Spiritual Awakening: Intense Fatigue & Identity Loss

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I recently received a comment on an older blog post from someone who was seeking feedback on how to cope with the fatigue and loss of identity that occurs after a spiritual awakening has begun. I think there are a lot more people who are experiencing these symptoms than we realize, so it seemed like now might be an appropriate time for a new blog post about these symptoms so that people can receive some validation for what they are experiencing.

So of course each person’s awakening experience is unique, but there are certain patterns that frequently occur. A common experience is that someone will feel like they are progressing through life on a steady course. They have goals, desires, and dreams, yet they remain unconscious of how much society, culture, media, their family, and their peer group have influenced the decisions they’ve been making their entire life. They’ve built up an image/identity based on all this programming from external sources. Their main concern is with material, physical, worldly pursuits, and they are highly attached to their false identity, a.k.a. the ego. Then a particular event occurs in their life that causes the ego to crack open and eventually fall apart. Whether it’s a mystical experience, a near death experience, the death of a loved one, job loss, or a debilitating illness, something significant happens that causes the person to question their purpose, their role, their identity, and maybe even the meaning of existence.

When the ego cracks open, that’s when things often turn messy. There is suddenly so much uncertainty about everything. “Who am I? What am I supposed to do now? What are we all doing here on Earth? Where do we go once our physical body ceases to function? Who/what created all of this? Why do people suffer? How do I make sense of this complicated mess called life? How can I function and maintain an identity now that everything seems like an illusion? How do I move forward and strive toward achieving goals, like I used to, now that everything suddenly seems so meaningless?” As awkward and uncomfortable as it feels to start questioning everything, it is a wonderful sign that a soul is evolving and trying to come back into alignment with their higher self and their higher purpose. The process of deprogramming has begun.

If you have spent the majority of your life thinking of yourself one way, and now that old sense of self you created is falling apart, it’s no surprise if you feel a lot of pain and confusion. Your foundation has been knocked down, causing you to feel quite unstable and without a sense of belonging nearly everywhere you go. You may feel fearful and insecure about your ability to go back to living a fairly ordinary existence like everyone else. Your perspective on everything may be changing so rapidly that it’s hard to adjust and remain grounded in physical reality. At this point, people often get so desperate to return to the sense of control they felt when the ego was in charge that they will attempt to return to their old life or build a new identity. The problem is, rebuilding an identity will no longer work in the way it used to. The reason it will feel like you’re chasing after a prize that doesn’t exist is because an identity truly does not exist! You know now that creating identities is a silly game that people play. Many people are tricked by this game, but you have become dis-illusioned. The illusion that your ego is who you are has been shattered.

When you suffer, it is because your ego is desperately grasping and aching. It’s aching to regain complete control, but those days are over now that you have expanded your awareness of who/what you really are. Once you’ve expanded your awareness, you cannot contract it and pretend not to know what you now know. You can go into denial, but you won’t obtain the inner peace and fulfillment you desire by going down that path. Going back to what was familiar is likely to feel like a horrible fit for your new expanded awareness. It will just feel so wrong to go back to the way you were. Maybe you can’t get any sense of direction about where you’re heading, but you know waking up has forever changed the course of your life.

Losing your sense of self can be very painful. This challenging phase of awakening is sometimes called “ego death” or “the dark night of the soul.” The dark night can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years. Some people say their dark night lasted for nearly a decade! I find it hard to give specific advice on how to get out of a dark night because, for one, I am still dealing with these challenges. I also think what works for some may not work for all. Even if I could predict a solution that would work for you, now may not even be the best time to apply that solution. Remember that when someone starts to lecture you about what you should do, they are on their path, and you are on yours. It’s great if they found a solution that worked for them, but you may be facing slightly different challenges with a different set of lessons to learn.

