Monthly Archives: July 2015

Spiritual Trends and Minimalism

Every once in a while a new spiritual trend emerges. Books, news pieces, memes, and public figures/gurus all emerge to center around this trend (and to capitalize nicely off of it) until the trend dies down much like the newest sneaker that was once all the rage becoming out of season.

Recently, this trend has been minimalism. I am sure you have seen this– people with tiny houses, memes upon stories upon memes of minimalist sayings, and people emerging out of the woodwork who will happily teach you, sell you, or otherwise convince you to give them money so they can too help you become minimalist.

It should go without saying (but unfortunately I have to say this) that thinking critically about something is not the same is thinking that thing is “bad”. We can love something, or even do such things ourselves and have positive results in our lives, and still want to look deeper… still want to look at the patterns of things. For many, unfortunately, thinking critically means that you are negative, upset, or don’t like something. Fortunately most people who read my blogs are beyond such polarities of criticism/negative/dark/bad and positivity/forced cheerfulness/head in the sand/light/good.

That all being said, minimalism is not a bad thing. We all have a lot of stuff (well, most of us do) so the new trend of minimalism is helpful. It can allow for us to look at our lives, look at our individual materialism, and really ask if we need what we own… and to question how much we need to shop and what we in fact need in our lives as material objects.

But there is something artificial about this trend, and about all spiritual trends. 

When a trend like this emerges, products and people come forward to be its spokespeople or figureheads. Then “regular” people– anyone from college students to life coaches to professionals begin to teach and sell others things in accordance to this trend. I have no issue for people charging for their time (and am not a new-ager in the illusory thinking that because it is spiritual it should be free because otherwise it is tainted) and very much think that people should charge what they, and their services, are worth. But the selling of these trends is often antithetical to the actual message of the trend. 

If we were to look at minimalism, the message is about less. Since this has filtered down to public mass consciousness, this trend has become about less material goods. Less clothing, less space to live in, and so forth. But the true call to minimalism is about less all around. This is a subtle differentiation, but it is important. This will become clearer when the other aspects are discussed more.

Spiritual trends are simply byproducts of the spiritual awakening process that are misunderstood and filtered randomly (or not so randomly) into public consciousness.

When we begin to awaken, we naturally embrace minimalism. We will naturally look around at what is surrounding us and realize that our physical bodies, our physical material belongings are not as important to us as they once were. It is a natural part of the awakening process to slough off our old selves, to let go of the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of ourselves that are blocking who we truly are. Quite simply, it is part of awakening to let go of a wide variety of things, including material belongings, and to become less materialistic in general. It just doesn’t matter as much as it once did, and clearing space in our lives often involves actually physically having a clear space in our house.

But it isn’t yet another thing for us to put on our “to do” lists. 

Minimalism in the spiritual awakening process naturally happens. It isn’t something that we need gurus or to be taught about. It is something that arises out of our own realizations and direct experience of looking around and seeing that we have too much stuff, or that we don’t need all that we have. It may actually be a bit unnerving to realize that all of this stuff doesn’t matter, or that the material world has lost significance for us for the most part.

When it naturally arises it naturally happens. When minimalism is presented as a spiritual trend it becomes something that you need to purchase things for, attend classes for, look through catalogues about. It becomes yet another something to do, yet another something that we have to do in our hectic lives full of “to do’s”. It causes us stress to become minimalist because on some level we realize that we can never be the perfect “doer” of this new trend.

More than this, spiritual trends become about spiritual competition. We have all likely seen the person living in the 400 square foot mini-house with their two kids and dog, or stories about throwing out the food in our fridges or having a wardrobe of only five shirts, five pants, and so on. We will never become the “best” minimalist, and the spiritual trend because it is not a natural byproduct of the awakening process and has become commoditized is about competition and who can do it best. When we are not awakening, we are still in the loops of competition with one another (even about something like minimalism) and we will always fail because we will never live up to the minimalist gurus/teachers and magazines who are espousing this new trend. We may, in fact, hate ourselves, because we are unwilling to give up some of our wardrobe or because we like our house the way it is.

We may, in fact, be talking about minimalism and how great it is and how we have purchased items x, y, and z without realizing the irony of the fact that we have purchased items for it and that we are speaking in such a way that we are being spiritually competitive with our friends, our neighbors, and our family. We may in fact go the opposite way and force the issue, creating havoc in our homes because we are blindly and unthinkingly causing discord in our families because we are following the newest spiritual fad.

Spirituality is about direct experience. It is about realizing how to be peaceful and happy, how to feel like we are enough and have enough. It is about aligning ourselves to who we really are and to our higher selves, as well as aligning ourselves in accordance to greater flows of divinity outside of ourselves. Spiritual trends are the opposite of this. They are a spiritual byproduct that has been mangled and misappropriated until it becomes a list of rules and products for mass consumerism. Rather than considering the individual and what would make their lives happy and whole, spiritual trends create illusory spiritual lists, rules, and ways of being that must be abided by if you are truly going to be “spiritual”.

Awakening is freedom. It is realizing what works for us and who we are as individuals. On a more mundane level, it is an individualized decision of what material objects we need in our lives. When we awaken we may decide that we don’t need as much stuff. We may sell, give away, or get rid of much of our material goods. But that is based on an internal guidance and a sort of spiritual compulsion to let go of things that no longer represent who we vitally are as people. And we may choose to keep many of our items… the ones that keep us happy, even if we do not necessarily “need” them. Awakening is not a contest, it is not a set of rules, and it is not a trend. It is realizing who you are and acting from the place of who you are. This may mean letting go of a lot of things, material goods included. It may not.

But minimalism is a natural process when it does happen, and it is a freeing process, not one of illusory rules, competition to see who can become the most minimal, guides/gurus, courses, books and catalogues selling us this trend. It is not something to be excited about and then left the next time the new spiritual trend comes out. What we own is a natural extension of who we are, and it is less stressful generally to have less things. But we may really like some things. And that is okay. Because we are individuals, and we do not need to compare ourselves to others.

Once we rise above group think and collective consciousness we can realize these trends and how they have turned something generally positive (freeing ourselves from the mindset of physical materialism) into yet another thing to do, yet another thing that we will not be as good at as the dude who bought the 400 square foot home, into yet another trend that we will be interested in and that will then fall away as all trends do, leaving ourselves ironically with books, teachings, and the remnants of what we bought when we were engaged in the trend of minimalism.

There are many spiritual trends that come and go… and there are many loops, or repeated behaviors, that remain year after year, decade after decade. There are also many spiritual byproducts in the path to awakening. Minimalism is one… or more correctly, freeing ourselves from many layers, including the physical, often occurs. Psychic abilities are a huge one that is a natural byproduct of the awakening process that we have commoditized and warped to the extent that most people do not even realize that they are part of the spiritual awakening process and naturally happen the more awake we are.

We really love to believe that we can purchase spiritual things (even ironically minimalism) because we have not yet risen out of the understanding that spirituality isn’t something else to do, to jam into our already packed lives. Spiritual understandings and spiritual actions are not intended to be chores and they are not intended to be part of the odd materialistic competition we have with one another (also ironically these people will often espouse oneness while doing this). Spirituality is freedom. It is understanding who we are, and when who we are naturally arises, we do what we need to– physically (materially), emotionally, mentally, and spiritually– without the external world and all of its illusions causing us to participate in a pale glimmer of what actual spiritual processes are.

So consider the world you live in, consider what you want to do with yourselves… what would make you free, happy, and totally who you are. Minimalism or the latest spiritual trend may be perfect for you. But even so, you can follow your own internal directives to how you want to implement it into your life. And it doesn’t need to cause more stress, anger, or confusion in your life. It doesn’t need to create more ways for you to do instead of to be, for you to ignore that internal call… to block that internal call by grasping at more external information, for the latest guru, book, or trend that tells us how we are intended to be spiritual. We can break free from that, and truly learn who we are, and let go of all of the spiritual competitiveness, all of the trends that tell us who we need to be and what we need to do, all of the “to do’s” that we can never accomplish and so are never good enough, and simply be who we are. And act from the place of who we are. Even if that involves keeping those pants you haven’t fit in since 1995.

If you wish to contact me or have inquiries about sessions, spiritual healing work, or my three or six month distance email program, you are welcome to here.

Engaging the Primal Self

In our pursuit to become intellectualized, “higher” animals, we have lost our inherent primal nature. While we all appreciate the modern appliances and way of life that allows for computers, air conditioning, and educational pursuits, we have in our pursuit of such things demonized, ignored, and cast away a vital aspect of ourselves.

Our primal selves. The animalistic force that is within all of us. The energy that does not wish to think, to reason intellectually. The energy that wishes to act, to claw, scream, whimper, stomp its feet on the ground, have sex, make love, be in nature… the aspect of ourselves that may be murderous, basic, evil, hate, and is our primal, natural, animal instinct.

