Why Spiritual Freedom Can Sometimes Make You Lose Your Mind

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Recently, I wrote about a few things that people don’t highlight while discussing spiritual awakening. In short, know that it’s not all roses.

Simply put, when you feel a spark of spiritual awakening inside you, it starts to burn your self-definitions. The goal of spirituality is to connect with the Divine Presence inside but the ego is what prevents us from doing that. Thus in the process, if we want to connect to that Presence, we need to peel the layers of the ego until it evaporates and realizes its oneness with everything.

We all use a bundle of self-identifications to operate in this world — we think of ourselves to be a certain kind of person, doing a certain kind of job, with certain abilities, temperaments, likes, and dislikes.

But what if, all of that starts to fall away?

You become free. Very free. But that freedom can easily feel daunting — if you could do anything, what would you do? It’s easy to feel confused at this stage and long to go back to familiar ways of living.

Jim Tolles gives a perfect analogy to describe this process. Imagine you’ve been living in a darkened prison cell eating the same gruel and porridge every day. From time to time, you may see other prisoners and have meals (or fights) with them in the mess.

One day, you magically break out and see the broad daylight that you were completely unaware of. You can eat anything, meet anyone and go anywhere. So what would you do?

This confusion to “do something” will push us back to our prison cell. We’d do anything to avoid that feeling of confusion and go back to what’s familiar.

“If you’re lucky,” Jim writes, “they won’t let you back into your old job; your ex won’t go back to you; and your house will get sold so that you can move on. If not, you’ll find out just how horribly uncomfortable all those things were all along.”

This is where the meat of the process begins. When you’ve tasted good food, every other food will taste horrible. Now you’re being torn apart between the new world where anything is possible and your old ways of thinking.

As a result, you may feel lost and disinterested in what the old world offers you. First, this is because you know how better life can be. And second, it’s because you see through the illusion and unreality of it all.

What can you do in such a situation?

Your List of Lies

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that a lot of what you see out in the world seems like a lie to you. These could include ideas, concepts, moments, relationships, activities, etc.

Here are some things that I feel are grossly misrepresented in our culture:

  • Personal success
  • Money
  • Material possessions
  • Media and the news
  • Partying

…and so on. This is just a top-of-the-head list. But when you make your own list, you’ll realize that all of these lies have one thing in common:

They all promise you happiness if you live their way. But you, seeing the truth, have now realized how untrue that is. Which makes you disinterested.

Why can’t we just leave these lies, you ask? That’s because we have nothing else to do. You see, if the above list is unreal, what is real? How can we manifest what is real?

How can we lead simple lives that give us real joy? — doing something you love, helping others, laughter, playing, hugs, smiles, etc. This can only be done with the help of a community even if it’s you plus another person.

The point here is simple. You need to manifest your own reality — things that you believe in — to be able to live differently than the “normal” world.

Initially, if we don’t have such support or community, you will still feel committed to your old ways. In an effort to maintain some sense of balance in your life, you will still go out with friends to bars, watch too much media, engage in selfish endeavors, and do all the things you know are not real.

Why? Because you’ve been trained to think that our fulfillment lies in these things.

This is why spiritual freedom can make people lose their minds. They know that some things are not giving them happiness, but they still continue to do them. They’re essentially torn between two ways of living. But there’s a way out of it — through acceptance.

Turn on The Light

If you turn on the light in your messy house for the first time, you’ll see how dirty it actually is. That’s what has happened to you. Now, some people choose to shut their eyes and hide the mess under the carpet. They live in denial and self-loathing instead of working to clean the mess.

We need to accept ourselves and the junk that we’ve accumulated throughout. It’s not our “fault” and there’s no use in beating ourselves over it. We were just lost and now we’ve found the way.

So instead of losing your mind, work through your shortcomings. Clean whatever you need to clean and be the sculptor of your life.

Notice how much you engage in the list of lies that you prepared and be aware of your actions throughout the day. Most of all trust yourself to clear the junk in your room. Don’t take it too seriously that you become grim and stressed about it.

The world isn’t going to change and all people will not be like you. That’s fine. But if you wait to change yourself when the world changes, you’ll feel more lost than ever.

The only thing that can make you feel less lost is taking action, crafting the life you want, and uprooting all the above lies from your life.

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Written on August 11, 2021