I believe you will discover a solution when the time is right for you. My main piece of advice is to remain patient. Let the process unfold. Let the pain transform you. Just be patient and see where this journey takes you. It might take you further into emptiness, confusion, panic, exhaustion, or isolation for a while longer, but I believe this challenging phase will serve its purpose in the end.growthWhen you feel inspired to act on something, then act, but do not try to rush ahead of the process and force things to happen out of fear or impatience. If you want to rest and withdraw most of the time, do what is necessary for your survival and then rest a while. If you want to read an endless amount of books and articles on spiritual topics to absorb as much knowledge as possible, then read. If you want to spend hours meditating, meditate. If you want to do nothing, do nothing. Try to stop putting judgments on what you think you should be doing right now.

When you think about how hard it is to function, to socialize, or to stay grounded in reality, remind yourself that you are ok right now. It might feel like your world has fallen apart, but you are where you are right now. Remind yourself that you are being brave by diving completely into the process. It is no easy feat to drop your old life and begin navigating your way through so much uncertainty.

I have one last thing to say about the ego. I think on some level, we have to construct a form of identity in order to function in the 3D world, but a spiritual awakening causes you to lose attachment to your ego. When you play the silly game of creating identities, instead of deriving pleasure from it, you know you’re just playing a game. You know an identity is a false, temporal creation that can change from day to day or hour to hour or even minute to minute. You are really so much bigger than any label. Words will never be able to describe our limitless nature. What an amazing, beautiful creation we are when words can’t even capture the essence of all that consciousness is.

Now, moving on to the other common symptom–chronic fatigue. One theory of why fatigue occurs after awakening is because when the kundalini energy suddenly comes through the body, it can be too intense and burn out your endocrine/hormonal system. The thyroid and adrenal glands are most affected. Search for information about adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism to get an idea of whether you might be suffering from hormonal imbalances.

My main advice for anyone struggling with fatigue is to get a lot of rest, limit stress while increasing pleasurable experiences, engage in meditation or relaxation techniques, eat nutrient dense foods, and avoid having expectations of when you hope to recover. After almost four years of dealing with fatigue (mine was triggered by stress), I’ve noticed small, gradual improvements. Sometimes I feel like my energy is finally returning, and then another bout of fatigue takes over, causing me to feel hopeless about my ability to return to a normal life again. What I have come to understand is that some people are highly resilient to stress and bounce back rather quickly. Others who are highly sensitive, like me, are more prone to suffering from ailments like chronic fatigue. Differences in our biological makeup can affect recovery time, so as I said, try not to have too many expectations or get discouraged if it takes you longer than average to overcome fatigue.

I know how hard it is to be patient when fatigue becomes an everyday experience. It can feel like your life has been robbed from you when it’s gone. And then when your sense of identity is suddenly gone, too, it will put you in a very tough place where it feels like there is no escape. I think we are facing these challenges so that we are forced to stop participating in the external world for a while…until we’ve looked within ourselves deeply enough to reach a new level of spiritual development. We’ve been actors in the physical world for a while. Now perhaps is the time to slow down so we can learn, heal, and discover who we really are. It is time to get in touch with our soul and listen to whatever messages it is trying to convey. It is time to follow our inner guidance and stop letting the voices all around us control the direction of our life.

I am sorry to say that the awakening experience is not just about feeling peace, connection, and bliss. It can get really messy and uncomfortable for some of us, especially when there are unhealed wounds and our ego keeps trying to grasp for control again. It’s quite common to feel like a raw, confused, and ungrounded mess shortly after the awakening experience has begun, and those feelings can last for a while. Try to find comfort in knowing that your path is unfolding exactly in the way that is most beneficial to your growth. Remind yourself that other people have been in very similar situations, and no matter how bad the storm got, they survived and grew so much because of it.

To the person who posted the comment related to identity loss and fatigue, thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your difficulties with me. I hope all that I shared here helped in some kind of way, even if it only helped normalize what you have been feeling and thinking lately. Have faith that you will continue to be transformed in significant ways through your awakening experience. Fortunately, I think the longer you stick with the process, the easier it becomes to surrender and accept where you are. After only one year into the experience, I felt more impatience and confusion than I do now. I wouldn’t say the experience is necessarily less challenging now, but I feel calmer and less resistance to sitting with uncertainty.

