Here’s what happened during my spiritual awakening
If you’re currently “experiencing something” and in a dark place take solace in knowing that relief awaits.
I had an awakening or whatever you want to call it when I was 15-years-old. I was on the running trail trail at night and looked up at the sky and felt more peaceful and happy than ever before. I wanted to share this feeling with others.
I told my girlfriend at the time that I wanted to show her something beautiful but, when reflecting, I didn’t know what I was going to show her. The sky? Yes, the sky is what I was looking at but it was not what I felt. I would have been attempting to explain the unexplainable.
Something similar happened when I was 26-years-old. I woke up from sleep one night feeling like I had the answer to everything. I considered calling everyone I knew. But it was 3:00 a.m. and, again, what I felt could not be explained in words other than God and Love and Truth.
These “micro-awakenings” were enjoyable compared to the one I recently experienced (and am still balancing out from).
My most recent awakening caused the most intense panic attack of my life and made me feel mentally ill. It caused heart palpitations (i.e. energy bursts), suicidal thoughts, intense anger, intense sadness, child-like wonderment, shroom-like highs, and everything in-between.
The climax of the awakening took place over the course of five days. Below I’ll explain what happened. Before I do that though I’ll provide a brief summary of the weeks, months, and years leading up to it.
If you’re currently “experiencing something” or have experienced something in the past, let this story be your friend and feel not so crazy. If you’ve never experienced something and want to, open your heart to make this story a catalyst for change.
After the second micro-awakening happened I started experiencing short breathing and gut tightness. I didn’t think too much about it and went along with my life but these symptoms grew more intense.
Over time I grew more antsy and irritable. I remember I couldn’t find parking at work one day and walked around the office complaining like a child. I also peed all over my girlfriend’s bathroom floor (unintentionally). I then proceeded to cheat on her, convince her to get back with me, and then I dumped her. It was awful.
I started traveling internationally after this—12 countries in 7 months—and had a breakdown in Amsterdam the day after a music festival. I didn’t do drugs but drank a lot of booze. I felt like I was in a dark dream world. Shortly after this I ended my international travels and flew home. That was two years ago.
Since then I’ve lived in three different states, had three different jobs, and have had more than three panic attacks, including one that happened when I was interviewing someone for a job. Strangely enough, my salary has doubled. I don’t say this with pride. Rather, I mention this because I believe now that “the maker of my struggles” has good intentions.
I know this because, during this time, I also met an amazing woman who I believe is my version of a living angel and rekindled a friendship with someone who introduced me to a “truer” form of meditation. After I watched this video of Ram Dass—a spiritual teacher my friend told me about—I was hooked on the idea of togetherness, love, and God.
Flash forward to two days before the awakening. I saw two snakes coiled up outside my parent’s house multiple times. I later learned that people see snakes in their dreams while going through something called a kundalini awakening. I actually saw the snakes.
Snakes aside, I was extremely stressed out. I was working 80 hours per week—half on my full time job and the other half on my side project. I was trying to get a six pack. I was trying to relocate and find a new home. I was trying to eat healthy. I was trying way too hard, until I couldn’t take it anymore and the circuit blew.
Day 1: The Breakdown
My breathing was short while working (I work remotely) and I felt very tense and lightheaded but I decided to do a long workout because, well, perfectionism.
This workout just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t too hard. Rather, it felt forced. I needed relaxation and rest but I kept pushing myself. All the expectations were flowing through my head. Six pack. Sexy women. A perfect body. Blah. This is not balance.
I did my workout downstairs and after walking up the stairs to the kitchen I saw my dad. He was home from work. He asked me how I was and I said I didn’t know. Then something overcame me. I grabbed the counter. Suicidal and dark thoughts rushed through my head. Demons. I started hyperventilating and fell to the floor. I cried uncontrollably, proclaiming that I didn’t know who I was.
Around this time I was reading Talks with Ramana Maharshi, an Indian sage. During his talks he always tells his followers who are suffering to ask themselves the question “Who am I?” in order to arrive at the truth. This question, along with my high stress levels, caused my ego mind to collapse. (Hint: You can not answer this question, you can only feel it.)
So when I started crying and asking who am I my dad panicked. He kept asking if he should call my mother. She was somewhere else. I managed to say yes and then sat on the floor waiting with the darkest of dark feelings.
