Energy Vampires and the Internet as Animist Being

On my Facebook page a while ago I posted a description of what Energy Vampires are.

Most of us are aware of the basic definition, or can sort of suss it out by the label– they are people whom we walk away from, whether in person, online, or through other forms of communication (phone, etc.) and feel drained and devitalized as a result of our encounter.

If we look at the deeper spiritual and energetic reasonings for why Energy Vampires do such a thing, it is in most cases because they are so wounded, so lacking in basic energy field integrity (from trauma, both personal and transpersonal– ancestral and familial being a big source of this) that they can no longer fill themselves back up.

So they rely on feeding on the energy of others to sustain themselves, which is only a temporary fix (and so this behavior is highly repetitive in those who truly are vampiric).

The question is, then, what exactly is their feeding mechanism?

There are a few ways that they achieve this. Often they create drama and poke and prod people (basic internet trolls) so they get an emotional rise out of them. Adept Energy Vampires (EV’s) will emotionally manipulate, blackmail, make false claims, and use the wounds or basic needs of the person, or people, they are looking to drain, against them.

One thing I have noticed over time is the implicit understanding that EV’s have of the basic human need for approval. The EV’s that have come my way as a result of my professional work have always attempted, for example, to hang my work over my head, and their approval of it. In my earlier years I might have responded to such a thing, and needed such approval, but nowadays I don’t (although obviously I appreciate when people resonate with my work, read it, and it helps them in some way) and I have enough perspective to see the mechanism and wounding behind such an attempt, and would rather have people use my work who will not use it to create further delusion or even outright harm for themselves.

The other method that EV’s use is to create compassion and concern for themselves. They often are truly suffering, otherwise they wouldn’t need to be EV’s, but they will rely on the sympathy of others, as well as the empathy of others, to feed.

This is particularly problematic for empathic individuals who do not have boundaries. They are used to helping others, and often can feel the pain and suffering of the EV. Sometimes the resonance between two people (EV and empath/other person) due to a similar soul wound can also make the Empath/other person an easy target for the EV.

It is important to remember that you can see the pain of another individual, you can see how destructive and unfortunate their behavior is (EV’s lack basic nurturing and connection and so feel as if they need to manipulate and coerce nurturing from others), and to still have boundaries (or not allow for them to feed on you).

It is also important to remember that we all have needs for healing, and it is by examining the times that we have been EV’s, or have been drawn into this mechanism with EV’s, that we are being shown areas where we could use personal healing or boundary strengthening.

It is possible to get to a point of thanking such individuals, if they are successful, for showing you something that you need to heal inwardly.

In most cases, EV’s are not consciously aware of what they are doing. They are simply drowning in pain and do not have the energetic congruency or integrity of their field (too much trauma) and they are doing what they feel they need to do to survive. 

People are simply a sum of their wounds, and can only be expected to act differently when they are more conscious and whole.

It is easy to have compassion for them, because it is clear how they are suffering, and it is clear that their need to act like this comes from a place that spreads across the entirety of their lives. The EV pattern is one of control, of being so frightened at the proposition of being nurtured in a healthy way from other human beings, that the choice has been made to push away humanity, to attempt to control others, and to participate in dynamics that are coercive and manipulative in an attempt to connect.

If we were to look at the specific dynamics of this feeding mechanism, I will say that our emotional field (the aspect of the aura that has all the pretty colors and shadows) is a sort of pivot point in our field as a whole.

If we were to have a quasi-theosophist approach to the energy bodies, from most “dense” to least, we have our physical bodies, our etheric (our body double that regulates a lot of the functions of our physical bodies), our astral (emotional), mental, and then spiritual bodies.

Our emotional and mental bodies are more malleable, more changeable, than our physical form. A quick burst of anger, for example, can create a huge burst of red into the emotional body.

This capacity towards change in the emotional body also can change the energetic integrity or congruency of the energy field as a whole. More simply put, if someone responds emotionally to someone, it can allow access to the vital energies of the body (in the etheric and physical form) as well as can allow easy pickings from the emotional field.

That burst of energy, that interest in whatever drama is being stirred up (and said participation in said drama, even if it is like looking at a car crash while driving by), or even the compassion offered based off of resonance of similar soul wounds or the basic human compassion and reaction to someone in victim mode or considerable pain, creates large fluxes in our emotional body… and a lot of energy that can be drained by said EV.

In rare cases, EV’s do know damn well what they are doing, and will purposefully stir up drama to sell things/create business, to create interest (the witnessing of a train wreck to distract the self from focusing inward), or will focus on people who have a lot of energy (such as spiritual practitioners) in various ways that can be quite skilled. There are also conscious individuals who rely on consent and willing partners to exchange energy. This is not what I am talking about in this blog.

Such individuals can link through other means than emotional energy to do so to gain direct access to the vital essence of the physical form, which provides more sustained feeding (relying on emotional energy to feed is quite short lived, as people quickly move on to the next drama and their emotional fields change).

One of the easiest ways to note if you are corded to someone, if they are corded detrimentally to you (or you to them) is if you are thinking about them days, weeks, months, or even years later. If when you recall them, that sudden burst of emotional energy occurs.

At the very least, this signifies that some healing work is needed, but in other cases it means that someone has successfully corded to you and is still draining you without your conscious awareness. If you are interested in how to work with cords and developing basic energetic boundaries, I suggest my Complete Cord Course book

But let’s move on to a discussion about the internet and social media. There is a distinct cosmic joke in the fact that I will be posting this on my blog, as well as on Facebook, of course.

When I talk about Animism to people, they typically have no difficulty understanding that their pets, or even the tree outside, is a vital consciousness that can be on some level communicated or interacted with.

Mostly, such communion relies on moving beyond our rather static minds that want to place human forms of communication, thought processes, and ways of being (ethics, insights, etc.) onto the natural and spiritual realms, which prevents people from interfacing with much beyond their own psychological needs and mental creations.

But when we talk about something less tangible– such as Facebook and what sort of intelligence, or being, it might be, it is understandably more difficult for us to move away from said human mentalities that are entrenched in what can be seen and touched as being conscious, or a being or spirit of some sort.

I was speaking with a student the other day about how people used to view diseases as spirits… and obviously if we are talking about Black Death or something, not a particularly good one.

But if we look at my description of how an EV works, we can begin to discuss how other energies and consciousness, such as social media, relies on the same parasitic behavior and mechanisms to feed.

The continual creation of drama, the heightening of fear and anger, the provoking of continual outrage. Even the glistening pictures, the masks of success, the reliance on incredibly wounded people to continually participate in sharing their wounds with other wounded individuals resulting in a consolidation of said wounds. The nimble distractions and quizzes to distract and anesthetize, the continual wars and interpersonal conflicts.

In Chinese Medicine we talk about how it is natural for people to move towards their imbalances, instead of a place of health.

For example, the type of person who does hot yoga with the sort of drill instructor teacher is likely a “fire” personality– excitable, dynamic, constantly doing. That person to become balanced could use “being” time– yin yoga, meditation, restorative yoga.

The “water” person is going to be attracted to activities where they don’t need to move– meditation, sitting quietly, yin yoga. That person could use more dynamic and “fire” activities, to balance themselves out.

We can see this in ourselves, and how we engage with others. We most often find others who are a reflection of our wounds. This is especially happening in online spaces, where people who are already distanced from reality (and often from stability) can find so many others who think and act and have the same wounding patterns, the same blind spots, as they do.

This only consolidates those patterns, encourages the person to move further into imbalance.

I am in no way suggesting that you project all of your difficulties onto social media. It can be used as a vital tool, and like all beings, it has its wonderful points (in nuanced reality, things are rarely solely villainous or victim). With awareness, we can recognize the mechanisms behind such an being, as we can on an individual level with EV’s, and make the conscious choice of if we are participating in it– either by allowing ourselves to be fed on, or by being an EV ourselves.

As with all things, we can look to see if we are moving towards a space of health, clarity, and wholeness, or if we are merely perpetuating or consolidating our wounds.

Psychic Capacities and Nervous System Overwhelm

I recently opened up my Facebook page to ask what questions people may have that would make a good blog. I received this email (heavily paraphrased, any identifying info taken out):

Hi Mary! I loved your Managing Psychic Abilities book. It was the first book that I have ever found that talks realistically about how to work with psychic abilities when you are overwhelmed by them. I have a question, though.

I get a lot of headaches, sinus pain, and weird immune issues. My nervous system also feels really off, especially during big astrological transits and full moons, as well as stress at work. Could you speak to this a bit. I think it would be a big help for many.–Seer

Hi Seer,

So yes, this is a common issue. In my Managing Psychic Abilities book, I talk about how psychics and sensitives simply notice more of the spectrum of reality than most people.

What we consider to be “normal” or valid as a society is a very narrow spectrum of reality, and is basically a state of emotional repression or lack of awareness of deeper considerations within the self as well as externally (perhaps a different blog).

So let’s say that society has deemed valid 1 percent of the total spectrum of reality. Psychics or sensitives then might notice 1.25 percent, or 25 percent. These are obviously just numbers to make a clear point. Psychic abilities and sensitivities have a range, and typically the more that you notice or interface with, the more your body will struggle with managing it all.

