Am “I” Losing Control? A Confusing “Shift-Happens” Part of Awakening
As we Awaken, our egoic minds may spin and reel with the changes brought about by our spiritual growth.
Many thoughts may arise in the form of questions about our very sanity, “Am I losing control? Am I going crazy? I have no idea, no clue, what’s happening, why am I so confused?”
This temporary confusion may feel uncomfortable, scary, intimidating, and unwanted.
To not-know is a place of great strength, one of tremendous openness. Can we become comfortable with not-knowing, just for this moment? There is power in that gap of understanding as the old perception withers and the new, broader, deeper, freer perception takes its place.
The human reaction to change is understandable. Think about a time when you’ve nearly lost your balance - how you may have spun or jerked your body in counter-balance so you wouldn’t fall. If you could have seen yourself, you would have laughed at the way your body flailed around. It probably looked pretty silly. In actuality, there wasn’t anything ridiculous going on, just the body’s wisdom kicking in at the last second to rebalance its equilibrium to avoid a fall.
Imagine that same thing going on within the mental or emotional subtle "bodies" rather than the physical body.
A mental spin or a fearful mood may be a herky-jerky moment. The egoic mind cracks and perceptions shift as the rebalancing of our spiritual growth happens, deep within. When we lose our physical balance, stumbles, slips and tumbles happen so fast there's no time to panic...we're down on the ground before we know it. When moods or confusion last awhile, it can feel unsettling, disruptive or worrying. We can rest assured that mental-emotional re-balancing is also part of Awakening's process to establish equilibrium.
The matter of control, sanity and confusion are perceptions. It could be said that the egoic mind thinks it is a separate entity and is therefore, the “doer” of all action. Awakening reality-checks the ego-mind by undoing its belief system. Ego “falls-cracks-crumbles" and tumbles off its autonomous pedestal causing temporary imbalance.
The Beauty of the process is in the absolute and complete safety within which we rest. This spaciousness, Awareness, is That in which the ego mind arises and dissolves. Awareness goes nowhere and suffers no damage.
Try this mental exercise, find an object that is red that you can put in front of you. Now, close your eyes.
Think of that red object and “see” it, visually in your mind. Then, open your eyes and look at the object in front of you.
After 10 seconds, close your eyes and see the mental visual image of the object in your mind and hold it for 10 seconds.
Then, open your eyes and look at the object in front of you. Do this a few times by moving your concentration back and forth. Do you feel slight “shifts” or changes in perception as you switch from visual focus to mental focus?
As we awaken, our old conditioning patterns shift in the Light of Awareness. This may take time or it may happen quickly. We may not notice it happening or we might feel confused while changes take place. The egoic mind is attached to its beliefs, it will not appreciate changes for it imagines itself to be separate and desires control. When we willingly cooperate with Awakening, the ego’s rituals and routines become fair game. Not to be destroyed, not to be killed but to be released so more freedom can be experienced.
Beliefs and concepts become like worn-out bridges that undergo construction during the Awakening process. Our ego may be standing on the first 1/3 of a dilapidated mental bridge and may freak out because the last 1/3 of its bridge has been dismantled. Our Awakening is under the guidance of the Ultimate architect, Consciousness Itself, which knows our exact blueprint. The ego fears the loss of control, yet the hugeness of That Which We Are holds and handles it all.
If we compare our present level of consciousness to our “past” selves of 15-20 years ago, we may recognize change.
It’s as though we’re not the same person we used to be. It’s true, we’re not, we’ve experienced shifts in consciousness.
We now see situations differently and we respond in new and more peaceful ways. Off-balance moments are part of the process of Awakening and are nothing to fear. “Shift-simply-happens” within the unshifting Awareness that we are and all is well.
A story of fear and doubt as described in the New Testament of Matthew 14:22-32:
22 "He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 ...He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
In the story, fear arose with its perception of the wind and waves as dangerous and blown out of proportion.
Doubt took hold even while there was no true risk. When there was a call for help, the call was answered, assistance was provided. A question also arose from Awareness to ask ‘why…did you doubt?’, like a good-natured friendly ribbing to point out where things went awry.
The ego will doubt and fear, it does its job like wailing wind and rocking waves. We can ask Who is This which can see the ego fearing and doubting? Awareness, The Truth of Who We Are, witnesses the ego’s fear and doubt, answers the call for help. It rescues and questions gently to point out where the ego-mind went astray. Seeing the ego’s error is our “rescue”. The ego-mind, like wind and waves, dissolves in the Light of Awareness to rest in stillness.
Awakening, at times, is an uncomfortable experience, yet much of our human existence is discomfort. Ever worn wet socks? Ever taken a drink from a milk carton and gotten a swig of soured milk? Mental or emotional discomfort, similar to physical discomfort, has a feel and taste of its own.
Somatic Experiencing is a body-based approach to recovering from trauma created by Peter Levine, Phd.
This approach uses techniques of Pendulation and Resourced States to regulate the nervous system.
The mind/body are invited to move back and forth, much like the red object exercise, between feeling “not okay” to a resourced state of “safety-goodness-and-okayness”. The nervous system becomes attuned through pendulation from alertness/action to calm/rest. This avoids “hanging up” at either end of extremes.
When we meditate or pray, our nervous systems experience a peaceful reference, like a resourced point. We can access this peace by staying attuned to the present moment. During the Awakening process, we can allow fear/panic/anxiety to arise (we pendulate) by offering it to our Awareness in the present moment. “Not okay” pendulates to “safety-goodness-okayness”.
Moods that sink or minds that spin can be compared to Peter, sinking in the waves with outstretched hand or to the
ego’s off balance fall. Awareness will answer, just like the hand of Jesus grabbing hold of Peter, our perceptions shift.
This pendulation from fear to okay-ness in the present moment, from panic back to safety in the Now rebalances our nervous systems.
The next time you have an off-balance mental or emotional moment, if the ego fires its favorite question, “but why?!!!”, Know that Awakening is doing its job, working with the mind, the emotions and the body. All is well. We can bear the discomfort, it will soon pass. Unpleasant, yes, but it’s a good thing.
If we wonder about going crazy, we’re not – if we were, it wouldn’t even occur to us to ask, we’d simply be… however crazy looks. Control? Well, the ego’s control is readjusted as perceptions, beliefs and concepts shift, yet That Which We Are is in control. "Shift-Happens" and we can handle it.
With you as Awakening unfolds (Photo Credits : James Owen and Austin-Kehmeier @ Unsplash)
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