People often contact me asking for recommendations on spiritual books, workshops or practices after having a significant spiritual experience.
Full awakening is life altering. Seeing through the illusion of self is life altering. If you are looking for more practices, books, retreats and methods I can only surmise that you have not in fact seen through the illusion of self.
I’m not negating your experience. It may have felt very profound. I am only suggesting that you have seen through the illusion of self either momentarily, then returning to separate self consciousness or you have had this experience in some kind of partial or intellectual way.
It’s kind of like a pregnant woman who has a cramp and says, “Was that a contraction? Am I in labor? I think I am in labor.” vs the woman who IS in labor. She will not ask you if she is having contractions. Her entire reality has changed and it is abundantly clear. She will not ask you for a book or a video about labor. She is in it. She is inseparable from it. Do you see what I mean?
As for books or practices, no, sorry. I can’t help people with that since my awakening was not the direct result of any practice, theory, or method. It just happened. So even though I know a lot of methods that claim to lead to awakening, it would be disingenuous of me to recommend a method unless I could reasonably say that I tried it and viola…enlightenment! It did not happen that way for me.
There are many points on the journey where a person can feel let down, discouraged. It’s no fun, but it also is a really helpful bit of information. If you dive into that discouragement, I wonder what you will find? What fantasy have you built up about enlightenment? What concepts are you holding onto?
You can only connect with reality directly, not through concepts or fantasies or mental images.
Clearly you are expecting something better than what you have now. That expectation will always be a barrier to direct perception. If I told you that enlightenment would basically ruin your life, would you still want it? Because it does destroy many aspects of life for many people who undergo it.
People focus on the great stuff like bliss, but anyone who has truly crossed the threshold who is willing to talk honestly about it will tell you that you had better be ready to lose everything.
Some people end up losing their relationships, their job, their home, their health. Are you willing to cross the threshold no matter what is on the other side?
I’m not trying to dissuade you, but there are many kinds of spiritual practice. Some are to make you a more peaceful, happy person. That is not the same as awakening. If you burn to have the veil removed, no matter what that brings, then you’ll need to let go of any concepts or expectations of what enlightenment is like.
If you want to be more peaceful and happy, more loving and less anxious…there are all kinds of methods and practices for that. It’s just really good to be honest with yourself about what your goal is. Enlightenment…at any cost? And really, it will cost everything. Because you die, and the world dies with you. I have to be blunt because once it is done, it can’t be undone. I have to say this, because everyone talks about the bliss and freedom, but rarely will anyone tell you that your world will be turned upside down. The cost is everything.
So, dig around in the dirt you just kicked up. You expected it to be more ‘life altering’.
In what ways do you need your life to be altered? What are you looking for? What are you trying to get away from? Your discouragement is really valuable and is telling you something. It’s asking you to see where you need to do a slight, or major, course correction in how you view things, what your motivations are.
I hope this helps. I know it’s frustrating to be where you are right now, but you are not meant to stay long in it. Slow down, step back and investigate your feelings and follow the threads back to the beliefs that are generating them. You’ll find some really valuable direction there. It’s so tempting to believe that one more set of practices or one more book or workshop will do the trick. As if we acquire enlightenment, or earn it, or learn it.
No. Please don’t fall for that. It’s just an awesome way to sell books and get followers. It’s not out there. Perhaps it might be good to just stop seeking for a while and deal with yourself ‘as is’.