To anyone who is dealing with a dark night of the soul, ego death/identity loss, or post-awakening fatigue, here are a few things I recommend that you explore:

The Awakening of Involution

The End of Your World by Adyashanti

Disillusionment as a Positive Process

Spiritual Awakening Symptom: Feeling Tired

Stages of a Spiritual Awakening: The Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul & How to Feel Better

7 Signs of the Dark Night of the Soul

Ram Dass – Dark Night of the Soul

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Spiritual Awakening: Sensitivities Increasing

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Has anyone else on the spiritual path been finding it harder to be around crowds of people? This seems like a common symptom of spiritual awakening, but I wonder just how many people are trying to cope with this challenge right now.

I began to notice almost exactly a year ago that being around a lot of strangers drove me a tad crazy. I was dealing with ego loss at the time, so I thought I might have been projecting my own discomfort and problems onto others. Now, I’m beginning to suspect that it was more than my own crap that was causing all of the discomfort.

I would be stuck in traffic at a stoplight and feel like I was picking up on everyone’s insecurities and their anxieties. Sometimes, it felt slightly suffocating. Other times, I felt a sense of sadness thinking about how this is not the way people should be feeling on a daily basis. On one of my worst days, I was alone on the beach surrounded by lots of families and tourists who were on vacation. Instead of sensing joy or peace, it seemed like many of the people were grouchy and miserable. The energy got so intense that I felt like either pulling my hair out or grabbing all my belongings and running a mile away from those people.

I frequently isolate myself from crowded areas, mostly because I’ve never been a fan of crowds. Prior to awakening, crowds were more like a nuisance and an invasion of my personal space. I could go to a bar with a friend and not be bothered by all the people, but I craved a lot of personal space in most environments, especially when I was out in nature. It was my time to enjoy some silence and reflect.

Lately, I’ve begun to notice again that crowds can stir up strange emotions in me. Recently I walked into a busy restaurant with my boyfriend to grab some lunch, and I immediately felt uneasy and suffocated while standing in line. There was loud music and a high amount of energy in the room. I tried to tune out everything, but I felt like I was becoming emotional and needed to leave to avoid the awkwardness of ordering food with tears streaming down my face. I told my boyfriend that I needed to step out, so he followed me. My eyes were filling with tears before I could even sit down on the bench outside. I was as confused as my boyfriend was as to why I started to cry. I could not explain it, but I felt so much better once I got out of that environment. The old me might have felt annoyed by all the noise and people, but I would have tolerated it just fine.

I’m finding that my more awakened self has become overly sensitive to such a degree that I can no longer maintain my inner peace everywhere I go.

The environment I’m in makes a huge difference. Some outdoor areas that attract people don’t cause any discomfort. Others make me want to flee the minute I arrive. It is the same with indoor spaces, like retail stores. Some are fine, even if they are a little crowded. Others stir up all sorts of emotions that I can’t explain. I think it’s likely that I’m picking up on people’s emotional baggage and nasty energy when I get in one of those environments. I guess it would be difficult to prove that is what is happening, but my boyfriend isn’t fond of crowds, either, and he usually agrees with me when I comment on whether or not a particular crowd triggered uncomfortable feelings.

My best analogy that describes how I feel when I enter one of those environments that triggers uncomfortable feelings is the icky, yucky feeling you would get if you stepped into a dirty lake or swimming pool. You’re immediately ready to get the hell out because it feels so nasty. Surely there are others who can relate to what I’m describing here.

Lately, I feel so turned off by crowds that I am considering the idea of moving somewhere with fewer people. I don’t even live in a major city, but I’m no longer enjoying the energy of this place.

