I attended a meditation retreat on the weekend and experienced very deep altered states of consciousness. While most of the altered states were positive, loving experiences, a few were very dark and painful…..essentially about confronting my own inner traumas and issues that I had not acknowledged, or if I had, had not dealt with adequately. We all have some unresolved feelings and patterns that lie dormant in our subconscious that influence our beliefs, behaviours and thinking without us ever realising it. As I looked back over my journal I found an entry from August 2014 that is particularly relevant to my up-to-now willingness of living an unconscious life of unexamined inner blockages and patterns:
“In our experience of our own sufferings, we tend to desperately grasp for easy, convenient habits of responses such as denial or alcohol or distraction that can relieve or numb the pain. Yet in fleeing the pain, whether it be existential pain, trauma, loss or whatever, we leave no or little space to reflect upon the possible meanings of the pain. In this space of avoidance lies the fertile ground for the seeds of disintegration and disconnection to grow and prosper, at our peril.”
Yet as I found out over the past few days this pain is a sign of our need for change, for integration with our soul purpose. We ignore the pain of the psyche at our peril as one day, if we are lucky, our soul will say enough is enough and escalate that painful feeling state into a full blown existential emergency from which we must confront, to acknowledge and recognise the need to deal with the festering blockage. It can be a traumatic confrontation that may challenge our sense of identity, even our consciousness. I was shaken to the core by my experience of ego death and relieved I had the resources and willpower to pull back from the edge of the abyss.
It is important to reflect on mental/emotional/spiritual pain as we encounter it rather than avoid or ignore or helplessly dwell upon it. The challenge of becoming fully awake within our egoic (not necessarily egoistic) life is to find possible meanings associated with their origin, their continuation and their symbolic or archetypal pattern. If we are to stop sleep walking through life then we need to care for our soul by recognising the meanings of our inner felt states and be willing to do the hard work of integration. This is where I am at now: reflecting on possible meanings of my traumatic experience and how to awaken from this slumber and live a more integrated, aware life. As I am finding out, awakening to the inner needs of my psyche, my soul is difficult and damn uncomfortable at every level yet to become more awake, more conscious will help me get back on track to realising my greatest potential with an abundance of love and joy and purpose.