A wave of compassion arose for these women and for all those who go through similar experiences in their process of self realization and I feel compelled to write a few words.
My own big bang awakening happened around 1998, I shared satsang for some years and then crashed. Outer circumstances plummeted me into a huge deep dark hole. Depression, fear and suicide thoughts became my companions for some years, in which I prayed day and night for help. I had no way to understand what had happened to me.
Was awakening not irreversible? Had it not been real then? The anguish I was facing was often unbearable.
In the meantime words like awakening, enlightenment and transcendence have lost their importance to me. What has become a much deeper quest is becoming a true human BEING.
But more about that later.
First I want to respond to what these women in the above article experienced and why that is both not needed and not helpful in my understanding ( which is of course limited)
Thomas Wachter speaks of intense fears, loss of memory, panic, incapacity to function, loss of self to mention a few.
And from what their teacher reported these were normal phenomenon, things one has to go through if one wants to awaken.
I feel that one of the greatest misunderstanding in spirituality nowadays is the meaning and the place and the transmission of the absolute.
In most teaching it is the alpha and the omega, the only “thing” to strive for. Once reached, one is liberated and that is the end of the story and the journey.
As it is the goal, many spiritual teacher now try to bring their students to the absolute as direct and fast as possible. And this is possible, it is not so difficult to transmit the state once you have opened it in yourself. (I did the same in my satsangs)
Of course this brings great liberation because the awakening to the absolute frees the mind. What a relief, all your troubles gone in one go.
It is so appealing that many then become what some of us call ” Absolutists”.
They focus wholly and fully on the absolute only and all the rest is discarded as illusion.
What most people don’t realize that the ego survives awakening, it even survives enlightenment. As it is not supposed to exist according to most enlightenment teachings or schools it either tells itself that it is nobody or it goes in hiding or both.
When it goes into hiding it can create terrible physical symptoms e.g. permanent headaches, a minute but strong tension in the perineum or solar plexus and more.
This can ( and often does) leads to severe splitting.
All that is perceived as illusion e.g. the material and psychological is no longer accepted when it appears and then split off. Instead of disengaging the person starts to dissociate.
When the absolute opens in its immensity and the system is not prepared properly to receive such a huge influx of energy all the symptoms described in the article can happen.
The body is not prepared to deal with the energy and the psyche is not prepared to deal with all the issues that show up.
Somewhere along the line, my view of the spiritual journey also changed completely from being a human being on a spiritual journey to being a spirit on a human journey.
In order to transform both body and psyche I embarked on the long lasting Diamond Logos path, that was sometimes tedious and painful, of course, but always attended by a well-grounded practice, a close facilitation and precise maps.
Here I learned that we as humans exist in three different domains simultaneously and that in order to fully realize ourselves we have to not only free the mind but also the ego and the body.
The three domains being : The absolute , the essential and the material. The absolute is considered as the ground of being , the essential as the realm of our soul, and the material as the realm of the personality. All have their place and their value.
By opening one essential quality after another over a course of perhaps ten years on this particular path we prepare both body and psyche to open to the absolute which we don’t call the Self, but Selfhood, overlooked in many spiritual traditions as regarded as not real
So like this our students in one of the ongoing groups in Germany landed last week, in the first retreat that deals with the absolute.
We open this through the more gentle way of the feminine side.
The Deep as we call this deep deep darkness which is beyond darkness at the same time, is gentle.
Therefore we don’t speak of enlightenment but of endarkenment.
We sink into it, we dip in and come out, dip in and come out. Slowly getting used to how it is to dissolve (just as when we go to sleep).
And simultaneously we look at all the “issues”, all the things that have been imprinted on this dark empty nothing.
As it is the feminine side of existence, naturally it brings up issues around our relationship to our mother. If it was a beautiful connection we may love to fall into that gentle embrace of the deep. If it was a frustrating or difficult relationship we may not even want to go there etc.
We look at all the attachments the ego has so that it can survive. It is attached to so many things, e.g. to identity, to success, to functioning or being beautiful . (by the way we don’t view the ego as something that needs to die, rather some part of us that needs to be understood and transformed back into its original light).
In this way slowly slowly we familiarize ourselves with TEMPORARILY
Not existing. I emphasize temporarily, because it is neither the aim nor a realistic possibility to live this human life from this dissolved seemingly not existing place. We always come back, we need to function and live our lives.
The question is how we come back…. Do we come back as an ego or as the light of our soul? (more another time perhaps)
In this retreat about the deep, we continue our exploration while dipping and in out of the deep and examine and explore the fears so that we no longer fear them when they show up. If you have not yet found back the eternal light of your soul, which is your true identity, it can be so terrifying to seemingly not exist for some time. Some of the women in the article of Thomas Wachter might have experienced this. Slowly we begin to savor “not being” and are capable of taking longer and deeper dips.
The deeper we go the deeper the issues are there. We have projected these issues on the darkness.