I have become friends with a woman who has been experiencing issues extremely similar to mine. She is very familiar with chronic fatigue and the inability to be among a crowd of people. It makes me wonder if we are being affected by empath sickness since we are both so deeply affected by the pain and suffering of the world and the city where we live. She is greatly affected by the destruction of trees and the environment, while I feel so much frustration and sadness about the deterioration of human health and our food supply, along with the control systems being exerted onto us.

Whatever issue bothers you the most, it is far from easy to carry the burden of knowing what is happening and caring so much about it while so many others prefer to stay in denial of our problems. This is from an article titled “Physical Symptoms of an Empath“:

The biggest problem is that the Earth is sick and in pain, and under a constant barrage of attack and torture. Those who harm the Earth do not feel her pain, but people with empathic ability bear the burden of being overly sensitive in an insensitive world, and therefore have a hard time living here. You cannot cut off from your feelings, nor can you armor yourself against them, because numbness is not healing and does not make things better (even if it seems blissfully tempting). The physical symptoms of an empath that you experience are a reminder that you are a healer, and that empathy is a healing gift. Receive the divine healing light from your Source above, let it nourish you, fill you and protect you, then send it out to all who need it, including the Earth. And remember to send love and gratitude to the Earth with each and every breath, because she needs it desperately.

Has anyone with sensitivities to energy and suffering found a solution? I don’t think isolation or fleeing from uncomfortable spaces should become a long-term coping strategy, and I don’t like the typical advice people offer about creating a shield around yourself to block energy. I don’t want to absorb yucky energies so that I become overwhelmed by them, but something tells me that trying to block out and numb myself to everything isn’t the best approach. The way I see it, I am sensitive for a reason. Maybe I will try the strategy mentioned in the article the next time I find myself in an uncomfortable environment. If anyone has found a useful tool or strategy to manage energy sensitivity, please share your tips in the comments section! Also, let me know how long this has been an issue for you if you can relate to my experiences.

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Is a spiritual awakening a traumatic experience?

There aren’t many YouTubers I follow, but I’ve discovered a few authentic, beautiful souls on there in the past couple years whose messages have been comforting to me whenever I have felt lost or confused on the path of awakening. One of these lovely people is Kelli In The Raw. I remember coming across one of her videos that I found especially helpful where she discussed the challenges that people face in the awakening process. She described the awakening process in a way that fit with the 5 stages of grief. She said awakening is “traumatic”, which I imagine might sound a little melodramatic to people who haven’t been through all the ups and downs that are involved as someone abandons much of what they knew to enter into a territory of the unknown. I can say from my own experience that awakening can stir up some really uncomfortable and unsettling feelings.

What I have noticed is that a lot of people like to talk about the bliss of awakening and keep their focus on the positive aspects of it, which is great, but that doesn’t help validate the many struggles that some of us go through during the awakening process. If your awakening experience has caused you to feel disoriented, confused, or slightly overwhelmed, I encourage you to hear Kelli’s thoughts about the awakening process. Here is the video about the trauma of awakening:

As we try to embrace this shift, there is much to let go of, which can certainly lead to a sense of mourning for what used to be. We may decide it’s time to pursue new goals, to switch careers, to move to a new location, to end relationships that are no longer fulfilling, to experience existing relationships with family and old friends in a new way, to shed many old beliefs, to step foot on an entirely different path, and to abandon practically everything that was familiar in order to embrace something entirely new and different. For some people, change is exciting. For others, it can create a feeling of anxiety or sadness. It feels like we’re being forced to learn lessons about change and attachment since everything is getting yanked up by the roots.

For some people, there is a strong sense of loneliness and isolation. Those who are awakening and gaining a new perspective on life typically find it difficult, boring, and/or painful to be around people who can’t understand them anymore. In my experience, I am definitely not interested in clinging to old relationships or in trying to prevent relationships from evolving, but I have occasionally felt sadness knowing that some friendships are ending or fading away rather quickly. I realize that the ending of one thing can lead to the beginning of something better, but it’s hard to stay excited in that transition phase where the new connections have not yet been discovered.