These feelings would come in waves over the next three days, sometimes lasting minutes, sometimes lasting hours. I think these feelings were dark because I didn’t know what was happening to me. I thought I was mentally ill, going crazy.
The best way I can explain these feelings is by asking you to imagine what was going through Dumbledore’s head when he was drinking the “potion of despair” in the sixth Harry Potter movie.
When my mom arrived the topic became whether I should go to the emergency room or not. She was afraid of them locking me up in a room. I was too. So instead of going to the ER right away we got in the car and drove around.
I was in a dream world. My mind was racing. I was fighting the hardest fight of my life to remain calm. Suddenly I could empathize with Mal’s character in Inception. (She thought she was living in a dream world and, to escape, killed herself.)
After ten minutes of driving around I asked my mom to stop at an ice cream place. We got out of the car. I looked around at the other people getting ice cream. It seemed like they were in heaven and I was in hell. They were in that beautiful plane of the ego. Meanwhile, my ego was dying faster than I could process.
That evening and the proceeding days were followed by feelings of nothingness and intense lows, the former being a relief from the latter.
Day 2: The Suffering
My head (i.e. ego) was screaming “kill me” and my heart was saying that everything was going to be okay, only it felt like my head was winning.
Taking showers was the hardest. I felt incredibly vulnerable while naked and trapped with my dark thoughts in the confined area of the bathroom.
This whole time I was worrying about missing work, what people would think of me, how I had failed in completing aspects of my side project, how I would explain all this to others (like I’m trying to now), and on and on. I was repeating the same bad habits I did pre-breakdown. I was putting others before myself and thinking of ways to be perfect.
That night, I could not sleep. To turn my mind away from the darkness I stayed glued to my laptop, watching movies and shows. I didn’t want to do this, my body needed sleep—but my mind could not. Around 4:30am I finally passed out.
Day 3: The ER Trip
That morning I was “awoken” by my mom leaving for work. (I was on the couch in her apartment.)
After waking I could not get back to sleep. Again, my body really wanted to relax until I fell asleep, but I could not do this. I physically could not. My mind was on fire. Something needed to happen. Thoughts of suicide rushed through me but they didn’t feel right.
This is when my angel saved me or, more accurately, my ex-girlfriend. The prior day she had told me about an exercise she did to heal herself. This was an exercise that was moderated for her by others at a “new age” church. With no church around, I decided to do the exercise myself. It was either this or think of why I should or should not kill myself.
Note: I am not religious which made this exercise extremely hard and awkward. It took me about four hours to complete between crying, laughing, hyperventilating, and finding momentary peace. Also, when I mention the “light ball” below I’m talking about this thing. My mom had one in her apartment.
Lastly, this exercise is not intended to give you an answer and immediate relief. It’s designed to start the healing process and take you out of the darkness. The only requirement is that you do it with an open heart. If it feels difficult and awkward, that’s a good sign.
The “lost all hope and emotional healing” exercise:
- Close your eyes.
- Feel everything. What do you see? Do you smell anything? Keep pen and paper nearby and write it down.
- Ask God who you have to forgive. Ask God what he/she/it wants to give you. Invite in the holy spirt (i.e. the energies around you). Ask the holy spirit what it wants to give you.
- Say “Jesus, come and be real in my life” and then ask him to help you forgive the people you need to forgive and accept God into your life. Say “I accept the Lord as my God and I decline any lie that want to fill my life with fear.” Clap once after you say this to trigger the subconscious to believe it.
Here is what I wrote when doing the exercise:
While doing this exercise I asked God for a sign. That would not come until the end of Day 4. And now I know why: I needed to learn that there was nothing wrong with me, that western medicine could not save me. I suspected this but needed it confirmed in my confused state.
That night, when the dark thoughts flooded my mind again, I told my mom that I needed to go to the emergency room. I needed some professional medical advice and could not wait two weeks to see a psychiatrist.
When we arrived to the ER, the staff asked if I had thoughts of harming myself or others. I said no because I knew that the dark thoughts were merely a metaphor for the ego dying. They would not understand. I was aware enough to realize this. (This phenomenon is known as dark night of the soul or pit of the void. For some it manifests through depression, for others like me through extreme anxiety.)
Being in the waiting room tested my sanity and patience. Over the course of two hours I repeated the same story of my suffering to three different people—a nurse, mental health counselor, and ER doctor. Initially I sat on the ER bed nervously, my legs spasming. But after some time I eased into the surroundings. I was making a conscious choice to move forward away from my suffering.
