The general trajectory of a spiritual journey

The previously described spiritual journey which was like going up and down a mountain is my own journey. Since everyone’s path is unique, your journey is probably different. But yet, there are certainly some aspects of the journey which are common for most travelers on that path. But what are these? Here, I attempt to describe this journey in the most general terms.

Coming into alignment

Imagine Source as an octopus with millions of arms. At the end of each arm, a string is attached with more or less slack. The string represents our connection to the divine. At the end of each string, there is a little puppet which represents our individual selves.

When there is a lot of slack in the string, then the little puppet has a lot of free will and does not feel the will of Source easily.

As the spiritual journey progresses, the little puppet wakes up to a pull from within, the pull from Source. The string becomes shorter and shorter.
When the string is fairly short, exercising free will becomes more and more difficult.

When the string length is down to zero, then there is no more free will, but always movement in alignment with divine will. In the literature, this has been termed the unitive state or human adulthood.

So, basically, the journey is about coming from ignorance of Source and free will to being in alignment with Source. (Credit for the metaphor of strings with less and less slack goes to one of the Raj channelings by Paul Tuttle).

The permanent falling away of the sense of a separate self

But coming into alignment with divine will is not the end of the journey. Eventually, the sense of a separate self falls away. We are not the separate person experiencing something out there. But as the outside reacts more and more to the inside (our thoughts and emotions) , the distinction between outside and inside fades. We come to see that we are the bubble of experience.

There is the drawing Inner Perspective by Ernst Mach which I want use to illustrate this.
In the picture, we see the room through Ernst Mach’s eyes. One can see part of his left eyebrow, nose, his hands, the rest of his body, and then the rest of the room.

This is similar to what we experience very day. In the 3d world, there is always a bubble of experience or a bubble of incoming physical sensations where our body is on one side of the bubble (and labeled as ‘me’), and the rest of the world on the other side of the bubble (and labeled as ‘not me’).

But what if inside and outside or ‘me’ and ‘not me’ cannot be so clearly distinguished? What if my intent and my thoughts can not only raise my arm but what if they can also influence the weather and summon useful things (like trashbags, for example)? And what if the time gap between the thought and its manifestation in the seemingly outer world gets smaller and smaller? Wouldn’t then our assumption about our reality break down that there is such a clear divide between what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’ ?

If the new me is much bigger than the older version of the little me, then what is it?

Out-of-body traveler Jurgen Ziewe described in his books and youtube videos that in the higher realms of consciousness the experience is one of being connected to the content of the bubble of experience.

I think that during the spiritual journey we will come to see ourselves as the entire bubble of experience. Or as Adyashanti once put it along these lines: The normal person looks into the mirror and says ‘That’s me.’ The enlightened one looks at the wall and says ‘That’s me’. (quoted from memory). ( but compare to Adyashanti’s awakening experience :

I personally haven’t experienced this permanent shifting of the sense of self. So, what I wrote here is taken from the experience of others who have experienced enlightenment (like Bernadette Roberts, Suzanne Segal, and Adyashanti). But I had a short flash-insight about it where I felt like my consciousness was an inflated balloon skin and everything which appeared in my bubble of consciousness felt like it was painted on the skin of the balloon. It did not last long. But it changed my understanding of what I am in relation to the seemingly separate world out there.

Coming into alignment and the experience of crisis, breakdown, and breakthrough

The above description of the journey (separateness –> coming into alignment –> falling away of the sense of a separate self) is from a bird’s-eye view.

But what does it feel like from the human perspective? What happens in concrete terms for the little human self? And how does it feel for the person?

Well, for the human part (the little puppet on the end of the string), in the most general terms, the shortening of the string is experienced as a process of change. Something was there before, and then it falls away and is not there anymore. Instead, something new arrives. This can be a voluntary process or an involuntary one. The involuntary process probably feels more traumatic. During the process, on one hand, there is the challenge is to cope with the loss of what once was. And on the other hand, there is the challenge to welcome the new and to find and then follow the direction given by the current in the new phase of life.

Now, this sounds like any process of transformation, crisis, breakdown, breakthrough (here, I am thinking of events in life like burnout, job loss, divorce, illness, death of a loved one, midlife crisis). But if there has been an awakening to the spiritual dimension of life, then the new direction is hopefully not just another adventure in free will, but an alignment with the divine will of Source. For me, it felt like a journey of willfully going about my own goals in life to willingly complying with what spirit wanted me to do. From willfulness to willingness.

But there are several aspects of this journey which I think are probably relevant for most travelers on this path and at which we can look with a magnifying glass. That is what I want to discuss in the next posts on this blog.