There can also be pain and disappointment from feeling misunderstood. Maybe you’ve started behaving differently, thinking differently, or relating to people differently, and the people around you don’t really get it. You could be going through some difficult things internally, yet everyone around you assumes you are perfectly ok. While you’re struggling, you might be blamed for not meeting whatever expectations certain people hold of you. I have been hurt by those who can only point out what I am doing wrong instead of taking a moment to ask me, “How are you doing lately? I sense that something might be different. Is everything going ok?” It’s like there’s already enough whirlwind of change going on inside that I’d rather not have the added stress of conflict in relationships.

And have you ever bothered to reach out to a friend to tell them what you are experiencing because you feel quite alone and overwhelmed, yet they appear completely clueless about everything you just said? Now that’s a bit painful. I experienced that a lot during the peak of a strange ego death phase I went through last year. I could have explained my thoughts and feelings in a million different ways, but if people have never been in such a place, they’re simply not going to understand it.

The sense of isolation can increase when you’re going through a huge transformation, and it appears that people around you remain unchanged and unconcerned with anything beyond their personal needs and desires. While you are beginning to see beyond illusions and want to find more happiness or devote your life to helping others, they continue living their old lives and seem content with same old meaningless distractions that no longer satisfy you. Sometimes you might try to get others excited and turned on to these new ideas you’ve been having lately, but they’ll usually act indifferent or critically to what you say. You don’t want to feel superior to these old friends, but you realize you’ve evolved to a new level and have lost the ability to relate with them.

It can sometimes be upsetting to see how people, in general, act indifferent to issues that you passionately feel are important to healing ourselves and the planet. It can be discouraging when your message is continually ignored because many people prefer to remain in ignorance and not take action. Sometimes, you might have exciting goals or ideas to share but no one to share them with. That’s when you realize how much you’ve outgrown old relationships and need to connect with new people who understand and support the new path you’ve chosen. Of course, you don’t have to drop all your old friendships, but you’ll probably notice a stagnant feeling arise if you keep attempting to live the life you experienced prior to awakening.

You’ve probably noticed how the pain of stagnancy is often much more intense than the pain of growth and change. The last pain of awakening I want to mention here is that pain many of us feel inside when we hear our soul calling for us to do something radical and brave, something that is aligned with our mission or true calling in life, but that old ego talk keeps us paralyzed by the fear that we will fail or that everything will fall apart. In the past, maybe you could successfully talk yourself out of following your dreams and passions because you could always justify it with excuses like, “That’s just not realistic for me” or “Maybe I’ll be able to get around to that someday, but I just don’t have enough time/money/energy/resources to do such a thing right now.” After you’ve begun to awaken, it can start to feel like a part of you is dying each day that you turn your back on the powerful messages that your soul keeps trying to tell you. The excuses you’ve told yourself for several years no longer ease the pain of ignoring or avoiding what you know you need to do for your soul’s growth and expansion.

I think it’s helpful to remember that it’s a normal part of the awakening process to feel pain, sadness, anxiety, and/or confusion, especially in the beginning. Seeing yourself or the world in an entirely different light can be shocking for a while. When you finally move past the shock, there’s a good chance you will confront depression at some point. If you allow yourself time and patience, you will eventually adjust, gain more clarity, and get closer to accepting the dramatic changes you’ve experienced. It reminds me of the painful rebirthing process of the phoenix who dies by bursting into flames, and then it is reborn from the ashes. So go ahead, try to burn away any of the old parts of yourself and your life that don’t fit anymore so you can finally rise into your more authentic self.

What’s scarier? Taking the risk of dropping your old self, which could finally lead to happiness, success, inner peace, and fulfillment? Or settling for the security and comfort of your old life where there will likely be an underlying hint of dissatisfaction, regret, and a longing for something more?

