Hey, Anon! :)
I posted something about this, inspired by your question. You can find it here.
Peace and love,
For a long while I’ve been randomly doubting anything spiritual out there… I’m not sure what to do about it. At times it get’s really strong & I can’t listen to my heart / intuition. It makes me feel like nothing out there is actually true, that the Universe within is nothing & out there is nothing… & then deep within sometimes my intuition keeps me at peace because I am the observer behind these emotions / thoughts / chaos… But when it gets really overwhelming I don’t know what to do because everything seems pointless. It’s a lot less now then it was before, but still, any suggestions? :)
Wow. I know this feeling unfortunately too well. I’ve gone through this myself a few times. It always sucks. I’m not sure I have the answer either; I too tried to settle into the “I’m merely the consciousness that observes” standpoint, and, frankly, much of the time, depersonalizing everything like that made me feel worse — more alone, unhinged, ungrounded, dejected, empty, frightened for my sanity — rather than better. It helped me only to the point of being able to say, “This too shall pass” and to remind myself that the fear and the sense of isolation were illusory. Beyond that, no, I had to find another way of stopping the downward spiral. I’ll try to explain how I dealt with this.
When you’re operating at that level where you see all of this as illusion and everything as One, sometimes life feels pointless and you feel hopelessly lonely. I once jokingly assigned a “character” to this viewpoint of the cosmic consciousness, calling it “the Pessimistic Sage,” and I picture this character as an old hermit with a gigantic white beard, cantankerously/emptily muttering, “There is nothing else. There is no one else. That means it’s just me. Alone. For all eternity.”
Good Lord, even just contemplating that possibility makes my heart contort!
But I’ve gotten stuck here. So let’s talk about it:
* * * * *
Why might you feel this way?
I’ve found that it happens at points in my life that feel particularly unfulfilled or isolating. When I’m not engaged in work that feels meaningful and/or not connecting with people who feel kindred, and especially when I find myself around a lot of people whose views feel very fear-based to me, I find myself more susceptible to this kind of existential crisis. Since all of this describes a lot about my Shanghai experience, I spent a lot of time feeling like that in Shanghai. If you’re feeling isolated (socially or ideologically) or find yourself frequently mired in other people’s fears (empaths know this well), this is probably contributing to your existential crisis as well.
As my best friend pointed out when I talked about this with him, we experience our “reality” here on Earth through the mirror that other people provide. When no one else around us seems to be “sharing” our experience (going through similar things, believing similar things, etc.), it can be extremely ungrounding, so we can start questioning, “What is real?”
Back in February, I burst into tears one day in the middle of meditation. The idea that anything (or anyone) I currently appreciate on Earth as good and beautiful is not actually “real” (that is, that we are ALL illusions, so they are just as make-believe as I am) hit me out of nowhere and emotionally destroyed me. It made life and love feel pointless. It made me feel very alone. It made me feel angry and cheated (“WHY am I caught up in this then, if it’s all pretend!”). It made me terrified. The idea that I was — eternally — alone and that there was no one else other than whatever I was. Granted, the essence of what I am that is eternally One is not, by any means, an “I,” but when we drag limiting and emotionally fraught human viewpoints into the vastness of truth, there’s a colossal crisis between the two perspectives, and it’s very frightening.
* * * * *
What might not work:
Normally, when I had crises of faith before, I’d ground myself in love — that is, ground myself by reflecting a lot on love, because love is the ULTIMATE reality and connects us to everything else. But when I got into that headspace where I was afraid that everyone and everything I loved was just pretend (and the validity of this perspective sits in some gray area between true and false, a matter of semantics, if you ask me), this wasn’t helping. In fact, this was sort of heightening my sense of grief at the impermanence and illusion of it all.
