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Symptoms And Signs Of Spiritual Awakening

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Often spiritual awakening happens so spontaneously that many people are confused by what is happening to them. If you are experiencing life changes and feel that you are no longer the person you used to be, it is helpful to know the symptoms and signs of spiritual awakening. It is quite possible that you are in the process of spiritual awakening but do not know about it yet.

What Is Spiritual Awakening?

Spiritual awakening is a reconnection of your material self with your spiritual self. A person who has experienced spiritual awakening realizes that he (she) is not his (her) name, physical body, mind, or personality that he (she) is used to consider himself (herself). In fact, spiritual awakening is an awareness of your spiritual nature.

Spiritual awakening does not necessarily associate with religion as it also happens outside religions.

This is not always a simple and pleasant process. During spiritual awakening, lots of changes happen at different levels: physical, mental, emotional and social. But all these changes always for the best, because the Universe is cleansing the space for something new and good to come.

Let’s look at the signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening. But first of all, I would like to note that each person has his own unique signs because this process is very individual. In this article, I will list only the General symptoms and signs of spiritual awakening that are typical for most people.

Signs Of Spiritual Awakening

Crisis

Sad woman crying image

Often spiritual awakening begins with life changes, and, it may seem that these changes affect you in a negative way. But in reality, such changes lead to spiritual awakening, liberation from illusions and greater understanding of the Truth. If you’re experiencing a number of serious changes in life, it is not a reason to be discouraged, rather it is a reason to start focusing on prayer, study of sacred knowledge, and the communication with spiritual mentors. Take some time for thinking, analyzing and writing about what is happening to you. Pay attention to details and signs, and stay open to new experience. In fact, spiritual awakening is a joyful event that frees us from all unnecessary things.

Interest in new issues

An important sign of spiritual awakening is the emergence of important questions like: “Who am I? How does the world work? What is Truth? How do I gain liberation?” If you have a genuine interest in finding answers, then these questions will lead you in the right direction. Studying the sacred books, meditation and journaling will help you find the answers.

Increasing conversations with yourself

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You’ll find yourself talking to yourself more often. Suddenly you may notice that you’ve been talking to yourself for the last 30 minutes. Inside you, a new kind of communication is born, and you see only the top of the iceberg in these conversations with yourself. These conversations will grow and they will become more lively, more connected and more insightful. You’re not going crazy, you’re just moving into a new phase of your development. I recommend you write down the most insightful parts of these conversations.

Feeling alone, even surrounded by people

You can feel lonely and disconnected from people. You may want to avoid crowds and groups. You have to understand that you follow a lonely and sacred path. Even though you’re feeling lonely and anxious, it’s hard for you to relate to people. You need to understand that this time will pass and the emptiness inside will be filled with the love and divine energy.

Activity at the top of the head: tingling, itching, irritation, as if something is crawling on the scalp and/or down the spine.

The feeling of energy vibration in the upper part of the head, as if the energy of the shower is pouring out of the head. It may feel as if the energy is emitted through the top of the head in the form of “splashes”. You may also feel pressure on the top of your head as if someone was pressing a finger into the center of your head. You don’t need to worry about these feelings. What you’re experiencing is the opening up of the Crown chakra.

Sudden changes in work or career

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It is one of the most common signs of spiritual development. As you change, everything around you changes too. Don’t worry about finding a “perfect” job or career. It will eventually come. You are in a transition period now and can change a few jobs before you find one that fits your aspirations.

A disconnection with your family

You’re connected to your biological family through old karma. When you break the karmic cycle, the bonds of old relationships break. It may seem that you are moving away from your family and friends. But it is temporary. After a while, you can build a new relationship with them, if that’s what’s meant to be. However, these relations will be based on new energy, without karmic bindings.

The desire to find a soul mate or twin flame

Much more than ever, the idea that you can have a relationship that is consistent with who you truly are is growing stronger. You want to have a conscious relationship, meet your soulmate or twin flame.

Changes in food preferences: a refusal of meat, craving for fresh and healthy food

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The fact is that your body begins to vibrate at a higher frequency. And therefore now needs high-quality food. Don’t deny what your body says you need to eat. Listen to your body.

The unusual nature of the sleep

Another common sign of spiritual awakening is that very often you will wake up between 2 and 4 am. There’s a lot of energy work is going on inside you, and it often leads to waking up. Don’t worry. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something instead of lying in bed and worrying. It is also temporary.