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Spiritual Awakening: The Butterfly Who Never Ceases to Grow and Transform

butterfly evolvingHello again, fellow bloggers, followers, visitors, and friends. It has been several months since I’ve written any posts on this blog, mostly because I’ve been keeping my focus on studying nutritional health and researching all sorts of fringe topics that appeal to a select few. My passion for learning and gaining new ways of perceiving the world are ones I hope never to lose.

Beyond an appreciation for my ever-changing perception of life and the universe, the topic I wanted to focus on in this post is the idea of what growth on the spiritual path really looks like. One of the most common symbols of spiritual transformation, which also happens to be one of my favorites, is the butterfly. The stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a cocoon to a butterfly appear as a linear process of growth. Unfortunately, growth doesn’t really happen linearly for most of us, and it’s unrealistic to expect our journey on the spiritual path to unfold that way.

As long as life is moving along smoothly and it feels as though we’re taking steps forward in the direction we were initially headed, we feel confident that we’re making progress and achieving growth. But then when we suddenly get knocked back a few steps, hit a huge stumbling block, or slip into old, unhealthy habits or unhelpful ways of thinking, we have a tendency to beat ourselves up because we see this as some kind of character flaw for not being able to continue trekking forward on the straight path that we believe is going to lead us to the peak of success, enlightenment, or whatever the ultimate goal is. Here’s an idea that you may or may not have considered: maybe not following the straight path and getting stuck in some unexpected territory for a while is the exact thing that will help lead you to true happiness and success.

fallingdownLife offers the gift of continuous growth, and sometimes it is during those periods when we feel most challenged, most stagnant, most lost, most vulnerable, most hurt, most scared, and most uncertain that we are actually making huge strides in growth.  The irony is that during the worst of it, most of us are tempted to call ourselves a failure, but after the storm has ended, we are finally able to recognize the impressive amounts of growth we experienced by working our way through the painful process. Sometimes what feels like total regression ends up leading to one of the most significant periods of dramatic growth we will ever experience.

Have you noticed any significant issue in your life that keeps returning, even though you thought you learned the lesson long ago? Or maybe there’s a particular topic or idea that interests you for a while, then you abandon it, only to come back to it again later to research and understand it much more deeply the next time? That’s sort of how I think growth realistically occurs on the spiritual path. Perhaps you gain some kind of new understanding or learn an important lesson and apply it to your life for a while. Then unintentionally, you find yourself going back to how you were before you learned that lesson until you learn a new, deeper layer of truth to the lesson you initially learned. You keep shifting between progression and regression, each time adding a new layer of understanding so that whatever challenge you keep facing becomes less difficult to endure each time it returns.

spiralBasically, I believe growth on the spiritual path tends to follow a pattern, but it’s a cyclical one rather than a linear one like the cut-and-dry biological stages that a butterfly undergoes. That’s why I suggest that we are more like an ever-evolving butterfly who never ceases to transform. We may develop our wings and fly beautifully and effortlessly for a while. Then we sometimes drop our wings and go crawling back into a cocoon so that we can disconnect from the external world and reconnect with our inner wisdom or repair our internal workings, if necessary. Then we emerge once again with a new set of wings, this time appearing even wiser and more beautiful than the first time. You may lose your wings many more times, but the beauty of it is that they can become larger and more colorful each time if you accept the gift of continuous growth.

No matter what stage of growth you are in right now, just remember that life is not a race. Involution, the act of going within to grow spiritually, should remain as much of an important part of your growth as the external changes you make in your life. And though it is tempting to avoid uncertainty and run away from pain, the process of going within often must occur before the external changes we desire can ever be achieved. These words spoken by Pema Chodron sort of touch on this idea of learning to accept the non-linear growth and unpredictable changes that we all experience :

 

Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for this is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.

To all the caterpillars and butterflies reading this, you are exactly where you need to be right now. No need to rush the process or resist any change coming your way. Try to accept every opportunity for growth because one day you might look back on this particular phase of your life and be immensely grateful for all the challenges and experiences and how they helped you evolve into a much wiser being.

