Last week I was on my daily walk and suddenly started feeling really light-headed. It didn’t feel like I was going to faint, but it have that low blood-sugar (even though I ate enough food before) or ‘Am I dreaming?’ feeling. The feeling of getting pulled out of my body caused anxiety. I almost never go full panic attack and I know that – so I was fine. But I had to read into what was happening to me.
Because the feeling was caused by an existential realization. Right before the anxiety, I realized that I was in the world, that life was so big and daunting, and that I was alive. Overall I always experience these existential realizations as positive. As someone who feels like she chose to be here, I always enjoy these thoughts as they are proof for me that I am doing the ‘human being’ and ‘living on earth’ thing somewhat rightly. And bonus: because of my insanely self-conscious/helicopter worldview, I get to realize it as well.
But this was the first time that these realizations caused negatieve, anxious feelings. It’s like realizing you’re in the Matrix because someone is trying to pull you out. It’s like feeling connected to your soul because you’re disconnected from the body. Suddenly, my spiritual awakening had a dark side. And I started fighting to stay IN the Matrix. I was struggling to stay IN my body. And I was trying so hard to keep my eyes closed, because the enlightenment was suddenly blinding.
It’s hard to explain what I was afraid of. I’ve been very open to any kind of spiritual experience for years now. I’m not afraid to consider alternative lives, look into the meta-verse, or even see other-worldly beings in other dimensions. I’m not saying I strongly believe in all these things – but I’m open to it. So I wouldn’t say the unknown (near-) future was the thing that freaked me out.
See the grid
Instead, it was the out-of-body feeling itself that was terrifying. Since we moved to the USA, I’ve been trying really hard to do this ‘being a human living on planet earth’ thing. Moving continents is hard, so I’ve been focussing on what we call reality instead of meta-verse things, simply because my body had to learn to survive in this new habitat. Moving throws you back into the more basic parts of life: Where do I get my food? How to I sleep in this new bed? How do I make sense of everything and everyone here?
However, the spiritual and existential realizations on that walk that morning, cold turkey pulled me out of this reality. This American Disneyland. This ‘being human on planet earth’-thing. I have no words to explain it other than that for a few seconds, it pulled me out of the Matrix, and ‘I could see the grid’. I have always known this, and I have seen it multiple times, but this was the first time that it was unwanted and unplanned. Life itself completely baffled me.
When I started Googling, I (thank God) found some people who could explain what was going on. This is also how I found the terms spiritual anxiety and anxiety after enlightenment. I found a definition online that you may or may not agree with:
“Anxiety on a cosmic level, an existential anxiety about our place in the universe.”
I also found that someone on a forum asked: ‘Why does enlightenment seem to increase my anxiety?’ and someone else answered: It’s not weird that the mind-body is a little shaken from spiritual experiences. You’re entering a whole new reality – you just have to get used to it.
And I’m not sure that that is settling – having to get used to it. But it sure does feel nice to see that I’m not alone.