The Whiplash of Sainthood: Why Your Awakening Can Look Like a Soap Opera

Myth: Awakening is an exit door out of this duality gong show where you get to leave behind identification with emotional content and plot-thickening storylines such as betrayal, abandonment, jealousy, blame and shame.

Truth: Awakening is more like entering a fast track through some of the most crazy-ass chaos you will ever encounter, a manic, magnified and hyperbolic suspense-love-thriller story rolled into one massive and irreversible point of view shift.

Let me explain. 

If we use the fiction narrative as a metaphor for awakening, you could say that pre-awakening you were living a first-person life. You saw the world through the closely identified “I” point of view. As in a novel, every happening is seen through the prejudices, filters, personality and thoughts of the first-person protagonist. It’s a tightly bound perspective that in real life we tend to call the Ego.

Then, one day, an awakening shift occurs.

Suddenly you see the world with new eyes. You are spacious and serene awareness. All the limitations and turmoil of that ego-viewpoint fall away (for some completely, for some others, partially). You are seeing things as if you are now a third-person narrator, that fiction convention where the author describes the thoughts and actions of each character from a more distant “he and she” perspective.

This is being the witness of your life. In the weeks after my awakening I was even prone to speaking about Lori Ann in the third person, as if she was a character outside of me. I was now perceiving myself as the watcher of all the characters around me and especially of the thoughts and feelings that happened to pass through the character of Lori Ann.

There eventually emerges a third shift in point of view. This is the equivalent of fiction’s omniscient narrator—it’s where the author shares the inner life of all characters in the story line, as if from a God’s eye view.

At this point in awakenings the witness-self fades into an increasing intimacy with all of reality. It’s a kind of merger that you could say is like the Vulcan mind meld from star trek. But you don’t merge with something (that implies a twosome process). Rather there is a giddy sense of the allness-oneness of life. (This is not my every day experience, but rather it seems to be a perceptual shift that is gently and slowly taking over.)

universeselfBack to the Soap Opera of Sainthood

People imagine that awakened beings are free of discord and upsets. That they wander the world in a bliss state, profoundly and permanently peaceful.

This is just not true. And there is reason for it. This reality breathes, in and out, and in the sense we are timeless beings playing in the illusion of space-time, there will always be a contraction for every expansion. 

This means, in the beginning especially, most awakenings are one big in breath. It’s the sweet inhale of Self where we experience our stillness. Here is when and where old reactive patterns dissolve. It is where we laugh easily even when the storms of life rage around us. This equanimity and peace is a part of the awakening of Awareness to itself.

But this peace cannot last. For me, it lasted a few months. For some, it’s mere hours. But the out-breath will arrive. And suddenly your awakened life might look like a shit-storm.

A Real Life Tale or Two

After four months of impenetrable peace, I felt the first wave of the out-breath. It was the smallest thing that moved me from this equanimity to feeling angry for the first time since the awakening. All it took was some bitchy-attitude from my teen daughter to trigger the out-breath.

Next thing I knew, irritation, annoyance and frustration began to show up, punctuating the witness stillness with episodes of emotional reactivity that I’d assumed I’d be free from forever. My husband used to joke that I’d lost my enlightenment and I’d wonder myself: Where did the perfect peace go?

Then, just when I thought the enlightenment gig was up, another in-breath would sweep me with a tidal like pull back to the deep stillness. Eventually, I saw this pattern was somehow intrinsic to awakening itself.

When later I was to encounter a spiritual teacher, one who platformed on his enlightenment being what TM’ers call “Unity Consciousness” or the highest state of awakening, I expected this would be someone free from that tidal pull of expansion and contraction.Yet, despite the palpable grace that emanated from his presence, over the year I spent in proximity to this man (who lived in my home for 40 consecutive days), I was witness to normal human contractions. Just one example.

After immersions, where this teacher was known to toss shakti balls around and activate bliss, kriyas and kundalini in a room of students (also known as shaktipat), he would often physically collapse for up to two days afterward. Migraines, exhaustion and frailty would show up in the aftermath of what would appear to be robust, potent and vital force demonstrations of presence. To the eye, he looked like a pale ghost of himself and for that reason I suppose, tended to hide out in bed until his vitality had been restored.

This physical pendulum swing  was mirrored too, by the emotional. He got angry at people and situations, just like the rest of us. (How do I know ? Because he demonstrated anger the way we all do by shouting in reaction, storming out of the room, or by cold withdrawal).