An Ethereal Place I Visited in Dreamland

There was a recurring dream I had as a child that took place in a beautiful, mysterious place unlike anywhere I’ve seen on Earth. I don’t recall many dreams from childhood, but this recurring dream I’m about to recall remains very vivid in my memory.

I cannot remember exactly how many times it happened, but I remember one of the last times I had this dream, when I was around 7 or 8 years old, I woke up with a strange feeling because I knew it wasn’t the first time I had the same exact dream. Although I didn’t exactly consider the idea of interpreting dreams as a young child, I still felt that the dream must have had some significance.

The dream started out the same way every time. My family (which included my mom, my maternal grandmother, my sister, and my brother) and I were in darkness, being led to a door. As the door was opening, I felt a sense of nervousness of what was beyond it. Once the door was opened, we stepped onto a very small platform that was connected to the door, yet the door and the platform were high up in the air with nothing underneath them. Attached to one edge of the platform was a long, winding yellow slide that appeared to go down and further down with no end in sight. I remember standing on the platform next to my family and looking around at this place feeling both amazed and slightly scared because this place looked so unusual. It was a large open space filled with a thick haze/mist that was an intense shade of pink. Here are a couple of pictures that remind me of the pink haze:

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I also remember in the dream, I looked like I was between 4 to 6 years old, and I wore a light pink denim jacket with a yellow star on the sleeve similar to this:

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As we stood there, crowded next to each other on that tiny platform high in the air, we knew that we had to go down the slide because going back to the door did not seem like an option for some reason. Part of me felt scared about going down the slide, but I also felt safe having my family next to me. We all sat down at the top of the slide and pushed ourselves down. The first couple seconds were scary, but then I felt exhilarated and was smiling and laughing as we rode down the slide together. That was the end of the dream.

Through the years, I’ve wondered about the possible meaning of that dream. Did I visit another realm/dimension in that dream? Will I ever get to visit that place again, perhaps when my soul leaves this body? If that place does not exist, what did that experience of going down the slide represent?

I once considered the idea that my dream reflects the process of being born into this world. The darkness I saw before the door was opened could be thought of as existence within the mother’s womb. Then like a baby being pushed out of the birth canal, we were led out of the darkness into a strange land/world. The baby is initially terrified once it is outside the mother’s body, but then it seeks comfort through the presence and love of family, just as I felt secure having my family next to me on the platform. Once the baby has been born, it cannot go back to the womb, just as we couldn’t go back through the door. The only option is to go down the sometimes scary and sometimes exhilarating journey of life that appears to wind around and around with no end in sight, just like the infinitely winding slide.

Another interpretation I’ve considered is that the family members who were present in the dream are part of a soul group I’m in, and that experience in the dream was symbolic of our souls leaving the spirit realm to travel to Earth. I’m not so sure about that interpretation, but I like to consider various possibilities.

One thing is for sure, and it’s that I hope the beautiful pink hazy place exists so I can visit it again. Have you visited any unusual or unearthly places in dreamland?

Still Seeking Answers 14 Years Later

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Let us take a moment to remember the people who died on September 11th, 2001. Many people were warned not to show up to work that day. Others were not so lucky. It is one of the biggest tragedies that many of us have witnessed in this lifetime. 9/11 was the event that helped a lot of people begin waking up to the truth about what’s going on within our government, but how sad it is that so many innocent lives had to be lost in order for us to begin seeing the truth.

There is much evidence to suggest that these people did not die because of terrorism. There is likely a darker, much more sinister explanation behind it. Many experts and family members of the victims have wanted answers and further investigations into what really happened that day. To honor those who died, I believe it is our duty to keep questioning and not believe the lies we’ve been told.

Running Away from Happiness

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Running away from happiness. That’s what I’ve been doing much of my life. Have you unconsciously been doing it, too? Sometimes we do it in such subtle ways that we don’t realize we’re doing it. For example, do you find yourself planning for the future and hoping for something better than this moment? Do you catch yourself thinking that if you stay persistent and patient, things will eventually get better in the future? Do you think that if you were able to change just one or two things about your life, you’d have a better shot at happiness? Why do we keep chasing after happiness, as if it’s something elusive that cannot be experienced right now? It’s funny how when we’re chasing after happiness, we’re actually running away from it because it’s available to us in each moment.