That is because psychic capacities require understandings, as well as skills and tools to manage (yes, the last shout out to my book, Managing Psychic Abilities). We don’t teach these in the modern world, and my path over the last twenty years has been to explore a lot of different physical, psychic, and spiritual paths to find out how to basically figure out how to navigate the world without being continually sick, having severe migraines, or being continually exhausted/depleted.

Through this I have had more and more sensitive and psychic clients come to me in my practice, and through the years I found out what not only worked for myself, but the spectrum of experiences people were having and how to assist them.

 

But back to your question.

When we are interfacing with our environment, we take in information through our spiritual nervous system. This is a fancy name for our nervous system plus our chakra system. This is located within the spinal column and the head; if you consider sushumna (the central energetic column running through the spine) as a sort of super-highway, controlling our bodies on everything from a spiritual to a very physical level, you will begin to see the importance of the midline.

Along sushumna are our chakras. What our chakras do is to filter information. They are the first interface that we have with outer information. It is their job to take outer stimulus, to filter it, and to assimilate it within our psychic and then physical bodies.

Just for clarity, I will say that I view the physical body and the physical world as simply the densest, most obvious energies on a continuum. We then would have emotional, mental, and then spiritual energies (going from dense to less and less dense).

The further up we go on that spectrum of what we notice (back to those numbers, as in if you notice 10 percent of reality vs. 1.25 percent, that is a big difference) the more difficult it is for our spiritual nervous system to take in that information and filter it.

Picture a mega-concert where 20,000 people are waiting in line with tickets to get in. There are going to be some gate-crashers, overwhelm on the part of the staff (especially if it is not properly staffed), and other chaos.

What happens when our nervous system gets overwhelmed is that it begins to get “fried”. Our nervous system is basically like a series of wires. Ideally these wires have coating so they simply aren’t live wires. If these wires lose coating in a physical capacity, it means serious nervous system and other issues (like MS).

But if these wires are “fried”, especially on a regular basis (one too many concerts, so to speak) they lose their integrity. They no longer energetically have coating, they no longer are able to handle basic stimuli coming across, let alone large or continual stimuli coming across.

 

So let’s make things a bit more complex. In my book I talk about how every single highly psychic individual I have met (psychic abilities have a spectrum, which I discuss) has experienced trauma, particularly early childhood trauma. The other aspect of strong psychic abilities is genetics, as well as ancestral trauma.

We develop capacities in order to survive. I realize that this is not very romantic, but we do what we need to do to survive, as did our ancestors. Sometimes this equals having more awareness, being able to sense mood changes, to caretake for others who have no capacity to take care of themselves, to read minds, etc. to ensure basic safety.

But trauma creates a devastating impact on the nervous system. Our nervous systems have two basic modes: fight or flight and rest and digest (or sympathetic and parasympathetic).

There also is a third mode, which occurs when the terror or trauma of a situation moves someone so deeply into parasympathetic mode (rest and digest) that the person freezes.

As a society we are very much stuck in fight or flight– many of us, even “non-psychic” have issues with digestion, menstruation, and other issues because we never switch “off” (to rest and digest mode).

But trauma, particularly the “freeze” response causes for the chakra system to simply not work. For large sections of the body to be offline, for the chakras to not open and close like they should, for them to not be able to filter like they should.

Of particular note with our nervous system is our Vagus nerve. This is one of our cranial nerves (that wiring I was speaking of) and it is particularly of note because of its length– while it begins in the head, it innervates the heart, lungs, digestive tract, goes into the pelvis, as well as the colon.

On a physiological level, what this means are things like erratic heartbeat, panic attacks, fainting spells, severe digestive issues, menstrual issues, and headaches that are fairly severe (such as migraines) as well as a whole host of mood issues, including severe depression, if this nerve is not working well. There have been interesting studies about the effects of stimulating this nerve in cases of severe depression, for example.

So let’s take this one step further. Our nervous system works with every other system in the body. Particularly of note is the immune system. What that means is that if the nervous system is continually depleted, overwhelmed, or “goes down” for whatever reason, you will have your immune system go down as well.

On top of all of this, let’s return to energetic-spiritual anatomy.

We have our sushumna, which is our central channel (going through the midline) which controls all of the other energetic channels in our bodies, as well as houses our chakras.

But we also have ida and pingala. These wrap around the sushumna (picture the caduceus) and particularly of note is that their pathway goes into the sinuses (the nostrils) and deep into the ethmoid (behind the nose) and terminate at the third eye.

Ida and pingala are responsible for helping to calibrate the spiritual nervous system along with sushumna, as well as open the body and its consciousness through breath (breath being the vehicle of consciousness).

Ida and pingala are smaller channels than sushumna (they are not super highways, more like county roads) and it is easy for them to get stagnant, or to not work properly when overwhelmed. This means sinus headaches, feelings of gunk in the head, particularly along their pathway.

To add one more thing to this I will say with increased emotional-mental stress this of course adds stress and overwhelm to a system. But I will particularly point out that if you are a seer, or someone who receives influxes of information (such as visions, downloads, or does ritual work or spiritual work which will result in much more information coming your way to have to process) that this means that if you are already in a state of a overwhelmed depleted system from too much stimulus plus unhealed trauma plus life stress that it is quite easy for a vision to create a crash in your system, leading to a migraine (the body attempting to process all of the input) and/or nervous system issues (rapid heartbeat, severe digestive distress, overwhelm including severe fatigue up to basically quasi-catatonic states) which will then cause the nervous system to crash, leading to immune system issues.

So what to do about this? Beyond understanding and learning skills to work with your psychic capacities (yes, my book) I would also say that keeping the appropriate psychic container is important. What that means is basically being in emotional and physical balance.

I do realize that this sounds simple, but for our energetic anatomy to have the appropriate “container” to deal with large influxes of energy, moving exercises (yoga, tai qi, qi gong, etc.) that establish physical health are necessary. I also encourage decompression of the system– basically, doing nothing (yes, putting the phone away). Progressive relaxation is a good place to start with this to get your nervous system to begin to process the stimuli and emotions within the physical form and eventually go into a much needed “rest and digest” state. This allows for basic nervous system integrity.

Spiritual Orphaning, Mythic Realities, and the Biggest Misconception about the Spiritual Path

I recently opened my Facebook page to hear from people what they might want for me to talk about in a blog. One of the questions that I got via email was basically asking what the biggest misconception on the spiritual path is.

My answer is that unless you are directly experiencing the spiritual path, you do not understand the paradoxes that are a part of it.

I have been sitting a lot with the awareness of spiritual orphaning. This is the realization that the modern world has split from the Other, from the spiritual realms, to such an extent that we no longer believe them to be an aspect of our daily, lived experience.

My job as teacher has frequently been to get individuals to traverse the “hedge” into the Other, to move beyond the mythic creations and mental realities they have created for themselves (or at least to discern between their psychological and spiritual experiences) or at times to recognize how they are traversing said hedge and how they might do so in a more conscious, skilled way.

Within the hedge are our conditioned layers of reality– what we consider to be valid societally, personally, and culturally.

In our modern world we have a deconstruction of information going on. This is troubling in a lot of ways, and has led to the famous new-age adage of “everyone having an equal and valid voice”.

Any of us who are logical recognize the fallacy and danger of this, of letting wounded individuals with little information define our reality for us, but still it persists, and it is a growing ignorance, a growing energy that is schisming our reality to an even greater degree.

In my book, The Spiritual Awakening Guide, I talk about how the mythic and archetypal layers of reality are the last conditioned layers of reality. What I have been sitting with, along with the spiritual orphaning concept, is about how there has been a tremendous unmooring of this layer of reality.

We no longer are steeped in the stories,myths, archetypes and folklore of our ancestors. The mythic and archetypal layers of reality are intended to connect us– they are a bridge between the hedge and the Other.

What lies outside of the hedge is not intellectual: it is wild, it is ineffable, not able to be neatly managed and named and labeled by our minds, and so we carry back our experiences of it into civilization the best way that we can– through myth, through symbol and archetype, through breath (word, song, dance).

We are also intended to connect to myth the other way– from inside the hedge. This means that we look towards the archetypal and mythic to explain our human condition. To feel connected to someone or something outside of ourselves. To recognize that not only do we feel like we have the world on our shoulders, but Atlas does as well, and that it is a part of the human condition to feel that way. In that way we feel more connected, less isolated, and can in some small or large way lessen what we carry by recognizing ourselves as a part of a web, as part of that mythic and archetypal layer of existence.

But in our modern world we have unmoored ourselves from the mythic and archetypal. We have replaced our myths and archetypes with movies and movie stars, which can point to such things successfully, but tend to only perpetuate the isolation and rugged individualism of the modern condition.

When we are grounded in our mythic and archetypal realities they are a bridge each way– both in and out of the hedge. They deeply inform and are a part of our existence.

When we are disconnected from that layer of reality, we utilize the mythic and archetypal layers in a disconnected way. We perpetuate  and project our wounding and disconnection onto those layers of reality, with no connection to our daily lives or to the Other.