Intense dreams

They can include dreams about wars and battles, persecution, monsters, etc. You literally release the old energy from within, and these energies of the past are often symbolized in the form of wars, search for a way out and horror stories. It will also pass.

Heart palpitation

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The opening of the Heart chakra may be accompanied by the acceleration of the heart. This only lasts a few minutes and means that the heart is rebalanced after an emotional release. Remember to talk to your doctor about health conditions that concern you. Then you will know for sure that this condition is not associated with health problems.

Invisible presence

There’s a variety of examples. Some people report that they feel that they are surrounded by some beings at night, or that someone is touching or talking to them. Often they wake up as from a push. Some also feel that their bodies are enclosed in a vibrating ball. These vibrations are caused by energy changes as a result of emotional purification.

Electrical and mechanical faults

You may notice that next to you light bulbs flicker, computers crash or radio devices fail.

Increased intuitive abilities and Altered States of consciousness

When you think of someone, you immediately hear from them. Synchronicities happen all the time. You may receive sudden insights about events from the past. You discover psychic abilities, out of body experiences and other psychic phenomena.

Feeling more connected with animals and plants

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Animals now seem more “human” in their behavior. You are less afraid of wild animals. Plants respond to your love and attention more than ever. You may even receive messages from them.

Flashes of creativity

You’re getting images, ideas, music and other creative inspirations at a stunning speed.

You live your purpose

You know you’re finally doing what you came to Earth for. You get new skills and abilities, especially for healing. Your experience of life and your activities now come together and make sense. You are finally starting to use it all.

Signs, visions, numbers, and symbols

You see what has a spiritual importance to you. Now you notice how the numbers appear synchronically in your consciousness. There’s a message in all this if you take time to think about it.

You find a spiritual path

Suddenly you reach a perspective you’ve never thought of before. You are eager to know more. You read, share with others, ask questions and go deep inside to learn more about who you are and why you are here.

You look younger

When you clean up emotional problems and let go of limiting beliefs and “heavy baggage” from the past, you really start to glow more and more. Your frequency is increasing. You start to love yourself and life more and more. You look and feel younger. You begin to look like your perfect true self, who you really are.

Physical disorientation

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Sometimes you will feel very “unearthly”. You will feel as if you can’t put both feet on the ground, or as if you’re walking between two worlds. While your consciousness moves into the new phase, your body sometimes lags behind it. Spend more time in nature to help ground yourself. It is also temporary.

Lucid dreaming

Sometimes your dreams are so real that you wake up confused. It’s hard for you to understand if it’s a dream or reality. Very often your dreams can be mystical messages to you. And in some dreams, you just know that you’re not “sleeping” and that what’s happening is real.

A sense of Unity with all

This is a direct experience of Integrity, a transcendental consciousness. You’re overflowing with compassion and love for life and all living creatures. Compassion and unconditional love for all elevate you to higher levels of consciousness and joy.

A deep desire to come back Home

This is perhaps the most difficult and challenging part. You may have a deep and overwhelming desire to leave the planet and come back Home. This desire is not based on anger or dissatisfaction with something. You don’t want to make a big deal out of it and create drama for yourself and others. It’s just one part of you that longs for spiritual unification. The reason for this is quite simple. You’ve finished much of your karmic cycle and are now striving for spiritual perfection.  You are now ready to start a new life, a rebirth of sorts while remaining in the same physical body.

You need to understand that your Spirit needs you here. There will come a time when some people will need a human Mentor like you who’s already passed this awakening phase.

The Bottom Line

Life never gives us a challenge that we cannot handle. And every time we overcome the most difficult challenges we only become stronger. The same with spiritual awakening. It’s not easy to go through it but once we’re done we become completely new stronger versions of ourselves. No matter how dark and lonely your journey may seem at times, remember that you are never alone.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Awareness

Spiritual Emergency: 10 Tell-Tale Signs You’re Going Through It

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Attaining a spiritual awakening is not always a smooth journey. You may sink into unexpected depression right after achieving your deep awakening. It is a spiritual emergency that can make you feel like your world is falling apart.

How did you get there in the first place? In this article, we discuss what spiritual emergency is all about. Later on, we shall list the common signs of this crisis and what you can do to overcome it. Sounds interesting? Read on.

What Is Spiritual Emergency?

