Enlightenment or demonic state?
Author: Rani B. Willems
Painful awakening experiences, such as those described in Dr. Thomas Wachter’s article “Return from Transcendence” in Tattva Viveka 77, are considered by the author to be a misunderstanding that can occur when the people concerned have not been adequately prepared for the encounter with the Absolute. By getting to know and understand the feminine and masculine sides of the Absolute, a gentle path can be followed. She calls this the ascending journey.
A few days after leading a retreat on the feminine side of the Absolute, I received the article “Returning from Transcendence” by Dr. Thomas Wachter. He had interviewed five women about their awakening and the difficulties involved. I felt compassion for these women and all those who had to go through similar experiences in their process of self-realization. And I feel called to write a few words about it.
My awakening occurred in 1998. Initially giving Satsang for a few years until I finally broke down. External circumstances caused me to fall into a deep, dark hole. Depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts accompanied me for several years.
Day and night I prayed for help. I did not understand what had happened to me. Wasn’t an awakening irreversible? Had it not been real?
FALLING IN HOLES – GETTING OUT OF THEM
The agonies I suffered were often unbearable. It took more than two years before my prayers were answered and I found my new teacher: Faisal Muqaddam. (Faisal is the founder of the international Diamond Logos Academy, which conducts courses and retreats worldwide). He knew and understood my predicament very well and over the next 13 years helped me integrate this awakening event. Since then, words like awakening, enlightenment and transcendence have lost meaning for me.
The real, deeper question today concerns becoming a true human being.
First, I would like to address what the women in the above article experienced and why, in my understanding (which is of course limited), this was neither necessary nor helpful. Thomas Wachter speaks of intense anxiety, memory loss, panic, inability to function, loss of self, to name just a few phenomena. And of the fact that their teacher was of the opinion that one must take this upon oneself if one wanted to tread the path to awakening.
THE PAINFUL EXPERIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE
When we become absolutists – as I have been – instead of dissolving, our ego begins to crystallize until it reaches what Chögyam Trungpa has called “the demonic state” in his book “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism”. This is the most painful state in existence, completely egocentric instead of egoless, as one might think.
It is already not easy to melt and transform a normal ego, but extremely difficult to melt a crystallized ego again.
It has become so hard and so impenetrable that sometimes only a blow with an axe can do it. I know this well! We find an example of this in the life of Milarepa with his master Marpa and also with some people I know. This condition is really violent. Some have ended up in psychiatric institutions. I myself had to take medication for some time to deal with it.
My motivation for this report is mainly based on this experience. I feel great compassion for all those who, like me, were prematurely exposed to the Absolute and received either no guidance (as in my case) or inept guidance because the teachers were often in the same condition or had no knowledge of it. I pray that we so-called spiritual seekers and spiritual teachers begin to understand that the teachings as presented in the East are often not applicable to us Western souls because we are too far from home, from reality, from who we are.
All this is just a small glimpse of the long journey that, in my view, should precede awakening. Faisal, my beloved teacher, speaks of the ascending journey and the descending journey. Those who have first come to the Absolute must descend again and bring the blessings back into the body until every cell is saturated and transformed and the feet are as firmly on the ground as they were in being.
Risks and side effects of awakening© Turid Ammon
We need to bring the ego identity back into its true identity, as I said earlier. We also need to bring the body back into its true nature. In our work, this means that the totality of our essential soul qualities is liberated and that the body is back in harmony with being on an essential level. If one has first reached the demonic state – a crystallized ego – this journey is often very painful and difficult.
However, if one is fortunate enough to walk the ascending path, the journey can be much calmer, gentler and slower. As I said, if our history has been painful (and who hasn’t?), the journey is also challenging and painful, but much gentler. My students convey this to me, and I have seen it over and over again in my companions on the Diamond Logos path.
About the author
Rani B. Willems was born in Holland in 1951. She worked as a nurse, businesswoman and yoga teacher. Then she began working in the field of therapy and spirituality in 1980. Since then, she dedicated her life has to the awakening of humanity. She currently lives in Holland and leads many retreats as a Senior Diamond Logos teacher.
This article appeared originally on the German Homepage of Tattva Viveka: Erleuchtung oder dämonischer Zustand?