So why return to this? Why acknowledge this? Most of our spiritual pursuits are about finding and acknowledging our “higher” selves. We find angels and discover ourselves as divine. We may find joy. We go after that which is “light and love”. We begin defining anything that is not “light and love” as not spiritual.

But that is not all there is. That is not all spirituality is. When we ignore any aspect of ourselves, when any part of ourselves is subconscious it will act out its most subconscious desires in patterns that may confuse us. We may chastise ourselves for “awakening” while thinking poorly about someone who cut us off in traffic. We may pretend to be “love and light” and still gossip, judge, and hate those different than us. We may be spiritual and create animals and earthly “spiritual helpers” that are fuzzy, warm, and deprived of any animal instincts. We may begin to believe that “awakening” is about “ascension” and is completely separate from our physical lives, our sexual instinct, our primal needs and emotions.

When we separate from our primal selves that aspect of ourselves begs to be noticed. We gravitate towards the activities and patterns that will satiate it, but without understanding these patterns will simply repeat. In mundane terms, there is a reason why the states in the U.S. that wish to teach only abstinence education to children and teenagers, that are anti-gay marriage, and anti-abortion are also the states that have the highest rates of pornography usage. In mundane terms, there is a reason why as a country and as a world (for the most part, some countries excluded) we are so sexually deprived and fixated on young girls as beacons of sexuality because the idea of adult sexuality creates fear. In mundane terms, there is a reason why we are always at war, creating violence, and spewing hatred towards one another.

When we do not recognize and work with our primal selves this energy goes out into our lives as individuals… but it also goes out into the world as a whole.

Until we recognize our primal selves and learn how to work with even our most base instincts in this world we will not fully be conscious. Until we recognize that our spiritual natures are not all “love and light” but can include even the most murderous, scratching, clawing, sexual, primal instincts we are not awakened. As a culture, as a world, when we do not work with, understand, and love the aspects of ourselves that are animalistic, sexual, primal in nature we as a culture and a world unconsciously create scenarios to satiate our primal selves.

When we as individuals are able to recognize our primal selves we can begin to feel compassion for this thrown away, scolded, and judged piece of ourselves. When we are willing to come away from this idea that spirituality is all things– higher self, lower self, divine, animalistic, fierce, smooth, flowing, kind, compassionate, violent, angry, sexual, peaceful, loving, hating, energetic, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical– we can transcend the illusions that are so commonly perpetuated in the awakening community and truly awaken. And more than that, we can recognize, reconcile, and love a piece of ourselves that we have cast away… and in doing so we can become more embodied, more awakened, and more compassionate towards ourselves. We can fully become who we truly are.

Making peace with our most violent instinct, our most primal may seem like the least “spiritual” idea to many of you. If this is true, question why. Question why spirituality needs to be about a certain brand of illusory light… the same light, the same rules, the same illusions that are commonly taught to make people believe that spirituality is anything but physical, anything but right here and now, anything but emotional… anything but your every-day lives. There is an agenda to this illusion. There is a reason why this illusion has been perpetuated for centuries. It is because it keeps us from ever becoming whole, it keeps us from going from seeker to sought, and it keeps us from truly awakening. We are never truly satiated by these illusions because they are not what we need to truly awaken, to truly become whole. So we continue looking and buying the same illusion again and again, the same books and thoughts from different gurus/teachers again and again… but we never find what we are looking for… which is wholeness, reconciliation of all parts of ourselves, and our true divine nature… which is rooted in love for all aspects of ourselves.

Our primal selves are playful, joyful, devious, fun… they can teach us a lot. When we engage with them, when we make them conscious we no longer have the repression, the rules and restrictions that have been handed to us by ourselves, our families, by society, by others who consider themselves “spiritual”. When we can make peace with the inner violence, with the sexual currents within us, with the hatred, with the desire to scream and slash and run, when we are conscious of every bit of ourselves we no longer subconsciously (or consciously) lash out at the world… and we have taken responsibility for that small parcel of energy that has gone out into the world making our world such a violent, unconscious, unfeeling, and quite frankly, brutal, place to be.

My first book, the Spiritual Awakening Guide, is available on Amazon now. It goes over types of spiritual awakenings, the spiritual journey as a whole, and symptoms of spiritual awakening in a pragmatic, non-dogmatic way. You can get it here or here (kindle version). You can contact me for inquiries about sessions and the work that I do.

The Positive Aspects of Spiritual Awakening

Many of my blogs, I realize, are utilized to deconstruct popular myths or illusions about spiritual, psychic and shamanic practices as well as the true, complex, and multifaceted process that is spiritual awakening. I do find this necessary work, and am passionate about it, and hope that it helps many of you to critically think in your own way about the world you live in and your own awakening process.

But in dispelling illusion and being critical I do recognize that there is seemingly a focus in my blogs on the difficult, or perhaps even negative aspects of awakening. In dispelling the illusions that are so pervasive in this world, especially in many spiritual organizations, communities, and teachers/gurus… the exact place you would think we may be looking for truth… the positive, profound, and even blissful aspects of awakening tend to get lost.

Awakening is blissful. It is beautiful. Its purpose is for you to know exactly who you are, why you are here, and what you as an individual can bring to this world uniquely and individually. It is also about merging with source, God, light. As we realize our own divinity we are able to feel, see, and sense divine flow as a whole.

We realize that we are a drop in the ocean and the ocean in a drop.

This means that we realize that we are divine, we are light, we are much more than what our physical bodies are, what even our family is, or society, or even the world is. We realize the entirety of the flow that permeates every reality (divine flow), we can hear, taste, and sense this flow. We merge with this flow, with oneness.

I have written critically about oneness before, and how it is different than what is perpetuated in modern spiritual thought. And it is. The total dissolution of individual identity is momentary. It is important. But we are not intended to walk around as undifferentiated blobs of oneness, thinking that we are the same as every person around us in abilities, characteristics, and other attributes.

This dissolution into oneness allows for us to get over ourselves, basically. To lose the fear of physical death. To let go of identification with a temporary, physical body. We do not realize how much fear we have wrapped up around the fear of dying and death until we transcend it. It is enormously freeing, and allows for us to act and be in this world in a much different way than we once did.

Oneness also allows for us to feel connected to others around us, but more importantly, to God/source. It is wonderful if we feel connected to people, it really is. But the entire spiritual awakening process is about realizing how we are a part of source, and we have actually never left source.

We have a huge wound in ourselves because we believe the illusion that we are separate from source. We look for ways to fill this void. On the surface physical levels this may be drugs, sex, shopping, tv, technology, etc. When we awaken it is through taking workshops, reading books, and entering seeker mode– perpetually looking for something that we often cannot define and can never find.

We do will not understand how much energy we have put into seeking until we find, and directly experience, what we are looking for. The realization that we are with source… that despite our outer wrappings that we have never left… allows for us to transcend seeker mode and become sought. Seeking is exhausting, when we become sought we have a lot more energy. We may not need to sleep as much, and the fatigue that is so pervasive in the spiritual awakening process begins to lift.

Being awakened really is bliss. It is being held. It is being loved. One of the biggest spiritually based issues in this world is that we are looking for bliss and love and safety in the wrong places. We continually cast our nets out looking for anything to help us become less isolated, less afraid, more loved, and more safe. We create illusions upon illusions to try to convince ourselves that we are safe, we are in control, we are not alone. Awakening allows for us to see that human love, human safety, the very human act of coming together and being in our external, physical, daily lives will never provide us the type of love that we truly crave. Humans are all flawed (even those who are awakened or pretending to be) and are not capable, in their human physical wrappings, to provide the depth of love, bliss, and sensation of being held that we really require to feel whole.

Awakening allows for us to be held by source, by the spiritual mother. When we reach this point we realize that humans are flawed (again, all of us, otherwise we wouldn’t be here), and that our hunger, our yearning, our perpetual seeking for someone/anything to hold us and tell us we are okay is a call out to source.

The interesting thing about reaching this place is that we are scared of this type of love. We may reject it. We may not feel worthy of it. But even if we are able to radiate a single drop of love towards a spiritual mother or source it radiates back exponentially to us, letting go of our fear, our anger, and allowing us to finally fill up with what we have been seeking for so long.

One of the more useful but “mundane” (well, at least compared to feeling infinite love of source energy) aspects of awakening is to be able to see illusion and falsehood. This can be a bit isolating, but I have found it is quite helpful. When this happens you can see what books are worth your time, what workshops, what pursuits, and generally what in your life has meaning. This also oddly has the aspect of making you really compassionate and even loving towards the people around you. Most people are really struggling. They have so much chaos and confusion and trauma and illusion around them that they are like someone at the edge of a cliff hanging on with their fingernails.

This means that you can have compassion for them. They know not what they do, as the saying goes. This also means, generally, that you can see or sense other awakened souls, especially if they are around. This at the later stages is simply a recognition, but in early stages in severe awakenings (such as Kundalini awakenings) you may not be able to be in the same room as someone else if you both are in an active K cycle.