Time passed. I sensed the calmness of the ER workers and was jealous of it. But if you asked me to trade my situation with their own I would not accept because doing so would require me to forfeit the truth I found in my suffering…
It’s a thread of truth. It’s what the directors of the movie V for Vendetta try to capture before the main character Evey has her awakening.
This thread of truth is delicate and subtle and can only be explained through words like God and Love and Truth. Many people are only conscious of this thread before they’re about to die. Others are conscious of it when they’re healthy. But its presence requires some degree of suffering, whether that happened in this life or lives before.
Now my mission is to abide in the truth and realize that I can abandon the suffering. Things do not need to be painful. This will take time but I’m confident that it will get easier every day. I just need to keep returning, keep returning, and keep returning to God, love, presence, Jesus, the here and now, whatever you want to call that which cannot be defined in words.
You can only feel it. Have you felt it? I believe we all have. It’s what you feel when you fall in love, cry during a movie, cry during a song, laugh with friends, and look unjudgingly at someone passing by you and smile.
Day 4: The Forgiveness
My fear was replaced with rage and anger. I had never expressed the disappointment and frustration I had toward my mom when she decided to leave my dad years ago. At the time I supported her and comforted her in her decision, trying to be the perfect son. But trying to be perfect caused me to crack so I couldn’t try being perfect anymore. I could only be…me.
I let my mom have it. There was a degree of anger present that scared me. I felt mad (the true definition of the word). Years of holding in my true emotions welled up. First through obscenities, then through tears. I was tempted to go to the dark side but I remembered… the thread. It’s God and Love and something that never dies. You have it. Search for it. I searched for it then…
When I found it I told my mom how I felt. I also gave her the two sheets of paper from the exercise to read. I cried and she cried. I had started the process of healing. I think we both did.
Later that day my mom drove me back to my dad’s house. (I was too exhausted to sleep on the couch again.) I arrived to an empty house. My dad was at work. The dark thoughts returned. I suffered through taking a shower then went outside. I was in the dreamiest of dream worlds. Everything felt different, liquid and blurry.
I needed sun. I went outside with a blanket, put it on the grass, and rested in limbo. Around this time, my friend texted me in response to a text I sent him about my experience. His reply further disrupted my ego but it’s what I needed to hear. Maybe it can help you. This is intense stuff, the realest. If you’re rolling your eyes about it, that’s fine. I would have done the same not long ago.
Anyways, here’s the wisdom from my dear friend…
My dude - this is incredible news. You are not going crazy. You have seen through the veil of the ego. This is called stream entry. Buddha calls this the point at which the path to enlightenment becomes irreversible, ensured within 7 lifetimes. He also says that for the stream enterer, there are favorable rebirths in the “Pure Abodes”, from where you will attain final liberation (if you don’t already attain it in this lifetime). I have seen similar awakening experiences to yours many times in reading the works of sages. You are having the same awakening experience as Christ, Buddha, and all great sages. It’s inevitable for the ego to resist this in the beginning, but trust that you CAN let go. The ego fears that everything will fall apart or you’ll die if you completely let go. But this isn’t so. The more you die to this fear, the more the ego will come to trust that your awakened state is not dangerous. This is completely uncharted territory for the ego. The ego has encountered something it cannot comprehend. This is unfathomable to the ego, but it’s true. You ARE that awareness. You are the self. You are not letting light in, or God, you ARE the light, you are the Self. The ego’s final hold out is fabricating a “self” identity out of this new awakened state. Recognize that as just the ego trying to gain a foothold and reestablish its identity. It’s okay to abide as that, but just something I found helpful to keep at heart.The process is unfolding and you are going to be fine. You cannot force progress or stop the unfolding of awakening - just settle into it and let it take you for a ride. It will unfold probably quicker and more intensely then you’d like, but trust that it is safe and will proceed of its own accord. You ARE that awakened state, but you are transitioning from ego consciousness to true consciousness. It is incomprehensible but completely safe. I felt completely fucking crazy when I first felt the awakened state. Everything, including my priorities, changed overnight. I thought of quitting my job and living in the forests of India. I was having constant panic attacks at work trying to reign in the awareness that was exploding. I felt terrifyingly aware of EVERYTHING - completely out of my body. Watching phenomena take place and feeling completely detached from it all. This is often called “The Pit of the Void” and is like the evil twin of enlightenment (although still the awakened