Spiritual emergency or crisis is a phase in your spiritual journey whereby the awakening is too fast for you to comprehend. And, instead of growth, you sink into a severe depression. Spiritual awakening can be overwhelming to your body and mind, leading to a lot of physical, social, and psychological problems.

What Triggers Spiritual Emergency

what is spiritual emergency Image

A spiritual emergency may follow a life-changing event like the loss of a loved one, a serious accident, or an illness. Many people attribute the crisis to the following:

  • Do you have a gifted personality? Your spiritual enlightenment may lead to discovering forces in your unconscious mind you never knew existed.
  • Could it be past karma? Yes, some people believe that an unresolved trauma from your past life can crop up in your present life as a spiritual crisis.
  • Do you have strong beliefs about society or your immediate family? They may divert your awakening process into a crisis.
  • Are you an empath? Anyone oversensitive to others and their surroundings is more likely to slip into the crisis.

Misdiagnosis

A spiritual crisis may cause you to behave or experience things contrary to the norm. For example, how you see, feel, or respond to your environment becomes “odd” to others. From afar, you seem to be going through a psychotic episode, manic depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Yet, that is never the case.

Next, your friends or loved ones may start seeking medical help for this crisis. Due to a misdiagnosis, you may end up confined to a mental health ward for weeks or months. Or, a doctor may subject you to high doses of medication that wreak havoc on your body for the rest of your life. Indeed, this sad turn of events may become your new reality.

Now, some symptoms of the crisis may respond to drugs for a mental illness. But, if the root cause of the crisis remains, you may become dependent on drugs indefinitely. So, if you suspect that you are going through a spiritual emergency, use these steps to get help:

#1: Join a support group

Such networks create a safe environment where you can express your feelings without getting judged. For sure, the crisis can make you feel like your world is falling apart. But, having a place where your experiences are validated and accepted will facilitate your healing and spiritual growth.

#2: Empower yourself with knowledge

When you understand what you are going through, you will react better to any triggers of depression.

#3: See a therapist

If the above doesn’t work, you might need help from a professional.

The Common Signs of Spiritual Emergency

What Is Spiritual Bypassing Image

Now that we know some possible triggers and misconceptions about the crisis, here is a summary of the common signs of spiritual emergency:

#1: Oversensitivity

Sounds, lights, social media, or any other source of sensation may overwhelm you. And, you may also hear sounds, smell or feel things that those around you never notice.

#2: Unexplained Physical Sensations

There are spontaneous or involuntary flushes of hotness, coldness, or electric current-like energy rushing through your body.

#3: Disrupted Cognitive Functions

You may struggle to make decisions, recall things, or think logically. Likewise, you lack a sense of time or forget how you got where you are at any given moment. Losing your sense of self can trigger inner conflict. In turn, you may shy away from society, and spend most of your time feeling lonely.

#4: Overwhelming Memories, Intuitions, Visions, and Dreams

For example, you may experience vivid out-of-body encounters, hear voices, see visions or feel spirits around you, sense other person’s energies and emotions, and undergo a telepathic experience. These visions, hallucinations, and dreams may or may not have a clear trigger point, making it confusing to you.

#5: Heightened or Impaired Sense of Expression

If you are a shy person, a sudden loss of inhibition may prompt you to explore your body’s limitations, to the point of self-harm. Likewise, you become carefree with money. In a family setup, you may also reduce the interactions with your extended family. Similarly, others develop eating obsessions or not eating at all.

#6: Loss of Interest in Daily Routines

For example, you may lose interest in going to work, school, or taking care of your favorite pet. Your moods become erratic. One time you have excessive energy and the next day you wake up completely drained. It becomes hard pinpointing the reasons why you have such mood swings.

#7: A Feeling That You Are Going Mad

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Even your family and friends may say you are going crazy. But, deep down you know you are normal. And, you are yearning to find an explanation so that you can get validation.

#8: You Have a Medical Illness with No Known Cause

You may hop from hospital to hospital trying to treat a medical condition with no clear diagnosis.

#9: Ego-Inflation

Suddenly, you feel like you are a reincarnation of some enlightened figure.

#10: Disrupted Sleeping Patterns with Regular Nightmares

You can’t sleep continuously at night without screaming or sweating in between.