My other go-to rationalization often came down to soothing myself with brushes with the Other Side. Times when I had received clair-impressions that turned out to be real. Times when I seemed to have witnessed or experienced the miraculous. Times when synchronicity had made it impossible for me to doubt that there wasn’t a “Spirit World” somewhere out(/in) there. Times when I felt like I had glimpsed, through uncanny coincidences, some sort of “grand design,” that had a definite purpose, a grand design that sort of tucked within itself a “meaning” for all that we go through in life. In the past, when I used to doubt and assume that the human experience was all there was and that there was no mystical, loving force that tied it and us all together, I would just turn my mind toward memories of psychic phenomena, miracles, “coincidences” that lifted my spirits in the past.
But frankly, some of the synchronicities I’ve lived have been SO unbelievable that they’ve shaken me to the point that I’ve doubted I was sane. And other times, they were so multilayered and interwoven and symbolic and by-no-means-an-accident that I was unsettled; I could see, in those situations, how one singular higher mind, working alone, COULD dream all that up. My life felt like a story filled with INTENTIONAL plot twists and stock symbols. So this only heightened my sense of anomie, because it reinforced my ability to believe that, yes, perhaps “I” was no more than a Oneness of consciousness, “making up” Laura’s life and everything she went through, and everything and everyone else was but a symbol through which it could explore its own thoughts and indulge its own imaginings.
And in a way, on that point, I would not be entirely wrong either… because I believe (and have felt to the core of my being) that we ALL are this…
So I hit a wall.
And you know what you do when you hit a wall? You know the ONLY thing that will get you around/over/through that wall?
Love. :) Of course. Love is always the answer, the key, and the cure. (Just keep that in mind for the future.)
* * * * *
What turned it around?
I couldn’t figure my way out of this particular crisis out on my own though. I had to turn to my best friend Vinoth for help because, well, he is awesome. Also, he is a teacher and healer whose insights I very much respect. So here’s what he had to say (lightly edited for punctuation and stuff):
If it’s so ungrounding and isolating to look at and experience the world as illusion where everything is one experiencing itself in a dream, how about trying to look at the world in a different way? Like focusing on viewing the world again as different people (people full of love or the capacity to love). Objects, just the same…full of love and good vibes or the capacity for such. Take all the good things in your life and hold them as true. And the rest is fleeting illusion not worth your attention.
The point of this exercise is to see that it IS all illusion in a sense. Or rather, the organization and the hierarchy is a creation of the mind. And it’s your choice how you “organize” it all; you can see yourself as the a lonely collective soul experience itself over and over… or you can experience it all, “organize” it all, as one loving being, constantly encountering other loving beings on a beautiful, loving, nurturing mother of an earth.
Practice that. That’s your “meditation” exercise. Organize your world as love or the capacity to love and what you encounter will be exactly that.
He was 100% right.
* * * * *
Why did this work when other things didn’t?
I found more peace when I stopped doing all of the following (for the time being). These were my old strategies, the ones that weren’t getting me over the wall:
When I took Vinoth’s advice, I implemented it as soon as I walked out the door that day, and you know what? My mood turned around pretty much IMMEDIATELY when I started looking at everything/everyone as love. As the Oneness manifesting into forms FILLED with LOVE so that it could experience this love in countless, timeless ways. Maybe the forms were fleeting, but the love was real. The experiences were “real.” And in a universe wherein time is a perception, not a reality, every bit of love, every “form” that interacts to reflect it, does (or at least can) exist ETERNALLY. At least on some level (if not here on the physical plane).
When you look at life in this way, the joy returns. So too with the sense of meaning and of hope. The love no longer feels empty; it feels like gift without limits.
Feel free to send another ask if you try this and it doesn’t help, or if there’s something specific to your situation that is bothering you that this doesn’t cover. :)
May the light of infinite, universal love shine on your dark night of the soul very soon!
Peace and love,
This is very possible. Not even just with twin souls, but other types of soulmates as well. For whatever reason, it’s not uncommon for one party to understand the significance of the bond while the other is completely unaware at the beginning. That seems to be “normal.”
