There is a look to someone who has been too far, who has seen too much… at times this is an intent stare, other times an otherworldly gaze. Both seem as if they are looking through you, to the depths of you. Or perhaps they are not even noticing you, so lost in another dimension, timeline, or spiritual reality that most cannot notice.

glass-271151_1280It has been a while since I have done a Spiritual Advice column. I received an email from someone recently that I will not post (a lot of identifying info) but as this is a common theme I hear time and again, I thought that I would pose my thoughts on the subject.

The real sort of question here is one of fear. It is of going to some depth or broaching some understanding that would cause insanity, death, or some type of shattering, either in some real or imagined way.

For some spirituality is a sort of self-help, a way to feel momentarily better about oneself, perhaps finding tools and ways to lead a better life, a life filled with more peace and harmony… a filling of that void within that calls out for more that is momentarily satiated, or perhaps becomes smaller due to spiritual pursuits.

For others spirituality, the occult, shamanism, and so forth is about finding “truth”. It is about the realization that most of the world is asleep, numb, on auto-pilot, and a realization that there must be more beneath that.

This quest, to find out what lies beneath, has taken plenty of people beyond the sort of surface-level spirituality that caters to the self-help crowd. It is an entirely different quest, in fact. One quest is to feel better– to quiet the inner storm, that inner divide that whispers in the night to the person that they are not good enough.. that there must be something out there to make them feel less alone, more connected, and overall better about their lives.

The other quest is one of truth. It is to find personal truth. Collective truth. To know what really lurks beneath. There is healing here– this is no band-aid for the soul. It is brave, true, and warrior-like work. It is taking one step forward into all of that material that we have collected, that has made us who we are.. and bravely tearing off the packaging that makes us believe that we are one thing– one dominant personality, one incarnation– rather than a grouping of energies come together. It is a release of the stories and beliefs that we have considered to be “truth”… a release of them, and a realization that those stories have made us part of the collective that thinks, eats, and believes without questioning.

So the real question is if there is danger here. The answer is yes, of course there is.

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Most of the world operates at such a superficial level that the idea of any truth– personal or collective– or of going beyond what is thought to be true, personally or collectively, emerges you in the proverbial rabbit hole. At the beginning of this rabbit hole is what we know to be true about ourselves. We can find a lot of companions here– others who wish to peek beneath the surface of things… explorers, warriors, and more.

This group at the surface of the rabbit hole, at the beginning of its depths, are warriors in their own right. They are searching for something more, for something larger than themselves. They are willing to do work, to look within, and to consider different forms of spirituality and how those can make a difference in their lives. The people here find tribes, companions, and others to help them in their quest.

But as you go deeper beyond the surface you must face truths about yourself and the world that are frightening. We are programmed to believe certain things about ourselves and the world. That first time that someone discovers that magic(k) is real, that spirits are not parts of the psyche, that your will can construct the universe, or that releasing a long-held belief and understanding about yourself can create radical transformation and change physically, mentally, and emotionally it is frightening.

It always is, quite simply. Because with each depth we traverse, the further we go, the more our outer world changes. In many cases this is in exceptional ways– we truly know who we are, we have more freedom from releasing long-standing patterns and beliefs. As we go deeper we find that we truly can shape our world, that our intent and focus and ability to exert our will can allow us to do so.

But each time that we release, that we learn something new, or there is a new spirit-led initiation, we need to integrate. Our entire world changes. Who we were may be gone in an instant, or may take several days (or weeks) to emerge.

And there is a danger about traversing your own depths. Most of us have really no idea about what is truly within ourselves– the amount of self-hatred, primal instincts (violence, lust, etc), and different aspects of self there are within. Some of these may be wonderful, aspects of our personality that we delight in embracing. We may find past lives, ancestors, and spirits that truly allow for us to feel power, safety, and delight in our travels.

But there are parts of all of us that are vile, evil, disgusting, and brutal. Working with these is quite different, and the discovery of them is something that is difficult to deal with. Because we, especially if we have been on a spiritual path, especially if we have been amassing light and energy and can feel the flows of the universe, find ourselves mid-rabbit hole suspended by these energies.

On more surface levels they are called “shadow” and the mainstream popularized way to deal with anything is to forcibly transmute it to light. But that doesn’t work here. What these elements want is not to be reviled, but to be understood. They are simply currents of energy that will not cede to forcibly being changed into something we deem more suitable, more light, more in line with our puritanical tastes.

