What does the spiritual journey feel like from a psychological or emotional point of view? Is it a continuous climbing up the vibrational ladder of emotions from depression over boredom towards bliss?
I was searching for inner peace, but ironically the journey went through terrain that often brought up emotions that were the opposite of inner peace.
Everyone’s path and experience is different, of course. Here, I share an overview of my own experience with the hope that it is helpful for others. I refer to the metaphor of a journey up a mountain to a lake at the mountaintop and then downhill in a river (which I presented in my previous post ).
While I was in flatland, unaware of a dimension behind the visible 3D world, I was ambitious and focused on my next goal of my career and family life. When one goal was reached, there was always a next goal.
That time was marked by intense work, often accompanied by a sense of stress, tension and anxiety, and also by joy about success and joy during activities that allowed me to be in a flow state.
On the uphill phase, the road had several turning points. Each turning point was a problem/solution pair:
- A sudden onset of rheumatoid arthritis led me to homeopathy.
- Overwhelm led me to spirituality.
- Anger about what I perceived as unfair treatment at work led to acceptance and letting go.
That phase was emotionally difficult. I experienced:
- Confusion, anger, sadness, listlessness, fear, loneliness
- But also hope and fierce determination when searching for solutions.
- Besides the negative emotions, there was also a feeling wonder and awe. At every turn of the way, a wonderful new worldview opened up which I would not have discovered had I not gone through the previous challenging time. And there were synchronicities and miracles which left me in awe and gratitude.
On the mountaintop, I found mainly peace by looking back at awareness itself.
Downhill, strand A (lessons, tests, divine help; not contained in the picture above)
On this part of the way downhill, there was fear again because of the lessons and tests.
But there were also joy about new insights and awe about the divine which was peeking out from behind the veil every now and then.
Downhill , strand B (being in the river, i.e. guidance and sharing)
My guidance told me to share more frequently and more widely. But often I resisted this. Here I experienced the following:
Procrastination loops at the riverside: Doubt, confusion, fear, resistance, guilt, restlessness, sadness, annoyance, apathy. But also a feeling of safety.
Not yielding to the urge of my soul to share sometimes feels like building a dam and being about to burst.
In the river: Upon surrender, a sense of obedience, reverence, and being humbled. But also an inner temper tantrum because I don’t like to be bossed around.
There is fear, but also faith. Awe, wonder, and gratitude about the many forms of divine guidance.
Passion (yes, sometimes).
Although things tend to fall more into place when I eventually follow the river, it isn’t that life becomes just more and more wonderful and free of problems. Sharing openly on the internet brings up new kinds of challenges and lessons which in turn can evoke anger, confusion and so on (see above, “downhill, strand A”). Also, the shock about the fact that a spirit guide became negative and started to feed off my pain is something I have yet to make peace with.
That shows that my spiritual journey is far from the continuous climbing up the vibrational ladder into bliss states. It is more like a transition from one operation mode to another, i.e. from ‘living-in-flatland mode’ to the ‘yielding-to-the-river mode’. And that transition is accompanied by all sorts of emotional upheaval as well as inner peace, awe, and wonder.
I remember one time when the emotions became too strong and it felt like too much to bear, I fretted, ‘I was much happier when I was not yet on the spiritual journey. Ignorance is bliss.’
But a couple of days later, I had a spam comment on WordPress and the email address of the sender contained the words ‘Ignorance isn’t bliss. Ignorance is ignorance.‘ LOL. Isn’t it awesome how the universe uses even spam comments as an input channel to get its point across?
Now, what has changed compared to flatland where I started from?
- When I am off track, running in circles in the loops of procrastination and resistance, then there is a feeling of guilt which I did not feel before.
- Also, the feelings of being humbled by the forces behind the veil and reverence towards the divine are new to me.
- The feeling of inner peace and quiet joy that I find when I turn the focus back on awareness is something I did not know before I had reached the mountaintop. I see this as the holy grail or the pearl of great price.
(Related post : Dark Night of the Soul)
This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).