Coping Mechanisms

Most of the symptoms above have no logical explanation. Consequently, you may get anxious, depressed, or afraid for weeks, or months, or have overwhelming love and unity for others. Here are some coping tips you can use:

  • Embrace your vulnerability
  • Seek a therapist or support group as a safe environment to share your experiences
  • Avoid stimulants
  • Practice deep breathing
  • Focus on self-care
  • Know your limits and avoid stressful situations
  • Minimize any spiritual practices
  • Focus on a meaningful relationship, keep off stressful interactions
  • If on medication, get clinical guidance before reducing or stopping them

Conclusion

Spiritual emergency experiences vary from one person to another. However, there are common signs you can observe to understand what is happening. Then, if you sense that you are in the middle of a crisis, remember that help is available. There are support networks ready to walk with you through the crisis, by providing you with all the resources you need.

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Inspirational quotes

Pema Chodron Quotes: 60 Enlightening Sayings to Support Your Journey

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Pema Chodron is one of the best-known faces of American Buddhism. She has devoted her life to inspiring people from around the world to awaken and practice peace even in the most turbulent times. Pema Chodron has written many influential books, such as The Wisdom of No Escape, “Start Where You Are, When Things Fall Apart, The Places that Scare You, and most recently, “Smile at Fear”. In her books, she explores Buddhist concepts and explains how suffering, fear, and difficult times can be conquered. In this article, we have collected the most enlightening Pema Chodron quotes to support your spiritual journey.

60 Enlightening Pema Chodron Quotes

#1

inspirational quotes on inner peace Image

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”
― Pema Chodron

#2

“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
― Pema Chodron

#3

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”
― Pema Chodron

#4

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.”
― Pema Chodron

#5

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
― Pema Chodron

#6

“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. ”
― Pema Chödrön

#7

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth”
― Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron Quotes

#8

Pema Chodron Quote Image

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”
― Pema Chodron

#9

“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
― Pema Chödrön

#10

“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart…”
― Pema Chödrön

#11

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ”
― Pema Chodron

#12

“We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.”
― Pema Chodron

#13

“As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity.”
― Pema Chödrön

Inspirational Pema Chodron Quotes

#14

!!!“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. Nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”
― Pema Chödrön

#15

“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
― Pema Chodron

#16

“We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”
― Pema Chödrön

#17

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön

#18

“We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society. It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others… Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.”
― Pema Chodron

#19

“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don’t know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.”
― Pema Chödrön

#20

“When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality.”
― Pema Chödrön

Enlightening Pema Chodron Quotes

#21

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“The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.”
― Pema Chödrön

#22

“We think that if we just meditated enough or jogged enough or ate perfect food, everything would be perfect. But from the point of view of someone who is awake, that’s death. Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn’t have any fresh air. There’s no room for something to come in and interrupt all that. We are killing the moment by controlling our experience.”
― Pema Chödrön

#23

“So even if the hot loneliness is there, and for 1.6 seconds we sit with that restlessness when yesterday we couldn’t sit for even one, that’s the journey of the warrior.”
― Pema Chödrön

#24

“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what’s going on, but that there’s something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world.”
― Pema Chödrön

#25

“No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear…the advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.”
― Pema Chödrön

#26

“We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get addicted to other people’s wrongness.”
― Pema Chodron

#27

“As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never
learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find
compassion. ”
― Pema Chödrön

Pema Chodron Quotes

#28

Pema Chödrön Image

“When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.”
― Pema Chödrön

#29

“Once you create a self-justifying storyline, your emotional entrapment within it quadruples.”
― Pema Chodron

#30

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
― Pema Chödrön

#31

“The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.”
― Pema Chödrön

#32

“Be grateful to everyone” is about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected… If we were to make a list of people we don’t like – people we find obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt – we would discover much about those aspects of ourselves that we can’t face… other people trigger the karma that we haven’t worked out.”
― Pema Chödrön

#33

“It isn’t the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it’s how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.”
― Pema Chödrön

#34

“The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security.”
― Pema Chödrön

Pema Chodron Quotes

#35

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“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.”
― Pema Chödrön

#36

“There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.”
― Pema Chödrön

#37

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.”
― Pema Chödrön

#38

“When we touch the center of sorrow, when we sit with discomfort without trying to fix it, when we stay present to the pain of disapproval or betrayal and let it soften us, these are times that we connect with bohdichitta.”
― Pema Chödrön