The opening of spiritual doors occurs. This again, can be difficult in some ways. Most of the world sees, thinks, and operates the same as one another. Thinking deeply, questioning, realizing beyond the norm is not generally thought of as a positive attribute in this world. But it is. Most people walk around sleepwalking, simply reciting what they have been taught by others as their truth. They don’t question it, they aren’t able to see beyond it. They see the world as it has been given to them, and they do so without questioning. Even if they are, or claim to be “awakening” they are simply reciting the words of others and are repeating ad naseum the same recycled new-age memes and the same information in books, lectures, and ideas. Being able to move beyond this type of illusion, this type of belief that what you have been given by others is your own without questioning allows for you to become fully individualized, fully unique in a world where most people simply copy one another and live fairly unremarkable lives. It gives you the opportunity to fully realize who you are and what you independently think, free from the constraints that have been given to you. This allows for you to create in this world in a unique way, in a way that no one else but you can do.

The ability to feel peace. Many of us, again, go about our lives in a state of quiet desperation. We are worried about the present, the past, the future. Some of this may be entirely appropriate worry, by the way. But awakening brings the ability to finally settle into our bodies, to be okay with being quiet and being still, to know that who we are and what we are doing is exactly what we should be doing. Gone (well, for the most part) are the lectures internally about how we should be doing something else when all we want to do is eat a piece of chocolate cake. We eat the chocolate cake when it is time for chocolate cake and fully enjoy it.

Full embodiment. This cannot be stressed enough. One of the most pervasive myths in the awakening community is that anything spiritual is somehow separate from our daily lives and our physical bodies. There are in fact whole cultures that would do horrible things to their bodies to prove that the physical form was a temporary vehicle– starvation, creation of pain, sitting on funeral pyres. And while I do not question that some of these were necessary for the people who believed they needed them, the physical form is important, and past a certain point in the awakening process we begin to realize that we can be fully embodied, fully sensate people who enjoy our physical presence on this earth. Most of us are disassociated, disembodied, and truly hate our bodies and our lives (this may be subconscious). Awakening allows for us to process that self-hatred, and we come more into our physical bodies. We are able to taste, sense, feel and utilize all of our senses in a way that we never had before. We no longer want or need to “go anywhere” because our lives are what they are, and we realize that death is simply a release of the physical form,. and that in life our physical forms should be cherished because they bring us opportunities and understandings.

Spiritual realization. Do you know what a chakra feels like? Do you know what it is like to travel in other dimensions, to realize that time is not linear, or to simply understand that the world is not just made up of supposedly concrete, physical matter? That we inwardly have a constellation? Through the awakening process we come out of intellectualization and into direct experience. We no longer need to study the chakras and their colors (or whatever) because we can feel our chakras… and we may feel twenty-five of them and be able to interact with them through direct experience. We realize that much of the material out there is for beginners. There is nothing wrong with this, all of us were beginners (and still are in many respects no matter how far we have come). But through direct spiritual revelation we can discover our individual path.

We can enter a state of grace. This is typically a later stage, but building up to the oneness experience we believe (and want to believe) that we are powerful, we are strong, we are Gods. While this may all be true (and it is) if we are able to recognize how small we are, we become humble. This allows for us to enter a state of grace, where we know with certainty that we are being held by something much greater than ourselves, but also answers that question of existential despair: “am I going to be okay” once and for all. With humility we can realize that we are a single drop in the entirety of divine flow.

We can be fully who we are without excuses. I used to hide my “darkness”. It was not considered “appropriate” and frequently got me chastised or even chased out of spiritual circles in my early days. My questioning of things, my ability to see differently (and generally more deeply than others), my thinking differently, and the direct spiritual experiences I have had caused me to be ostracized. As I have mentioned, people really love their illusions, and anything that goes against or questions their personal cosmology creates enough fear that they will lash out to protect themselves. This still happens. I just don’t care anymore. I am doing what I am here to do, and saying what I need to say because it is different than what others think. I share this not to shift focus onto myself, but to say that whatever you are struggling with that you think that people won’t accept, that deep dark, primal place that you are hiding in fear of, scared that others will not find out… this is likely your strength… your power. People do not want you to have power because they do not have their own. They fear anything different. Once you are able to reconcile those parts of you that are afraid, that care what people think, that care about people discovering those deep dark aspects of yourself, once you realize those deep dark aspects of yourself are fine, and even beautiful… you can be fully who you are.

You love all aspects of yourself. This is a difficult one to understand, because in most spiritual communities the focus is on the “light” and anything else is “bad”, but we are intended to have emotions, physical experiences, and be in touch with even the most primal aspects of ourselves. Once we get out of the heap of trauma and chaos we are all under we realize that emotions are just currents of energy, and the emotion of grief can be as beautiful as the emotion of joy. We can fully realize our physical, sexual selves. We can come to love our primal, animalistic selves. We can fully integrate all of these selves and just be one whole person, with no parts of ourselves villified. 

This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but I wanted to introduce this topic because most of you who come to me are in a state of panic. In a state of fear. In a state of recognizing the illusions of the world, the illusions of the spiritual communities. In a state of recognizing that most of the books and gurus and teachers and workshops out there are just meant to perpetuate a state of illusion rather than break you from it. It is hard when you are going through the true struggles of awakening to not feel cursed, like the universe is out to get you, to blame yourself and God/source, to look out at the world of fake gurus and see them espousing spiritual awakening as a state of simple bliss without having any sort of direct experience of it. The more that we move through our awakening the more that the blissful, the wonderful, and the truth about spiritual awakening come through. It just may not be like the brochures said it would be.

If you would like to contact me, you are welcome to.

Shamanism and Psychology

“Shamans were the first psychologists”- I am not sure where this exact quote came from, and there seems to be a bit of controversy over who first said it (it seems to be Stanley Krippner through rough research)

It is easy to understand how this quote was spread, and how it is believed in contemporary spiritual practice. In the United States particularly, but really anywhere in the Western Hemisphere shamanism was first brought back by anthropologists and psychologists. When these people “brought back” shamanism to the West, it was through the filter of their own understandings and training. The anthropologists saw the shamans as proverbial “other” and documented this other as something to write extensive research papers and books about (some of this work is excellent, by the way, like the books of Holger Kalweit). The difficulty with this is that many did not have the direct experience of being a shaman, they were just a documenter… and when they did have the direct experience of participating in spiritual activities of various sorts it was life-changing for many of them, but they were still lost in the sea of intellectualism and collegiate level discourse. Basically, it was from the outside looking in. 

When psychologists and mental health professionals went to study shamans and spiritual practices they also looked at it through the lens of their own experiences. To them, shamanism was created and filtered through psychotherapeutic principles, and to them the shamans looked like were working with the mind, or the mental realms. Many of these psychologists may not even have had the belief structure or openness (or readiness) to believe that there is anything outside of the Self, or anything beyond the mind and body (the classic Cartesian and allopathic split). Many of these psychologists while they met the criteria of being the “explorer” or “other” archetype in their field were struggling with their own limitations in a culture or situation that was so “other” that they were overwhelmed. Many of them had simply never experienced anything spiritual, so they just thought that it was all mental, or all metaphor, story, thoughtform creation, and guided visualization.

These psychologists then came back to their various countries and began writing, teaching workshops, and combining the tools (as they saw them) of shamanism with psychological methods with some degree of success. 

Much of modern shamanism is the simplified tools of various spiritual healers (many times misunderstood by minds perhaps that were not open enough to be able to process spiritual stimuli), combined with modern psychology, combined with easily digestible new-age self-help material, combined with enough of a shimmer of “other” so that people will think that shamanic work is mysterious and romanticized, but not too much “other” so that the average participant does not feel unsafe.

There is a basic misunderstanding here, one that is difficult at this point to expel from the public consciousness that is involved with modern shamanism.

Shamanism is not self-help. It is not a set of tools or techniques to utilize. It is not psychology.

Yes, it works with the mental realms sometimes, and does have specific and direct psychological effects. The mind-body-spirit is on a continuum, and a spiritual worker will know how to work with the spiritual and ground the work in the mental and physical realms. In fact, it is important that the client, who may or may not have any sort of spiritual abilities, be able to process spiritual work through the mental and physical realms so it effects their outer world and day-to-day reality. Yes, spiritual work works with thoughtforms that are the basis of our reality. But no, it is not psychology.

Let me explain. Shamans traverse the worlds. This is not just a saying. It is not visualization or guided imagery, it is not mentally creating something or destroying something. Shamans work in the spiritual realms. If you have never experienced the difference between something spiritual vs. something mental, chances are that you are not a spiritual worker or shaman. If you do not or cannot tell the difference between something self-created, or something that is a disassociated aspect of Self and a real live spirit or being in front of you, you are likely not a spiritual worker or shaman.

