About "the dark night of the soul", spiritual emergency and a healing crisis states:

If you are undergoing a spontaneous Kundalini awakening and are facing some struggles this blog post is for you. Through parts of your awakening, you may feel like you have gone deeper into survival mode. This can make you feel cheated by the universal wisdom. Expecting an awakening to be a beautiful and an enlightening experience alone, when in truth, some parts are, yet other parts can be quite the opposite.

natalia-figueredo-373415.jpg

"Waking up" to one's true nature is a beautiful and blissful experience and it takes your breath away. It fills you up with so much love, which you are not sure you can contain. Perhaps, for a while anything that is not love washes away. You feel at one with the universe. You feel divinity in all of life, the birds, the trees, even the air seem to be made out of the same living intelligent quality which feels so palpable and beautiful. You want to melt into the love you feel and never come back. This beautiful essence envelops you, adopts you, and perhaps for the first time in your life you feel that you truly belong, you are undeniably part of IT and IT is part of you. Nothing else makes sense anymore, and yet the whole of life makes sense all of a sudden. There are no burdens or pain or even longing in this state, all desire melts away and you feel whole and holy. Ascending into that space is a true gift and you were granted this gift it in order to wake up to your divine nature.

Once this higher state of grace is over you descend back into the body, into this denser reality space. For some of us, this state washes away a lot of the conditioning and we descend or "land" from it more at peace. For most us though, the contrast between this experience and coming back into our conditioned mind and the "pain archive" body can be utterly jarring.  

 

A Kundalini awakening isn’t a linear process.  Thus this higher state can be a one-time experience or it could be a reoccurring state. Coming out of “bliss” may feel cruel or ironic; “why would the divine give me all this peace and love only to then take it away from me?” It is very natural to assume we did something wrong. Thinking, perhaps this descent is a punishment of sorts? Or maybe we are not deserving and worthy enough to stay in Grace, perhaps we didn’t pray well enough or meditate hard enough? Rest assured this is not the case. This isn’t the final destination of this journey, but merely a part of the process. 

It is hard when you are undergoing a radical awakening not to try and label yourself and your process. It is in our very nature to name things. Though counter intuitive for an awakening when you are asked to let go of “labels”, it might help in this case to temporarily give this stage one. This blog is for the purpose of providing you with context, as understanding what you are experiencing may help you through this stage. If it makes you feel less scared and normalizes this process for you, then use it as a tool.

What is the difference between “the dark night of the soul”, healing crisis and a spiritual emergency?

1.   A healing crisis:

A healing crisis can occur when you have been wounded or traumatized in childhood and have continually suppressed and repressed the memories. This usually happens when you had no one to comfort you and meet your needs as a child. Therefore, traumatic events are stored deep in the early development of the brain (You can research more online about how early trauma shapes the brain and effects all aspects of self). Learning while at your most vulnerable that you couldn’t lean on anyone, you kept this early defense mechanism of stuffing everything in for most everything else that ever hurt you. This meant that you internalized so much pain and hurt, which your body had to carry for year and years in order to keep you functioning in the world.

At some point, a part of the trauma is released, perhaps because you decided consciously that it was time to heal, or perhaps your being, your soul or body couldn't take it any longer and you were pushed to start healing. This can also occur as a result of a spiritual awakening. Subsequently all the other suppressed/repressed wounding and rejected aspects of the self, begin to emerge. Imagine it almost as a pressure cooker that once the lid was opened, the immense effort and pressure you unconsciously used to stuff everything down with explodes. This can feel so overwhelming mentally, physically and emotionally. You have placed this lid on your pain for a very good reason and part of you is still fighting the emergence. In turn, the resistance is just adding more stress to your being. At this point your body goes into a heightened survival/ PTSD/ fight or flight modes. Your nervous systems can easily go into overdrive. Your body is being flooded with stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline) as a reaction to the past wounding surfacing in your consciousness. This can trigger depression; grief, anxiety or panic attacks and even cause physical conditions to emerge. This doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone, but if you are going through it know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. You may be experiencing a healing crisis, yet try and focus on the word healing in the definition.

