One of the common myths about being “spiritual” or “awakened” is that suddenly everything in your life is perfect, all the stress and bad shit disappears and some even try to surround themselves entirely with positive, supportive and like-minded individuals and information/news. This is not only unrealistic and false, but can also hinder REAL emotional, psychological and spiritual growth. Especially if you are going around “faking”all the positivity in your life in order co convince yourself or others, that everything is perfect and joyful.
“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear… are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They’re like messengers that tell us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck.” (Pema Chodron)
What tends to happen to genuinely “awakened” or “spiritual” individuals is a psychological transformation of which one of the most common components is self-transcendence – one’s sense of identity or “self” reaches beyond (trans) the bounded individual self and there is a noetic (wisdom revealing) realization of fundamental interconnectedness – the illusory and perceptual experience of duality (you and them) is replaced by unity (Us). Along with a sense of interconnectedness with all life, humans and the cosmos, other common behavioral responses to these transformations include a more expansive and harmonious state, increased compassion and less concern for materialistic goals (Taylor, 2017).
“The path of individuation asks for total integration of all facets of the self: good, bad, and ugly. Don’t get discouraged by the difficult moments and emotions, and don’t push them away or diminish someone else’s experience by encouraging fake positivity. Uncovering and understanding the self is a lifelong journey that demands rejection of conventional attitudes and the mask of positivity.” (Bennett, 2018)
The other aspect of an “awakened” or “spiritual” condition – particularly when contemplative, meditative practices are regularly involved – is a reduction in emotional reactivity and less reliance on the brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN) – brain wiring changes (Goldin & Gross, 2010). These two common components of “awakening” or “spirituality” – self-transcedence and reduced emotional reactivity – contribute to a state of imperturbability. Shit still happens, your life still meets with the occasional crisis and you still come in contact with jerks, ass-holes and traumatic and disturbing news/information. What changes though is YOUR REACTION to these normal life events. You, your emotional state, becomes (mostly) unmovable, imperturbable or UNFUCKWITHABLE. Your state of joy and happiness becomes much harder to disrupt – if at all. This does not mean you become detached or apathetic towards life, people or tragic events. Rather, it simply reflects a shift in your brain from being driven by the emotionally laden fight-or-flight mechanisms of the limbic and autonomic nervous systems, to the wisdom, reflective, social, moral and compassionate aspects of the prefrontal cortex (executive functions). You not only become minimally reactionary to those life events, but you also remain calm and level-headed in order to deal with them in a rational, clear-headed and compassionate manner.
But that’s just like my opinion, man. 🙂
“These days, the realm of spirituality (and sometimes psychology) can feel fake. Instagram and other social media are jammed with influencer posts about positive vibes, about not allowing negative energy or thoughts to get to you, about surrounding yourself with only supportive, positive people.” (Bennett, 2018)
- Bennett, V.S. (2018). The Danger in Fake Positivity and Spiritual Bypassing. Human Parts – Medium.com. Retrieved from https://humanparts.medium.com/the-danger-in-fake-positivity-and-spiritual-bypassing-c202040b8dd3
- Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder. Emotion, 10(1), 83-91.
- Taylor, S. (2017). The Leap: The Psychology of Spiritual Awakening. New World Library: San Francisco