In 2002, I experienced a spiritual awakening while reading the book The Power of Now. Here is a re-cap of what happened next:
1) Holy crap, I am not my thoughts! In fact, I am two: the mind, and the spirit. I go into bliss.
2) Oh my God, this is so cool. I'm pretty sure I've reached nirvana!
3) I want something, and notice that it immediately appears in my life. Wow – I create my own reality. I am no longer a victim of life. What a relief.
4) I have awareness of my thoughts and my self. I become the observer. I notice that I spend a LOT of time re-hashing the past and seeing the future as the someday that will save me from my misery. When these thoughts come up, I simply choose the now instead, a thought-free zone. Of course, dwelling in nirvana, this is easy. Other things I want appear in my life almost instantly. Cool.
5) I now have awareness of others' behaviors, thoughts and choices. I can see the big picture, but they cannot. Wow, people are idiots! Why don't they awaken? Why do they choose to suffer when they can be in nirvana?
6) I give advice to everyone for everything, especially before they ask. After all, I've reached nirvana and everyone else is asleep. How can they make such stupid choices? I want to save them from their suffering.
7) My ego officially sheds the identity of the screwed-up human in favor of the spiritually-superior human.
8) Being in bliss all the time, I desire nothing, so my conditions don't change much, even though if I would have awareness of the power my current high consciousness holds to attract what I desire, I could have anything I want in no time flat just by asking.
9) Glimpses into the opposite of bliss: terror.
10) I'm starting to notice that my ego is a fucking genius at getting me not to change. I just want my ego to go away. Only, it thinks it's me, so it's kind of hard to get rid of it.
11) My ego is noticing that I'm on to it; it develops a Plan B to outsmart me in my desire to create positive change. I soon discover there is an endless supply of extremely clever alternate plans at the ready.
12) Life throws me a curveball. My conditions radically change for the worse. I plunge into pure terror, almost all the time. Soon bliss is just a distant memory and I wonder if I ever experienced it at all.
13) I must be an idiot. Why can't I stop being so afraid? I know fear is just an illusion. But I can't seem to stop.
14) I notice I'm being judgmental. It's really bad that I'm judging myself. And even worse that I'm judging others. I even judge myself for judging.
15) I want to be in bliss again. I try to force it to happen, because being in bliss is a great way for me to pretend I'm not a big ball of mess inside.
16) For a moment, I see a new perspective: this suffering I'm doing is all just an illusion. I realize how I feel is just the feeling of the perspective I choose. I can at any time choose another thought. Wow. I feel better.
17) More bliss.
18) Terror, and the realization that I'm pretty sure I didn't reach nirvana. Darn. I was so sure! My life becomes an exercise in reacting to my thoughts and trying to get them to be different thoughts as fast as possible because they seem to easily overtake me and the emotions associated with them are so INTENSE. But they keep coming up. It takes a great deal of strength for me remain present as my ego works on getting my thoughts into the past (victim) or future (anxiety). (This repeats several thousand times.)
19) I try to suppress any negative emotions for fear I will create something I don't want in my reality. Down, down, down they go.
20) I vacillate between judging others (this proves a great distraction from my own shortcomings), terror and reaching short periods of higher consciousness where I am wholly content.
21) Oh my God, I did it again … I recreated the same stupid pattern I've been in for years! At least I know it's a pattern. I know; I'll create something new.
22) I set an intention because I know I can change my reality; I know that power is there because I experienced it before. Very quickly, I go into fear.
23) Tools for instantly clearing out the fear, wounds and basic screwed up-ed-ness appear in my life. I resist them as my ego prefers the familiar, even if the familiar = misery and terror.
24) My conditions worsen, but since I am awakened, I realize I am creating everything in my life. I don't want these conditions!
24.5) I would like to un-awaken now. Things were easier before I had an awareness that I create my own reality. Look at all those asleep people. I would rather live like them. This is so much harder.
