I have kept journals throughout my awakening to help me weather the storm and to capture my learning. I wanted to share some of the early ones here.
Before embarking on this journey, I had gone on an intense process of clearing my heart, body and mind of personal trauma and suffering. This gave me a ‘fresh sheet’ from which to view the collective conscious with an unusual amount of clarity and precision. Despite this, I spent a lot of time deeply confused while sorting through the absolute mess that is the collective conscious and archetypal realm.
On a short retreat in Summer 2019 I entered a state of consciousness where I no longer had access to a sense of autonomous self or time.
The first three months following this were incredibly intense; I was living in a state that normal society would consider severe psychosis for the entire time and largely detached from daily life and social connections.
This was important for being able to achieve the deep level of insight that I managed to reach for a number of reasons. I was able to venture very deeply into the collective sub-conscious and archetypal realms without being ‘pulled back’ by too much normal reality. I was also able to experiment with different ways of looking and experiencing the world, including surrendering to the quite scary level of synchronicity and magic that appears if you have the stomach for it.
I feel like I lived about 50 years of life in that first few months and churned through an unbelievable amount of peeling back layers, processing trauma and deepening insights. Every aspect of life was sucked into the process and I spent the whole time in shamanic meditation, in trance states or thinking that I was telepathically communicating with people or spirits in my head.
The latter was very important; it allowed me to get outside of my own perspective and eventually enter a conversation with the Universe that fundamentally shifted our perception of life.
Usually a scenario/ world-view/ insight would be run through my experience at least a few times before I brain-dumped it into my phone or a draft journal. While it was being run through my experience I would fully believe that it was true before it was ripped away from me in what I unaffectionately referred to as ‘reality collapse’. This might have repeated again a few times before I moved on to untangling the next knot. I have lots of very strange and unbelievable stories from this time.
The following 3 months were deeply humbling. The embodied realisation that we have no real control of our lives was smashed into me and I spent days processing trauma through my body, like an ayahuasca trip, unable to get out of bed.
This was still giving me deep insights into human nature and forcing me to let go of unhelpful patterned behaviour, but by this time I was done. I had nothing left in me and I was desperate for it to be over.
Since then has been a very slow recovery, a simplifying and stabilising of the insights and a bringing of them into the world.
I kept pages and pages of writing throughout the early process. At various points I organised, edited and consolidated the insights that actually seemed to make sense into a collection. I have shared some of them below.
A lot of the conclusions I’ve drawn are overwhelmingly simple and seem even dumb now. But trust me when I say that reaching this level of clarity and simplicity took wading through an absolute shit-show of confusion.
That’s the back-story, believe whatever you want from it and I hope you enjoy my journals!
This is a summary of the ways that I have perceived that we operate as collectives and individuals, inspired by the chakras and Fredric Laloux. If we can operate freely in each of these, we get all the beautiful benefits.
In order to do this, we need to be able to embody both the masculine and feminine of each of the chakral qualities.
These are the four ingredients of experience, which are all inter-dependently arising to create life. They can be described by four areas of awakening and correspond to the elements and the four boundless states of the heart. Two exist outside of space-time and two are constrained by it, but none exist without the others and they cannot be extracted from each other. I like to think of it as a soup.
This is how spirituality, meditation and healing facilitate us to move closer towards this new way of being, which allows us to be more present with life and each other.
This is how I envision the world could be changed if people were able to embrace all the above.
It became abundantly clear that individual enlightenment is no longer sufficient in our complicated, connected and over-populated planet. We all have a responsibility to metaphorically and literally:
Doing it together is also a lot more fun.
These are some drawings I did during the process.
The octopus is a symbol for the shared soul; it represents how our soul is a fundamentally different form of intelligence than that which comes from awareness. An octopus’ brain is spread out across its body; we access the knowing that emerges from the shared soul (or karma, as it is talked about in Buddhism) through our intuition, by making space for our subconscious material to arise. This gives us an intuitive wisdom and a felt-sense of what is going on, which is different from the knowing that comes from our hearts and minds.
I painted a sea horse because they are one of the only animals in which the male can get pregnant. This was symbolic of how we need to balance the masculine and feminine within our society. If we valued the feminine elements and made them more visible – care, emotional labour, child-rearing – then everyone would be better off and men and women would be more equal.
I drew the eyes while I was on a creative psychedelic trip. They represent how, at its core, awakening needs to incorporate a sense of connection between people. The marks around the eyes are two birds that represent how we can facilitate that connection. The blue bird is a peacock to represent a shift towards ‘survival of the kindest’; peacocking and status will become about who is nicest. The yellow bird is a phoenix to represent how spirituality needs to give people the resources to take responsibility for their life, face their suffering, rise from it and grow from the lessons.
I collected a lot of fun and inspiring quotes that seemed important and helpful. Here’s a few.
This mandala summarises pretty much everything I learned. The gold part represents Nirvana, the blue and green represent being present in reality and the red part represents Samsara.
The first image represents the traditional way of approaching awakening and wisdom – that we lift our consciousness by raising the capacity of our minds. The gold (Nirvana) is the neural system in the brain, the green is the occipital lobe, the blue is the pineal gland and the red (Samsara) is the nervous system reaching down into the body. The text says, ‘We are all universes… lost in our stars’, which touches on the concept that we are all individuals and we can escape the fate of humanity by being smarter than others or by awakening to the dream.
At some point it became abundantly clear to me that in order to connect with each other and thrive as a collective, we needed to flip that perspective on its head.
The second image represents my approach to awakening – that the wisdom is in our bodies and it is our minds that are the stressful hellish part of our experience. This way up the red (Samsara) represents the brain, the green is the heart, the blue is the guts and the gold (Nirvana) is our roots into our bodies and communities. The text says, ‘When I look into your eyes I see Universes… who knew that it was possible to feel like one’, which touches on how through shared spiritual practice we can have a collective experience of wonder, awe and connection to the cosmos. These can bring us together and resource us to create safe and joyful communities.
Because sometimes poetry is the best communicator.