(Spiritual Emergence/Emergency . . . )
Crazy Wisdom A spiritual awakening is almost always precipitated by a severe emotional or spiritual crisis; it oftentimes organically grows out of unresolved abuse issues from childhood. This was certainly true in my case. In a fully-flowered spiritual emergence, you magically discover how to transmute these symptoms and wounds into the blessings that they are.
To people still absorbed in the collective, mainstream trance, with unquestioning membership in the consensus reality, my behavior looked totally bizarre and was very threatening. It was, I'm sure, a very difficult and problematic situation for those closest to me, as they weren't able to understand what I was going through. It was too far off their map of reality.
Painfully, most of my friends and family were very judgemental and bought into the doctors’ diagnosis that I had a mental illness. From my perspective, this was a way to "explain" what was happening to me that fit into their very limited, comfortable view of the world. In the words of the late psychiatrist R. D. Laing, "Attempts to wake before our time are often punished, especially by those who love us most. Because they, bless them, are asleep. They think anyone who wakes up, or who, still asleep, realizes that what is taken to be real is a 'dream,' is going crazy."
The experiences and realizations were so mind-blowing, literally, that at certain points I was having trouble "keeping it together." My whole personality structure was melting and disintegrating, all orchestrated towards some mysterious, unknown destination where everything was clearly being integrated into a higher and more psychoactive center.
Oftentimes my actions looked from the outside like typical psychotic behavior. For example, one time I threw out all of my father’s many medications. I felt that he really didn't need them, as he could just tap right into the source of healing itself if he wanted to. At other times, I wanted to break my eyeglasses. I felt that I didn't need them to see, that they were doing more harm to my eyes than good.
One morning, after I was acting so crazy that my father flew me back home to New York, he awakened to find me doing prostrations to him. Later on that morning I went out to the middle of the busy intersection near my parents’ apartment and spent some time bowing to the oncoming cars, recognizing that everything was the Divine.
From my point of view, I was realizing, or should I say, it was being revealed to me, that each moment was the unmediated expression of God, what I call the “Goddessence.” I remember turning on the radio and every voice I heard on the radio was the voice of this Goddessence. Every person I was seeing was the Goddessence him or herSelf. It seemed curious and confusing to me that everybody seemed to be so caught up in such limited, contracted identity states, as if they were pretending and really seemed to believe that they weren't Divine.
When you are spiritually emerging you are literally going through an archetypal death/rebirth experience, which is about nothing other than the transcendence of the separate self. I was experiencing a radical shift of identity as I began to realize my unity with the whole of creation. I remember feeling that anything that had ever been invented, discovered, or created (including the whole cosmos), had been accomplished by the "I" who I was now discovering myself to be. This realization is not conventionally comprehensible—it makes no sense as long as one is under the spell of the intellect—but it appeared to me with the force of a revelation. What I was coming to understand seemed totally obvious, as if I was genuinely seeing the truth for the first time. In fact, I was beginning to realize who I, as well as everyone, genuinely was, which was simultaneously nothing (not a thing that can be understood as an object) and at the same time, everything.
During these experiences I got to meet and intimately connect with some of the greatest enlightened masters of Tibet and Burma; and, as in a Fairy Tale, they became my teachers and guides. True miracles, experiences that were completely impossible, stuff that could only happen in dreams, began happening. Any limited conceptualizations I had about the nature of the universe were being totally shattered.