Reader Q&A: Tales from Limbo Land.
Finding yourself stuck in spiritual limbo is painful and confusing.
Let’s look at one reader’s experience…
I was a spiritual seeker for 10 years, met some good teachers, wrote a book, was doing all right. Then fell in a canyon in 2005, died, and saw that I never existed.
It turned all I learned on its head. At first was a year of clarity…and as such I never did any integration of dealing with the realization…at the time no one was writing about the aftermath so I was very alone to figure it all out. I took no time to just sit and be with it.
Flash forward. For the last 12 years life has been getting worse and worse. Illness, bad luck, closed doors, loss of motivation, poor decisions…all building and building like a ticking time bomb within, all linked to the canyon and some sort of resistance. One part of it was an attempt to intellectualize the awakening. I read and studied and read and wrote notes on just about every subject. Everything was interesting and I studied all of it in depth. Now I carry a ton of knowledge, but seem to have not really taken a full step beyond 2005 in depth of seeing or maybe living.
Secondly I note that the me who is here now is like a giant fiction. What might be called an authentic self (which while also fake I now think has some value in playing out your dream character role more smoothly) while in its place is simply a poorly constructed mask that has helped shape of life which I now rarely laugh, or smile, except when with my cat.
So how does one deal with a realization of no self, and not see life fall apart around them? What is the recommendation for someone who is here like me, and to someone early on not to get to this place so they can have a smoother time of it.
In your article you wrote, “I promise you that the end of it is not supposed to be you staring out the window for hours on end, unable to rouse yourself to engage with this world in some way. Can you imagine a life in which you get through the disorientation and arise to meet the world as it comes to you, fully…even though it is pointless? …you want to stop being at the mercy of your programs, but you don’t want to do the work to deprogram yourself.”
That is a basis of my question…How to understand where the foundation of the all the confusion and difficulty has arisen from.
So many things to tease out of this question. In this post I’ll address the one that is causing you the greatest pain: your 12 year sojourn in Limbo Land.
And not just any old part of Limbo, either (for there are neighborhoods that aren’t all that bad). No. You wedged your way right into the blighted zone I call Abandoned By God.
Oh jeez, I’m not talking here about some creator deity! Nor any New Age stand in, like The Source or whatever. But doesn’t it have a nice ring to it? Abandoned By God. Try it on and see how it fits.
I’m not religious at all, but they do make some nice poetry.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
When you find yourself in the Abandoned By God zone of Limbo Land, it’s basically this blessing, inverted. It’s having all the ease you used to experience in life turned in the other direction — now it’s easy to make unfortunate decisions and easy to lose money and so very easy to find yourself isolated in what feels like the wrong life. You feel like you are the recipient of the Anti Blessing.
I did my time in this zone, too. A lot of time. Though not as much as yourself. 12 years. Sheesh!
Prior to this, my life has always been hugely fortunate. It’s like I was given every blessing, from the spiritual to the mundane. Wealth, looks, intelligence, health, a happy disposition, wisdom at a young age, loving family, grounded mentally and emotionally, not an addictive bone in my body…the list is ridiculous. Fortune had definitely made her face to shine up on me! Things just always worked out for me, and sometimes in the most over the top ways. You just couldn’t make this stuff up! It was damn near magical.
And that continued, even after awakening. Until eventually I found myself in this inverted space, where all that over the top good fortune turned upside down. All doors were shut, one by one. Anything I set myself to accomplish failed, and spectacularly. In ways that are impossible to fathom. My timing for everything was totally off, and I’ve always had impeccable timing! I set my sights lower and just tried to do really basic things, easy things, and even those failed. In ways that were over the top, you couldn’t make this stuff up. It was damn near magical.
Life got smaller and smaller. Everything contracted. To top it off, I had a series of completely bizarre health issues that left me unable to use my hands (how symbolic!), and as soon as I healed from one situation, it would happen again, literally within one or two days (annually) of the last time it happened. I dreaded October!
If I was inclined to believe in curses, I could easily have gone there. Did some very powerful person level a curse against me? They would have to be powerful indeed to be able to extinguish so utterly my seemingly inexhaustible good fortune.
Finally, nothing remained in my life except my cat. My daughter moved overseas for a year and during that time, I just gave up. I spent the better part of that year in bed, staring at the ceiling. It wasn’t even a Netflix binge year, or reading a bunch of books. I couldn’t even generate the interest to watch Game of Thrones! I was shocked to wake in the mornings…still here? Why was I being kept alive when I was prevented in every way from actually living?
I gave up. For a year. And if you’re thinking that this massive, to-the-core surrender was just what was needed to lift The Curse, like the magical kiss of true love could awaken the sleeping beauty…you’re wrong. That would be a neat, sanctioned end, a nice moral redemption for this grinding dirge, wouldn’t it?