If we consider the tale of Jesus screaming at the money changers as true, then it should be no surprise that gurus also have bouts of contraction that show up as anger, blame, attack and even in some cases downright emotionally abusive behaviours. (Note: I am not suggesting that this teacher was abusive, but rather am speaking about gurus in general.

The point is simple. No matter how “awake” a person claims to be or truly is, no one is exempt from this in-breath and out-breath of consciousness. This excerpt by enlightenment writer Jerry Freeman is useful:

“The thing is, there’s a natural cycle. Ego is engaged, ego is silent.

Then ego is engaged, then ego is silent again.

People think the ego engaged phase of the cycle is bad and the ego silent phase of the cycle is good. They wait for the ego engaged phase to go away forever, but it never will. They think the ego silent phase is what enlightenment will be when it finally becomes permanent, but the ego silent phase NEVER becomes permanent.

Ego continues to arise and pass away, endlessly, in the natural cycle of engagement and letting go. It’s how a human life functions.

What does happen is, ego thins out, becomes compliant, becomes less self-important.”


The Map 

Here is a pictoral representation of this phasing ego process. Make of it what you will. It’s a nifty tool for understanding. (This drawing is copyright Jerry Freeman, used with permission).




Awareness is here, breathing in, breathing out,

PS: Did you know I created a 20 minute free guided meditation called Enter the Synchronicity Portal? Over 500 people have tried it so far and reported that it awakens a whole lot of magic in their lives. Click HERE to download.

PPS: Every now and then my video blog has a instalment that looks like a comedy show. In this episode, after burning a bird in high magic, I manage to step into chaos in the most unusual ways. Oh yeah, Adult Content: I do a fair bit of cursing in this clip


14 thoughts on “The Whiplash of Sainthood: Why Your Awakening Can Look Like a Soap Opera

  1. Cally

    During meditation I’ve noticed that when I get lost in thought, at a certain point my breathing does an involuntary big sigh. At the end of the outward breath there’s peace and calm. The way I’ve come to understand this over time is that thoughts produce a certain intensity or build up of conscious energy i.e. a slow contraction, to use your terminology. The physical response once this contraction reaches a certain intensity, is the sudden sharp in-breath.

    To put it another way, when attention is placed on thoughts (story), contraction occurs. Awareness of being caught up in thought triggers a sigh to restore the previous state of expanded awareness.

    I’ve noticed this same contraction/expansion happening throughout the day, depending on whether attention is absorbed in thought or returned to Presence.

    Once I noticed this in myself, I saw the relevance of the advice to take a few deep breaths in times of stress or anxiety.


  2. Dave

    Loved your sharing, Lori. I, too, have experienced such duality in consciousness, and have witnessed my chosen guru in this life experience anger as well. I have heard it said we are divine beings having a human experience. That sure rings true for me!


  3. Michael

    Hi Lori!
    Very nice article!
    I would say that we will never be “perfect” in human form (meaning absolutly no reactivity) no matter how deep our enlightenment is. But from personal observation i see that the more emotional integration has happened the less often reactivity will happen….as a lot of emotions (and emotional patterns) are imprinted/tatooed into our emotional body. The more that one has worked through and faced (and felt through) the really deep uncomfortable stuff the less reactive they will be……but never perfect. (and perfect is also boring 😉

    For that i am this big supporter of Michael Browns work (the presence process; and the more recent work of Scott Kiloby. Also very good is the work of Almaas to become aware of some really deep patterns.

    One question: Could (or would you) share why these deep exhaustion happened to Igor after the shaktipat? (did he burn karma away as sometimes described in some books)

    much love


    1. Sanja

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks for posting the link! Checked out few things and found a missing piece of a puzzle …
      The Manna Of Life ❤
      Talking about synchronicity 😉


  4. John Lamenzo

    spelling correction: ‘krias’ or ‘kryas’, not ‘kyrias’. A krya is precipated by the kundalini shakti force (consciousness in action) busting up stuck energy in the body-mind-soul continuum. Often this force is centered in the spine, but it can go anywhere, as it knows where to go.

    …yes, the human body: before the enlightening, chop wood; after the enlightening, chop wood. Need to eat, eat; need to sing, sing; need to tantric, tantric (being p c here 🙂 )…the list continues…

    This essay is remarkable for its accuracy. Bottom line, once you enter the stream, you are the stream, and the stream rules.


  5. jogarceau

    Enjoyed this post. Right now I’m meditating daily on harmlessness, on desire and aversion, Recognition of my and others’ attachment seems to clear the space. Creates more equanimity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.