The reason that I am mentioning all of this is not only because it is so pervasive, but because the ideas and ideologies that are a part of the modern world that spiritual awakening leads to wealth, to perfect health, to a state of perfection, to a state of never having to contend with the human condition again, of a desire to move beyond the birth-suffering-death cycling of existence, are a result of this disconnected state, not one of connection or lived experience.

In a world that is incredibly separated from any type of embodiment (yet another split between the head or the masculine/thinking aspect of the body) and the rest of the body (the feminine, feeling, intuition, and spirit) we live only in our heads, projecting our wounded desires for perfection, for non-feeling, for control and knowing, for superiority (and the superiority/inferiority loop) again and again and again.

Our bodies are so filled with unprocessed emotions because we have lost connection to them, and so it is understandable that to a consciousness that is deeply afraid of death, on some level incredibly aware of its own trauma and wounding, that it would create a mythic reality in which specialness, superiority, immortality, perfect health, either a fixated state of perfect joy or a zombie-like state of never feeling again, would be its goals. The result is a “myth of becoming”: that if only one were awake enough, that life would be perfect. That one would be perfect. That none of us would have to contend with the messiness of being alive.

This myth never becomes reality, and so the person pretending perfection and enlightenment, as well as those striving for those states, on some level go through a loop of feeling inadequate or false again and again, despite what their outer mask might be to the world.

But back to those paradoxical experiences…

The processing and awareness of emotions so that you do not react to everything that comes your way as if it is specifically out to get you. A moving away from victimhood, a realization that you have, in fact, been the victim perhaps in many ways but a recognition that you do not need to remain as a forty year old with the beliefs and vantage point of a traumatized two year old.

A paradoxical release of needing to feel as if the Universe, and everything in it, is specifically centered around you, is specifically on your side, and a realization that nobody, no matter how spiritually connected, knows the totality of the cosmos.

With that comes feeling, perhaps for the first time. The allowing of feeling. The realization that our emotions are sacred messengers, not to be denied or transmuted but that bring us vitality and expression of being.

That emotion, in fact, is the carrier of dynamic spiritual experiences, of ecstasy, of spiritual connection and devotion. Not just the “good” emotions, but grief, and pain; a realization that love is not a fixated thing, a perfected thing, but a dynamic experience.

The realization of the parts of you that have not been living, that have in fact used spiritual communities and ideologies to give permission to the wounded aspects of yourself to not live, to not feel, that have caused for you to feel superior or inferior or separate yourself from others.

The moving away from the noise and chaos of the world, the recognition that many things that you once participated in lack meaning or were simply perpetuated loops or traumas, and then the realization of how precious and fleeting it is to be alive in human form, how sacred it is.

The reaching for the spiritual path to be special and superior, only to find out that what is seeking that specialness and superiority is what is wounded in us, that what is creating mythic realities within us that are based off of wounding are separating us rather than connecting us to the web of all that is.

The realization that much of the advice and spiritual teachings on this path are illusory, meant to give people permission to perpetuate wounds, to give people permission to not change, to not experience life.

A letting go of the admonitions and rules and guidelines and people just looking to perpetuate illusion and the superiority-inferiority loop out of their own wounding again and again in different projected roles and a turning towards and a revelation about the sacredness of being ordinary, of being human.

A return to daily life, to friends and family, and a recognition that the ordinary moments, the lived moments, are the most sacred and holy.

The realization and utter humility of discovering your potential– what you can bring into this world– while at the same time deepening feelings of humility, of how vast and deep and wide and extraordinary it all is.

The feeling of awe, of smallness, at the same time a recognition of how important human life is, how important your human life is.

The realization that the unfolding of consciousness, the spiritual awakening process, is one of evolution and “ascending” but simultaneous descending.

The paradox of realizing that the spiritual path confers the ability to deeply ground and embody in your humanness. The recognition that birth-suffering-death are simply a part of life, and bearing witness to that instead of reacting or creating mythic realities to attempt to escape it.

A revelatory process of recognizing imperfection and the utter sacredness of that.

These paradoxes are not experienced if we are projecting into ungrounded mythic realities, if our spiritual experiences are not lived and embodied. There is a vast difference between ideology and lived experience, between the projection of what our wounded selves desire and create to not face the emptiness and pain within, and the experience of moving beyond the illusions and healing what feels the need to perpetuate those realities.

It is by healing these wounds, by healing these rifts, rather than perpetuating them, that we can move forward into evolving into who we are meant to be, and what our potential is in this world.

P.S. I do recommend my book The Body Deva if you are interested in such change, or my book The Spiritual Awakening Guide if you are interested in the conditioned layers of reality and the spiritual awakening process.

 

Personal Mythology and the Superiority-Inferiority Loop

We are continually creating myths regarding ourselves. In The Spiritual Awakening Guide I talk about how our mythic and archetypal selves are the last constructed level of our being– myth and symbol being a bridge between the truly ineffable (pure spirit) and the constructed layers of reality.

Put more simply, if we are interfacing with the Other we may lack words that can ever describe the wild, exhilatory terror, beauty, and expanse of such experiences.

We do have dance, art, poetry, breath (words) as well as symbol and myth that point to such experiences.

Such pointing does allow for some of that beauty and terror to filter through to others who are looking to interface with the Other, or who are looking to interface with it in a new way, but when something moves from what can be only deeply felt and directly known to related, some aspect of falseness, however small, arises.

The best way I have heard our relationship with the “Other” described is through the “hedge” metaphor: within the hedge is what is known, established as fact, and the personal, familial, and societal-religious constructs that make up our conditioned reality.

To go beyond such a hedge means moving beyond a mind that seeks approval from such conditioning, that requires control, dominion, and to feel safe or at least complacent in such a known. We know what to expect from ourselves, from one another, and from our reality within the hedge.

In The Body Deva, I talk about how at the base of our being, we have a central myth that propels us into being. We may have many myths regarding ourselves, and although they can in some regard motivate us, they are restrictive energies because such myths tie us to expected behavior and an expected trajectory.

Such myths can also come from a deeply wounded place, and can serve to perpetuate wounding patterns or loops.

The main way we create our ways of being in this world are through loops. Loops are the repeated thoughts and patterns of being that we find ourselves doing.

We repeat the same phrases, find ourselves doing the same things again and again, or perhaps find ourselves dating the same type of person and having the same arguments again and again. Or perhaps we are in the same relationship and continue to have the same pattern of relating, the same arguments.

Loops primarily come from trauma. When we experience trauma that cannot be processed or resolved at the time, energetically the aspect of ourselves that was traumatized becomes frozen in that experience. That aspect of ourselves then “loops”: it recreates the same scenario, the same beliefs, again and again in the outer world.

Ideally it does this to find resolution and healing. But most of us lack conscious awareness of our loops and so we act out personal as well as transpersonal loops: the traumas of our family, ancestors, and past lives, again and again, without awareness.

We do not create the world. We externalize our inner reality onto the world. This is the basics of “shadow work”: the usage of the external world to see what we have to heal within. What creates reaction in us beyond an understandable or appropriate response for the situation is showing us something that lies unhealed within.

What we project onto the world are these loops– we are constantly casting characters in a play based off of our loops. The most common loop is that of small child looking for mother. Or father. We may spend our entire lives looking for the mother or father that our inner five year old never received the appropriate care from.

We look towards our gurus, teachers, relationships, friendships, and other places, continually casting this character of “mother” or “father” to play out this loop. The difficulty is that we are going to find someone casting their own play, and we are likely to find someone with the same exact wound as our own to engage in this loop with.

The other difficulty is that it is not our current selves that are looking for their mother or father. It is our inner child, and unless that inner child is healed, the recreation of this loop by our adult selves is never going to be satisfactory because the cast role or play is never going to be quite right because it is playing out in the present day and with different players.

Beyond trauma, loops are also created out of societal and religious conditioning, as well as biological mechanisms. These are the sort of layers of awakening– first we awaken to our own trauma, as well as transpersonal trauma (family, past lives, ancestry), then we begin to awaken to conditioning, and finally we come across biological and atavistic instincts.

Our loops in large part come from trauma. They also may come from a long-past biological instinct and/or survival instinct.

Put simply, if we had fire at one point when another person did not that might have meant our very survival.

While there can be a discussion of many different kinds of loops, the most basic form of looping is the superiority-inferiority loop.

All loops have internal and external components to them. The superiority-inferiority loop is one we enact in the outer world because we do not have the consciousness to recognize that we are projecting our inferiority complexes onto external reality.

As far as externalization, this loop can be enacted in a few ways.

First, we can externalize our shadows (the rejected aspects of self, what is unknown or unconscious within us) of competency and mastery onto others. There are many teachers, gurus, bosses, and so forth who are participating in this myth that are only too happy to accept people believing that they are special, chosen, enlightened, and so forth.

While there are certainly individuals who may be more conscious, competent, and skilled at whatever area we are talking about, beyond a certain threshold of consciousness, what you realize is that everyone is enlightened– we just may have a lot of “gunk” covering that up.