#39

“It’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry at the human predicament. Here we are with so much wisdom and tenderness, and—without even knowing it—we cover it over to protect ourselves from insecurity. Although we have the potential to experience the freedom of a butterfly, we mysteriously prefer the small and fearful cocoon of ego.”
― Pema Chödrön

#40

“Not causing harm obviously includes not killing or robbing or lying to people. It also includes not being aggressive – not being aggressive with our actions, our speech, or our minds. Learning not to cause harm to ourselves or others is a basic Buddhist teaching on the healing power of nonaggression. Not harming ourselves or others in the beginning, not harming ourselves or others in the middle, and not harming ourselves or others in the end is the basis of enlightened society.”
― Pema Chödrön

#41

“One can appreciate and celebrate each moment — there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!”
― Pema Chödrön

Pema Chodron Quotes

#42

Inner Darkness Quotes Image

“Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
― Pema Chödrön

#43

“At the root of all the harm we cause is ignorance.”
― Pema Chödrön

#44

“We insist on being Someone, with a capital S. We get security from defining ourselves as worthless or worthy, superior or inferior. We waste precious time exaggerating or romanticizing or belittling ourselves with a complacent surety that yes, that’s who we are. We mistake the openness of our being—the inherent wonder and surprise of each moment—for a solid, irrefutable self. Because of this misunderstanding, we suffer.”
― Pema Chödrön

#45

“Honesty without kindness, humor, and goodheartedness can be just mean.”
― Pema Chödrön

#46

“It is only when we begin to relax with ourselves that meditation becomes a transformative process. Only when we relate with ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns. Without maitri (metta), renunciation of old habits becomes abusive. This is an important point.”
― Pema Chodron

#47

“The essence of bravery is being without self-deception.”
― Pema Chödrön

#48

“My experience with forgiveness is that it sort of comes spontaneously at a certain point and to try to force it it’s not really forgiveness. It’s Buddhist philosophy or something spiritual jargon that you’re trying to live up to but you’re just using it against yourself as a reason why you’re not okay.”
― Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron Quotes

#49

Pema Chodron quote on suffering Image

“When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.”
― Pema Chödrön

#50

“Patience is the training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed.”
― Pema Chödrön

#51

“Pain is not a punishment, pleasure is not a reward.”
― Pema Chödrön

#52

“We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.”
― Pema Chödrön

#53

“We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.”
― Pema Chödrön

#54

“The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. . . Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there’s some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. . . Nontheism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves.”
― Pema Chodron

#55

“We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs – or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality- or we begin to challenge them. In Buddha’s opinion, to train in staying open and curious – to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs – is the best use of our human lives.”
― Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron Quotes

#56

Pema Chödrön on awakening Image

“Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical. We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here. It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely to difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others.”
― Pema Chodron

#57

“Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax. It’s such a huge help in working with our crazy mixed-up minds to remember that what we’re doing is unlocking a softness that is in us and letting it spread. We’re letting it blur the sharp corners of self-criticism and complaint.”
― Pema Chödrön

#58

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”
― Pema Chödrön

#59

“Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.”
― Pema Chödrön

#60

“Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.”
― Pema Chödrön

We hope you are inspired by these Pema Chodron quotes as much as we are!

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Personal Development

The Collective Shadow: Overcoming Our Biggest Blindspot

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Collective shadow Image

Everywhere you go people maintain strong beliefs that shape their cultural and social interactions. General opinions about a certain culture, race, sex, political ideals, or spiritual views have a great impact on society as a whole. Yet, not everyone has the same view about such matters as interracial marriages, LGBT, abortion, or even how you should raise your child. That’s why, when you are on the receiving end of these beliefs, you can accumulate collective shadows from as early as childhood. These shadows define who you are today, robbing you of a fulfilled life. If you want to understand the concept of the collective shadow and how you can de-clutter from your current pile of collective shadows to live a meaningful life, this article is for you!

What Is a Collective Shadow?                                          

A collective shadow refers to those lingering memories relating to unpleasant events that took place at different stages of our lives. These events are due to a deviation of beliefs stemming from your immediate family, immediate culture and society, or the global community. Think of all those childhood wounds or intergenerational traumas you may have gone through when you were a victim of racism, homophobia, or stereotyping in your school, workplace, or overall community.