And there is a danger in having experiences that few do. Realizing different worlds, timelines, and energies sounds wonderful to the aspirant until you discover that there is need for integration– there is a need to go to the grocery store while realizing that you are simultaneously living other lives. That you must feed the cats, brush your teeth, and go to work while an aspect of you is meandering in the Abyss.

And these realizations change your life. Once you realize that spirits are real (for example) there is no going back. There is no sitting around talking on a message board about if they are psychological or not. The reality of the spirit world has been experienced directly by you, and there is no going back from that. There are certain thresholds, certain doorways, that once traversed your understanding of the world, the cosmos, and of human society change irreparably.

So does this mean that these things mean that you have gone too far? Perhaps the answer is yes to this. I have seen this gaze too often, even though it is fairly rare. You can tell when someone has plunged into the depths of that rabbit hole. Many of them, when broached this question, understand that there is no going back to previous understandings. But there is no desire to go back to previous understandings, either. Once awake, once in the depths, the desire to go back to sleep is minimalized.

But what is more painful, more difficult is when you are mid-rabbit hole. When you have had some initations, experiences, and insights that separate you from others just enough that it can be painful. You are moving in a world that is asleep, and you are no longer that way. The desire for sleep, to go back to surface levels, to meaningless chatter, and to less of a warrior-like path is strong here.

And so is the resistance. Despite awakening, despite a solid spiritual path, despite initiations, those mid-rabbit hole still have not surrendered. Those deeper in know that they are too deep, and they go through the doorways because it is time. Those that are teaching, walking around, and functioning in this world are doing so at a high level, and they have left behind many of the stories, aspects of personality, and fears that the mind creates to try to keep those in that quest for truth in the same place.

Healing is a brave act. To go beyond means healing enough, letting go of enough of our beliefs, constructs, and reality to be able to truly find ourselves. The proposition of that is scary. Walking through every threshold, meeting every rebirth, allowing ourselves to move forward and beyond despite our wounds and constructs telling us that we should remain where we are, because at least that where we are is known, is a decision that all of us, no matter where we are in said proverbial rabbit hole face every day.

And some people are not strong enough, or go about things in the wrong way. I try my best to be authentic here, and it is true. Some people find magical, spiritual, and other workings that cause for them to shift suddenly and violently, way past where there current personality, who and what they currently are can handle. They cannot integrate walking through a large threshold, or going from the surface to the depths of the Abyss in one jump.

Any spiritual or magical path should first focus on the Self. Because unless you are stable and reasonably integrated you do not go through those thresholds well. I do not teach, for example, about advanced spiritual work to someone who needs to process their past lives, or focus on their self healing because that is important. That must come first.

Once you work your way through your own stuff, enough that you are balanced and able to hold power and exert your will, moving through thresholds is frightening, but typically manageable. But traversing the depths of yourself is brave, and most prefer the surface for good reason.

So the simple question I am asked in various forms here is Can you go too far? or What happens if stuff starts to happen that is frightening? or What happens when you have spiritual realizations and direct experiences that not many do?

The answer to most of this, for most people, has to do with personal healing and personal power. If we are able to heal ourselves, and the extensions of ourselves (past life, ancestry, sub-personalities, and so forth) are reasonably integrated, we are able to access more of our inherent power. And this is what most people deeply fear about themselves. They really do not fear the pain, or the suffering… they fear the release… what will happen when they actually experience more freedom, when they are who they really are in this world, and are able to stand in their own power and exert their own will into this world?

The other part of this is that yes, things get weird. They just do. Thinking and being in a world that is asleep is simply an odd thing to do. Having spiritual experiences, initations, and understandings that are far down that rabbit hole do separate you in a superficial way. But they also give you the ability to connect, more deeply and with more truth. Our human connections are tenuous, we have love and need connection to one another. But connecting directly to source allows that deep sort of connection that is hard to put into words. The search for spirituality is the search to not feel alone, and going further down the rabbit hole allows for you to feel that connection and fill that “hole” in a way that many are really engaging in this quest to find.

So yes, you can go too far… You can go too far to properly be able to integrate, too far for your current personality and belief system and mind to be able to handle. But if you do your own work and heal and integrate with depth, you will continue to go deeper with (relative) grace.