It is somewhat rare that people have real (as in actual) spiritual experiences. Most “shamans” or “shamanic practitioners” are solely in the camp of workshop shamans, meaning that they have taken a few workshops and been involved in the series of techniques handed down to them as self-help and psychological mechanisms. Many of them are not able to see past this point, or even reflect on the fact that the are solely and squarely working in the mental realms. They are not open enough and do not have the ability to see or walk into any spiritual realms. They are solely self-creating a slew of spiritual helpers, angels, demons, and allies out of aspects of themselves or from imagery of what their romanticized version of a “spirit helper” should look and act like. These spiritual helpers are often singularly compassionate, always interested in the practitioner, and will always tell the practitioner exactly what they want to hear. Real spiritual beings or helpers do not act like this… and if you are talking to your “Native American” spirit guide and he is from the 1800’s and he talks exactly like you and says exactly what you want to hear from him, chances are you made him up.

One of my favorite terms for a Shaman is “spirit lawyer”. Because that is essentially what most spiritual workers do on a daily basis. You look at the various energies, beings, and spirits coming together that are creating a situation that is not in balance, or is making your client sick (or whatever reason they are coming to you) and you work with all of them so they get what they want. In some cases, you create a contract or pact that all of the energies agree to, even if they do not all get exactly what they want. This is most of spiritual work, to tell you the truth.

The mental realms do play an important role in this. Many people block themselves from healing, they are creating thoughtforms or stories that continually play out in their lives. Working within the mental realms, with shamanic “tools” vis a vi psychological self-help shamanic practitioner-ing is helpful for these people.

But it is not spiritual work. The spiritual realms are entirely different than mentally creating a journey, or creating thoughtforms. Meeting with actual spirits and beings is much different than working with ones that you create. True shamans are rare, and we have created a climate where pop psychologists and self-help manuals teach you that you can “be your own shaman”, where we are taught that anyone with X amount of dollars can purchase becoming a shamanic practitioner.

It is unfortunate, because true spiritual work is beautiful, and it is powerful. It is unfortunate because I get clients who have gone to psychological self-help type shamans who only have the capabilities to work in the mental realms with them when what they needed was actual spiritual work. If I get a client that is mentally unwell to the point where they cannot receive spiritual work, I will send them to a psychologist first (or in conjunction). Unfortunately most “shamanic practitioners” do not know that they do not know… which leads to a culture of people playing shaman because they have taken classes without the ability to do much, which ordinarily wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that it is costing their clients a lot of money, and a lot of people in this world really need spiritual work and cannot find someone to truly help them.

Without direct experience of the spiritual realms most people will not realize this, however. Unless you are experiencing the call of becoming a spiritual worker and are directly experiencing other realms, dimensions, worlds, and are being visited by energies and beings of various sorts I realize that it is quite easy to believe that the mental realms are the spiritual realms. If the mental realms are all you know, or what you have gotten a degree in, and you see something that looks vaguely like what you have studied, it is easy to think you can just lift the tools off of whatever culture and sell it as “spiritual”, and it is easy to think that all of the spiritual world(s) are self-created out of your imagination, and can be worked with through your imagination.

But they are not. And the more that we participate in spiritual materialism, this idea that anyone can do whatever they want simply because they have enough cash and they really, really want it, the more we are participating in creating illusory thoughtforms and creating realities in the mental realms that are simply not there. Not everyone has the genetic capabilities to be a major (or minor) league baseball player. Not everyone has the ability to be a spiritual worker. Not everyone has the capability to be a pre-school teacher, an artist, or any of the multitude of careers and callings where it takes natural abilities and genetic predisposition and natural talent/calling to become. But we all can find out what we are being called to do, and become that. We are all called to do something in this world spiritually, it just might not be a calling to be a spiritual worker (and if you are not being called, and actually knew what it was like instead of the romanticized version that has been sold to you… you will likely be very thankful).

People being called to spiritual work experience things on a regular basis that they cannot turn off after a workshop, that they cannot play with for their own self-help purposes and then let go when something else more pressing comes up. They have intense dreams such as dismemberment dreams, near-death experiences, and constant initiations by the spiritual realms so they can learn. It can be terrifying to open spiritual doors and truly work with the spiritual realms. It is not the safe, cuddly experience that is being sold. Spiritual work is not a part time job… it is not a series of techniques… and it is not something that anyone can do.

There is a degree of openness, there is a calling. Being called to be a spiritual worker is a strange, powerful thing. It is difficult, it is traumatic, and most spiritual workers do not find “tribes” of people to connect with at new-age seminars. They are isolated by society because they are different, they see differently, and they experience the world differently. And most people, despite their interest in energy work, shamanism, or spiritual topics, and despite the fact that in many countries we are far away from spiritual workers being burned at the stake or hunted (unlike our ancestors if spiritual work runs in our family line which for many if not most it does) we are still castigated, relegated to the outskirts of society.

If you are reading this and are angry at me for posting this, it is fine. One of the strangest things I have found in my journey is that “the grass is always greener” syndrome always applies. People being called to shamanic/spiritual work often go through a period of time of anger, or “why me”, of rejecting and resisting the call to become a spiritual worker… sometimes to the point of becoming quite ill because they are not answering the call. Spiritual workers who are called cannot do anything else with their lives, even if they try. People who are not spiritual workers and are looking for that romanticized “other”, they are looking for the pop psychological versions and tools of shamanism to fill an empty voids in their lives want to become shamans. They think they are shamans. They do not realize that what many of them are experiencing is a pale shadow of what actual spiritual work is, and that they are solely working with this pale shadow, this series of techniques, and solely in the mental realms, when there is so much more out there. 

And just for clarity, I do see the purpose of the new-age pop-psychology shamanic “be your own shaman” crowd. We have a spiritual void in the West that we are desperately trying to fill. I have no issue with people going to shamanic seminars for self-help or using the “tools” in their psychological practices. The difficulty here is that sometimes people need real spiritual work, and a real spiritual worker to do it, and many of these people go from practitioner to practitioner because they know what is going on is spiritual and all they get is self-help mental realm type help (if that) from people who have taken these assorted workshops and learned the self-help techniques and are now calling themselves shamans or spiritual workers.

But the biggest difficulty is that spiritual workers who are being called have nowhere to turn. They go to these workshops and meet these teachers and they are all for aspirational shamans, people who lack the abilities and calling but want some techniques to make their lives better. They are unable to answer the call because they are left with hollow techniques and pop psychology self-help. They are overwhelmed by the strange dreams, the amount of spirits surrounding them, and are uncertain if they should talk about things because what they experience is far beyond what any sort of message board or Facebook group knows about or can help them with.

If you are feeling like you are being called to be a spiritual worker, I can help. I offer email based programs and  phone/skype consultations to help people being called find out what they being called to, how they answer that call, how to find the right spiritual guides, and how to become a powerful spiritual worker. You can contact me with interest. This world desperately needs real spiritual workers, ones that can see and sense and work beyond the mental realms and can transcend the limitations that have been given to us by others. Being a spiritual worker, answering that call, is a powerful thing, it is a rare thing, and is something that is desperately needed in our communities and in our world. Many spiritual workers simply lack the tools and knowledge to do so because they are so overwhelmed and do not know where to turn. If you are being called, you can learn how to work with your spiritual experiences and to come out of a state of overwhelm and into a state of power and be a true beacon in this world.

Realization of the World being an Illusion

One of the most difficult things on my spiritual path (beyond surrendering and coming to terms with the illusion of control) has been the letting go of layers of emotions related to the realization of the world being an illusion.

Many of my clients have felt the same way. This realization first comes as a sudden, irrevocable moment. We may have intellectualized about it before, or heard others speak about it (or intellectualize about it) but there is a sudden, direct experience of understanding the outer, exterior world (our day to day reality) as being an illusion that is difficult, if not almost impossible, to integrate.

At first this direct experience may come looking outward at the world. We see that not only individual people but our town, our state, our society, and our world are repeating loops of patterns and behaviors again and again. We may be in a public place and realize that most people are like actors engaging in a play they do not know they were cast in. That the behavior of a group, or of people in a restaurant or a movie theater is to be expected because it is looping. We may have deja vu of experiences that we have never had before (that are not based in interior constructs like past lives or something we actually have experienced before but do not remember).

We may realize this on a societal or world level– that the same pop star but with a different face comes through every 5-10 years. We may begin to realize that political, social, and societal events repeat themselves ad nauseum in some sort of effort to break the cycle or change. But change is difficult, and requires many members of society to change, including ourselves.

We will then look inward and realize our own loops, the ways in which we are an actor cast in our own lives. Everything from crossing the street the same way every time to conditioned responses to how we emotionally react we will realize are ingrained patterns from conditioned reality, our belief systems, our traumas, and our thoughts.

Realizing that the world is an illusion first results in a sort of disbelief. A daydream state of feeling like you are watching something on television. This is much different than the sort of disassociation that occurs with trauma– it is the understanding that while out at a restaurant that you are the only person that realizes that everyone else is acting, that everyone else are like poppets repeating the same behaviors again and again.