And by “beginning,” yes, we may even be talking about a period of YEARS. If those years are not the end of your story, they are the beginning. :)
Don’t worry; I suspect we’ve spent pretty much all of human history connecting with our closest soulmates without having any idea what was going on on a soul level. We don’t have to understand a process in order to benefit from it or understand where we’re headed in order to end up where we’re meant to be going. :)
Hell, when I met my twin soul *I* had no idea what was happening. I didn’t know what a twin soul was. I didn’t know I had one. I didn’t know mine was him. It was an awareness, an understanding that pieced itself together slowly — after feeling the intensity of it all at once. And as for him, I’m not even sure that he sees the concept of soulmates the same way that I do, let alone believes in (or even cares about) twin souls.
What I suspect happens in the case of true twin souls (who don’t stay together from the outset) is this: they both feel so much at ease around and comfortable/peaceful with one another that they’re stunned. One of them may figure out that it’s a very spiritual bond, but if the other doesn’t even have a spiritual framework to make sense of things, they’re probably more likely just to tell themselves, “… Eh. That was pretty awesome, but I don’t see why I should cling to this person. Seemed intense. I’d rather keep exploring.” (And, honestly, in my case, I felt both the soul-level recognition and the “that was awesome, but let’s move on.”) The universe does bring signs to the unaware or resistant twin, too, of just how deeply connected they are across all the time and the distance that lapses, but how long will it take them to figure it out? It will take however long it takes. It will take however long it was meant to.
Just because you feel alone in any given experience, it does not mean that the experience is not real.
I’ll give you an example of a soulmate couple wherein one party had no idea:
My uncle first became aware of my aunt in high school. He told me the way that he knew she was for him was as simple as seeing “the way she moved” (on the basketball court). They met through a mutual friend and dated for a period around college. Then broke up because my aunt didn’t think he was right for her. Then she got engaged to somebody else — and finally realized a few months before the wedding that that guy wasn’t right for her. So she broke the engagement off.
What happened next? She started dating my uncle again. And realized he was the one for her. She’d been more than happy as his partner even way back at the beginning, actually. It was just that her reluctance to commit to him earlier on came from the fact that she had misperceived who he really was as a person. "She thought I was somebody else," my uncle told me, shrugging. [It’s funny how the old pain — deep as it might have gone — can fade so entirely that you merely shrug when you think back on it. ;) ]
Once she experienced another relationship that was wrong for her, and she had a little distance from her earlier relationship with my uncle in order to reflect more clearly on who he really was as a person, she realized that he was actually everything she wanted. So, of course they got married. They’ve been married over twenty years. And they still adore each other.
My uncle “knew” in high school. This was in the late-seventies. When did they get married? 1991. It took a long time, but it happened. Because destiny will bring together people who are meant to be together.
Just because my aunt didn’t think he was right for her back in the day doesn’t mean they weren’t right for each other, or that she didn’t eventually come to see the truth.
Now — all of this said, I know that twin flame stuff gets a bad name partly because it can toe a borderline-delusional line. And it is a dangerousattitude to adopt, when people think, “If I just keep trying, he/she WILL eventually realize we ARE right for each other, and they WILL fall in love with me.”
But twin soul love is about surrender — not boundary-breaking persistence (i.e., pushiness and/or stalker tendencies), and not force.
If this person isn’t madly in love with you right now but you’re loving this person from a surrendered state, you’re doing fine. I would not advocate riding roughshod over other people’s desires. If they want a connection with you and that feeling is mutual? Great, explore that! If they don’t want a connection with you? Respect that. Anything else would be a violation of their boundaries. Which is not what love does. Love respects boundaries.
You can make your intentions and preferences known, but beyond that, it’s important just to let go — surrender. If you’re meant for a future connection, or if they’re meant to see you in a different light, you can trust that the universe will pull its strings and make these things happen. And naturally — not against the other person’s will.
Here’s a post you might find useful, when looking at your own experience from its flipside:
Random Acts of Transit: Is it possible I already met my twin flame and don’t know it?
Hope all of this helps. :)
Peace and love,
Rumi: “Love is the bridge between you and everything.”