Looking back

Looking back at my spiritual journey, at first slowly winding uphill through life’s challenges, then resting in blissful meditation at the lake at the mountaintop, then downhill again with more lessons and tests and resisting or following the flow of the river which guided me to share, I see two distinct phases.

One phase was the uphill part of the journey. It was not only tumultuous and painful, but also shattered my worldview at every turn of the road. It was a mixture of painful letting go of my former self-image, but at the same time joyfully embracing a new worldview. The pain of the rheumatoid arthritis sucked, but on the other hand it was great to learn about the wonders of homeopathy. Likewise, it was very painful to let go of my self-image as the engaged and successful employee, but how cool to discover that my thoughts can influence the weather! I would describe the uphill phase as letting go of what was before and as a crushing of my self-will. Eventually, this uphill way culminated in coming to see myself as awareness at the mountaintop.

The next distinct phase was going downhill again. This time, there was a new boss. After my self-will had been crushed, there was divine guidance leading me what to do. The role of my human self was just to observe, record, contemplate, and accept the lessons that showed up and to stop making such a fuss when I was guided to write and share.

At the beginning of the unitive life

Early in my journey when I came into contact with the spiritual literature, I was intrigued by accounts of people who had permanently lost their sense of being a separate self. Not just temporarily in a blissful meditation experience but permanently (as described in the books of Suzanne Segal and Bernadette Roberts, for example). Could I get there too? And how? And what would it feel like? I was very interested and determined to find enlightenment.

But along the way, I realized that this is not something that can be forced. The very thing that strives for enlightenment (the separate self) would be annihilated in the process. So, I gave up on that ‘project’ and thought it would be best if I just followed what I was guided to do, namely write and share my story. And that is what I did.

The path I have traveled represents barely coming to the beginning of the unitive life where one acts guided by divine will. And since I still have not only a separate sense of self but also a lot of ego running the show, I want to note just for perspective that, on a general map of the journey, enlightenment (or the permanent loss of the sense of being a separate self) is still many miles down the road so to speak.

The journey is by no means finished, but I have received signs from my guidance that I should finish part 1 of this online-book project here at this point.


At this point, I want to say a big thank you to all my dear readers who have followed my journey up to this point. I appreciate your views, likes, and comments.

I hope you got something out of my story for yourself. Maybe my sharing made you think about your own life’s journey. You could ponder the following questions, for example:

1.) Did you go through challenges?
And if yes, how did you cope?
What did you learn from it?

2.) Did you have worldview shifts along the way and what were they?
And what triggered these shifts?

3.) Do you feel guided, maybe by an inner urge or by nudges from beyond the veil to take your life into a new direction?
If yes, in what direction?
In what ways does guidance come to you?
How do you react to guidance? Are you cooperative? Or resistant? Or maybe impatiently rushing ahead faster than the river flows?

4.) If you had to explain your journey to someone else, would you choose a metaphor and if so what kind of metaphor?


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).


Coming out of hiding

After being nudged to create a blog, I came out of hiding. Here I share some noteworthy events which occurred around that time.

Meeting people in breakdown/breakthrough phases

In the summer of 2014, I was informed by the inner voice and in a dream that I would get a ‘new job description’. Then in the fall of 2014, I suddenly found myself being around strangers who just had a breakdown with a medical emergency. I would coincidentally walk by someone who just had just fallen down or passed out on the sidewalk. In all cases, the ambulance was already there, or at least someone else was taking care of them so that my help was not needed. I was just passing by. The events came so frequently that I suspected it was no coincidence but rather a message of some sort.

But what did it mean? After some guessing around, I settled on the interpretation ‘you meet people who have a breakdown’, meant in a metaphorical way, of course.

And indeed, that was what had already been happening since a while. Since around October 2013, I found myself synchronistically coming into contact with people who either just had a burnout or were about to have one, and other people in transformative life situations, like leaving a job or going through a divorce. It just wasn’t frequent enough for me to notice it. But now I realized that it was a pattern. And it seemed to point out that there was some underlying theme that I needed to pay attention to. Meeting people who are in a breakdown/breakthrough phase in their life.

However, what did not come with the task description was an instruction of what my role was supposed to be. Am I expected to do anything and what? Or would I just meet these people because I have been through a situation of breakdown myself (in the dark night of the soul) and therefore I would attract people in similar circumstances? I didn’t get an answer to that question, but it turned out that we would just meet synchronistically, connect, and share our stories.

The ginkgo tree

After all the nudges in the previous month to start a blog, I finally began to dig in. I chose WordPress as blogging platform, chose a layout theme, and put some work into the privacy statement and the legal disclosure page ( – I remember that the last part was annoying).