26) What is wrong with me? I know how to create something better, and fast. I've done it before. Why can't I seem to do it? I am such an idiot!
27) I send myself on several wild goose chases trying to create the thing I want through taking tons of action. Every day I do this and the thing I wanted doesn't appear, my fear grows. I don't know what to do. I'm starting to panic. My external conditions reach a breaking point and I am sure something awful is about to happen if things don't change really, really fast.
28) I finally surrender to the truth: I need the thing I want fast, but I haven't been able to create it. I'm all out of ideas. I have the ugly cry. All of my suppressed emotions come out. I cry really hard for a couple of days. Ahhh, relief. I see the truth: it is all okay. The thing I was desiring immediately appears in my life. I remember how fast I can create anything I want if I just surrender. [Repeat steps 21-28 ten or twelve times.]
29) The same tools for clearing out the fear, wounds and basic screwed up-ed-ness appear in my life again. I resist them again.
30) I set a new intention. I try to surrender. It doesn't work.
31) I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to make my intention a reality. A LOT. During this time I am vaguely aware that I have a recurrent thought that keeps popping into my mind. I ignore it.
32) I try to surrender again. It doesn't work.
35) The same tools for clearing out the fear, wounds and basic screwed up-ed-ness appear again. I receive them.
36) I apply the tools immediately. I start with emotional healing, the wounds driving my terror. Within a month, I feel completely different. My reality immediately shifts.
37) I realize everyone is on their own path, and they get to make the choices that are right for them. Before, I had glimpses of this awareness, but now it is happening more and more. I realize my judgment isn't about them; it's about me.
38) I set an intention. I apply the tools I learned and declare that I'm ready to clear out what's blocking my intention from becoming a reality.
39) I go through intense turmoil as I am triggered emotionally, and it doesn't seem like the thing I want is going to happen. For awhile, I teeter on the edge of insanity, but that doesn't last long. (Thank goodness I'm single, though. That guy would've had to run for the hills to save himself.)
40) The turmoil helps me see what I need to clear out. I clear it. Eventually, I feel better, and I can tell that I've been freed from something.
42) The thing I wanted to create appears in a way I wouldn't have predicted. I'm in awe. I'm also under a lot of stress because I didn't realize I get to ask that it's fun and easy. Oops. My ego is delighted, because it gets to be miserable for awhile, even though I got the thing I wanted.
43) I set a new intention. It's really, really high. So high that I can't see how it would happen. I make sure I ask that it happen in a way that is fun and easy.
44) I let it go.
45) I ask for what's blocking it to be cleared.
46) I go through turmoil as the thing that's blocking it makes itself known. I'm pretty much a crazy person again for awhile as my deep wounds present themselves, but not so much as the first time. I stay present and recognize that I'm being triggered and I can be free of whatever is causing it. Even though it almost seems impossible to stay present because of the terror and intensity of the emotions I feel, I see what to clear because it's the thing that keeps triggering me.
47) I clear that.
45) I move on. Pretty soon I feel something release and I feel emotionally healthy 99 percent of the time. I realize that all the times I was trying to create what I wanted, it was impossible because I'd been emotionally unhealthy. I wish I had not resisted the tools when they kept appearing before, since now I can change my reality very quickly, but I am grateful to be free of my burdens.
46) I become aware that I have a thought that keeps popping into my mind. I follow it to see where it is leading me. It leads me to something that makes getting the thing I want really, really easy and fast.
47) I take whatever day-to-day actions I would take if I knew the thing I wanted was about to happen, giving forward movement to my intention.
48) The thing I want appears. I'm in awe.
49) I hardly ever feel terror or get triggered anymore.
50) I set a new intention.
By the way, the above phases took 12 years.
Beth A. Grant is a writer, speaker, marketing strategist and thought leader who helps you be yourself in business, in love, in life. She blogs at www.truthandconsciousness.com.