Next comes anger. At first this is anger at the outer world– how can people not realize they are actors, that they are asleep, that they are part of this illusion?

After comes internal anger– how were we asleep so long? How were we sleepwalking through our own lives? How many ways and which ways are we still false? How many ways are we still sleeping, are we still acting through part of most of our lives?

Then comes grief… this is a difficult grief. To realize that the world is essentially false, that the world is created through our thoughts and through the conditions and thoughts of society/world. It is a difficult phase to go through to look at the world and realize from this vantage point of grief that most people are really struggling. Most people are really asleep. And many people lash out again and again in these loops without realizing it, most people are acting out their wounds and traumas and thoughts and the traumas, wounds, and thoughts of society again and again without realizing it.

Again we may be able to turn inward– what parts of ourselves is latching on to this grief? What parts of ourselves are still reactive to this grief? It is completely appropriate to feel sadness when looking at the world, but to let it consume us is another matter. We are intended to feel emotions, even the deepest layers of grief, but all emotions are like a wave form that can flow through us… or they can stagnate because we want to catch them, to hold onto them, to resonate with them.

The realization of the world being false, the numbness and emotional reactions that occur are all phases many of us who are truly awakening go through. The difficulty is that while we are all awakening, in small or large ways, in spiritual communities many of us do not come to this phase because we get stuck in the emotional aspects (totally understandable) which can be overwhelming… or we prefer the illusions of awakening to actually awakening.

When we work through some of our emotions the next level for many people who have gotten here is anger and grief at spiritual communities or people within them. Truly waking up allows for us to see that most spiritual materials are simply illusory– they are created by those who are repeating loops of behavior and thoughts like anyone else.

When you are truly awakening it is hard to look at the state of spiritual propaganda out there and not get upset. At first this is a natural reaction, but upon questioning… upon truly looking at this anger and grief two things come up.

1. That many people, including many gurus, are just as asleep as anyone
2. That many of these people, including many gurus, are doing better in this world than you are

This all boils down to a simple, but interesting fact: Most people want to remain asleep. They prefer illusion.

If I were to tell you that spiritual awakening is difficult, that most of the people I have worked with who are truly awakening lead difficult lives and have to work through many physical, emotional, and spiritual crises how many people would sign up?

If I were to tell you that spiritual work means complete surrender and seeing through the world in a way that most people will never understand? That seeing and thinking differently than others results in being ostracized rather than accepted?

What if I were to tell you that you truly can know who you are, what you are here to do, claim your power, understand spiritual power, know that magic is real, that spirits are real, that shamans truly can traverse realms, that your thoughts do manifest into reality (with some interesting results), and that you can feel oneness with source, that you can be fully embodied, that you can feel blissful in nature and in your lives… but that it comes through continual struggle, continual surrender, and walking through certain spiritual doors and having certain spiritual initiations that cause you to feel oneness and at the same time feel isolated because of these initiations/understandings?

Now, if I were to tell you that you just have think positively and nothing bad is going to happen to you… if I were to tell you that if you just create a vision board with a Mercedes on it you will receive one… if I were to tell you that if you think positively enough you will not get cancer, or die, or have diseases… if I were to tell you that awakening just means bliss… if I were to tell you that you will be a millionaire or CEO if you awaken… if I were to tell you that awakening means no longer having any emotions or human experiences (in which you are likely struggling as we all do)… if I were to tell you that you are in control of all of the spiritual realms and you just have to imagine white light to make anything frightening go away… if I were to tell you that everything is an extension of you and if something makes you upset, it is your fault, and if you see a spirit it is just an extension of you and you can simply think it away… if I were to tell you that awakening is somewhere else that you “ascend” to… if I were to tell you (this one is one of my favorites) that we are on the verge of a big world paradigm shift and aren’t we special to be a part of it because we will all transform… If I were to tell you that there is no such thing as darkness, or evil…

That last paragraph sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? 

Much of the spiritual world and the current and popular gurus are illusory. They are feeding into the cycle of looped behavior. It does not take a genius to look at one particular new-age publishing house and see that they print the same book again and again just with different faces on the back covers. It is not surprising when one of the most “enlightened” channelers  who has made millions off of her followers suddenly goes on an anti-Semitic tirade and the conditions of her “camp” are finally brought to the light of day as being deplorable. Most people are simply pretending. Some realize it, many do not.

Many followers are looking for something to make themselves feel better. They want to be awakened because they want to be rich, healthy, beautiful, and in a constant state of bliss (and yet not feel anything oddly). Our lives are difficult, and so this message that is continually perpetuated that the whole world is under our control, and if we just think right nothing bad will ever happen to us is difficult to witness for anyone who has actually awakened beyond this.

It can be difficult to realize that most people want illusion, and that faced with anything of “truth” they will become emotional, upset, or reactive… allowing for themselves to close off from any understandings outside of their own constructed illusion. It can be difficult to see, and is one of the more difficult spiritual initiations to traverse in the awakening process.

But if we begin to see that the world is false, it is full of illusions and thoughtforms and people who are asleep, and we continually work on the sleeping parts of ourselves, we can move past the anger, past the comparisons, past the disgust at the newest trend in spiritual literature being the same illusions recycled again and again with different names and faces on the back covers.

We can begin to realize that it is okay that most people are asleep. We can have compassion for the fact that most people are really struggling and need to feel in control… because the idea that if they just think right that nothing bad will happen to them may be all that is getting them through their days.

Awakening is beautiful, it is blissful, it is fully recognizing and realizing who you are. It is claiming your own power and having realizations and understandings that few do. But it is also difficult. And continually surrendering patterns such as this one, and participating in external reality (our day to day lives) after letting go of the anger, of the grief of the world being false means that we can surrender and unfold in source like we are intended to… without getting wrapped up in the reaction to the illusion. We can realize that others need their illusions, that they at least think they do, and have compassion for that. We can have compassion and love any person who is willing to take one step forward or break any sort of looping they have… to clear any sort of chaos or sleep out of their lives… most people do not and someone taking personal responsibility to take one piece of that chaos and clear it, or become one step closer to becoming conscious is admirable. We can become a conscious actor in the play, we can make peace with the isolation and oneness occurring simultaneously… we can continue to examine ourselves and our own loops that arise and truly and continually awaken.

 

Moving Beyond Intellectualism

There was a time in my life that my bookshelf contained over a thousand books. I loved books, and have since I have been a young child. There was always something about libraries that inherently felt safe to me, and growing up with intellectuals as parents it was something I could always connect with them about.

There came a time about five years ago where I sold some of my books. I looked at my belongings as a whole and most of them looked meaningless to me. This included books that I had outgrown (or simply no longer had space for).

About two years ago I felt an overwhelming urge to sell, give away, and simply let go of a lot of my books. This was because I looked at most of them and realized that I no longer resonated with them. I no longer needed a basic book telling me about shamanism, a book categorizing the spiritual experiences of yet another white person going to Peru or wherever and having their quest and becoming the “chosen one” to receive supposed initiations, another book describing what Chinese Medicine is based on the Western assimilation of it (describing specific points in specific anatomical locations, or giving specific prescriptions for points based on Western disease category… both of which go against the heart of Chinese Medicine and any real understanding of it).

But there was something beyond simply wanting to consolidate my stuff, to let go of things so I could be physically freer, something beyond not wanting to move with forty boxes of books again…

There was a guru (I wish I remember who it was) who stated (something like) that it is rare for a book to go beyond surface levels and rare for any of them to contain a spark of insight. 

Recently I read a modern book of essays about Kundalini yoga and the Kundalini experience. It was striking– there were a few essays in there that I deeply felt, but most of the book (like a lot of books for me these days) felt vapid and inconsequential. Although it was about a purportedly deep topic (Kundalini) that is “existential”– in this case meaning that not many people understand it– most of the authors were researchers and intellectuals who you could tell had no direct experience of Kundalini. They just didn’t get it.

It is impossible to understand certain aspects of spirituality unless you have direct experience of them. You can get into a philosophical argument about if chakras are real (with the typical endless loops of meaningless discussion and quotes from other authors and sources) all day, or all week… but there are some people who directly experience the chakras. They are no longer a myth because they inform their world.

To bring this point home a bit, let us say that someone writes a book about flying an airplane. They are not a pilot and have never actually flown an airplane. They have just read accounts of others who have flown said airplane, they have studied what all of the buttons do, and likely they have been a passenger on the plane.

And now you read a book from someone who has been a pilot for twenty years, who every day flies that plane, who not only intellectually understands what those buttons do but has actually pushed them… someone who has felt the plane lift off, the direct responsibility and fear perhaps of taking care of hundreds of people during a flight, the direct experience of turbulence or something going wrong and the rush of making out alive, the fatigue of having a twelve hour flight to another country and then flying another plane to yet another city right after.