Some fears are so deep, they stem from the time where the ego was not yet formed and we were entirely without structure which can lead to extreme vulnerability and even paranoia sometimes.
In our work we welcome this vulnerability as it makes us so human. It allows the system to become fluid again and completely open.
But before we reach this total openness we have to move through deep sorrow and helplessness.
As we have become also so alienated from what is real we often experience deep loneliness and isolation here.
After we explore this feminine side for many months we will move to the male side of the absolute.
This is the domain of the light, a light so strong that it is beyond light and by lack of a better word we call it radiance.
In our work we call this the awakened state. This is what is generally referred to as truth. ( The deep is wisdom)
The deep brings dissolution; the radiance brings resurrection.
Of course in a way we cannot divide the absolute in two parts as it is non-dual. So this is more a non-dual duality, for the sake of recognizing both aspects.
Also some people tend to go more to the feminine passive side of being other to the male active. The middle state is the balance of the two; the state of restful awakening.
I am well aware that I may disturb some readers view of things,
And touch on some holy houses.
Please bear with me I ask you. I don’t claim to know the truth, yet I speak from experience (and of course from having received the teachings from my teacher). All this is my experience, it resonates with me as true, it has helped me and continues to help me integrate and realize the totality of who I am.
It also helped me to slowly undo the demonic state I had landed it. When we become absolutists like I was, our ego, instead of being dissolved, starts crystalizing until it reaches what Trungpa has described in his book: Cutting through Spiritual Materialism as “the demonic state”. The most painful state in existence, it is complete ego-hood instead of being ego-less as one thinks. An average ego is not easy to melt and transform, a crystalized ego is very very hard to melt again. It has become so hard, so impenetrable that sometimes only the blow of the axe can do the job. I know so well…..We find example of this in the life of Milarepa with his master Marpa but also in some of the people I know. This state is severe. Some have landed in psychiatric hospitals. Myself I had to take medication for some time to be able to deal with it.
My motivation for writing this piece comes largely from this experience. I feel great compassion for all who, like me, where prematurely exposed to the absolute and received either no guidance ( in my case) or unskillful guidance as the teacher himself is often in the same state or ignorant of all this. The women in the article of Thomas Wachter might have experience something similar.
I pray that we so called spiritual seekers and spiritual teachers begin to understand more that the teachings as they have been presented in the east are often not applicable for us western soul who have deviated so so far away from home, from reality, from who we are.
And ……. I know that once one has found the absolute most people I have met (including myself) are unwilling to hear this because it means they will have to give up the so coveted but not complete freedom of mind.
It reminds me of something I read many years ago from the Korean Zen Master Seungsahn. It went something like this.
The disciple asks Seungsahn: Master I have been your disciple for so long now and I have reached the absolute a long time ago.
How can I become a master ?
Seungsahn: When you can convince someone who has awakened that this is not the end but the beginning
The disciple eagerly: How do you do that?
Seungsahn: I have so far never managed.
I read this when I was in my fresh awakened state and dismissed it as not relevant for me.
So I know…..
And yet there is so much more to us then just our source. We are such beautiful creative creatures that need the absolute, that need transcendence but also need immanence.
All of this is just a small glimpse into the long journey that in my eyes would need to precede the awakening.
Faisal, my dear teacher speaks of the ascending journey and the descending journey.
Those who went to the absolute first need to descend again, to bring the blessings back into the body, until every cell is soaked and transformed and the feet are firmly on the ground as well as in being.
We have to transform the ego identity back to it true identity as I said before but we also have to transform the body back to its true nature.
In our work that means that the totality of our essential qualities is liberated and the body has become again essentially one with being.
If one has reached the demonic state first, this journey is often intensely painful and difficult.
If however one is lucky enough to walk the ascending path, the journey can be much more smooth and gentle and slow.
Of course if our history was painful (and whose was not?) the journey is also challenging and painful but as I said much more gentle.
I see it in my students and I have seen it again and again in my fellow travellers on the Diamond Logos path.
Before I close one more thing:
Over the years I have come to understand my position as a human being on this planet in a very different way.
I used to think that the absolute was doing everything and I was not the doer.
Now I see that I as a soul but also as an ego make the absolute move.
The absolute in itself does nothing at all until…… it is activated by…. sound; by thought, by intention.
This brought a shocking realization to me that I AM the creator after all. If I am in ego activity and I curse I create a very different reality than when I am deeply connected to the light of my soul and I intend well being for all beings on earth.
Recently I read this:
Master Hui Neng said:
As far as Buddha nature is concerned, there is no difference between a sinner and a sage…… One enlightened thought and one is a Buddha, one foolish thought and one is again an ordinary person.
The true integration as I understand it till now is when we can integrate the vertical reality of being with the horizontal reality of time and space, when we can integrate the spiritual and the material.
And this only the heart can do.
This as far as I can see is the journey of a life. A beautiful journey in which the soul matures and learns to create from being and learns to create beauty and learns to live in accordance with the Holy Laws.
Then we are not only liberated but also saved
But that is yet another story.