How you manage these wounds dictates whether you will live a fulfilled life or become a restless soul. More so, you may turn from being a victim to a perpetrator, projecting your perceived inferiority on those you see as morally deficient because, naturally, your mind will refer to these layers of psychological junk in all your decision-making.

The Sources of Collective Shadow

Below are some ideologies that plant toxic memories making up an individual’s collective shadow:

  • Homophobia
  • Apartheid
  • Sexism
  • Slavery
  • Human trafficking
  • Racism
  • Ableism
  • Speciesism
  • Religious discrimination

Ideally, the source of a collective shadow is any ideology that looks down or rejects a certain group or individuals. And, some people deal with two or more sources at the same time. For example, a child who is a victim of human trafficking may end up in a region where racism is rampant.

The Implications

what is the collective shadow Image

A collective shadow results in an unpleasant character-forming in a person involuntarily. More so, many victims hardly recognize the shadow as the root cause of their prejudices towards minority groups. In turn, you may have an interpersonal conflict or even a fully-fledged war as witnessed in many countries across the globe.

Hence, deal with any shadow elements you have as early as possible. Expect a layered process that may start with you but not necessarily end with you.  For example, Nelson Mandela’s contribution towards ending apartheid in South Africa took more than his effort to accomplish. And, the movement against apartheid goes on now even in the absence of this former president. 

The Shadow Work

Shadow work entails confronting all the past atrocities, horrors, and tragedies that have created a blind spot in our unconscious mind. If you are under the guidance of a spiritual leader, a teacher, or a mentor, chances are that they have brought up the need for shadow work in your life. For these leaders encourage their followers, students, or mentees to reflect on what is lurking in their lives.

Spirituality Denying Shadow Work

There is a growing tendency for spirituality to cover up the need for shadow work. For, the layered process may evoke feelings of disgust, shame, anger, or getting defensive. Hence, many spiritual leaders use such phrases as:

  • Collective shadows are the victim’s karma
  • The shadow elements are the victim’s reality
  • Their spiritual work focuses only on the positives
  • They want to encourage the “good vibes”
  • The victim of collective shadows brought it on themselves in the first place
  • We live in an illusion whereby everything is love and society is inherently evil

The above opinions are far from true. For example, attributing the shadow elements to karma dismisses the victim’s pain. And, focusing on the positive aspects of life is an avoidance approach that hinders conflict resolution. More so, these notions can create more collective shadows in the victims that seek guidance from the said spiritual leaders. Yet, when done with compassion, shadow work is achievable.

3 Ways to Unravel the Collective Shadow

past trauma healing Image

#1: Be Receptive to Others

Did you grow up exposed to stereotypes on sexuality, spirituality, or certain medical practices? Seek knowledge on these ideologies. Accommodate those you view as not fitting in your circle. Do this by spending more time with them to hear their perceptions. Chances are, the effects of a long-overdue misunderstanding or unresolved conflict are being passed on from one generation to the next. Therefore, be the one to break this chain.

#2: Examine Your Role in Perpetuating the Beliefs

Once you identify your collective shadow, ask yourself how your actions are sustaining these false beliefs. For example, who are you following on social media? Take a closer look at the people you listen to, the friends you have, the activities and people you financially support, the feelings you have toward certain groups. Think about the ways you could be perpetuating old and unhealthy ideas and beliefs. By questioning your actions, you become able to see how even you could become a source of the shadow elements for future generations.

#3: Acknowledge Your Responsibility

One way or another, each of us unconsciously internalized parts of the Collective Shadow. When you drop your ego, you’ll be able to clearly see your participation in the Collective Shadow.

Whatever you did, own up to your mistakes by recognizing them as lessons. Approach the person you hurt and seek their forgiveness and forgive yourself for not being your best self in particular situations. It’s okay to be imperfect and say the wrong thing. What matters is what you do after you learn that you’ve made a mistake. Only a few of us are able to take the responsibility to correct the impact of our utterances. Finally, learn to be humble, apologize, and take sincere steps to open your heart and mind.

Conclusion

Collective shadows pile up over time, becoming a disruptive thick layer that impacts the rest of our lives. They define who you are today, and how you view anyone that is of a differing opinion or belief. So, if you realize that you are holding on to dysfunctional beliefs from your traumatic past, engage in shadow work to remove these layers of lies. Start by listening to those of a contrary opinion to yours. Check how your collective shadows are provoking biased decision-making against minority groups. And, in humility, acknowledge those you hurt.

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