I kept the Kundalini book I am referring to above because it did contain a spark of insight– it was a book where a few of the contributors actually had direct experience and that direct experience is a catalyst for my own thinking, and I am deeply appreciative of these days of anyone that can critically think, and not just regurgitate the same passed down material again and again like a bad game of telephone (for the younger folks, where one person tells someone something, then that person tells another, until it gets to the end of the line/last person and that person repeats what they have been told and it is completely different than what the source/original person actually said).

Most of the books in this world are on that surface level. They are intended for beginners and for people who want the same thoughts, the same material regurgitated again and again. They do not contain any new insights. I realize this sounds harsh, but there is a place for those books in this world. We need people to write on those surface levels and that repetitious loop of material to get a new generation to understand that perhaps the mind and body do interact, or how to do a basic shamanic journey, or that the world can be looked at through a spiritual lens (still on a surface level, but perhaps a bit more deeply down the proverbial rabbit hole). I am in full recognition of this.

But the further you travel down that proverbial rabbit hole, the more spiritual doors you open, the less you need those words of others. The more you have direct experience of a spiritual nature the more meaningless the endless intellectualization and philosophies of others interest you. I still love reading, but I am looking for that spark… those rare people who have something to really say of a spiritual nature from their direct and true experience… the people who have gone beyond the surface levels of simply regurgitating what colors the chakras are or what they mean (by the way, the “rainbow” colors of the chakras were created in the late 70’s/early 80’s to make it easily assimilated by the surface folk, and that is just one example)… and can tell me their insight and give me that spark, an idea or understanding that allows for me to understand an experience I had or moves me forward in some way.

I am not against intellectualism, but most of the thinking in spiritual communities (or really any community) is of the “spiritual regurgitation” variety. It is rare that any one of us critically think or come up with new ideas in this world. I have deep appreciation for anyone that has put in the decades or lifetimes of reading that it takes to find the source material, that material that is filled with original thought, with that spark of insight (or many sparks). I love speaking to people who have studied and truly embodied spirituality, the occult/magic, or really any path by having the combination of truly learning (and not just repeating and regurgitating) combined with direct experience of actually following that path. It is a rarity and a truly powerful combination, and those people can bring tremendous amounts of beauty and insight to this world.

I am now down to around 200 books, a lot of them clinical books, books from my childhood, and the myths and fairy tales of many different cultures. I do have a shelf of spiritual books, either ones that I have not read yet or ones that contain that spark that is so rare. In a world that prizes the mental and intellectual, in a world where we want to hear the same things over and over again to give us comfort and illusion, it is a rare book and person who is willing to go beyond the illusions and creations of those stuck in illusion or intellectualism into the realm of direct experience. And those are the books I keep.

P.S. Yes, I do realize the irony of the fact that I have a book releasing on the spiritual journey, types of Spiritual Awakenings, and the physical experience of awakening called “The Spiritual Awakening Guide” (it is already out on Kindle here) and will be available in print in a few weeks here (it can be pre-ordered right now). You can also (for a limited time purchase a signed copy of the book here (click on Books) or if outside the U.S. contact me to purchase one through Paypal). The focus of my writing is to (hopefully) go beyond those surface levels and the common illusions and regurgitations of the spiritual path. There is so much illusion and falseness and although I always hope for the new-age type “love and light” only, the “you have to only focus on the positive and if you do you will get a new car and nothing bad will ever happen to you and if something bad happens to you you just were not thinking positively enough” trend to pass, it is seemingly here to stay for the moment. So I hope to bring pragmatic, thoughtful work that goes beyond the destructive illusions of this world and give the direct experience of my own path as well as the path of the many clients, patients, and friends I have had the honor to work with.

Crossing the Abyss… and the Dark Night of the Soul

In varying traditions there is an understanding of the abyss (mainly occult traditions), and of the importance of crossing the abyss to make it out of a spiritual initiation relatively intact and alive. The mere act of crossing such an abyss allows for a time of deep introspection, existential crisis, despair, and a host of other emotions and experiences that are difficult to process. Once gotten to the other side of said abyss, we will have let go of considerable emotional material, past traumas, and belief systems, and will have received spiritual gifts, insights, or abilities as a result of the experience.

The difficulty with the abyss is realizing that you are there…

A Dark Night of the Soul is a similar experience to the Abyss (although seemingly slightly different places via direct experience, with slightly different realizations in the two places to be had), in which we feel dark, and alone, depressed… with an inability to reach out to another because they simply would not understand. We are solitary, and trapped within the illusion that we are a singular presence on this earth, and that nobody could possibly understand or even care about us.

As mentioned, the abyss and dark nights are strikingly similar, and many exchange one word for the other as if they are the same experience. Through direct experience it seems to me that a Dark Night is focused on the personal and the “I”– meaning that, similar to St. John of the Cross who coined the term, we are feeling trapped in a prison and are unable to free ourselves from nameless, faceless persecutors (although in his case it was the Carmelites). But the idea of a Dark Night is the feeling of being personally trapped in a sort of darkness that one cannot get out of. The end to this trapped realization is the understanding that even while enslaved, caged, or deprived of freedom… even isolated from the rest of the world one is not alone, and one can be free.

The Abyss generally to me is much more of a metaphor– a sort of spiritual initiation in which we are developing new understandings or need to process new material that is simply too much for us to incorporate. We get lost (or drown), or do not cross the abyss when we become inundated with spiritual information that is too much for us to logically incorporate through our egos (not ego in a new-age way, ego as in the creator of the illusion that is our daily lives and our worlds). The abyss is more of a blackout, in which we can feel ourselves flailing about, wondering what is going on, as we feel ourselves falling into darkness.

In both cases we are watching our worlds be destroyed in front of us. In both cases we come to a sort of blackout, where no physical or spiritual support seems available to us. This is obviously difficult to handle, and is more difficult to come away from… to see the light or to complete the crossing of said abyss. It is even more difficult to reconcile the falseness of the world once you have had several of these experiences.

Many of us pursue enlightenment, or advanced spiritual or occult knowledge to make ourselves more powerful, to become more fulfilled in our daily lives, or because we are drawn to do so without a logical reason why with a sort of fervor that can only be understood by others with similar fervor. As we progress on our path we quickly realize that the sort of new-age notion that gaining power or understanding or abilities resulting in a sort of delirious state of happiness or ability to rule the world or control the cosmos (or increasingly odd magical thinking about what the nature of enlightenment is like) is false, and the false prophets who maintain such illusions are simply that… illusions to fulfill the void of a modern society that is powerless, stuck on the surface levels of most spiritual paths, spiritually immature, wanting desperately to have control when they subconsciously know they do not, and preferring the romanticization and intellectualization of spiritual paths rather than the actual work or direct experience of them.

On any sort of spiritual path that is real (and by that I mean one that gains power, one in which takes work and direct experience and has come out of the immaturity and romanticization and intellectualization phases that are so prevalent in modern spiritual circles) we come across certain spiritual doors. These doors are metaphors, of course, and are initiatory– leading us to cast away old beliefs and delusions and come into new understandings, beliefs, and in some cases, spiritual abilities or new spiritual teachers.

Each time we pass through one of these doors, these gateways, we come upon a threshold guardians… the aspects of ourselves that tell us how comfortable we are with the known, how it would be easier to remain what and who we are. Many times we may listen to these guardians and not walk through the proverbial door. But other times we do, and we usher in a new era of Self.

The difficulty with receiving so much information (stimuli, understandings, see/feel/hear/etc) on a spiritual level is that it needs to be assimilated. This is especially hard on our egos, who have created the experiences of the abyss or the dark night because they need a sort of waiting period to reboot and re-create a new reality, or illusion, for us. When we let go of a huge amount of trauma, belief systems, and chaos our outer reality changes. When we do this quickly our outer reality significantly changes. When we let go of the chaos, the destructive beliefs, the illusions that we have hung our hats on to create our world(s), we become closer to true realization, understanding, and begin to see more deeply into the spiritual realms and are able to interact with the spiritual realms, and our every-day world, in a much different manner.

All of this means, quite simply, that when we change who we are in a very short period of time (for some people undergoing significant spiritual awakenings this can be five minutes… for others it might be days or months or years), when we unload a bunch of chaos and trauma out of our system, we are very different people than we once were. And our world will be different.

The real difficulty is not the actual experience of the Void or the abyss (although when you are experiencing it you may react differently to this notion). Each of them are simply concepts that we have created to reason as to why we are experiencing a re-configuration of our reality… why we have such different understandings or realizations or even abilities than we may have had five minutes ago, or five years ago.

The difficulty in these experiences is allowing ourselves to make it to the other side of them.

It can be easy to get lost in existential despair, in crisis, in chaos. It can be easy to understand when you are having such spiritual experiences, especially because many of them are not talked about beyond an intellectual level, that you truly are alone or are the only one experiencing them. Seeing the world as patently false, trapped in chaos and delusion… and not only that seeing people prefer their illusions because they give them a quiet sense of comfort even if covering a sort of despair… it can be easy to isolate. Navigating a world that you know is false, wanting to live in that world that is full of chaos and trauma, is difficult.

