative and creative when they simply imagine what is is like to be a child.  This has a great deal of very helpful insight into how just the way we feel and anchor that feeling in the present can bring great benefit to us in how we wind up reacting.  React, yes, but not in a reactionary way.  :-)

Beyond this, there are resources that are available to people going through this rapid change.  there are therapists who have been trained in transpersonal and nonduality experiences.  I know they exist, and while I cannot reccomend anyone in the field for the simple fact that I have not utilized them, they are certainly out there and if it feels like you are both overwhelmed, this route might be the one to take if you both need more support as well as tools and tips for coping beyond my very brief introduction. Beyond this is your being willing to provide resources to your loved one that can include really great music, hypnosis tapes for calming anxiety, as well as dietary changes that could be of some help.  I have found Indian curry to be very calming as well as cantaloupe.  I have found eggs to be a good form of protein for when my stomach had trouble keeping anything down when the fires raged within.  I have found fasting helped at a critical time, and breath work can be of great assistance in calming.  I have also followed the suggestion that I do some kind of energy work to help remove bloockages in my energy field.  this took the form of Qi Gong (also spelled Gung) classes and these also served an important role in helping me to move through the healing process faster.  What helps me most these days is remaining devoted to my life and the wonderful outlook I was gifted with.  When days grow dark I am reminded that I have never been a glass is half empty kind of person and it is here that I find myself sitting in a garden of wonders and am just so glad just to be here. the greatest resource lies within, of course.  The ancients called this process "self realization" because it is really very simple.  However, we are not simple creatures.  We delight in making things complicated ( me included) but with some work, we gradually do get the memo!  Nothing can take the place of pure love and care.  We don't have to know what it all MEANS.  We don't always have to have all the answers.  How we each choose to live our lives is this great gift that we bear and the degree to which we can each hine our own light onto the world is the degree to which we offer ourselves up as the gift that we each are.  Our lives are a great gift which is in truth a river than flows in both us and from us.  It is as important to give as it is to receive.  It is here that the headwaters of spirit are both small and big, powerful and gentle, capable of getting you to where it is you need to go.  And never underestimate the power of awakening to bring you the resources that you need, sometimes in perfect timing.  I have written plenty about synchronicity and what lies beneath it, both her and in my upcoming book.  We live in interesting times, and how we each choose to orient ourselves to it makes a difference in the quality of the experience.

There is a list of kundalini resources to the right of this post and there is also a resources page also which you might want to look through.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I have been meaning to add more to it but have not taken the time to do so!  There is a lot of great writing and insight out there.  The world is filling up with the awakened and it is a very hopeful thing for me to observe as it happens.  The more this happens, the more voices are added to the mix.  take from them what you can or that you can relate to.  What you do not relate to might simply mean that you do not relate to it now, and you might never relate to it.  All of this is a garden where there are many fruits.  Take what is meaningful to you now and always ask your higher self to show you the way, for as you ask, so shall you receive......whether you are awakened or not!

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