Then I needed a picture. I wasn’t aware from where to get license free images. So, I thought it would be best to just take my own photographs. But of what subject? I thought that the blog should be something joyful. And for me, joy is reflected in colored leaves of a tree against a brilliant, blue sky.

On November 23rd, 2014, we had blue sky and a fantastically yellow ginkgo tree in our neighborhood. That seemed like a perfect subject for a picture which transported the essence of joy. I took my camera out and took a photograph and used that as my blog picture and my avatar on WordPress. I just did it because it seemed like such a beautiful chance to catch the sight of the vibrantly yellow leaves against the clear blue sky. And indeed, this combination was rare and did not occur in later years. Instead, all the leaves were either green or already gone when there was a blue sky in autumn.

Taking the picture for the blog was just a spontaneous decision because I needed a pretty photograph immediately, but later I pondered whether the ginkgo tree was meant to be on my blog. My mom always told me that its leaves are special. The veins of ginkgo leaf never branch to form a network (they never have a bigger middle vein like other leaves) and the trees are very old. Like a dinosaur among trees, but a surviving one. Ginkgo symbolized resilience. I also remembered that as a gift for my doctorate thesis, my mom wanted to buy me a special necklace. I chose one with two silver ginkgo leaves. So, maybe it wasn’t just coincidence that I chose the ginkgo tree. Maybe it had a deeper meaning for me.

Coming out of hiding
On the same day when I took the picture of the ginkgo tree, I also wrote my first blog post Coming out of hiding. And four days later, on Nov 27, 2014, I adjusted the blog status so that it was publicly visible.

Switching it from private to publicly visible was one thing. But then I hesitated again, before I set it to searchable by internet search engines. But eventually, I did that, too.

Okay. Done. Now I had a blog and had fulfilled the order which I had been given on October 23, 2014 to start a blog.


The stubborn baby tooth

I had wished for a sloooow ramp-up of this sharing of my spiritual journey. Still clinging to my privacy. Still hiding in anonymity.

In September 2014, something strange happened. My son (who had no problems with getting new teeth previously) suddenly had a new tooth emerging while the baby tooth still had not fallen out. It was sort of dangling there, only loosely connected. Not of any use anymore, but still stubbornly held onto.

Two teeth in the same spot – that is a very strange sight. I gave a homeopathic remedy which is supposed to help in such cases . To no avail.

Then it occurred to me that this was a mirror of my situation. It was as if Source was smiling at me, saying, “You wanted a sloooow ramp-up? This is what a slow ramp-up looks like. Still clinging to your anonymity like your son’s body is clinging to the baby tooth. And it causes the new tooth to be slightly displaced. Think again. Is that what you really want?”

Uh. I got the message.

I told my son that we would see the dentist in December. And if the tooth hadn’t fallen out by then, it would have to be pulled out. My son was scared.

When I finally decided to make my blog publicly available on Nov 27, 2014, two days later, the stubborn baby tooth finally fell out. No dentist needed. What a relief!

This was one of the many broad hints I received from the universe that writing a blog was the way forward for me.


In the metaphor of the hike, I had come from the flat land and then gone a long and winding road uphill to the mountaintop. Each turn in the road during my uphill journey was preceded by a challenge which made me search for solutions. And each solution showed me more about who I am and how life works.

At the mountaintop, I looked back at awareness itself which was like seeing my reflection in a clear lake and felt peaceful and joyful.

From there, the journey went downhill again with two discernible strands or parts. One part was about more lessons and tests and integration of what I had learned. The other part was about divine guidance and sharing. And the latter was like following the flow of a river with little procrastination loops at the riverside each now and then.

The resistance to blogging had sent me into another procrastination loop on the riverside. But this time due to the strict guidance I got, it was only a tiny one. Finally surrendering and giving in to writing online was a major milestone for me.


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).


Start a blog!

After I had written my comment on the intranet of our company, I was so exhausted from the struggle with my fears that I made the silent resolution simply not to wish for opportunities for sharing anymore.  That should solve the problem, I thought.

After all, thoughts and emotions can manifest stuff. So, I thought when I just manage my thoughts and not wish for any opportunities to share anymore, then I would be spared. I was quite determined to remain content without wishes.

And in case any pesky spirit guide would show up, oh well, I could just try to throw some quotes of spiritual texts at them. How about “I need do nothing” (ACIM) , or maybe “Don’t they say about enlightenment, ‘Eat when hungry, sleep when tired’ ?”.

But apparently, this was not such a smart idea as the following events would show.