Your wounding is coming up to the surface to heal, not to harm you. The more you allow it, the less stressful it will be. Granted, the resistance is so ingrained and unconscious that it’s difficult to switch off. The best thing to do in this instance is to let yourself fall apart. Don’t try to put the pieces back together as it is counterproductive. Your “self” need to come undone to a certain degree so your subconscious mind won’t re-press the lid on the painful emotions or visceral memories. Easy to say, so very hard to do, letting yourself fall apart feels terrifying, you don’t trust that you can put yourself back together afterwards. You may feel like you will lose your mind or even die if you let this happen. All of your survival alarms are on and they are telling you to fight this with all you have; not to let the pain take over, to go back to the denial and the false self that has helped you survive in the first place. Don’t blame these voices inside of you; they are your old survival tapes. Lovingly going against your survival programming, while still validating it and its fear, is possibly the hardest thing you will ever have to do, yet the right thing for your ultimate healing. YOU CAN DO THIS. Even if you can’t stop resisting, it’s OKAY. Give the resistance time to wind down and to start trusting that these old wounds are safe to feel. It’s a reflex you will slowly learn to soften.

 Consider getting help in the form of therapy or any emotional support. Get supplements to support your body through this (adrenal and nervous system herbal supplements), and if you need medication, if it’s too much for you to take, get a Psychiatrist to help you. Ideally this is just temporary support. Give yourself permission to accept help, to not be strong for a while. The way through this pain is to dive into it with titration, eventually it will get better. You can and you will heal even though you may not believe it this moment. Focus on one moment at a time, one day at a time. Be proud of yourself for making it every day, don't plan for the future, respect the fact that you are in survival mode, thank yourself every day for enduring and surviving. This is a sacred job even if it doesn't feel like it. You are healing an entire lifetime or lifetimes of pain and this takes time, be patient with yourself.

 

2.   A spiritual emergency:

Similar to a healing crisis, a “spiritual emergency” can be an extremely overwhelming experience. In this instance, the focus would be on spiritual experiences rather than emotional ones (see list below), yet these two could overlap. You may be going through a spiritual emergency if: you are going through intense spiritual experiences spontaneously, without currently using enhancers such as drugs and/or outside of a meditative state; These experiences feel out of your control; you feel that you can’t ground them or yourself; the experiences are prolonged or keep happening; you may be feeling overwhelmed or as if you’ve lost touch with reality (different from a mental condition, you are still very lucid but feel as if you are in a parallel realm). This emergency can be triggered by a Kundalini awakening or other types of awakenings; meditation, energy healing; the use of hallucinogens (if the heightened spiritual states continue after the influence of the drug has worn off); trauma; childbirth and more.


“Spiritual emergency” symptoms may include:

 

  • Feeling as if you or a part of you has left your body and won’t come back - or having prolonged out of body experiences

  • Feeling extreme grace, bliss and you lack the ability to ground and/or be fully in the world

  • Feeling merged with the divine and complete oneness. Feeling a total lack of “self” or boundaries

  • Feeling everyone’s energy pass through you, or invade your field, a lack of energetic boundaries

  • Seeing people who have passed over without the ability to control it, shut it down or accept it

  • Feeling too big or too small for your body, sensing your energy body more than your physical body

  • Feeling a sense of grandeur and a calling, feeling enlightened and as if you have to “save” or heal the world

  • Feeling the urge to completely change one’s previous life, work family or friends

  • Sensing a darkness, as if you tapped into the collective sorrow and pain, you can’t separate your pain from the world’s, it feels to vast for one person to contain

  • Seeing energy, hearing guidance, seeing angels, getting premonitions and vivid spiritual dreams

The above symptoms aren’t “bad” in any way, in fact, they can be a normal part of an awakening. Yet experiencing too many of these symptoms simultaneously, or with a great sense of fear and lack of context can cause you to feel out of control and victimized by the awakening process. This can be a crisis, an instantaneous and radical change to your sense of reality and sense of self, and be very hard to live with. 

 If you are undergoing a spiritual emergency, know that nothing went wrong that can’t be integrated. This is temporary. The less fear and resistance you feel the better and more grounded the experience will be.