A competent guru or teacher in the spiritual space will not re-create or perpetuate this myth, but see others beyond it. Their role is to help others see their own light. Anything else is a perpetuation of this loop.

Second, we can maintain that we are “superior”, “special” or continually point to others that we feel are inferior to ourselves. This is also an aspect of our shadow.

If we do not feel inferior, we do not need to spend our days convincing others how special, enlightened, and so forth we are, or continually find ourselves pointing to our shadows of inadequacy in the outer world.

What happens when we are traumatized is that we become isolated and disconnected. Out of that initial rejection, we create mythologies regarding ourselves. This is often a myth that will allow for the wounded inner child to continue isolation or separation patterns to ensure safety.

A mythology of superiority or being “special” is then created by the individual and they can spend their entire lives believing this perpetuated mythology. It is only by questioning who needs to believe such a mythology that the wounded and isolated inner child is seen.

I have met so many individuals in this space that spend an incredible amount of time saying how much other people suck, or how they are not “real”. They continually create mythologies about being “chosen” or having “special knowledge” because they are externalizing their inner insecurities and shadows onto others.

This is the superiority-inferiority loop: if we point to others, that means that we are setting up an illusory binary in which we are “real”, superior, enlightened, have mastery or attainment because other people are inferior.

If you have any sort of interface with the Other and see what is commonly sold about some of the topics that I discuss: kundalini, spiritual awakening, shamanism, etc. much of what is being sold and bought is quite silly.

Often it is perpetuating this very loop and the mythology of being special and thus superior. People then take on this mythology, rather than doing the hard task of wondering why such a mythological construct is needed, or what in them truly feels inadequate or not special.

Of course education is necessary, but discerning the motivating factors behind our actions and words is always key.

Quite simply, most people are just fine within the hedge. Moving beyond it requires considerable amounts of personal responsibility as well as deconstruction of personal and collectively conditioned reality.

Realizing and feeling compassion for people being where they are, and realizing why people create and participate in the loops they do, can allow for there to be acceptance of what is, both within and without.

The shadow that really broke me of this loop was a reasonably well-known author whose every post was about how new-agers are horrible. A friend gave me his book, and I realized that he was a very wounded five year old who had set up his whole existence by projecting this new-ager aspect of himself onto others. He was a new-ager, quite simply, but as he was a few steps beyond the people he was pointing to, he could always find more external people to be angry at.

This led me to realize that in the modern world, we are profoundly spiritually orphaned, and that even though I have been a spiritual worker professionally for fifteen years, there will always be a part of me that is impacted by Western christianized, psychological spiritual frameworks.

Taking back projections like this one are always difficult. This loop is so incredibly pervasive, and we create mythologies in large part because they not only explain our existence but we can project our inner pain onto them. It is a lot to ask someone to consider to deconstruct them, but it is well worth our time to do so.

My book, The Body Deva, allows for someone to heal these loops. It is a method of body-based self-inquiry, and working with the book at a more in-depth level you can begin to use the world as your shadow, and recognize your loops, and ask where in your body you are holding them, and to resolve what lies unhealed within them.

Darkness, Spirit, and the Feminine

It is the tendency of our culture to mistake what is dark within ourselves for what is wounded, rather than seeing darkness as its own kingdom, and carrying its own beauty.

It has been a long path for me to separate my rather dark tendencies from what was wounded within me. We tend to speak of dark as “bad”, and especially in modern spiritual communities the idea of transmuting anything that is not of the utmost purity into “light” is the predominant ideal.

This means that individuals who are naturally dark, who resonate with the earth, with death, who if they saw something slightly mischievous or simply not compassionate would be fine or even curious (to get along swimmingly with), who love their inner wildness, their bodies, their sexuality– all things that a perfectionist mind steeped in unconscious christianized patriarchal mythologies creates strict guidelines against in an effort to separate from– are often cast out of spiritual communities, or must find their way in “dark” communities often populated by individuals who are confusing darkness for adolescent angst or mental instability.

I have been sitting with this pattern for years, as what I have noticed is that those who are the “darkest” carry the most light. Generally many of the individuals steeped in “lightwork” are simply looking for escapism; many who believe that they are only working with what is “compassionate” are simply self-creating or may even be being fooled because of their lack of discernment when it comes to the spiritual realms. 

Mostly people end up blocking themselves because the spirit realms, and the natural realms, and our daily lives, do not fit into tidy transcendentalist paradigms.

We create light by making room for it. By digging in our own dirt, by going to our ocean floor. By healing, and healing is a messy job. Becoming conscious is a messy job. We cannot be light unless we have contended with our own darkness and integrated our own shadows.

Those who have traversed great pain, trauma, who are drawn to hospice and death work, nursing, firefighting, have had near death experiences (that they have integrated) and have gone through the shamanic katabasis process in which they have either died or stuck their hands in enough of their dirt to truly work with what is at the bottom of themselves have empathy for how others suffer because they have been there.

We can see others through by that process of being a wounded healer, of traversing our own depths, of seeing how what is monstery and dark underneath is simply what is unknown, not what is bad. That what is dark within us, and outside of us, does not need to transmute into light, that our inner anger and swamp monsters and mermaids that wish to drown us simply because they can, can be exactly who they are, except they can be integrated.

They can simply be an aspect of ourselves. They can be accepted and heard and seen so they do not have to get our attention or be enacted in harmful ways. Once integrated, such things are no longer feared or separated from– either internally or externally.

Our shadows, our darkness, can become again a vital aspect of our being, becoming transmuted not from “dark” to “light” but from disassociated and castigated to the fuel of creative energy, the creative impulse. We can regain our vitality by becoming fully who we are, and that includes our darkness. We are yin and yang, dark and light, and without our darkness we are half a being, living a half-lived life, if that.

If we look at much of modern spirituality, it is within the context of “solar”, or masculine. This does not mean “male” (although…) it means that the masculine principle is one of daylight, of knowing the edges of things, the conscious mind, of control and certainty.

Our feminine principle is one of darkness, of creativity, of our shadowy depths, of our subconscious and all that is unknown within us. The moon, oceans, and seas and the earth. Our dreams, death, spirit and the spirit realms. The formless void– the great mother we all emerge from and all return to.

It didn’t take me long on my own path to see something quite wrong with how spirituality was approached. To see that something ineffable, that truly could not be known, was claimed and oppressively seen as “known”, with neat edges and easily claimed principles regarding how spirits operate, what the spiritual realms are like; for years I thought that it was because people simply were looking for escapism, for easy answers, for control.

I still have a valid point with that, but if we look at the root of that force it is a masculine oppressive force– a force that has found its way through patriarchal religions and ways of being that tell us that nature is evil, that our bodies are sinful, that we require a middleman to tell us who and what the divine is, that we are separate or should be separate from our bodies, from the natural and supernatural realms.

Lately I have been researching seers and oracles from different traditions and what you will often find is women who had natural capacities being kidnapped or offered to varying temples or priests (insert other appropriate terms here) and who had the divine pour through them– often quite painfully. They were often young, upset by their gifts, upset by being apart from the lives they saw their family or others in their community lead, separated from that life to be kept “pure”.

They would be treated simply as vessels, and their messages, either scratched out, spoken, or related in symbols would then pass through the priests who would then relate them to the community. It was a life of isolation, often ending poorly for the women involved. If she was to become pregnant (thus not virginal and “pure”) or simply outlive her usefulness, she would then be relegated to a life separated from both her role as oracle and unable to be assimilated back into the community again.

If we consider the feminine, it is of kundalini, or of creative principle and consciousness. The female form has the unique capacity to create, and is integrally tied to kundalini, or the creative principle.

A kundalini awakening is then the emerging of that creative principle (consciousness) and its rising up the midline, taking us through the varying levels of consciousness until we are able to permanently reside with our divine, realized selves.

It is a meeting of that feminine creative principle with the male static principle (above the head) at which point they descend, bringing grace into the heart area, and the experience of divine pulsation, or experience of being in the dynamic stillness of embryonic pulsation, occurs. This is not our own embryonic experience, but that of the cosmos, of the great mother.

We deeply fear the feminine, what cannot be fully seen and known, what cannot be thrust into daylight. My experiences of the spiritual realms have always been of that formless void– of that realization that no matter how much I know, I could know more, I could be more, that no matter how much I know, I only know an infinitesimally small amount of what is around me or out there.

Such a thing can be seen as a thing of beauty. But it requires both stepping away from the masculine principle– the conscious mind that so desperately wants control, to announce dominance and authority– as well as our religious-cultural conditioning that teaches us that what is dark, and thus feminine about ourselves, is something to be feared or separated from.

It also requires coming to some hard and rather obvious truths about ourselves. To get less “spiritual” for a moment I will say that our outer culture which means that the masculine impulse to destroy and dominate the feminine has led to quite a few misogynist emails to me over the years. Things that if someone had about a fiftieth of consciousness that such senders believe that they have (such as asking the question of I wonder if I would send this to a male spiritual teacher?) would lead to some wonderful internal questioning, and a much better world overall.