“Surrender is the only way through! Now I only wish I did that at the start!”
But no. I’m sorry, this isn’t that kind of story.
In that year, my life contracted, more than I ever imagined a life could. Down to a single point. Breathing. Looking at the ceiling. It’s night now. Looking out the window at the stars. Breathing. Cat. Dawn. Staring at the ceiling. Abandoned By God.
Hmmm…okay, so this is what it’s like to fall out of life, but not die.
Why did this happen?
That’s a really interesting question, and I could probably write a book about it. So what? I mean, right now, for you…? You are making a wrong assumption from the start — that uncovering the initial cause will yield a solution to your immediate problem. You’re stuck in a particularly nasty level of Limbo Land and you think that if you find out how you got there it will tell you how to get out. What are you going to do? Retrace your steps? The path that led you here has dissolved, did dissolve — every time you took a step deeper in (one of the particularly tricky aspects of this level). The bridge is gone. No breadcrumbs to follow. Sorry.
I know you’d like some prescriptive advice right about here. “Okay, I see I was asking the wrong question — so what do I do?” And then ideally I could give you a bullet point list of, say, ten things you need to do right now. But no such list exists, for any of us. Limbo Land has its own physics, and they are slightly different for each of us.
Instead, I’m going to give you something terribly subtle. I know it’s not what was hoped for, but I also know that you can do this. Listen with your analytical mind, sure…let it toss this ball around for fun and some good sport. But you have other capacities that are much better at allowing you to drop down to get the nectar out of these very subtle flowers. Engage them simultaneously, and while your analytical mind is busy with its little puzzle, your other faculties can go to work, taking apart the sinews and making discoveries that will actually help you.
My writing contains something more than just words. This is going to sound weird, but you’ve had the “download” experience before, so I know you understand this. When I write here, it’s kind of like I’m looking at a multi dimensional schematic and imprinting that information, lots of information, into some few words. It’s meant to initiate a download experience for you, and usually not just one. It happens over time…you get one and process it, engage with this material again and then you can get another, etc.
The physics of Limbo Land.
All of Limbo Land has higher gravity than we are used to. But this particular level, Abandoned by God, has some other peculiar forces in play. I mentioned one: you can’t retrace your steps because the way disappears immediately behind you. Another: any movement causes the net to tighten around you even more. No movement at all (total surrender): results in plunging deeper.
So, movement (ie trying to do things) brings further entrapment in the net, but you are still in the same lateral dimension. Surrender causes you to sink down (no net tightening, no sense of constriction) into a deeper, even less “real” (or, surreal) level of this dimension. The first usually brings on a sense of active frustration and feeling trapped and constricted. You struggle and thrash about, looking for a solution, trying this and that…which causes the net to tangle even tighter. The second case, dropping down, is like being sucked under…water or maybe quicksand? You don’t have that thrashing and frustration…you have a total lack of movement and a sense of deep, resonant futility, accompanied by this feeling that you’re not really living, or not living your life. It’s very surreal, when you experience the sinking to lower levels.
You don’t recognize that you are in Limbo Land for a long time. It takes a long time to recognize that you are not operating by the same physics as the normal dimension of life. You keep using the strategies indicated for the Normal Life dimension, and guess what? They don’t work. They produce very weird results. But there is really no way you could have known that you were no longer residing in the Normal Life dimension.
Let that sink in.
Imagine that everyone has a nuclear reactor as part of their being, or maybe a star, that generates a constant supply of energy…massive energy.
Also part of your system is a fundamental (as in, fundamentalist!) belief…so fundamental indeed that it is all but invisible to you, that you are your persona…”I”. How do these two factors interact?
This invisible identification with your persona/avatar is actually a mechanism, a microchip or an alien DNA kind of thing (and I’m not talking space aliens, just alien to you — as in, not you), placed in the very center of this nuclear reactor, or star, right at the center of your being. It yokes the tremendous energy of your star, and organizes everything in your life around itself, using this energy.
Consider this. It yokes your life force and organizes it to its own set of physics, creating its own kind of “personal” solar system. Everyone does this by the time they are children, their parents and all of society help them to set up their personal solar system this way — so they can be like everyone else and take their place in the human “galaxy”. Children who don’t adopt this straight out of the box will have a lot of problems!
When you wake up, fully and completely, from the dream in which you are this “I” character, a few things happen. There is, quite suddenly (and this is a shock!), no more yoke. There is nothing placed in the center, organizing and directing your star. At first, this can feel hugely liberating, if quite unfamiliar. So now you have nothing yoking and organizing your star. And you have this vastness in the center of your being where that yoke/program/mechanism used to be. At once you have this clarity and energy — so much energy because your star is no longer being used to generate the pattern/overlay. But at the same time, there is a weighty kind of passivity that comes with a sudden absence of the “I” at the center. And all the while, you don’t really know any of this. You feel things, but you have no idea how this works.