The further that you go and the more spiritual doors that you go through, the more difficult this realization can be. Many people are just on the surface of this world, and that is where they wish to be, and that is where they are supposed to be. It can be difficult to get beyond the previous point to a realization that people are where they are supposed to be. To let go of the control or wish that the world or the individuals in it were somehow more enlightened, more aware, or were simply able to be a little uncomfortable to achieve a bit of spiritual growth. It is certainly one of the spiritual doors/initiations to let go of the idea and the emotions over the fact that most people, including perhaps yourself, are just playing in this world like a group of actors cast in a play that they are not aware of. And this fact becomes more difficult the more aware you are. Experiencing other worlds, paradoxes, energies, beings, dimensions, times, or understandings that are not common, or are not talked about, is difficult for those who experience them, especially when you see that many of the people in the world are simply intellectualizing and playing with spiritual concepts they don’t really understand.

When further initiations are had it can be incredibly isolating, albeit with the understanding of oneness simultaneously. To see the worlds reverberated and experience oneness and divinity and at the same time falseness and separation is a difficult paradox to reconcile. But at some point many of us begin to reconcile it… this realization that the world is false and true at the same time, and to fully love and forgive people for being who they are without a desire to control or sway them in any way from their path because they are experiencing exactly what they need to, and would be experiencing something else if they were ready to or intended to.

But in being okay with overwhelm, in being okay with the world crumbling around you like it does while crossing the abyss and while engaged in its murky depths the other shore begins to appear.

And this other shore is ourselves reformulated, with our new worlds reconfigured for us. We look through the eyes of our new illusions, the remaining beliefs and trauma that we have. We have new understandings, realizations, and more access to our power. We may even have new abilities or spiritual teachers or access to new realms or beings that we did not before. We go forward in our new lives with more peace and generally more stability, as the amount of chaos that once swirled around us has lessened.

If you are experiencing a dark night/the abyss, realize that you are there. Understand that your world is reformulating and this takes time. Realize that you have created this experience for a purpose– to make logical sense out of crossing into new terrain, into a new understanding of Self. Most of all, if you are lost in the inky black, feel like your spiritual support has disappeared into the murky depths of the abyss, and are feeling despair, suicidal, or unsafe, please reach out for help. Your loved ones may not realize what the abyss is, but they will understand if you need help.

I can help you through this experience and help you to understand it through individualized sessions, and you can contact me here to do so. I do not take on emergency situations long-distance for obvious reasoning. You can read more about my ethics and practices here.

Opening the Deep Heart

Our hearts are very wounded places. In Chinese Medicine, the heart is thought of as the emperor (at a time when Confucian militaristic themes were being translated into the medicine). All other organs and energy of the body is intended to protect the heart physically, energetically and spiritually.

This is especially true of the Liver, which is known as the “general” or “leader of the troops”, as well as the Pericardium, which is the physical and energetic protector of the heart. But really all areas of the body are intended to keep the heart space and the heart itself as calm, peaceful, and loving… like a gently moving stream of water rippled with sunlight.

Most of our hearts are not like that peaceful stream. We have either exhausted our “army”– the general/Liver and all of the other organs intended to protect the heart or store emotions (like the intestines and pelvic cavity), or we have endured deep or sudden traumas that have caused our hearts to break or not be whole.

Most of us are in a state of overwhelm in terms of emotions and experiences we have yet to process. When we are unable to process the emotions or circumstances of our lives they enter our physical body to be stored for later processing. This creates pockets of unprocessed energy and emotions in our bodies. Unfortunately, what happens is that many of us do not go back to release these emotions (or do not know that we can) and so our bodies become stockpiles of unprocessed rage, grief, fear, and difficult experiences. This causes us fatigue, because our bodies are having to exert energy to keep these emotions and experiences sectioned off… and to attempt to keep our bodies as a whole functioning without the blocked off part(s).

Additionally, we most likely (as in all of us do) have experiences, traumas, and emotions that were handed down to us that are creating issues without us realizing it. Our family patterns, ancestors, past lives, and even societal and world emotions are somewhere in our system, creating issues. Many of us (especially those of you reading my blogs) are also sensitive, meaning that you pick up on the emotions and traumas of others. Many of you may not fully understand this, or what it does to your very real physical system (this could be a whole new blog, but typically receiving stimulus from outside sources that we cannot process starts to pile up in the digestive system, the stomach, liver, intestines, then the head, then the pelvis/genitals/legs, then effects the heart for sensitives). Being sensitive has real and physical consequences, and any sensitive should learn how to properly process energy that is not theirs… but I digress.

Our hearts are a sensitive and often wounded place. We often will harden our pericardiums, or create all sorts of energetic structures surrounding our heart in an attempt to not show the world that we are wounded… or that we deeply feel. This world prides itself on being a thinking, logical place (believe it or not) so feelings, sensing, and emotions are relegated to be something abnormal, something that should take place in solitude or in the privacy of a therapists office.

If we are able to open our hearts in the spiritual awakening process something wonderful happens. We are no longer in that state of brutal negativity the rest of the world is in (just look at any comment thread online for this… to see how miserable people really are), we no longer need to gossip or concern ourselves with others. We look at the world and begin to see what is right with it, and the inner divine spark or inner light of people. This is quite a switch from seeing the pain, the stupidity, the anger, betrayal, and so forth that are happening consistently in this world.

As many of you may know, I am a realist, and the experience of seeing this inner light does not mean that we do not also realize that the person is wounded, or doesn’t know what they are talking about, or is filled with hatred, self-disgust, misguided anger, and so forth. It is just a switch in identification… from first focusing on that stupidity, or that anger, animosity, violence, sleep, and so forth… to seeing who and what they are beyond those layers of sleep and chaos. If you are able to see this inner light first, the chaos that surrounds every person like a wind tunnel can be looked at from the eye of the storm– a place of neutrality, compassion, and recognition of what they are struggling with. 

The Deep Heart

If we are able to get to a point of clearing our own heart of wounding we come to a place known as the deep heart. In Kundalini awakenings, the access to this point happens after energy has fully reached through the tops of our heads (as a solid stream, not a burst of violent energy) and energy starts coming back down again and into our heart space.

This is a space deep within the heart, and also to the right of the heart. There are nodules (not in a physical way, it is the best way to describe them) that are lit up within our deep hearts like a constellation of energy. Experiencing these allows for us to experience deep self-love, forgiveness, and to clear our remaining emotional heart patterns. It also allows for us to finally lift that veil of separation. This means that we can see the entire world and all of the people within it inside of us (and yes, they are also not a part of us as well, such is the paradox of awakening past a certain point). It allows for us to expand in love– not the cheesy, illogical love perpetuated by self-help books– but a calm and flowing love that will flow from us and out of us. 

This love expands and unfolds from us until we are filled with love. We are also at this point willing to feel love. Not the human, frail type of love, but love from source/God/the Universe itself. We are willing to be held… to let go of our individual identifications with suffering, with pain, with the sort of rugged individualism that creates isolation and separation… but to realize and experience that we are held by something much greater than ourselves.

If we do not close ourselves off to it (receiving this love is frightening, since it is an experience of us giving a minuscule drop of love to be greeted by love ten thousand times that in return) we consistently open our deep hearts, and our entire beings, in this love.

Many of us do not experience this type of love because we simply would not allow for it. We are so used to suffering, to rugged individualism, to competitive “me first” type of behavior (yes, even in spirituality), to isolation, that the idea that we could be held and loved to this extent is not something we would even allow. We hunger for this type of love… the love of the divine mother, of divinity itself beyond labels.

We all have this part of ourselves– the deep heart. I am not writing my experiences so they sound extraordinary. I do not wish to be yet another “guru” who is fulfilling a “chosen one” illusion in spiritual literature. There is so much of that, and it is not needed yet again. My point is to tell you that there is a space within yourself beyond the chaos, beyond the hurricane of trauma and emotions and experiences… beyond the rugged individualism and the isolation and the fear… beyond the brutal negativity that is perpetuated in this world as a pericardium type mask to the devastation most of us have locked within our bodies from prior experiences of this world.   

We all have these nodes, this place of the deep heart. For most of us it is latent, meaning that no energy flows through it, no energy is lighting it up. But even realizing that we have this place within ourselves is the first step. We can move beyond our pain and our chaos. We can see the inner light before the outer chaos in others, or in the world. Simply recognizing that we have the capacity for that inner light, or trying to see that inner light in others, will do us as an individual, and the world as a whole, an immense amount of good.

 

Spiritual Advice: Psychic Ability to Predict Death

Mary-

I found your site because I wanted to know more about how I can sense death in people. Sometimes I look at people in the market and I see some of them that are going to die. Sometimes I will even sense how it will happen like a guy I saw I knew he was going to get in a car crash.

