I like to go down google rabbit holes every now and again and the last time I ventured into one was in the exploration of a phenomenon that has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Enlightenment.
Not the Age of Enlightenment but the concept that is sometimes called The Dark Night of the Soul, other times it’s been called The Awakening or Enlightenment. The naming doesn’t stop there though, because Enlightenment is sometimes extended to become Spiritual Enlightenment.
Why Trusting the Universe ISN’T becoming a Bystander.
I tried really hard to identify a pattern in the naming system, to no avail. In the course of the conversation, any one of the names could appear. At one point I looked down at the scribbles and scratchings in my notebook and it reminded me of the Marauders Map that Harry Potter used to track Peter Pettigrew in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
There were no helpful footprints guiding my path; instead, it was like looking into a kaleidoscope, where the delicate filaments of logic, reason and language danced as they refused to be either banished or defined.
In western mainstream medicine, this phenomenon is labelled Psychosis.
Researching in this field is an eye-opening experience, I got to meet and talk to a dazzling cross-section of society, ranging from those that advocated Shamanic Ayahuasca Rituals in the Amazon to the naval contemplating yogis in Battersea. The most surprising observation of mine was to find their willingness to share their experiences with unapologetic authenticity.
During one long and rational conversation with a person living the experience who spoke with a power and emotion that commanded my attention, quietly said,
“Initially I was a Human-Being with life happening to me in terms of maturity, material possessions and society. I now recognise a Human and a Being; the me you see and the me I see. I now make my life happen, not with some kind of magic, but by living with intent”.
I stared at him, slack-jawed as he did that eyebrow raise and a half-smile facial gesture of someone that is accepting of their circumstance. He then uttered a sentence that silenced me, which is not an easy thing to do.
“I understand that I am not supposed to understand, though why or how I have this understanding is as unknown as it is unwavering”
At no point did he try to sway my thinking, convince me, or even ask whether or not I agreed with him. He was sure of himself, he didn’t need anyone to co-sign on his existence.
The most discombobulating meeting was with a person that identified as a seeker, which is a person that has an unchallenged relationship with reality (what some people call normal) but engages in what is called inner and outer work in preparation for their Dark Night of the Soul and ultimately having their Awakening and/or the Enlightenments.
The difference in communication styles was stark. Where the person living with the experience spoke quietly and assuredly, this person moved through the story with erratic energy. When I asked the seeker to talk me through their understanding of Psychosis, the response was a shrug of derision at the word saying only, “That’s what they want us to believe it is, because they don’t want us to know that we have the power to travel to the other planets with our minds“.
Medically, a person can have the genes for Psychosis, but that doesn’t mean they will experience it. Other potential triggers are alcohol abuse, use of hallucinogenics such as marijuana, LSD, and amphetamines. A psychotic episode can also be triggered by traumatic events such as a bereavement, a sexual assault, or even war.
The one common denominator in all of the people that I spoke to is that they have become acutely aware of the super massiveness of The Universe. In the course of my research, I learned that there are more stars in The Universe than there are grains of sand on Planet Earth. I also learned that it is estimated that, on average, Stars are around twenty million years apart which is a measurement that is impossible to comprehend because of the limitations of human perception.
Alarmingly, it has been scientifically estimated that 99.5% of our environment is not observed because the human brain cannot make it understandable. That is a destabilising hypothesis, and I am not afraid to admit that it scares me a little.
Opinions on this are burn fast and hot. I read a post online where one chap ridiculed the notion of other or higher beings and suggested that people with this mindset are weak and need to get a grip. Where those that don’t believe can be unkind, dismissive and judgemental, the believers are kind, humble and they have released themselves from the whole concept of judgement.
What speaking to more than thirty people that have experienced an episode assured me of is that they do seem to have a grip, a grip on the ability to live peacefully. Yes, they use words that are usually reserved for science fiction and witchcraft but they are calm, caring of others as well as themselves and have been relieved of the urge to accumulate material possessions or wealth, instead favouring the riches of the natural world. It’s a compelling idea, there’s no denying it.
I would love to read your thoughts on this in the comments section.