This is a part of a series. If you’ve just walked in, you may wish to start here.
// DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL //
WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN.
[As of the last post in this series, I’ve become a ‘healer’ and I’m on a major spiritual high.]
I became obsessed with healing and energy work after my first Theta class. I sat in Theta meditation all day, every day. My boyfriend thought that I was losing my mind and we fought non-stop, but I felt too amazing to listen to his misgivings. I was so protective and defensive of Theta that I perceived any questions as interrogations (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition). Looking back, he had a lot of solid reasons to ask questions: for days on end, I wouldn’t wash the dishes, clean the house or take a shower. All that mattered was doing Theta healing on myself and others.
Theta Healing is incredibly popular because it seems to offer fast-tracked healing; the Theta manuals imply that it’s possible to instantly end shame-based thought patterns, no matter how deeply rooted they are within the psyche. I got into it after being sold the promise of speedy healing by my Theta practitioner (who is a talented woman, nonetheless).
The energy healing scene is rife with bullshit rhetoric.
Many of us get sucked into the cult rhetoric and go full Jehovah’s Witness, trying to indoctrinate all of our family and friends (guilty). And there is no limit to the meaningless crap out there being sold by wounded healers that promise salvation and step-by-step solutions to life’s deepest problems in exchange for just an e-mail address.
At one point, I was eating all of this up with a spoon.
As I type these words and remember my foolishness…I also recall how good it felt at the time. Everything I did carried a sense of rightness; I finally felt whole after so many years of searching for something to address my feelings of emptiness. Using Theta techniques, I could swiftly ‘pull, cancel and delete’ limiting beliefs, insecurities or depressive tendencies and -poof!- I’d feel better again.
If only I could help everyone else see the light…!
And oh, how I tried! I was completely shameless. Your dad is ill? It’s his limiting beliefs. You twisted your left ankle? You must be carrying limiting beliefs of a feminine nature. Lose your job? Must have attracted that to yourself…should we explore your limiting beliefs? I didn’t need to wait for anyone to ask me my opinion, I was all too happy to offer it up pro bono. Every time I received a ‘message’, I passed it on to that person, even if it was potentially hurtful. The hand of fate was working through me as the vessel of light that I am, right? [Groan.]
My body and its psychic senses were now wide open.
Just walking past people I’d have intuitive flashes about what was happening in their lives. Friends would ring to chat and I’d be instantly distracted by ‘messages’ I’d start receiving about their father’s eye surgery, their past lives, the reasons why their periods had stopped. And of course, I *had* to tell them about it. I couldn’t have practiced restraint during these months if it had killed me.
I remember one cringe-worthy moment in particular. I was walking through a mall in Dubai and happened to see someone I knew sitting behind the counter of her boutique. I stopped to chat with her and she invited me to sit and have a cup of tea. The last she had seen of me, I had been doing consulting work. We then delved into a long-winded conversation about my spiritual awakening and I was more than pleased to have an audience so I could recount all the marvels I had experienced over the past month. Nervously, she asked if I had ever contacted spirits. Of course, I replied! She then asked if I thought I might be able to make contact with her Aunt, who was in a coma. Of course – with pleasure!
With very little thought for how the messages may impact her and the fact we were not somewhere private, I told her everything I could sense. I described her loving, warm Aunt and the peace she felt despite all the horrible things that had unfolded in her life. I began to see her Aunt move towards my friend and place her hands on her shoulders. I asked my friend if she could feel anything, and she said she could feel something on her shoulders. When I told her it was her Aunt’s spirit reaching out to her, she broke down in racking sobs.
Okay, let’s get real. It is possible I sensed something about her Aunt. Like I said, at that point, I was psychically very attuned. It’s more likely I was projecting my energy on to this woman and unintentionally doing her an incredible disservice at the same time. Either way, it was immature and irresponsible.
Although I truly thought I was helping other people, I was mostly acting from a self-indulgent space of personal need. I was also on a major spiritual high and didn’t want to come down. For these reasons and more, I was unable to view my healing abilities objectively.
