One of the most difficult things on my spiritual path (beyond surrendering and coming to terms with the illusion of control) has been the letting go of layers of emotions related to the realization of the world being an illusion.
Many of my clients have felt the same way. This realization first comes as a sudden, irrevocable moment. We may have intellectualized about it before, or heard others speak about it (or intellectualize about it) but there is a sudden, direct experience of understanding the outer, exterior world (our day to day reality) as being an illusion that is difficult, if not almost impossible, to integrate.
At first this direct experience may come looking outward at the world. We see that not only individual people but our town, our state, our society, and our world are repeating loops of patterns and behaviors again and again. We may be in a public place and realize that most people are like actors engaging in a play they do not know they were cast in. That the behavior of a group, or of people in a restaurant or a movie theater is to be expected because it is looping. We may have deja vu of experiences that we have never had before (that are not based in interior constructs like past lives or something we actually have experienced before but do not remember).
We may realize this on a societal or world level– that the same pop star but with a different face comes through every 5-10 years. We may begin to realize that political, social, and societal events repeat themselves ad nauseum in some sort of effort to break the cycle or change. But change is difficult, and requires many members of society to change, including ourselves.
We will then look inward and realize our own loops, the ways in which we are an actor cast in our own lives. Everything from crossing the street the same way every time to conditioned responses to how we emotionally react we will realize are ingrained patterns from conditioned reality, our belief systems, our traumas, and our thoughts.
Realizing that the world is an illusion first results in a sort of disbelief. A daydream state of feeling like you are watching something on television. This is much different than the sort of disassociation that occurs with trauma– it is the understanding that while out at a restaurant that you are the only person that realizes that everyone else is acting, that everyone else are like poppets repeating the same behaviors again and again.
Next comes anger. At first this is anger at the outer world– how can people not realize they are actors, that they are asleep, that they are part of this illusion?
After comes internal anger– how were we asleep so long? How were we sleepwalking through our own lives? How many ways and which ways are we still false? How many ways are we still sleeping, are we still acting through part of most of our lives?
Then comes grief… this is a difficult grief. To realize that the world is essentially false, that the world is created through our thoughts and through the conditions and thoughts of society/world. It is a difficult phase to go through to look at the world and realize from this vantage point of grief that most people are really struggling. Most people are really asleep. And many people lash out again and again in these loops without realizing it, most people are acting out their wounds and traumas and thoughts and the traumas, wounds, and thoughts of society again and again without realizing it.
Again we may be able to turn inward– what parts of ourselves is latching on to this grief? What parts of ourselves are still reactive to this grief? It is completely appropriate to feel sadness when looking at the world, but to let it consume us is another matter. We are intended to feel emotions, even the deepest layers of grief, but all emotions are like a wave form that can flow through us… or they can stagnate because we want to catch them, to hold onto them, to resonate with them.
The realization of the world being false, the numbness and emotional reactions that occur are all phases many of us who are truly awakening go through. The difficulty is that while we are all awakening, in small or large ways, in spiritual communities many of us do not come to this phase because we get stuck in the emotional aspects (totally understandable) which can be overwhelming… or we prefer the illusions of awakening to actually awakening.
When we work through some of our emotions the next level for many people who have gotten here is anger and grief at spiritual communities or people within them. Truly waking up allows for us to see that most spiritual materials are simply illusory– they are created by those who are repeating loops of behavior and thoughts like anyone else.
When you are truly awakening it is hard to look at the state of spiritual propaganda out there and not get upset. At first this is a natural reaction, but upon questioning… upon truly looking at this anger and grief two things come up.
1. That many people, including many gurus, are just as asleep as anyone
2. That many of these people, including many gurus, are doing better in this world than you are
This all boils down to a simple, but interesting fact: Most people want to remain asleep. They prefer illusion.
If I were to tell you that spiritual awakening is difficult, that most of the people I have worked with who are truly awakening lead difficult lives and have to work through many physical, emotional, and spiritual crises how many people would sign up?