Or anyone out there who because of their implicit societo-religious conditioning has disassociated from their bodies (our “Earth”), their sexuality, and split from the natural world as well as the spirit realms because of a great fear that has been passed down that needs to be healed for anyone to really be whole. It certainly needs to be healed to not look at the spiritual realms through the masculine impulse to dominate, decimate, and claim authority over. To not see the spirit realms as black/white, knowable, controllable, its wildness tamed and brought into the daylight.

People are where they are, and will do what they do. But our darkness is a gift. Our wounded darkness is not. Neither is our wounded light. But in our darkness lies our creative energy,in our unfathomed depths and our darkness our greatest light. It is by accepting all aspects of ourselves, by having compassion for every aspect of ourselves, that we awaken. That we become whole. That we can clearly have life-changing experiences of divinity, of spirit, that go beyond what we can see, know, and claim.

 

Announcing The Shamanic Workbook I

I have taught more than a few courses over the years, and due to many requests (and some polite demands) I have compiled three of my courses into a book. It is a whopper of a book, too.

You can order the book here…
It will be available through other Amazon sites as well as other retailers over the next few weeks

This book is called Shamanic Workbook I (as I do intend to write more of them, or compile other courses eventually) and is focused on spiritual study and skill building for individuals who are ready for a spiritual path of depth. It is focused on techniques and skills that will allow for someone to become a person that can offer such a foundation for their own lives, as well as hopefully the lives of others.

Although the focus is in Shamanism/Animism, I have had a path that has intertwined heavily with Chinese Medicine, bodywork, energy work, occultism, folk magic, and other spiritual paths. I do feel like in the modern world that the modern-day practitioner needs to have knowledge of many paths, and as long as they are done with depth and reverence, they can only add to the lives of the individuals who traverse them.

The first section is my Cleansing and Clearing eight week course. It teaches about spiritual bathing, house clearing, egg cleansings (limpias), dream pillows, and methods of protection, including banishing and warding.

The second section is my Discernment Course. This was a five week course, and like the Cleansing course, both Discernment practices (how to tell what you are interfacing with, and the skills to do so) and Cleansing practices are the first foundation that any spiritual worker should have.

Discernment is essential. I don’t know how to say this enough times. In order to become a spiritual healer, or to do any form of spiritual worker, someone needs to understand what they are interfacing with. Otherwise they have no idea how to work with it, or do a poor job doing so. Clarity through discernment is absolutely essential, and it is so direly needed in spiritual studies.

The third section is my Ancestral Course. This is a four week course that teaches how to build an Ancestral Altar, how to work with an Ancestral Guardian, how to interface and work with the power of your lineage through a power object, as well as advanced work that includes working with the Void and working with non-human ancestors.

Ancestral spirits are the first that any spiritual worker should interface with. Learn techniques that will allow for you to discern who your ancestral guardian(s) are, as well as build connection to a healed spiritual ally that will form the basis for any other spiritual work, or spirit work (work with other spirits, deities, etc.) going forward.

This is essential work, and it is really time that spiritual studies is given the regard and depth that it deserves. It is such beautiful, life-changing work when done well, when given regard, and when that foundation is built. It is work that is direly needed in this world, both for individuals as well as for people looking to build skills to assist their families, friends, or clients.

I do hope that you enjoy the book. It really is my passion and mission to bring work of depth into this world for those ready for it– and I am aware more and more of just how many of you are out there. I express my gratitude to each and every one of you who is willing to do work of this depth, as it not only changes your life, but a small part of the collective web that we co-create together.

Learn more about my journey to this book below…

When I learned that something “spiritual” was going on with me I looked for groups and communities, to teachers, guides, and gurus to help me along my path. I have had some wonderful teachers over the years, as well as have learned some essential skills through them, some of which are in this book.

But my experiences of many communities left me initially with a lot of confusion and anger. Although I would find at each workshop or in each community someone “like me” or individuals that I could at least get along with, what I primarily found were people looking towards the spiritual realms for escapism and/or illusions of control.

From working with the spiritual realms since a young age (before I even knew to call it “spiritual”) and by my direct interface with the Other over the years I knew how nuanced the spiritual realms were, how much beauty and depth they could bring into our lives.

That spiritual interface should result in deepening connection to ourselves, the world, and the people in it. That spiritual work results in deep transformation spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically, and that we should emerge more functional, more embodied, more whole, and better able to traverse our lives on a daily basis from it.

That our perspective should shift… quite profoundly, with that evolution. This is the basis of what I teach, and how I approach spiritual work, and I have seen such profound things happen through spiritual work of depth. I am immensely honored and grateful at this point of my path to have discovered the depths that I have.

What I have realized over the years though by healing my own not being met by such communities was that simply many of them were not for me, and that that is perfectly okay.

What I realized is that I am someone who likes and feels called to work with the oceanic depths of things, to discover greater and greater depths, and that my potential and purpose was in those depths.

There is a real lack of training and foundational work in this world for individuals in spiritual matters beyond a certain depth. That there are so many like me, who have had to wade through swamps looking for that proverbial pearl again and again. That I could be of real benefit to this world, as I have spent more than twenty years seriously studying and exploring a spiritual path of depth, including ten years to the exclusion of everything else in my life studying and going through a serious period of spiritual initiation and education (I am very glad that period is over, as it ended five years ago but I am still evolving as we all should be)… and that I could help others who were ready to cut through a path that I had already traversed. That I could help other fellow bottom-of-the-ocean seekers.

That there are so many out there hungry and willing to learn, to open themselves, to evolve, and I realized with complete clarity that my focus should be on being of benefit to those who are willing to look deeply within themselves, who are ready and able to build skills, and who are looking for spiritual and energy work from a pragmatic, embodied standpoint that could allow for them to become who they needed to be, both for themselves and for others.

I thank all of you “bottom dwellers” who are willing to see and work with those depths. The world needs strong, competent, and skilled spiritual workers who can do work for themselves, their families, clients, the world.

This work has so much beauty, so much depth, and it requires someone of courage to be the type of psychonaut who is endlessly curious, who knows how ever far they have traversed there are countless depths still left unexplored. Who explores with humility, realizing that the spiritual realms are nuanced, that we do not have dominion over them, and who is willing to be a person of compassion and regard (as well as skill) in their interactions with them.

I thank all of you who are willing to look towards yourselves, the natural world, the Other (the spiritual realms) and the external world/one another seeking such depths. I hope this book helps you on your path to doing so.

Gnosis and Direct Revelation

The power of gnosis and knowledge that arises from direct revelation and interface with spiritual intelligences and forces in the modern world has been greatly diminished and disregarded.

Called snidely UPG, or unverified personal gnosis, we seek to dismiss anything that has not been told, seen, or experienced before, anything that falls outside of the models and parameters that have already been created.

There is, of course, a huge problem with spiritual orphaning in the modern world. We are so schismed from spiritual reality that we have huge filters– Christianity, materialist reality denying anything beyond it, obscuring mental realities– that prevent us from authentically or clearly interacting with the spiritual realms.

Anyone who has stuck their feet in the sort of waters of the spiritual path and has any type of pragmatism knows that there is a huge problem with individuals being unable to distinguish between psychological or mentally based realities and spiritual revelation.

As a teacher I have story after story of interacting with individuals who were psychotic or mentally unwell to such a degree that they have lost any sort of tethering to logic, communal reality, and are so mentally confused that they are interacting with their own wounds and fracturing rather than anything of a spiritual nature.

Beyond those individuals who truly are in need of serious help, there are those who are interacting with spiritual forces and receiving gnosis but it becomes skewed due to the nature of their wounding.

What we have is a generation of individuals who are spiritually orphaned to such a degree that they have never learned to distinguish (or may not wish to discern) between mythic creations, psychological projections, and authentic spiritual revelation.

While there is discernment needed certainly, such negation of direct revelation has other factors than individuals perpetuating mythic realities because their internal world, and outer reality, are too painful to interface with.

Spiritual orphaning has also resulted in many of us not receiving a proper spiritual education, or even realizing that spiritual study has a foundation of knowledge and initiations, similar to any other field of study, that need to take place. We no longer live in animistic societies, and so we no longer are surrounded by models or individuals who can mentor or inform us, and we do not receive that foundation of study, or go through the initiations that allow for us to become spiritual adults in this world.

Due to cultural constructs and our filter of materialist reality negating any subject of study outside of it, we may not even understand or regard spiritual studies as a serious field of study, distinct from psychological study.

Without this study, people frequently confuse common or frequently realized revelations for something quite profound. They may also simply be confusing themselves, and others who listen to them.

There also is a bit of irony that in the modern world we place so much importance on things like labels and certifications. When you begin to interact with people with those titles, you begin to realize that who that person is and what they have to offer, even when authentically having such labels, might be anything from profound spiritual knowledge to simply repeating what they have been taught with no spiritual interaction whatsoever, to being a horrible, slimy person filled with arrogance who has limited their reality out of their massive ego.

As I was taking myself out of the remaining spiritual communities that I was sort of on the fringes of about six months ago, I had the realization that if many of the people who spend their days engaged in “witch hunts”, telling people how awful, inauthentic, or invalid they are, spent even 1/10th of the time they spent engaged in such drama, ego dynamics and superiority contests on actually looking within, that they would have perspective on the internal dynamics that have caused for them to spend 90 percent of their time needing to rip everyone else to shreds, perhaps realize that there are more enlightened ways to spend their time, or at the very least realize that such dynamics point to something internal that needs to be rectified.

