My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

J Bowlin, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 12:30 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 11:57 AM

My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/15/24 Recent Posts
A little background – my wife and I have been together for 16 years, married for 4, and we’ve been self-described atheists for the entirety of that time. I know we were on the same page about this even last winter, as we normally set aside a few days every year to check in on different areas of our life as a couple and to re-calibrate if needed.

This summer, after she was diagnosed with a rare tumor and we were going through a hellish time seeking the right treatment and the right answers, my wife began meditating and reading Joe Dispensa’s “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”. She started this a week before her surgery in August. Driving her to surgery, she was listening to a “Hari Om Ganesha” on repeat, over and over. For the hours in surgery prep, she also was listening to this on headphones. She put herself in a kind of trance. Months later, we found out that part of pre-surgery anesthesia to do this massive surgery included ketamine (not sure if this contributes to what transpired but this whole thing has been wild to me). She says that being rolled into the surgery room, she felt an incredible love of everyone and everything, literally she was in love with the surgeon and the staff. She was in surgery for 5 hours. The surgeon came out and told me they had to do a much more radical surgery than we had discussed in order to remove the tumor. I was devastated for hours until they could wake her up and have me go back to see her. I was scared to tell her the news, as previously this whole idea of what needed to happen to remove this tumor rattled her greatly. I was relieved to hear a doctor had already filled her in on what happened. She was obviously still on pain meds at this time, but she seemed at peace with what happened.

I wouldn’t hear about this next part until at least a month later. I spent the next few weeks helping to take care of her, and she continued her Joe Dispensa meditations. Her account of the week after surgery was an incredible sense of bliss and peace. She was not on any oxy meds for pain after she left the hospital 4 days post-surgery, but was on gabapentin for 3 more days but besides that just Tylenol and advil. She heard a voice, a knowing, from “above and behind”, that told her “this is not who you are”. Suddenly, after that week, she was aware of every thought – aware of how the ego was involved in everything. She was on a bent, saying she “destroyed her ego”. She was riling against anything in society (like a personality test at work) that seemed to “reinforce identity”. We had businesses and ventures together that she was giving up. She said “everything needs to change”. I figured I can take on those projects on my own, given that she had a long road of healing ahead, but I was also perplexed. She was completely changing. She started devouring spiritual books, listening to spiritual music, joining spiritual groups. I tried to talk to her about what was going on, but she was pushing me away, saying that I could never understand, that I can’t go where she’s gone. I started to worry that “everything needs to change” would also mean that I wasn’t welcome in the picture anymore.

In describing this event to people, she has been now using the term “spontaneous spiritual awakening”. She says she’s aware all the time – aware when she’s sleeping, aware when she’s awake, always aware. In her reading, she’s come across this happening to people when they come face to face with death. She says this is why I’ll never be able to understand.

In this whole process, she hasn’t been sharing what she’s going through much. She wasn’t a big emotional share-er before, but in the past that’s led to massive blow-ups when it finally comes out. I’ve been fearing that she’s bottling things up, but she says she has no hard emotions, that she’s doing great, better than ever. I have asked how I can support her, I have no idea how to be a good spouse in this context. She says she doesn’t need anything from me. She said the best thing I could do is to work on myself.

I tried to read some of the stuff she’s been getting into, but honestly a ton of it seems mystical and metaphysical and quite New-Age and weird. I’ve come across a few resources that I found more easy to work with, most of them coming from the Buddhist traditions, from people like Sam Harris and now recently Daniel Ingrim and I’m trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together to understand what happened to my wife, and how I can be a decent spouse in this whole ordeal, and at the same time, I’m wondering if there’s something there to explore for myself.

There seems to be no resources I can find for the spouse who isn’t the one having a “spiritual awakening” and I am looking to find support in how to be supportive.

I also worry about one of the groups she’s gotten involved with in her spiritual quest. This group has a history of dubious marketing to convince people into signing up for their meditation retreats, and on retreats, have drugged participants unknowingly so that they had “experiences”, as promised in their marketing. This group is very “lovey” and are quick to constantly remind people of upcoming events and “oh we missed you!” if you don’t show up to something. She’s quite attached to this group and I don’t know how to express this concern to her, as she’s often accused me of “holding her back” in the past and I don’t want her to think that is my aim here. My fear is that in her spiritual enthusiasm, she will get taken advantage of and get hurt in the process.