At this point you’ll typically start looking everywhere for information about this new state of being. You may not even know why you are doing this, I mean…what are you looking for, really? But you carry on reading all you can. If it happened after the internet actually became a normal part of just about everyone’s life, then that is an endless (ugh!) source of possible clues. With this new clarity you’ve uncovered, you are able to understand a great deal…get to the heart of what you are reading. You “get” all the enlightened masters of the past, or even the ones that are somewhat current. You also see through those who claim to be awake but aren’t. There is a massive, instant knowing.
But, what do you learn? I mean…about moving forward in this state? I haven’t looked since my own initial post-awakening search. Is it still…not much?
So, here you are, no more organizing alien energy tech at the center of your star…without those principles, those physics, your personal solar system changes. In unpredictable ways. What would happen if the sun started losing gravity, but carried on creating just as much energy? I mean, consider that just from our own lovely sun and planets…it doesn’t compute, of course. But we can say that things might go fairly wonky. Everything falls out of orbit. Collisions ensue. And who knows what else.
Without really thinking about it, do we make the reflexive move to put something else at the center of our star? Okay, so I no longer have this identification-with-persona program running…yay! But have I now — bumbling fledgling enlightened person that I am — placed something else there, in its place? One of the go-to’s at this point is some kind of poppet called “I’m going to help people”. You might have chosen another tiny little idol to place there, was it an ancient statue of Shiva? Maybe something more pop culture…a super hero action figure? A vegan warrior yoga princess pin up model?
No matter what we place there, it’s just not going to work the same. I mean, something will happen, but it will not recreate the familiar physics, organizational patterns and structures, of the Dream of Self program.
If you were able to slow things down enough, you’d see something very interesting also…which I’m just mentioning here for your later consideration, but I’m not going to elaborate: All sorts of people will pick up on your lack of central programming and either encourage you to put some poppet or replacement icon in the center, or they will try to actually put one in there themselves. They are usually unaware of this. But there is an overarching program, this Human Galaxy thing, that requires each of us to be yoked and so there are these Reclamation Routines that get activated when we come across someone who is not running a standard personal solar system.
You can exchange any of these terms, like solar system or program, Limbo Land or whatever, with any kind of symbolism that works for you. It’s not important. Structure it however it’s easiest to understand.
So, this whole thing happens. This thing where you still have a burning star but the central organizing principle is suddenly deactivated. People respond to this differently. Sometimes their responses lead them into the Limbo Lounge. This is the waiting room prior to entering properly in Limbo Land. Limbo Lounge is easier to get out of, but once you have actually progressed into Limbo Land, it’s definitely more of a challenge.
Consider also that this usually only happens in response to living within the overarching physics of the Human Galaxy. So, let’s say you were a hermit, just living away from all the Galaxy protocols, like money and career and whatnot. You just lived by yourself with a couple of goats and a cat, you had some kind of a nice comfy hut and whatever tools you needed to get firewood, get your own food…whatever. In this imaginary situation, you would not have an organizing principle in the center, your star would still be running as usual, but there would be no “problem”. Your personal solar system would reorganize naturally, effortlessly, and it would not be an issue.
But you do live in the Human Galaxy, and by those physics, not having a foreign (fabricated) central organizing principle to yoke your life force means you are a) broken and b) a potential threat to the system. In the world of cats, goats, trees and the ocean…you are not broken or a threat. So from what I’ve seen in others and experienced myself, the post awakening endeavor is discovering for ourselves how to live in the Human Galaxy without the usual central programming, and without replacing it inadvertently, and without unknowingly letting other people toss their own replacement poppets into that space. That’s an internal process. After that, it makes life easier to learn how to mask ourselves so that we look enough like we’ve got a standard solar system running that we don’t trigger the Reclamation Programs.
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You want to stop being at the mercy of your programs, but you don't want to do the work to deprogram yourself. Enlightenment is your distraction, delusion.
It's not to say your entire interest in enlightenment is driven by this motive, but think of all the instances in which you feel enlightenment is some kind of solution to being out of control, or a solution to the problem of being you.
If you wanted to deprogram yourself, you could start right now, and do it every day, like a full time job, like your life depended on it, like it was the cure to some terminal cancer that was eating you alive.
But there is resistance to that. That resistance is really common, almost to be expected. The program is made to protect itself. It will do whatever it can to keep you from seriously doing what it takes to deprogram, and instead will send you off chasing enlightenment.
This is a sensitive subject. Because sometimes I'm talking to you, and sometimes the programming is so dominant that I'm really talking to it.
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