I also have realized lately that my path of educating myself was to create a framework, but my path of healing and attaining my certifications (labels, etc.) was so that I have the clarity and confidence to not only trust the spiritual revelation and communion states that I find myself in, but that I have the skill to discern on a continual basis (as in, discernment is a continual thing to do, even when I know damn well when I am in an ecstatic state or not) as well as to not doubt or deny what is coming through.

There is something of a cosmic joke in that myself, as well as many others, spend decades of their lives denying their experiences either because they are outside of the framework of what people experience (or at least talk about in communities) or because gnosis and direct revelation is so looked down on in a world that is so spiritually orphaned that such denial is a protective mechanism to fit into materialist reality.

But it is also a blocking mechanism, which means that for years I looked towards sources that offered me a framework, personal healing and clarity, tools so that I was not completely overwhelmed all the time, all essential things that I needed… but all of that has taken me back to a state of being six years old, communing with the birch trees and small pond as well as the spiritual forces in my Minnesota backyard.

There is simplicity in direct spiritual revelation, but it takes time to uncover or understand this, and we block ourselves or deny our experiences for so many personal and cultural reasons.

We work in models– we look towards what society, our communities,and our families deem is “right” or “good” or even “sane” to see where we fit in. If we do not fit in, we must decide why. We rarely consider if being well-adjusted to a society that is filled with people who are desperately unhappy (yet quiet desperation, as societal conditioning requires) is something that we should aspire to or want to fit in with.

Due to this spiritual orphaning, anyone experiencing direct revelation, even when they go into spiritual communities, or places that hypothetically are meant to celebrate spirituality and those of us who are “others”, will find themselves outside of what is accepted and revered in those communities.

There is a distinct and unfortunate irony that spiritual, shamanic, and occult groups have incredibly rigid mentalities and dogmas to the point that anyone who does not participate in “group-think” or has anything original to say (or who are participating in anything other than mentally created realities) will rarely, if ever, find their place in them.

I always think of the William James quote: A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices and never is this more seen when it comes to spiritual communities.

The same material recycled over and over by teachers and in books and such rigid ideologies and dogmas. It is what becomes popular, it is what is accepted, and the celebration of individuals who are adhering to such modes of thought and who find acceptance will sadly never find themselves pushed, or questioned, or really evolve because most of us simply want the same thoughts and ideas again and again because our mentally derived ideologies prevent us from looking within, they prevent us from direct revelation, and they keep us comforted by knowing what to expect of the world and the people in it; through such arrogance we can feel in control of what is ultimately uncontrollable, unknowable, ineffable, and can only be directly experienced and deeply felt.

The experience of direct spiritual revelation leads to the discovery that no matter how sensitive we are, no matter how in tune, that we can only know a small corner of the cosmos, that we definitely are not in control or have any type of mastery. If we are experiencing those direct initiations, it is like we are a small dot in an ever-increasing web each initiation we go through.

While it is common human arrogance or wounding patterns that prevent us, or skew us, from spiritual revelation, it is by those of us willing to discern, to do the work, to step outside of such rigid dogmas and people simply rearranging societally acceptable thoughts that we can evolve. The world is in desperate need of dreamers, of thinkers, of people willing to decondition themselves while still remaining pragmatic, sane, and embodied.

Those who are these things then tend to require discernment as a continual tool (such as my Animism course, or my Managing Psychic Abilities book) as well as continual healing (such as my Body Deva book) to be able, and willing, to receive such revelation clearly and to not filter it out through the mechanism of denial or reactivity to a world in which the loudest and most unhealed individuals are the models for spiritual revelation.

Enlightenment Experiences

One of the things that I notice a fair amount of confusion regarding is the nature of enlightenment, and enlightenment experiences.

Picture a sky above you. For a moment, the clouds part and you recognize that the true nature of the sky is a clear blue. This is enlightenment.

But for most, the clouds come back in and the experience is only temporary. We then identify with the clouds– with our emotions and traumas and experiences here– yet again.

For most, the experience of spiritual awakening is a removal or release of clouds, gradually or quickly, so that the sky goes from dark storm clouds to grey and then to dark storm clouds again, occasionally with some blue peeking in.

This is not a linear progression, but often an experience of seeing close to our true nature, or even having an enlightenment experience, as a momentary flicker, and then flickering back to our everyday reality, or our ordinary state.

In The Spiritual Awakening Guide, I liken this to an elevator. That elevator can go out the roof, it can go up to one of the top floors, but what is important is where our baseline is– where that elevator goes back down to once that temporary experience is over.

This is actually the intended meaning of the phrase dark night of the soul, coined by St. John of the Cross, who described seeing the ultimate beauty and revelation of his true nature/enlightenment and then found himself in deep despair as the elevator came back down (or said clouds came back, to mix metaphors).

The temporary enlightenment experience is then a road map. Once we experience something directly we give it validity, we have a model and a map. We work off of models– this is why representation is so important in our popular culture. If we have not directly experienced something, we either will deny it or not believe it is possible. 

But a lot of people tend to believe that they are enlightened when they have had an enlightenment experience instead.

Moving beyond the illusions that “enlightened” is simply the trendiest thing to be and so people desire to label themselves as such, something that hypothetically would confer superiority to such individuals grasping towards it (which is a bit of a cosmic joke in that this is one of the games that the ego-mind plays) and beyond the charlatans relying on NLP, on charisma, or on sheer fakery or delusion to become gurus, are people who simply misunderstand this concept.

This is why education is so important, as is a physical teacher, because when I had my first enlightenment experience my teacher told me that it wasn’t a big deal and that I should simply switch the meditation that I was doing because I was ready to do so based off of this experience.

The difficulty with an experience like this is that when the clouds come back, it is easy for the ego-mind to grasp onto the experience, and to play its tired old games of superiority/inferiority, of competitive spirituality, of believing oneself to be much further than one actually is on the spiritual path.

Those clouds are our ego-mind, and it plays these games to keep us who and what we are. Our ego-mind is afraid of death, the death of the known self, and it will play the same games each and every single time and the wounded aspects of ourselves, those that never feel good enough or were not heard/seen appropriately at the time of trauma, will grasp onto any notion, no matter how delusional or illusory, to prove themselves superior.

If an enlightenment experience is had, what that means is that training of the mind is necessary. This means meditation over a long period of time. I do realize that people do not like to hear this in the modern world, but the purpose of meditation (mental training) is so those experiences can lengthen and stabilize, and someone can go from having a singular experience to some level of permanency. Such permanency is almost impossible to have unless mental training over a lengthy period of time occurs.

What happens if those clouds part and we are mentally-emotionally unwell, or our elevator is baseline near the basement floor, is that we will take such experiences and become reactive to them. Our lives become dramatic, chaotic, and we grasp onto how difficult the spiritual path is. The spiritual path is quite difficult, there is no denying that, but there is a difference between pragmatically saying that and reveling in that fact, in using it to further romanticize those clouds and to stay stagnant within them.

There are two ways to mentally train. Similar to physical exercise, our minds require mental exercise because otherwise we will always identify with those clouds.

The first is well known these days. This is releasing what is within the contents of the mind. This is where most people should start, as our minds are quite chaotic and full because we have never really learned how to clear them. While sleep does this to a certain extent (takes out the trash, so to speak) our minds are so jam packed that we simply cannot release all of the noise in our heads without meditation.

This can be progressive relaxation (one of my favorites) or the ever-popular present-moment awareness (such as Thich Nhat Han’s washing the dishes to wash the dishes, and being with each dish) to some of the popular Zen meditations of watching the breath and identifying with the breath, or of putting each thought that comes by on a leaf.

The second would be mentally focusing, or self-inquiry. Once the mind begins to clear, we can begin to understand the nature of the mind. Eventually this allows for perspective– famously coined by Ramana Maharshi as no longer being an actor on a screen, but of being the projectionist (or of even being the space in between the frames of the film).

This can be done by single-point focus, such as in some Tibetan meditation methods where they picture a huge amount of deities and what they are all wearing (how many arms they have, etc). Or in some occult methods, looking at an object in front of you with half open eyes until you can describe everything about it. It sounds odd to do this with a comb, or something quite simple, but it is much harder than it seems.

The other method which is not well known is self-inquiry. This is really delving in deeply within ourselves to understand our motivations, to know how and why thoughts emerge, to heal and catch ourselves up to present day. Unless we understand how and where (such as, from what age, why we believe what we do, the underlying trauma behind it) our thoughts arise from, and until we have perspective from the ego-mind, we will always identify with it, and identify with our wounded and illusory selves. 

It is by questioning our motivations, by healing our wounded and traumatized selves, that we can begin to understand the nature of the mind, and those clouds begin to part (or that elevator baseline goes up a few floors).

This method is incredibly profound, and for those of you looking for a self-inquiry method, I am obviously biased towards my The Body Deva book, as I created it as a method for people spiritually awakening (in which the contents of our psyche come forward, whether we want them to or not, we need some method to process them, and this is what this book was borne from).