Objectively, I wasn’t helping anyone.
The only person I really cared about, and the only person that was getting what they needed…was me.
Whether it was the spiritual high of doing healing work or the relative high of being able to talk about how special I had become since joining the spiritual path, most of my attention was focused on me and how I felt.
Despite the unraveling of my relationship, and perhaps my equilibrium, I immediately signed up for another Theta Healing workshop. I met up the next weekend with the same group of friends from my first Theta class, excited to move forward.
What happened that day is still hard to describe. After nearly 2 months of feeling full of ‘love and light’, I was suddenly pitched into a feeling of deep depression. Only a few hours into the class I hit a massive block. I wasn’t unable to concentrate or keep up with the class. I saw the pages in the workbook but couldn’t distinguish the words. Everything that came from my teacher’s mouth seemed to fly right past me.
My teacher stopped and tried to work with me by ‘pulling, cancelling and deleting’ the block that was keeping me from integrating into the class. No matter what she did, we kept circling around the same block. I was now pulsating with hate, anger and negativity. I hated the class, my teacher, my friends. I hated the workbook and I hated Theta. I thought that everything being said was utter bullshit (perhaps that was my one true moment of clairvoyance?). It was like being underneath a very heavy cloud.
Quickly picking up on the fact that this spiritual block could not be passed, my teacher asked me to leave the class so she could continue teaching the others.
I was genuinely devastated. That’s obviously a statement of extreme privilege: no one died, I was healthy, young and financially secure. But getting sent out of that class was like a kick in the teeth. Theta was my life at that moment and I couldn’t understand what was keeping me from being able to move forward like my friends.
I walked out of class unable to look my friends in the eye, stumbled into a taxi and cried the entire way home.
The next few months were an absolute blur. I was experiencing a ‘dark night of the soul’. For those of you seeing that term for the first time, the ‘dark night of the soul’ is a well-documented phenomenon in spiritual progression, usually indicating a period of inexplicable depression or dissociation from life itself. It is generally known as a shitty, shitty time.
I can only say that it knocked me sideways. I slept poorly and kept an extremely irregular schedule. I cried often and for seemingly no reason at all. Nothing made sense anymore and my psychic abilities completely left me. I was no longer able to sense things energetically and I felt lonely in this new emptiness which before had been flooded with so much sensation. Now all I was left with was me. Me, but without the power. Me, but without the self-confidence I drew from being a healer.
My boyfriend and I fought constantly without resolution. I hated his insensitivity to how I was feeling, especially since I had decided he couldn’t possibly understand how I felt; he hated that I did nothing but stay in bed all day, grieving the loss of something which he thought was bullshit. Several times he threatened to end our relationship if I didn’t get my act together.
So, what goes up must come down.
It explains not just gravity, but the nature of life itself. It’s also connected to one of the most common misconceptions about being on the spiritual path.
The high we feel when we get introduced to healing or return from a spiritual retreat is not real, no matter how real it feels or how real we need it to be. It’s also not sustainable (or helpful) to be on a constant high.
The nature of life is to be in flux: up and down, expansion and contraction, joy and pain, peak and trough. It’s the undulating waves in the ocean, the jumping of a heartbeat monitor, the twisting helix of DNA strands. Life.
We move constantly between these extremes, weaving our way through life. Wrongly, we can sometimes believe that spirituality, especially as viewed through the filter of modern new-ageism, is about escaping life’s natural duality and existing within a monolith of pleasure, contentment and self-satisfaction. It’s erroneous thinking and only serves to keep us in a place of shame for being unable to sustain the feel-goods. And in the words of Max Ehrmann, even ‘with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.’
We are humans. We have a body, a soul, and a tremendous potential to fuck up at any given moment.
Which is clearly all I did during that period: fuck up, again and again.
Thank God for San Pedro.
Part 7 – My 2nd Shamanic Ceremony: Dancing with the plants, meeting the wolf and talking about purpose