state) - it often co-occurs with awakening. It sure did for me. The Pit of the Void is truly the awakened state, but the ego is also still there and completely shocked by this awakening. It’s just shock. The energies you’re experiencing are temporary and will subside. When you awaken, your body literally explodes as your own natural energies burst out of their dormant state. This is a NATURAL part of your being that has been suppressed and made dormant under the seduction of the Ego. Your three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - have been released and are roaring through your body with unlocked dormant energy and are trying to recalibrate. Your entire inner chemistry is literally shifting itself around as awakening floods through you. I found this video very helpful in explaining this phenomena:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdonBsMDEEkIt’s also important to know that this is NOT final liberation, not full enlightenment. That is great news - can you imagine if your current state of panic and fear were the enlightened state? That would suck. You have awakened and are destined for enlightenment - you have put an end to the wheel of samsara but it is still spinning a bit - it will cease in the near future. I say this because the ego can look at this awakened state and fall into existential terror thinking that “truth” is horrifying and overwhelming. This is completely untrue. Have faith that the enlightened state is safe and that you will progressively enter it without effort, as your capacity to abide in the awakened state improves by letting go. This is the state from which all greatness is born. The words you wrote above are scripture of divine revelation. As for Jesus, I’ve heard “Christ consciousness” and like the sound of that. If you’re interested in exploring the heart of Christ, I downloaded “Christian Meditation” on our Audible account and it is phenomenally intimate.You have seen the summit of the mountain and have confirmed faith in the reality of Nirvana. You are now on the path up that mountain after being lost in the forest for countless lifetimes. Your legacy is one of continuously evolving consciousness. You think this incarnation is unbearable? Think of how many times you’ve been eaten alive; how many times you’ve been brutally maimed or murdered; how many times you’ve committed suicide; how many times you’ve been squished; etc. You are THE PRODUCT of that legacy. It is magnificent. The Universe is on your side. You have secured enlightenment within 7 lifetimes. You have secured residency in the pure abodes until final liberation. You are FINE. Relax. It’s going to be overwhelming for a bit. It’s going to be a little scary. But you’re fine dude. The ego just need a moment to adjust. You’re not going to die. The ego’s not going to die. You’re just shifting this around. Ya did it mayne. 💃🏻Oh yea - all of that you’re experiencing, it’s just fear. It’s just a mind state like any other state. It’s not any special type of fear, just good ol fashion human fear. Respond to it with love and gentleness. And a reverence for the body as it’s trying to heal. It will heal.
After digesting this my dad arrived home from work. He sat down and we talked. I gave him the two sheets of paper to read, too. We’ve never shared intimate emotions before but we did at that kitchen counter, sitting on the two barstools. I leaned over and hugged him and told him I loved him. I cried like a baby. This was extremely awkward but it was true.
Day 5: The Kundalini-Christ Awakening
This was the first day since the breakdown that I felt moments of intense peace. I took the dog for some walks, rested, and watched some comedy (Impractical Jokers has been a godsend—thank you guys), and lived a simple life while my mind and body were processing all the new inputs from my soul.
That night I died to fear. My friend had talked about this when going through his own experience and I didn’t know what he meant until that night.
I lay in bed, my mind felt like it was on fire. It was like my brain chemistry was changing. It wasn’t painful like a headache, just strange. I then felt intense energy in my heart and throughout my body. I lay in the darkness in wonderment. What I was feeling at this moment and leading up to it is similar to feelings experienced by others going through something called a Kundalini Awakening. (You can Google it. Just don’t buy into the horror stories. It’s a positive thing.)
During these episodes of energy bursts I looked out my window and saw the moon. It was shaped like a cross. I was stunned. I hopped out of my bed like an ape and hobbled over to the window sill. I felt so much love.
I could continue on with this story of mine but it’s a neverending one. Plus, it’s best to live your own story. And that’s my final note to you: if you’re experiencing something, experience it. Don’t run away from it and don’t think it needs to be a certain way. Also don’t be afraid to ask, cry, or shout for help along the way. Do whatever you need to, knowing that you are loved.
Once you’ve done this, go and enjoy your life. Your pain will soon conclude into something like a beautiful ending to a movie, only it will never end.
If you made it to the end of this story and want more support during your awakening, I recommend joining the Raw Spirituality group by Alyssa Malehorn. This community is free to join and helped me immensely. You can also find me on Twitter.