Both kinds of meditation, or mental training, are important.

If we solely focus on the first one, we may become quite shiny (our auras) but we lack any sort of depth. This would be like looking at the sky and seeing those clouds quite clearly, but such clarity does not mean that those clouds are going anywhere.

If we focus solely on the second, we may find ourselves delving too deeply, such as what happens at some of those meditation retreats where individuals are overwhelmed by all of those clouds coming forward and lack the clarity and training to be able process them all, or to see clearly why they came forward.

Both types of meditation allow for those clouds to be seen for what they are, for them to release, and for that sky to progressively and gradually become permanent. This means enlightenment– the permanent clear blue sky.

As one last thing, I will again point to the fact that although many people claim enlightenment, or believe they are enlightened after those clouds parting briefly, that those in a state of permanency are quite rare, and if you are looking for a teacher or guide out there, to look for someone who is well aware of what they need to work on, those clouds that remain. Otherwise the likelihood that you are participating in an illusory game, or reenacting a loop (either karmic or simply the repetitive games of the ego-mind) are really, really high.

Always look for the person who points to their humanity, and who understands that their purpose is to simply assist you to see the sky, a sky which is simply underneath those clouds.

Emotional Health and the Collective Shadow

Like many of you, I was deeply impacted by the death of Anthony Bourdain.

Such a death always creates an outpouring of memes, of support, of opinions one way or the other on how someone who seemingly had many of the things that we aspire to– a successful, inspiration career, a gregarious manner and friends who cared, an ability to connect and to voice his opinion, financial stability– and our questioning of how someone who seemingly has what we define in society as “success” could still be struggling.

As a society, the way that we treat our emotions, our lack of emotional intelligence and empathy is appalling. The thing about suffering is that we all experience it, we all experience the inevitable ups and downs of life, but that we all try to hide it. 

That trauma persists in isolation, that it creates the belief that we are the only one who is suffering.

Those of us who deeply feel are told by the world that such feeling is incorrect, wrong, pathological, and to be numbed, placated, or not felt so as not to be a disturbance to the whole.

We live in a world steeped in scientific materialism– it is considered the only valid reality– which means that spirit, as well as our emotions, are relegated to pathology.

Never is this more apparent than in the spiritual spheres. In the illusions and pretending of individuals who state that they are beyond feeling, much illusion serves to simply perpetuate the restrictive scientific materialist worldview through spiritual paradigm that feeling is not okay.

Such ideologies only perpetuate and exacerbate the collective shadow– the “othering” of emotions, the wearing of masks, and the deep fears of a sick society of anyone who is struggling or feels anything but numbness in this world.

If you notice this, you can begin to notice how societal conditioning wishes for us to lead lives of quiet desperation, and how even our spiritual ideologies perpetuate such conditioning.

Over the years I have watched as the students who have been drowning in their trauma and existences to the point of me losing sleep worrying about their basic safety, have displaced their issues onto the spiritual realms, considering themselves “shamans” or similar so as not to look within.

I have encountered so many who believe they are enlightened when they are psychotic, who place all of their suffering at the feet of whatever spiritual label or experience they believe themselves to be going through.

This is the difficulty of living in a world that disregards emotions, that tells us not to feel. We live in such fear of feeling, of the words mentally ill that we will do anything, and create anything, so as not to be defined and “othered” by a world that so deeply fears its emotions and has so much unprocessed trauma and pain.

We are in the collective shadow of so many who look to the light because the shadow of suffering both personally and collectively is too much to bear.

It is the rather enormous elephant in the room that those suffering the most emotionally-mentally, the most fractured and distant from grounding in collective reality, will take the framework of spiritual awakening, of labels like shaman and empath and kundalini, to create illusion and delusion about their lives so as not to contend with the contents of their psyches.

The recognition that whether it is the spiritual awakening process or a spiritual call involves deep connection and grounding to collective reality (as well as many other realities simultaneously) and to the self, is curiously missing from these perpetuated ideologies.

It is also a rather large issue that those who are drowning in their lives will also become practitioners or teachers and try to tend to others while still drowning– we cannot be of assistance to others if we are drowning in our own lives. We must be ashore in order to have the clarity to assist another.

I do not wish to be unkind in this sentiment– there are plenty of practitioners who have walked the path of the wounded healer. But with clarity and the ability to step ashore comes the realization that when drowning, that tending to others must stop, and tending to the self is of the most importance.

It is also a large issue that those whom I have worried the most about over the years have inevitably turned to practitioners and teachers who are more than willing to tell them that all of their difficulties are because they are filled with demons, possessed, have ET implants, or affix many of the labels of spirituality to them because they are either taking advantage of, confused themselves, or drowning themselves.

These issues have caused more than a few existential crises in me over the years, and it is difficult for me to not view much of the spiritual marketplace as either serving to give rigid ideologies to keep people where one is (while giving the mask of spirituality), or perpetuating the harmful ideologies that prevent people from attending to their inner states of being.

To do spiritual work, to do it well, to spiritually awaken, means looking straight at our humanity. To become human.

It is a slog, often a thankless one in many ways, as seemingly the suffering looked at simply becomes another brand of suffering. That despite the light that comes pouring in, the ecstatic states, the revelation and realization, that to awaken means to deeply feel. It means to see past yourself, and when one does so the type of suffering that people struggle through daily, hourly, just trying to get through the day, is a profound thing to witness.

It is a hard clarity to witness the suffering of the world, to deeply feel it. We wish to believe that the world begins and ends at ourselves, and the illusions of awakening always point to this ideology. The truth that awakening causes for one to see past the self, to see another, to see the world, means that such awareness is not always a gift, but at times a painful truth.

As we awaken, we accept the world for what it is, and people for who they are, letting go of the desire to change or control them. That does not mean that all people, and the world, become beams of light, but that as we reconcile our inner nature in terms of the external world (do shadow work) that merely the attachment and desire and judgment in regards to our external reality changes.

The first stage of any path– no matter if you are a “called” shaman, truly experiencing a kundalini awakening or spiritual awakening or not– is to look at that suffering, to look at those emotions that fill one within, to admit when something is not working in your life.

It is to become truly and vitally human, which includes experiencing and working with the emotions, gaining emotional intelligence, and meeting the world, and the people in it, for who they are (and not who we would like them to be).

To realize that others are suffering, have suffered, will suffer. We suffer in isolation, we suffer due to our paradigms pathologizing emotion, we suffer because the term mental illness is so stigmatized and so “othered” that we seek to brush those with that label to the side so as to not reckon with it in ourselves.

No matter how emotionally-mentally stable we are, the deep fear of the madman/madwoman, the realization that others do not recognize or submit to the rules of societal conduct and so are out of our control, is a shadow within ourselves that requires looking at.

Even if we are blessed with the type of mental-emotional health that allows for us to get through our days reasonably intact, we are so sick as a society that we revere quiet, we revere non-emotion, we create shadows of light that only make certain emotions and expressions of humanity okay.

No matter who we are, we have experienced trauma of some variety. We have suffered. Such suffering is not a contest, but shows us truly our humanity. It is part of being human, and such experiences should carry no stigma but be recognized as something that each one of us carry.

We are not static beings, and our definitions and pathologizing of mental-emotional imbalances means that we leech the humanity from those who have been defined as such. We lack recognition that beyond a very small contingent of society, who we are is in a state of flux, and those experiencing the depths of suffering, the depths of depression or anxiety or even psychosis can and do emerge out of the other side.

We have lost our reverence for feeling, for experiencing, and nowhere is this most exemplified than in many of the spiritual communities and in our outer, materialist society that teaches the deep feelers of this world to shut up, to wear a mask, and that silence is golden.

If we are able to recognize this societal sickness, to recognize the need for health on all levels– physically, mentally-emotionally, and spiritually– we can begin to work with what is out of balance in ourselves. We can recognize that one of those levels is not more important than the other– we need all to be healthy on all of those levels.

If something is out of balance, tending to it on the level that is creating the most difficulty (physical, emotional/mental, or spiritual) is necessary. 

While it sounds almost trite to say, if we are drowning in our lives it is an unfortunate factor that we must recognize that we are drowning. To recognize that such drowning will not be forever. That the rise in “rugged individualism” or belief that one must contend with things internally and alone is yet more societal sickness, and that those who are ashore, whether they be friends, family, or mind-body therapists of varying sorts, can help to pull us ashore, or at the very least hand us a life jacket.

That drowning is in no way shameful. No matter how grounded we are, no matter what labels we ascribe to ourselves, as humans we will occasionally be treading water, or drowning, and it is by realizing that as humans we all drown, or tread water at times, that we can begin to heal this collective shadow, to tend to our emotions, to recognize how societally sick we are in terms of anything beyond our physical/materialist health.

Krishnamurti once said that it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society and as we consider what societal conditioning wants from us,  what the paradigms of materialist health want of us, and the sort of illusions that many spiritual teachers and communities create, we can begin to have perspective of how direly our world, and the people in it, need to tend to their health on all levels.