Easier said than done, I know, it can feel frightening especially if this all happened to you in a day. Going through something this radical, the natural tendency would be to desperately try to “fix it”, restore your previous ground. You are not sure who to turn to. You may be looking for a healer or a shaman to help you slow the experience down or stop it, which can work for some but do the opposite for others . Be extremely mindful about who you let near your ultra exposed energy body at this time. If someone doesn’t know what he/ she are doing they can cause you further imbalance. The best thing to do is to use grounding techniques continuously and to pray for help slowing down the intensity, to connect to your inner wisdom for guidance if you can. Try to ask the experience what it is trying to teach and show you. Your system may be out of balance but it will find its way back into a deeper wholeness. At this time, when trust is the hardest, it is most important to cultivate “self-trust” (which includes yourself, higher Self or the divine and your guides). Be gentle and patient with yourself. Although embracing the extremity of the experience feels near to impossible, what if you just allow for the possibility that this isn’t a mistake, that nothing went wrong. Ask yourself if this isn’t a mistake, what could it be? What can I learn from this? curiosity is a great tool to replace fear with; gentle exploration vs resistance and panic.

If you cannot function in the world at this moment, then please don’t. I know there are a million things you “need” to do. If you had cancer would you force yourself to do a million things? What if your soul and the universe are asking you for this time? What if you give it to yourself and get as much help as you can with the things that absolutely need doing. Lean on the people you love. You are healing. Integration is the purpose of any healing that takes place. Looking at any ailment or imbalance; be it a spiritual, physical or a mental, as the final destination is simply not true. That is what our fear believes, that if we allow the experience fully, then we will never be well again. What if falling apart isn't a wrong turn, but is, in fact, the path to wholeness?

 

Dark night of the soul, spiritual emergency or a healing crisis

3.   “The dark night of the soul”:

During a Kundalini awakening some people can experience what is referred to as “the dark night of the soul”. There are many theories about what it is and why it is common. This is one perspective. Below are some aspects of an awakening that can trigger “The dark night of the soul” and what it may feel like:

  • Disillusionment: In a Kundalini awakening every notion and belief that you have accumulated over a lifetime and have identified with, is stripped away. Your “ego" (which is your beliefs, defenses, and conditioning) is essentially torn to pieces. Many of the ways in which you view the world fall apart. Your identity, which is who you believed you were, is shattered. Everything you thought about life, spiritual beliefs and the people closest to you, is called into question. This is so you can break free of false beliefs, which were caused by trauma and/or misguided conditioning. Ultimately, you shed so much of “you”, that it can feel like a death. This triggers a state of deep grief that can lead to “the dark night of the soul” experience. You may feel a sense of complete disillusionment with life. If all you were and thought life was had come to pass, what is left? In essence, it is an existential identity crisis that is indicative to this process, probably the deepest existential crisis that’s humanly possible. In the place where life and your previous self resided, there is now a vacuum. You feel like you are floating in no man’s land. Nothing feels real anymore. From this state, you don’t know how to relate to the world and people around you. This feels very scary; you can lose all motivation and desire to do anything. You can feel as if you’ve lost sight of what life is about and feel purposeless. Despite the quicksand quality of this state, it is Temporary. Before new desires, dreams and an aptitude for life come back to run through your veins, there is a gap, a period of nothingness (and not the full and rich meditative kind). If this is where you are at this moment dear one, the best thing to do is to ride it out. Please hold on. True meaning and purpose will arise after this stage in the form of liberated desires that have nothing to do with what people expected of you and everything to do with your true soul’s purpose. Let yourself feel the desperation, disorientation, and depression for as long as needed. They are true and valid feelings; your entire life orientation has been altered and you can’t expect yourself to snap out of it or to move past this without grieving properly. Know that this too shall pass and that as awful as this time is, the light that comes through at the end is worth your patience. You are worth your patience.