Prior to awakening, I was always caught up in planning for the future and could not understand why some people chose to make short-term goals only or how some people could be comfortable with postponing decisions for later. Little did I realize, my attempts to control and plan were signs that I was an anxious person who was lacked trust in myself. I definitely didn’t trust in anything bigger than myself, either, since I used to be an atheist.

It’s been about a year and a half since my awakening began, and I have much to learn. Maybe the biggest challenge for me to overcome at this point is learning how to let go. When I first came across those words “let go” last year, I rolled my eyes and wondered how I could do that. Let go and surrender? It didn’t make sense to me, but then one day I finally understood what all those spiritual teachers were talking about.

The year following my graduation, I felt extremely tired and burnt-out. The fatigue was debilitating at times, and I was frequently hard on myself for not knowing what to do with my future. I also felt guilty for needing a break to rest. After suffering day after day and never seeing any improvement, I decided to stop worrying about the future and accepted where I was. I didn’t know if it would help me feel better, but I knew that worrying hadn’t benefited me in any way. Around the time that I decided to let go was when a lot of my energy finally returned. I’m not saying letting go was the only thing that helped because I’m sure my diet and exercise helped a lot, too, but letting go certainly decreased my stress levels. Not only did I start feeling more energetic at that time, I felt a lot more happiness and inner peace. I finally understood that living moment to moment produced more clarity which enhanced my ability to make decisions and find some of the answers I had been seeking.

Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with the lesson I learned for very long. The “letting go” lasted maybe a month or two, but then I succumbed to my old anxious ways after being questioned by others what I was going to do with my future now that I was done with college and had obtained a master’s degree. I’m not blaming anyone for being curious and asking questions. I just realize that getting bombarded with certain questions can trigger a lot of insecurity and anxiety in me. I think there’s another lesson to learn in that.

I’ve tried to be easy on myself for slipping up and allowing my uncertainty regarding the future to cause stress and anxiety again. I believe it’s sometimes helpful and necessary to stop planning and withdraw from everything to work on ourselves, but our conditioning from society often leads us to feeling guilty/lazy/defective/pathetic for not having a plan and being as much of an active participant in the external world as we once were. We feel like it’s not enough that we’re living, learning, and growing in a way that makes sense only to us. We might know just how much we are growing on the inside, but to an outsider it may appear that we are stuck in complete stagnancy because this kind of growth cannot be observed externally.

In addition to feeling guilty or upset with ourselves for needing a break from all the hustle-and-bustle and stressful demands, I think it’s very common to want to rush through certain stages of the awakening process. When we’re feeling loving and joyful and grateful, it’s so easy to appreciate the process. But when the messy stuff shows up, like fatigue, ego death, lack of motivation, or the resurfacing of old, unhealed wounds, most of us want to rush through it, escape it, and avoid the pain. Sometimes we get sick of feeling like a caterpillar trapped in a cocoon. I know how frustrating it is to want to feel free and light like a butterfly, when I honestly feel more like a slimy slug who is trying to get things together, but I can’t quite find that solution I’ve been seeking. What I’ve learned is that suffering occurs when we do not want to accept where we are.

In order to let go, I have learned that it requires a change in perspective. Instead of thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next month or next year, try to focus on right here right now and just accept it. I’ve decided that I need to continue making more of a conscious effort to live in THIS moment and embrace it fully because it is all that we ever have.

I like this quote by Paul Dunn:

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Many spiritual teachers have talked about mindfulness and staying in the moment. This was a great message from Osho about living in the here and now. My favorite part was when he said, Live intensely and totally now because the next moment will be born out of this moment; and if you have lived it totally and joyously, you can be absolutely certain that the next moment will bring more blessings, more joy.