It is by looking at the shadows created by such a system, by reconciling internally our othering of our emotions, ourselves, our inner madman/madwoman (and how we “other” those in our external reality) that we can begin to see one another as people, no matter what labels or masks we wear.

Such reconciliation of our inner humanity, such recognition of our suffering, truly seeing what is not working in our lives (as well as a healthy dose of understanding that our suffering at its depths is often fleeting, and realization of ourselves not as static creatures, but of ever evolving creatures, including emotionally) and by revering our emotions and what that little voice within us says when it speaks of hope, that we can move past our shame, move past our masks of being a warrior or being not in pain or not feeling, and realize that we are simply and definitively human.

Shared pain is lessened, trauma persists in isolation, one of my teachers said. Take care of yourselves, and realize that tending to your emotional health in such a sick society is an act of great courage, as is asking for support when needed.

Perfectionism, Control, and Paradoxes

I remember when I was starting my path (well, was consciously doing so) that I had this idea that if I only reached a certain state, that I would be perfected.

That this was the end goal– a state of continual health, happiness, joy, peace, bliss, or love. That if I only tried hard enough I would not need to struggle, or would find my way beyond it to some sort of arbitrary and static perfected state.

When this illusion was shown to me to be an illusion about a decade in, I felt deceived. I began realizing how illusory the notion of a fixed state of perfection was… which then began an existential crisis about what the point of it all was, and feeling a certain level of meaninglessness.

I began seeing how people (including myself) held onto these fixed ideas that if they only got far enough (or wore a mask hard enough) that they would be all love, all the time.

That this was a “loop” in which a teacher would wear a mask pretending to be all love, or perfected, and both imperfect teacher and student would play the game (or participate in the loop) of this illusion.

We love this illusion, as the idea of this sort of perfected love reminds the wounded soul of the love that they did not receive from their mother or father. It is so easy to externalize this onto another– onto a teacher or healer or another who is more than willing to pretend to be this.

Because it gives them power, because it gets them students, and because they are as wounded as their students, often in the same way, and both are playing out a loop of wounded parental relations with one another from simply different sides.

If you go beyond the surface, you will see that the people that we prize in our culture for reaching such an attained state never reveal any type of nuance. They realize that they are playing a game, or are so wounded that they are desperate to not reveal who they truly are.

Mother Teresa’s journals reveal how disconnected and depressed she felt, Ramana Maharshi especially near the end of his life was often fatigued and could not take visitors, Krishnamurti suffered from grief and migraines, Gurdjieff shouted at his students and had many angry rants.

I am in no way disparaging those individuals, but merely pointing out their humanity. If we only know little about people, it is easy to imagine that they have reached a static, perfected state.

One of my favorite teachers was Nisragadatta (I Am That is still essential reading in my book) because he never pretended. He was the first teacher that I came across (although I have come across a few more by this point) who was deeply human, who would point out to students when they were not ready, when they were steeped in illusion, when they were being stupid.

His work would not likely translate to many modern seekers today because if they are still caught in the loop of idealized perfection or seeking the love they never found through their mothers and fathers, he would have broken through that illusion.

It is a rare student nowadays that is willing to move beyond the ego enough to not only take on a teacher, but to truly be a student. To have their blind spots shown, and to move beyond what they already know.

He also smoked and enjoyed sex, which the modern seeker who dislikes any type of embodiment and feels at odds at this world will point out as not being “perfected” and then move on to someone willing to play the role of external guru for them.

A whole host of teachers and healers who have pretended enlightenment and perfected states eventually show their shadow sides because in such states of pretending, the atavistic instincts, the shadow self, what is untended to within, screams in pain and will find a way to reveal itself.

The modern seeker looks for this type of perfection in their teachers, and will break down, discard, or disregard anyone that does not fit into their personal ideals of perfection. They will idealize and create a narrative around their teachers and when their teachers show to be human (which, you know, humans will) or deviate from the romanticized notions that are divorced from the reality of who that teacher is they will move onto the next teacher who is willing to wear a mask and pretend a perfected state to enact the loop again.

This is an especially vicious loop with individuals who are enacting difficulties with authority/parental issues onto their teachers, as the teacher will inevitably fail to become their projected parent.

Or even worse, the teacher will take on that role, and use it to abuse, control, or take power from their students who are seeking a teacher who wears such a mask. Often they will do this without awareness, as  they are not willing to look within at their own wounding (and would rather teach, which is an interesting and common method of resistance to personal healing/attainment).

As long as we are human, we are imperfect. Beyond that, the experience of higher consciousness states not only has a lot of nuance, but is deeply paradoxical and it must be directly experienced to understand those paradoxes.

We become enlightened by digging deep within ourselves and realizing our humanity. It is by sitting with our humanity and really embodying that we can transcend.

We cannot become “lightworkers” unless we have created space for that light by digging in the dirt of ourselves– by examining and sitting with our darkness. By healing it, by realizing it, by accepting it.

We can become “love” by deeply accepting all aspects of ourselves, by loving all aspects of ourselves. This is not by forcing things to become love, but by loving every vicious, atavistic, ugly, dirty, ashamed, wounded, monster-y aspect of ourselves for exactly who they are.

That we can only learn if we are willing to contend with what we do not know.

That we can only progress if we see how much further we can go.

That we can only move beyond knowledge if we educate ourselves.

That we can only move beyond illusion if we contend with the suffering within ourselves that causes for us to create illusions of power, attainment, and achievement.

To liberate oneself requires a lot of discipline. It requires education/study, physical and mental practices to create balance over many years.

You can give anyone some LSD and stick them into a sensory deprivation tank and they will come out talking about “cosmic” something or other, but to truly attain and remain consistently at expanded states of awareness/consciousness requires meditation/mental discipline, physical discipline, and daily practices over many years.

People really do not like to hear this one, and if you look at all of the illusion out there you can really tell it is illusion because it will allow people to remain lazy, uneducated, and unhealed. I realize that this sounds unkind, but the spiritual path traversed with any type of seriousness requires a great deal of effort, and is one of the hardest things that one can do with ones’ life.

It is so easy to break down, to spend our time discrediting, gossiping, or creating illusions. We can create such spectacular illusions about ourselves, and create so many beliefs that allow for us to remain exactly who we are (even if that is not a happy “who we are”) and those at the beginning of their path will always believe that they are at the end.

It is much easier to play the game of perfection and enlightenment, because it requires no effort. You can be an internet troll and share all the right memes, you can be incredibly wounded and create an illusion that you are special and powerful, you can spend all of your days gossiping and attempting to destroy others….and the real question at the end of the day is what the person brings of benefit into the world.

It is through our thoughts and actions that we show who we are. Continually and constantly.

People often ask me how I can manage to get so much done in my day, and I am quite busy. But it is because I question how I spend my time, who I spend my time with, and consider that the spiritual path allows one to express their Will– what they are meant to do in this world.

What is not typically understood without direct experience is that “losing the ego” or “losing an I” is paradoxically also about gaining that “I”. It is not a state of common disassociation– it is an uprising and realization of connection to divinity, to the Earth, to all that is, and that rising also allows a descending– a discovery of the “cosmic I” or the realization (as well as the creative energy) to fulfill purpose in this world.

The more that one heals, the more that one embodies, the more that one grounds, the higher one can go, the greater expansion and perspective one can have.

Paradoxically what happens when we move into states of higher consciousness is that we realize that the illusion of a static or perfected state is just that. An illusion.

That higher states of consciousness are flowing, and dynamic. You are not just one static thing, but many things at once. That anger has a purpose and a beauty and a flow and is as divine as bliss or joy. That you can (and do) feel pain and joy, bliss and depression, and paradoxically it is at the juncture of those, or where those paradoxes meet, that magic, creation, awakening, takes place.

We are just filled with so much backlogged trauma and create such illusions out of our pain that our experience of anger is not one of flow, and is not nuanced, and we have never received the education to understand the message of anger and how to experience it as a flowing state… one that can bring a lot of energy and dynamism if worked with well.

That we are not, nor will we ever be, static beings. That even bliss has nuance, it has darkness, and will flow into something else. That the more that we try to grasp onto such states the less that we experience them.

That we have spent so much time judging ourselves and the outer world according to personal and societal standards that nobody can live up to, including the people that we latch our ideas of perfection onto.

That such perfection has created a cage. That is a method of control, resistance, the wounded aspects of ourselves never measuring up.

We feel that we can control ourselves, the world, and the people in it, if we have rules. If we have models that we can follow. We spend our time judging others for not meeting those rules without understanding that they are our rules, and often come from wounding. That not only that, that they are rules that come from society… rules that are intended to keep us contained, to keep us within the models of conformity that cause for so many of us to feel so unworthy, and in such states of quiet desperation.

It is paradoxically by letting go of our need of perfection, and by continually looking within at what is not working in our lives, what is creating pain, what is not in an adult state (such as using my book, The Body Deva, which is a method of self-inquiry as well as covers emotional intelligence and how to work with emotions), what is not allowing for us to feel alive and joyous and free that we can awaken. It is by grounding deeply in our humanity, in our imperfections, that we can be free… to be the imperfect humans that we are.