Nowadays, all you can hear is: how amazing spiritual awakening is, and how you should strive to awaken spiritually to experience lasting happiness. But what most people don’t speak about is the dark side of awakening, all the fear, anxiety and uncertainty that comes up in this difficult phase of your spiritual journey.
So how come that anxiety doesn’t go away, it even increases during spiritual awakening? To answer this question, we first have to look at what anxiety really means. Being anxious is equal to being tense, and this tension appears both in your body and mind.
Your stomach tightens and forms a knot, muscle spasms appear in various parts of the body, and your mind becomes stressed, unable to think clearly from all the mental fog. Anxiety is different from fear, which is very useful for survival, as it triggers your fight or flight mechanism, and the fear subsides after the threat is gone.
But anxiety is a chronic, excessive and irrational fear that never goes away. Oftentimes you can’t even tell what makes you anxious, it’s just a constant lingering feeling in the back of your mind that overshadows your whole day, and doesn’t let you enjoy life. As such, anxiety can turn into depression, which can then turn into suicide.
In general, anxiety comes from the belief that you won’t be able to cope with life, that you’re not fit enough to survive. When it’s only about one or two specific situations, your anxiety remains localized and triggers phobias. But in a generalized anxiety disorder, you fear life as it is, indiscriminately.
But all your small anxieties are nothing compared to the overwhelming existential anxiety you may experience during a spiritual awakening. In fact, you only distracted yourself from this feeling with your insignificant phobias and anxieties so far. You created small problems for yourself so that you don’t have to face the big one.
Here’s the true problem you don’t want to look at: you want to survive but you know that you will die. This insurmountable gap creates this dizzyness, this frustration, this tension. It’s like being on a constant roller-coaster ride knowing that somewhere along the way the tracks will suddenly end and you’re gonna fall into a bottomless abyss.
This gap has always been there, but before your awakening, you could successfully dodge it by different tactics, one of which was building your self-esteem. A strong ego gave you a foundation, a secure basis on which you could build up all your values, goals and beliefs. But now the very foundation of your life is crumbling, and it takes down everything else with itself.
Insecurity, uncertainty and anxiety are your three companions in the initial phase of your awakening. But the truth is that your ego was never really strong, because it was always just a mental construction shielding you from the knowledge of death. The ego is a lie, and it knows it. When your True Self is beginning to awaken, it has to fight for its life.
Just like a lie can only exist before it’s exposed to the truth, the ego can only live in the shadows before the light of your consciousness shines on it. So, when it feels its demise, it tells you to stop, and shouts into your ears that some danger is coming, it wants to dissuade you from your spiritual path.
Yes, that fear is not groundless, but only from your ego’s perspective. If you completely expose the ego, if you can look at it as a witness, if you stop believing its lies, you will be finally free from fear. Not only from the fear of death, but from every other little anxiety, as well. In reality, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.
During spiritual awakening, the ego is dissolving, literally falling apart. But it doesn’t let go of its life so easily, it always puts up a good fight. It clenches its fists and grasps onto its parts as it’s trying to pull itself back together. The grip in your stomach, the stress in your mind, the tension in your body come exactly from this kind of pressure.
The ego is a mask, it’s a fake, it’s an actor. When this mask is slowly falling down, it pushes itself into your face even harder. But as your consciousness is expanding, it pushes on the mask from the inside, slowly tearing it apart at the same time. The stress between these two opposing forces is what causes the tension you label as existential anxiety.
So, how do you cope with anxiety during spiritual awakening? Just let your awakening run its natural course, let the lie be exposed, let the mask fall off. Stop believing your own thoughts, and question them relentlessly. Take a deep breath, relax your muscles, and focus on the present moment. Don’t resist your feelings, surrender yourself to the experience completely, and your ego will also give up the fight and surrender.
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