Integrating Spiritual Experiences into the Personality

Integrating Spiritual Experiences into the Personality

Integrating Spiritual Awakenings into the Life of 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  I was, for all practical purposes, withdrawn from the world of the ego/personality and spent a good deal of time in states of .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.

Life – Is it one unchanging moment of happiness?

Unchanging HappinessIs it possible that any moment in our life would be one that we would wish to have unchanging, remaining the same for eternity?  We do this with life maybe subconsciously but we seem to continually be leaning forward to try to achieve that unchanging and happy moment.  Here are some thoughts about that from my view.  My life does not seem to be one unchanging moment of happiness.  That’s likely true for you too, right?   No matter how we try consciously (or subconsciously) to achieve a continually unending moment of bliss, we know it’s not possible.  Yet we still try for it.

What to do then?  We can pull back from striving to reach for that unending happy moment and instead make peace with this here moment no matter how it appears for us.  How?  By believing that this moment is more than enough.  Its not that difficult really.  We can do it by developing stability and the state of wellbeing with intentionality. ( Fake it until you make it using the tool of meditation. ) This then is the gateway to freedom from the suffering that consumes us due to yearning for some other moment (s).

It is to our great benefit to have the kind of confidence in our overall life that any moment has, contained within it, the seed of freedom from the suffering that yearning creates – said another way, enlightenment comes from making peace with the human condition. 

When we don’t argue with the way things ‘are’ and when we don’t make life wrong by believing like . . . “it shouldn’t be this way” . . .  and when we can make peace with life in such a way that we do not become tired of life or weary of the trials that are natural to this dimensional reality.

Let’s face it.  Life does turn sour on occasion or as I have heard it recently referred, “. . . when life turns rancid.”   But what I am referring to here is that to make peace with life and its many ups, downs, and experiences keeps us out of that kind of yearning that causes our unhappiness.

Psychologists tell us that even if we intellectually admit that difficulties in life happen and we concede that trauma does occur in life,  when we bump up against such energy there’s a part of the mind that is incredulous–its doubtful about it’s happening.  And in that type of unacceptance, we suffer even more.  In Buddhist thought, this is referred to as ‘the second arrow’ if you are familiar.  Double suffering is another way to say that.  There’s a part of the mind that cannot conceive that suffering can occur in our life! And want’s to deny that it shouldn’t be the way it is.

We set ourselves up when we try to reach out to find that which we believe will complete or fulfill our hearts.

The fact that we think our heart is lacking that which something outside ourselves can provide is the first step in the confusion about all this.

Whatever we reach out for in order to bring the heart to its fulfillment it (or to complete it) will eventually disappoint us.  Clinging or grasping for what we think we don’t already have can never work in the end.

Imperfection, disappointment, anger, even hatred energies exist in this realm and are woven into the fact of being human.  It’s just how things are on earth.  Yet, remember, as you just read that last sentence, there was likely that part of your mind that disbelieves it.  Or believes those energies bump into others but not myself. 

Stress occurs by not making peace with that way things are and resisting or arguing with it all.  I often quote this phrase, “Whenever you argue with life, you lose.”  Meaning you suffer.

My final thought:  All difficulties or suffering bring opportunities for growth and insight.  When we understand life in the ways I’ve written about here, we develop wisdom.  Then the mind feels strength, energy, freedom, detachment and becomes devoid of craving and the sources or causes of suffering. 

Cultivating Pre-set Mindstates

Creating a Meditative Default or Preselected Option

It’s a fallback position that I’m talking about here.  Once upon a time a few years back some man lost control of his auto and slammed into the back of me as we were pulling away from a  traffic light.  I called my daughter just after this while waiting for the police to come to make the report for insurance purposes.  She commented on how peaceful and calm my voice was for just being rear-ended rather violently.  My preselected default meditative state took over without my conscious direction.

Or at least I think that’s why.  Since then it had become more conscious within me to work on cultivating that default state of being when my attention isn’t consumed elsewhere.  Sometimes, it’s repeating a mantra such as, “May I be content and peaceful, may I be happy and in goodwill, may I be protected and safe . . . “and then eventually changing the “I” to “we” meaning all beings.

When waiting for my coffee to finish reheating in the microwave, at a traffic light, while stretching before or after a workout at the gym the mantra takes over my consciousness.  Sometimes, it’s not a mantra, however.  Sometimes my attention is naming the breath activity:  Breathing in, breathing out.  This creates a dropping down into the body and into the moment and peace is naturally there.  I consider these mantras or this breath attention as cultivating a set point which can, after habitual reinforcement, become ones ‘go to’ place in good times and in … well, in times that are not so good when they arise in order to soften those jarring moments of life that can leave us in a state of shock or knock us out of a previous state of consciousness.

Default options are pre-set courses of action that take effect if nothing is specified by the decision maker or the decision maker isn’t sure what to do.  What is your default setting?   Have you consciously cultivated a positive one?