  • “Falling from grace”: Another instigator of “the dark night of the soul” is “coming down” from a state of bliss. If you have experienced a prolonged or intense divine revelation; if you spent time in the energy of unconditional love and felt it envelop you wholly; if the divine lifted you up and joined with you in oneness; if you felt the joy of that ultimate connection, that of absolutely no separation; if you knew what being connected to the whole of life feels like, what coming home feels like, then coming back down into yourself can feel like a shock. In the coming back into your body, there tends to be great contrast and a re-experiencing of the original trauma (which is separation), both of which that may feel like a falling from grace. You may in truth not want to come back. After these heightened bliss and grace states, many individuals experience a "dark night of the soul" period. If this is the case for you, let yourself grieve and feel all that you are feeling, including anger at the God or at life/ the universe. This is perfectly normal. Know that the divine hasn’t left you. He/She love you, you haven't been abandoned. You haven't been dropped back into the world because you are not good or worthy enough. You did nothing wrong dear one. This wasn't your time to go home just yet. The divine gave you those blissful experiences not to break your heart, but to remind you what home is, who you are and how loved and connected you truly are. You may not feel it in this moment, but you and life are still very much one. The divine is still inside of you. In reality you never disconnected or separated, and you are here to embody this truth; to fully experience this connection to your divine self within your body. You can then bring this message back to the rest of humanity in your own beautiful and unique way. Feel the pain of separation as this is healing the original wound. Nevertheless, don’t forget the lesson. Don’t doubt the oneness you felt in the heightened state. In fact, the disconnect you currently feel is distorted, by the ego’s limited perception. Take the connectivity with you to empower you; don’t let your wounding hijack the meaning of it. This truth is your secret weapon for embracing life in the current state of consciousness in this world we live in.  You still have a job to do here. You are still needed. Don’t be a spiritual runaway and seek solace in the higher realms alone, be a spiritual warrior living fully in your body facing the mission in front of you, sharing your light with the world.

  • Collective pain: During a Kundalini awakening, some tap into the collective pain of humanity, mother earth and all sentient beings, and/or that of one’s ancestry. If this is the case for you, the darkness at that stage is beyond what you may feel that you can contain or handle, as it is so deep and dense. This too can trigger a period of “the dark night of the soul”. It can feel like a complete shock to your psyche, it can jar you to a point where a part of you refuses to come back and participate in the world, consciously or unconsciously. You have seen and felt too much pain and you don’t know what to do with it. You may feel so overwhelmed no words are sufficient to describe it. Without words, you find it hard to process this deep and highly intense experience. As a result, the self- protection and preservation parts of you might shut down. All I can say in this case is that I feel your pain, I have been there myself and there is nothing harder and more painful than this state. If it’s any consolation, we are all doing our part to heal this collective pain; you are not alone in this. Although nothing seems more brutal and your view of life and humanity may be tainted terribly at this moment, there is a light at the end of this. You may not realize this but you are learning and cultivating compassion and oneness. This may seem like a very steep price to pay for the lesson, yet, if everyone cultivated compassion to the level you are cultivating it now, human suffering would end. In addition, though learning oneness through bliss is beautiful, a higher truth teaches us that our beauty and our human shadow are interconnected, and experiencing the collective pain tunes you into that. There is no victim and perpetrator in this state, we are both and neither. If you truly felt someone’s pain you will never judge him or her as “other” than yourself. This is a sacred journey on which you are helping tremendously in ending suffering and separation.

    Be ultra gentle and love yourself through this stage. If you need to hate the world for a while then hate it. In this reality of contrasts, the darkness and light are interconnected. Our ultimate growth and expansion depend on integrating this through experience. You are on the right path; you didn’t take a wrong turn. Don’t torture yourself by trying positive thinking at this moment in time, nor blame yourself for not able to think your way out of this. Positive thinking, while a great tool for some states, is only resistance in this case and what we resist persists. You are on a humbling journey. Surrender doesn’t mean acceptance of only what you enjoy, but of what is. You are expanding greatly by allowing and surrendering to all feeling states. Don't let anyone tell you that awakening should be about bliss, joy and high vibrations only, this is a harmful and false belief that can cause you further suffering or spiritual bypassing. Let the darkness be, it will not swallow you whole. If the darkness seems bigger than you, remember my friend that you are infinite. "The dark night of the soul" is but a painful stop along your journey, it is not the final destination. Get support to help you remember this truth for moments when you are unable to access hope (which is perfectly normal in this stage). Let a good friend read this to you or put it on your bedside table and read it every morning and every night. Reading this isn’t about fighting or shifting out of the darkness, it is just so you won’t add resistance to the great pain you are already in by fearing that it would never end. I promise you that it will. You are well on your way. You are doing such a great job.

 

Whether you are undergoing a healing crisis, a spiritual emergency or “the dark night of the soul”, what they have in common is that despite the intensity and hardship of these experiences, they will come to an end naturally. Remember that these processes are not mistakes or wrong turns you took along your path, they are the path. They are an essential part of a deep healing and awakening that will lead you to greater peace and alignment in your life. Love your inner child through this painful and rough patch and find adequate support to get to the bright light at the end of this. Despite not always being able to feel it, you are still being lead and are supported and so loved from the other side.