Another time I saw a woman who was pregnant and I knew that she was going to miscarry the child. It is awful to realize these things. Most of the time they are about people that I don’t know and just see around town, but sometimes I realize that a friend is going to get sick, or one time I realized my cousin was going to die. I would think it was just my imagination, but my cousin did actually die and the feelings I get when I realize these things are really intense. For example I will get a headache or feel dread or even a few times would see how the person would die. But most of the time I just feel kind of sick and it is like a big realization that I just can’t shake.

Can you tell me what this all means? What do I do about this? I can’t imagine I go up to people and tell them that they are going to die. That would just be weird. How do I not get upset about this too? I don’t think I want to block things, but they do make me not feel well. If you could reply it would be really, really helpful.

– Seer of Death

Hi Seer-

So what this ability is called is precognition. It is typically under the umbrella of claircognition. Claircognition means “clear knowing”. It is our gut instinct, that sort of intuition that mothers get when their children are in trouble. It is our sense of knowing something without knowing why. Claircognition is actually the most common psychic ability, but is often dismissed because we live in a culture that dismisses that quiet voice inside, that sense of knowing that emerges. Most of us are quite dismissive of any sort of information that pops up without us having a context for it, a narrative, a story, or some sort of linear logic from our brains/ego telling us that the information is valid and okay.

This sense of knowing, this claircognition, can be a small sense of knowing that we should turn right instead of left down a street, only to find out that there was a traffic accident that would have made us late to our appointment if we had turned left. It can also be a huge sense of knowing, accompanied by dread and chills and becoming physically ill with realizing that there are going to be layoffs at our company, that something bad is going to happen to us (and we don’t know what, but we just have this realization), or that a pet, family member, or complete stranger is going to die.

Just so this doesn’t seem all gloomy (before I go on to the death part), claircognition is an incredibly useful ability to have. We can know if our children are okay, how that test is going to go, what job we should take, if that boy/girl/man/woman is right for us, and get a general sense of environment. For example, if we listen to our claircognition we may pick up that the bar we are at, the subway car we are in, or the street we are walking down is not safe. We may not know why, but this sense of knowing causes us to walk down another street, to leave the bar, or to move on the subway. Most of us do this behavior unconsciously– our claircognitive skills are not conscious so we want to leave the bar, or the train, or walk quicker down the street (or change streets) without knowing why. 

But some of us become conscious of our claircognition and utilize it to our advantage. We begin to listen to our gut instinct, to acknowledge it, and to even express gratitude for it giving us information. Again, most of us do not listen to what our instincts are telling us… we have become disconnected from them because we are either looking for something crassly linear and double-blind study logical (typically meaning told to us by others or given to us by others) or we are looking for huge explosions of psychic abilities, such as the media portrays clairvoyance (clear seeing). By acknowledging this ability and listening to it we can become better people more in line with who we truly are.

It is important to understand that society at large is not in a sensing or feeling state, so others (even those interested in spiritual matters) are likely to disregard your experiences that come from this feeling or sensing state. This comes from an ego state of always wanting that hugely splashy thing or “valid” linear scientific double-blind study type proof. If we listen to others who are not capable or comfortable with being in a state of sensing or feeling, we often disregard our own experiences and understandings. It is important not to do so in an attempt to seek outer acceptance of abilities such as this.

To acknowledge and grow your claircognition is simple: you acknowledge what is coming up (I should move subway cars), sit with it for a moment to feel if it is valid or not (by asking your gut, not your head)… when you hear a “yes” you act on that action by moving subway cars (for example). Then say “thank you” to that information, to your gut instinct for telling you this information. If it is a huge move, such as getting a divorce or moving to another country, you can still acknowledge what is coming up but sit with it for a while longer before making a move or drastic life change. Even acknowledging that this information is coming up and saying a simple “thank you” to it without changing anything in your physical reality will allow for you to gradually understand how powerful this ability actually is.

Now, on to precognition. Precognition, as I mentioned, is somewhat of a child of claircognition, typically. This means that you will realize that something will happen in the future without knowing why. This can be all sorts of information, from realizing you will get that job you just interviewed for to realizing you are going to move in the next six months to realizing that two weeks from now you are going to be sick. Many sensitives, for example, with this ability, schedule their work around the fact that they realize when they will be at full power, or have the ability to work a lot, and when they need a break or even bed rest.

A type of precognition is the ability to see or sense death. This can be sort of a vague sense of knowing to full clairvoyant (seeing) abilities of seeing a stranger in the grocery store die in a fiery crash in the near future. This can be difficult information to process, and the sensitive who sees it may experience headaches, nausea, stomach issues, or emotional imbalances from seeing so much death around them. It also can understandably be a bit of a perpetual existential crisis to have this ability, to want to get rid of it, to not know what to do about it, or to have this ability call up our own fears around death. It is also a huge difficulty for some people who are especially sensitive with this ability to have to process the energy and the death of the person through their physical body.

I should note that it is most common to see death at or around two weeks before the physical death. Our spiritual bodies are preparing (or trying to prepare) for what is going to occur in the near future, and in most cases (not all, some sudden deaths are not like this) sensitives are sensing the fact that the energy bodies are lifting off of the body towards the top of the head (typically) near death, or that there is a grey or dark cast/hue around the person who is going to die suddenly.

So the question is always what to do about this ability. It is an understandable question, and I have personally grappled with seeing a lot of things that I cannot or should not do anything about. In our modern culture (media portrayals such as Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium) we see “mediums” (yes, I put that in quotes for a reason) walking up to random strangers and telling them that their dead grandmother is with them. I have personally had people walk up to me and try to read me. It deeply bothers me when this happens. First off, because it is always the person that has the least amount of sensitivities (as in, not very psychic at all or perhaps went to a psychic school and got a certificate which means they are, of course, now psychic) who tell me things that are often not correct, are from conversation they overheard, or are so basic that they are more cold reading (a sort of psychological ability to read body language, faces, or just utilizing really basic generalized info that could apply to anyone) in order to appear special.

It is ethically wrong to tell someone that they are going to die, or to tell them any sort of psychic information that you are picking up about them. The only way that it is okay is if they are paying you, or coming to you for guidance, and you deeply question if they really want to know or can hear (as in process) the information you are picking up about them. 

The other thing to know about the ability to see death is that it is not 100 percent. Meaning you could be wrong, meaning that you could be reading someone else in the store instead (their death) and cross a few wires and have it be about another person by mistake, you could be having an off day or so overwhelmed by stuff going on in your own life or that there is so much death in the air (it happens) that you can sense it with everyone. That person you are picking up information about could also turn left instead of right by some miracle and not get in that car crash you sense them in. It happens.

So my point is here that you do not do anything about the information. You do not tell them. Maybe you choose not to get in a car with them (for example) but telling them is ethically wrong for a variety of reasons.

So the question here is what do you do about this ability… or “Why do I have it?” This is something of a difficult question, and depends on the individual. You may have it simply because you do… you are sensitive and you pick up on more information than people around you. Death is actually fairly easy to pick up on as long as you don’t have blinders on (many people refuse to process any information about death or “darkness” because it is not “light” and they have a deep fear about their own inevitable death). Death is part of our world, and picking up when someone has two weeks left (or so, not an exact science) or the sort of cast or shadow that happens when someone is likely to die suddenly is not super far left-field… meaning that it is fairly easy to see.

Some of us have had experiences with death that make us more prone to see it in the people around us. We are comfortable with death, or we have had some sort of trauma involving death that allows for us (as people who are already likely sensitive) to be more in tune with that energy. Some of us have had near death experiences that have allowed for us to see death in those around us.

Some of us are intended to be spiritual workers and actually do something with this information. Some spiritual workers can see the “death mask” on everyone. Our “death mask” is what we will look like in death, and often contains information about how long we have left, what we will die of/from, and so forth. Other spiritual workers can see the inner light of a person (like a candle) and see how brightly it shines. If it shines more brightly, that means the person has more life left in them. The spiritual workers who can see this are often (not always) good at psychopomp– which is helping people spiritually cross over out of their physical body (move out of their physical body after death) as well as from their spirit form into the proverbial light.

Some of us are intended to be nurses, hospice workers, or others who work with death and the dying process.

Some of us are intended to utilize our relationship with death to create fantastic pieces of art and beauty in this world.

But most of us are not intended to do anything with this information simply because we see it. You are just more sensitive, for whatever reason, and your sensitivities are allowing you to notice death.

What is needed though is to let go of the intense emotions, fear, and physical issues (as well as existential crises) that come with this ability. You do this by reconciling your personal fears around death, any trauma you may have experienced with death, and most importantly you go into a state of noticing rather than reaction to receiving any sort of psychic input. By going to a state of noticing, rather than taking the energy on (which makes you physically and emotionally ill) or processing it (this does not! need to happen), you can become much healthier, more sane, and react neutrally to seeing these sorts of things.