I was told a few days ago that I would have to cash in my retirement savings (which are not even enough for a car) to be eligible for state-sponsored insurance. Why am I applying for state-sponsored insurance? Because I’m too poor to be eligible for affordable Obamacare plans (yes, such a thing is possible; if you don’t even get a W2, you can’t get the cheap plans. They approved me for a plan 10 TIMES THE MONETARY VALUE of my average monthly income.)
My question about being pressed by the state to cash in my retirement is this: If I am this broke… with no spousal or parental support… and no reliable income… then WHY would I cash in the ONLY savings I have for my future?
This system is so, so broken it makes me sad in a way there are no words to express.
Is it a surprise that I’ve decided to leave America again?
But it’s still me! :)
Just keeping things current. The old one was from last January. This newer one is from May of this year.
Hope everyone is doing well. Behind lately on asks, but I will get to more of them tomorrow!
For now, sleepytime.
Peace and love,
Reading Man’s Search for Meaning at the suggestion of Past-Life Friend. It’s an amazing book, and I’d recommend it to anybody. Viktor Frankl talks about his experiences in concentration camps and then about his theory of logotherapy, a form of psychotherapy that tries to help people by connecting them with a sense of deeper meaning. His thesis is that what gives us the will to live is our own sense that we have something to live for — our own sense of the “meaning” of our existence. For some, this is love. For others, a creative project that no one else can possibly fulfill. Either way, you find the strength to carry on, he postulates, either because you love someone deeply or you believe your life has some other “meaning” that no one else’s existence could replace.
There is a passage where he talks about finding the strength to continue through a particularly grueling day of slave labor — and to continue in a relatively peaceful state of mind, no less — by contemplating his beloved wife. Tragically, Frankl’s wife died in a concentration camp sometime before he was liberated. I’m not sure if anyone knows whether she died before or after the event he relates immediately below, but this particular passage really touched me. He describes a visitation from her spirit. Was she alive when this happened or deceased when this happened? I have no idea; either way, it’s clear that she was very definitely with him.
(re: all bolded text in the passages below — emphasis my own)
For hours I stood hacking at the icy ground. The guard passed by, insulting me, and once again I communed with my beloved. More and more I felt that she was present, that she was with me; I had the feeling that I was able to touch her, able to stretch out my hand and grasp hers. The feeling was very strong: she was there. Then, at that very moment, a bird flew down silently and perched just in front of me, on the heap of soil which I had dug up from the ditch, and looked steadily at me.
Just a few pages earlier, he says this about how he came to realize love’s power. The passage is all the more powerful when you consider its context — the brutality happening all around him, happening to him, when this epiphany dawns:
… . Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.
A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”
In front of me a man stumbled and those following him fell on top of him. The guard rushed over and used his whip on them all. Thus my thoughts were interrupted for a few minutes. But soon my soul found its way back from the prisoner’s existence to another world, and I resumed talk with my loved one: I asked her questions, and she answered, she questioned me in return, and I answered.
"Stop!" We had arrived at our work site. Everybody rushed into the dark hut in the hope of getting a fairly decent tool. Each prisoner got a spade or a pickaxe.
"Can’t you hurry up, you pigs?" Soon we had resumed the previous day’s positions in the ditch. The frozen ground cracked under the point of the pickaxes, and sparks flew. The men were silent, their brains numb.
My mind still clung to the image of my wife. A thought crossed my mind: I didn’t even know if she were still alive. I knew only one thing — which I have learned well by now: Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.
I did not know whether my wife was alive, and I had no means of finding out (during all my prison life there was no outgoing or incoming mail); but at that moment it ceased to matter. There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved. Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying. ”Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.”
I’ll leave you with that. I’ll let his words speak for themselves. What an incredible man and what an incredible story.
Jan Garrett (referencing the words of Rumi)
ja ja ja ja ja
a spanish person laughing or a german person during sex???
Finnish person struggling to remember what they were about to say next
polish person trying to get themself noticed
portuguese person trying to hush other people
Chinese person trying to do calculations
swedish person wanting to get out of a conversationLanguage is beautiful
Croatian person saying me me me me me