Start a blog!

On the evening of the same day when I had written the comment about woo stuff in the intranet of my company (Oct 23, 2014), my older son danced around with me and somehow my back got jerked out of place. I got a lumbago with a backache in the middle of my spine so severe that I could hardly walk.

My first reaction was “Ouch!  %@&?!?!” and other non-quotable thoughts. But then, I turned within and asked my wise inner voice for its opinion. I got the following answer:

‘As you contract in fear each time you have to share your spiritual journey, so your back contracts now each time you want to move.
We cannot dance like this.’

A pause to let it sink in. And then the inner voice continued

‘I want you to start a blog.’

What? Boy, there was a time when I desperately wanted to be able to hear this wise inner voice. Little did I know back then how much it would push me beyond my comfort zone.

‘Yes. Together we will create something beautiful.’

Er – yes. Beautiful, sure. But it sounded scary.  I really do like my privacy, you know? But at least, I wouldn’t have to do the blog alone.

And God Said: We Need to Talk!

After the lumbago attack and the order to start a blog, I resisted and procrastinated again, as usual.

I had planned to take my children to my parents in Berlin for a vacation. And even though walking and any movement was difficult, I managed to pack my luggage and get on the train to Berlin with my kids. I welcomed the change of scenery and a bit of time to think it over.

After we had arrived in Berlin, I was amazed to find a (German) book on the coffee table which my mom was reading at the time with the title which translates as And God Said: We Need to Talk! (German title: Und Gott sprach: Wir müssen reden! by Hans Rath; there is no English version of the book).

‘Oh, that looks like another message for me!’ I thought, feeling like a disobedient child who had just been called to the principal’s office at school, full of anxiety and anticipation that things were about to get serious.


On one day during the visit in Berlin, I was in the city with my mom and told her about the situation at work.

“Our company might be planning lay-offs. There is much uncertainty at the moment,” I said. “I don’t know whether our department will be affected. And I don’t know how I would handle it if I would be fired. Recently, I felt called to write about my spiritual experiences. But I am not sure whether this means that it will replace my day job.”

My mother looked at me with concern and started to voice her fears. Of course, she wanted to make sure that I continued to earn money.

But I said, “If I get fired, I think I will have to put everything into God’s hands and just trust …”

Just when I said this, I saw a woman walking by with a large inscription on her T-shirt saying ‘OBEY’. This is a brand name which I did not know before. Chills crept up my spine. It was uncanny how the forces beyond the veil got their messages through. I would have to obey God’s will for me.

Let Me Kiss It and Make It Better

Then on October 29, 2014, almost a week after the lumbago attack, we went swimming in Berlin. The back pain was still pretty bad and I was glad about the temporary relief in the water.

There was also a group of school children in the pool. As I looked at the side where they had put all their large towels, I saw one with the phrase on it saying Let Me Kiss It and Make It Better.

Now, wasn’t that heartwarming? Like a sign from my guides or the universe that should sent me some solace for my back pain. Yeah, please, make it better. It is about time! But it would still take another week before the pain would go away.

Surrendering to the inevitable

On November 5, 2014, I made up my mind that I would start a blog. The signs pointing to that were too numerous and too insistent. So, I thought it would be better to surrender to the inevitable.

Afterwards, I found a homeopathic remedy which helped me with my back pain. It was as if the pain would only go away after I had surrendered, like another sign that I really needed to start the blog.

The next day, November 6, 2014: my inner voice gave me another one of these pep-talks. This time it said, ‘Remember, the days of your anonymity are numbered.
And as if to underline that statement, the anonymous commenting function on a blog where I used to comment was switched off. In a way, I was grateful for the synchronicity because it showed me that I was hearing the inner voice correctly and was not making this up.

On the day after I had found the resolve to start a blog, I dreamed that I celebrated my birthday party. I had to carefully go down some stairs to the ground floor where the party took place.

I think that was a way of my soul to show me that starting the blog would be like a joyous occasion and a reason for a  celebration.

Paint the way ahead in bold colors

On November 10, 2014, after I had already started to create the blog and gone through some technical struggles with WordPress, I dreamed that I was at a painting workshop and looked at a beautiful oil painting of a sandy path with purple heather at the sides. There were radiant bright colors with stark contrast.

Then, I was asked to describe what the painting workshop was about.

Awed by the daring colors of vibrant lime green, pink, olive green, and purple, I said, ”Here, we can learn to paint the way ahead in bold colors.”

I thought that this meant to encourage me to dream big and to envision a bright future regarding the blogging endeavor.


This post is part of a series about my spiritual journey (table of contents).