Integrating Spiritual Experiences into the Personality
Do you see what’s going on? I mean really? There’s a burning desire within me to write about this maybe because until now I only partially understood what’s been going on. Maybe that’s what you are (or have been) too and that’s why this post. Let me give a few examples of what is intended. Let’s say you watched all three Lord of the Ring movies. But even if you haven’t, hang in there, okay? Remember how Sam, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry came back from their adventures returning to the Shire and the looks they got from the hobbits from those who never left? Remember how Frodo and the others looked at one another? They had to find some way to come back now after their long journey and live normal lives. Right. See where I’m going here? Integration back into the work-a-day world with others can be difficult.
My gosh, I’ve written about my difficulties with that for years but wasn’t fully aware that its a process now in which many others are also struggling. Increased sensitivity to sound and noxious energy is one part of it. Yet the other part is continuing to meditate in the world of men and beasts after being in true solitude and withdrawal for an extended period.
Some people go on retreat, some for as long as a year. For myself, it was a much longer period of time overall. Not that I didn’t have to deal with real-world concerns in spurts but for the most part, I do recall at least 2 solid years of meditation throughout the bulk of the day. I was, for all practical purposes, withdrawn from the world of the ego/personality and spent a good deal of time in states of . . . well, let’s just say in states in which the self that deals with earth living was out of the picture.
I pictured myself remaining in that state until the end of days. Yet, the personality/ego needed to integrate all the spiritual meditative states and bring them right into the face of loud neighbors, barking dogs, mean humans and the whole gambit of aversions.
My meditations took on a new format at that point. My mind was being critical, judgmental, aversive, impatient, intolerant—you name it. Woah, my spiritual practice took a huge hit!
I began to really dislike myself and felt like all my spiritual work was destroyed. My mind, in meditation, was running in 10 different directions and it wasn’t easy to pull myself together, so-to-speak.
At that point, thoughts of becoming a nun of some type or other or hiking the Appalachian Trail on a permanent basis were prominent. I began to resent my family to whom I came down of the mountain (literally from the high Country of the Appalachians to the flatland) to serve. I wanted to go back, desperately. I didn’t want to integrate.
Many times when my energy tangled with a difficult human I’d find myself really angry at myself instead of realizing it’s okay to stand up for one’s self in a way that is direct and at the same time kind.
My point in writing this is that people who view themselves as on a spiritual path upon which they might have had profound spiritual experiences feeling great love, peace, and unification/oneness in meditation or on retreats should give themselves a break. Like Frodo and the others and even like Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, it’s a path and may take a while to come back to this temporary earth home after having really gone HOME. No matter if that going HOME was brief or for years, it is my current understanding that our job now is to apply what we experienced to our ego/personality and integrate that within the earth world. It’s a journey and self-acceptance is a huge part of it now as we pull the mind back into the unity consciousness it once knew.
Memories will arise triggered by life experiences and people outside of times of spiritual withdrawal and we can watch the mind and learn about our patterns and tendencies. In that awareness, we can diffuse their energy. But it doesn’t mean we’ve lost our prior spiritual state, nor does it mean we have done anything wrong.
It’s just a deeper level of spiritual awakening and not a failure in any way. That’s what I’m trying to convey.
I hope these views and opinions of mine will find their way to those who might be able to understand and benefit from this little post.