If I were to tell you that spiritual work means complete surrender and seeing through the world in a way that most people will never understand? That seeing and thinking differently than others results in being ostracized rather than accepted?
What if I were to tell you that you truly can know who you are, what you are here to do, claim your power, understand spiritual power, know that magic is real, that spirits are real, that shamans truly can traverse realms, that your thoughts do manifest into reality (with some interesting results), and that you can feel oneness with source, that you can be fully embodied, that you can feel blissful in nature and in your lives… but that it comes through continual struggle, continual surrender, and walking through certain spiritual doors and having certain spiritual initiations that cause you to feel oneness and at the same time feel isolated because of these initiations/understandings?
Now, if I were to tell you that you just have think positively and nothing bad is going to happen to you… if I were to tell you that if you just create a vision board with a Mercedes on it you will receive one… if I were to tell you that if you think positively enough you will not get cancer, or die, or have diseases… if I were to tell you that awakening just means bliss… if I were to tell you that you will be a millionaire or CEO if you awaken… if I were to tell you that awakening means no longer having any emotions or human experiences (in which you are likely struggling as we all do)… if I were to tell you that you are in control of all of the spiritual realms and you just have to imagine white light to make anything frightening go away… if I were to tell you that everything is an extension of you and if something makes you upset, it is your fault, and if you see a spirit it is just an extension of you and you can simply think it away… if I were to tell you that awakening is somewhere else that you “ascend” to… if I were to tell you (this one is one of my favorites) that we are on the verge of a big world paradigm shift and aren’t we special to be a part of it because we will all transform… If I were to tell you that there is no such thing as darkness, or evil…
That last paragraph sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Much of the spiritual world and the current and popular gurus are illusory. They are feeding into the cycle of looped behavior. It does not take a genius to look at one particular new-age publishing house and see that they print the same book again and again just with different faces on the back covers. It is not surprising when one of the most “enlightened” channelers who has made millions off of her followers suddenly goes on an anti-Semitic tirade and the conditions of her “camp” are finally brought to the light of day as being deplorable. Most people are simply pretending. Some realize it, many do not.
Many followers are looking for something to make themselves feel better. They want to be awakened because they want to be rich, healthy, beautiful, and in a constant state of bliss (and yet not feel anything oddly). Our lives are difficult, and so this message that is continually perpetuated that the whole world is under our control, and if we just think right nothing bad will ever happen to us is difficult to witness for anyone who has actually awakened beyond this.
It can be difficult to realize that most people want illusion, and that faced with anything of “truth” they will become emotional, upset, or reactive… allowing for themselves to close off from any understandings outside of their own constructed illusion. It can be difficult to see, and is one of the more difficult spiritual initiations to traverse in the awakening process.
But if we begin to see that the world is false, it is full of illusions and thoughtforms and people who are asleep, and we continually work on the sleeping parts of ourselves, we can move past the anger, past the comparisons, past the disgust at the newest trend in spiritual literature being the same illusions recycled again and again with different names and faces on the back covers.
We can begin to realize that it is okay that most people are asleep. We can have compassion for the fact that most people are really struggling and need to feel in control… because the idea that if they just think right that nothing bad will happen to them may be all that is getting them through their days.
Awakening is beautiful, it is blissful, it is fully recognizing and realizing who you are. It is claiming your own power and having realizations and understandings that few do. But it is also difficult. And continually surrendering patterns such as this one, and participating in external reality (our day to day lives) after letting go of the anger, of the grief of the world being false means that we can surrender and unfold in source like we are intended to… without getting wrapped up in the reaction to the illusion. We can realize that others need their illusions, that they at least think they do, and have compassion for that. We can have compassion and love any person who is willing to take one step forward or break any sort of looping they have… to clear any sort of chaos or sleep out of their lives… most people do not and someone taking personal responsibility to take one piece of that chaos and clear it, or become one step closer to becoming conscious is admirable. We can become a conscious actor in the play, we can make peace with the isolation and oneness occurring simultaneously… we can continue to examine ourselves and our own loops that arise and truly and continually awaken.