Overall, I feel like I’ve lost my wife in this process, and I’m not sure how to move forward. As I read more about this sort of stuff, I realize that there is no going back for her. This is a shift that I’ll need to adjust to, but I feel the need to find guidance in how to handle this all.

Is there anyone here who has been on the other end of a spiritual awakening? And are there any resources I can use to be a useful spouse?
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 2:19 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 2:02 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 339 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
Only thing that sounds concerning to me is the group. I'm afraid I don't have much advice but spiritual groups promising spiritual experiences and heavy marketing are big red flags.

Awakening experiences just have to run their course sometimes. Maybe read up on the MCTB insight stages of what might come.

Best of luck.
brian patrick, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 2:39 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 2:38 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 51 Join Date: 10/31/23 Recent Posts
J Bowlin
A little background – my wife and I have been together for 16 years, married for 4, and we’ve been self-described atheists for the entirety of that time. I know we were on the same page about this even last winter, as we normally set aside a few days every year to check in on different areas of our life as a couple and to re-calibrate if needed.

This summer, after she was diagnosed with a rare tumor and we were going through a hellish time seeking the right treatment and the right answers, my wife began meditating and reading Joe Dispensa’s “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”. She started this a week before her surgery in August. Driving her to surgery, she was listening to a “Hari Om Ganesha” on repeat, over and over. For the hours in surgery prep, she also was listening to this on headphones. She put herself in a kind of trance. Months later, we found out that part of pre-surgery anesthesia to do this massive surgery included ketamine (not sure if this contributes to what transpired but this whole thing has been wild to me). She says that being rolled into the surgery room, she felt an incredible love of everyone and everything, literally she was in love with the surgeon and the staff. She was in surgery for 5 hours. The surgeon came out and told me they had to do a much more radical surgery than we had discussed in order to remove the tumor. I was devastated for hours until they could wake her up and have me go back to see her. I was scared to tell her the news, as previously this whole idea of what needed to happen to remove this tumor rattled her greatly. I was relieved to hear a doctor had already filled her in on what happened. She was obviously still on pain meds at this time, but she seemed at peace with what happened.

I wouldn’t hear about this next part until at least a month later. I spent the next few weeks helping to take care of her, and she continued her Joe Dispensa meditations. Her account of the week after surgery was an incredible sense of bliss and peace. She was not on any oxy meds for pain after she left the hospital 4 days post-surgery, but was on gabapentin for 3 more days but besides that just Tylenol and advil. She heard a voice, a knowing, from “above and behind”, that told her “this is not who you are”. Suddenly, after that week, she was aware of every thought – aware of how the ego was involved in everything. She was on a bent, saying she “destroyed her ego”. She was riling against anything in society (like a personality test at work) that seemed to “reinforce identity”. We had businesses and ventures together that she was giving up. She said “everything needs to change”. I figured I can take on those projects on my own, given that she had a long road of healing ahead, but I was also perplexed. She was completely changing. She started devouring spiritual books, listening to spiritual music, joining spiritual groups. I tried to talk to her about what was going on, but she was pushing me away, saying that I could never understand, that I can’t go where she’s gone. I started to worry that “everything needs to change” would also mean that I wasn’t welcome in the picture anymore.

In describing this event to people, she has been now using the term “spontaneous spiritual awakening”. She says she’s aware all the time – aware when she’s sleeping, aware when she’s awake, always aware. In her reading, she’s come across this happening to people when they come face to face with death. She says this is why I’ll never be able to understand.

In this whole process, she hasn’t been sharing what she’s going through much. She wasn’t a big emotional share-er before, but in the past that’s led to massive blow-ups when it finally comes out. I’ve been fearing that she’s bottling things up, but she says she has no hard emotions, that she’s doing great, better than ever. I have asked how I can support her, I have no idea how to be a good spouse in this context. She says she doesn’t need anything from me. She said the best thing I could do is to work on myself.

I tried to read some of the stuff she’s been getting into, but honestly a ton of it seems mystical and metaphysical and quite New-Age and weird. I’ve come across a few resources that I found more easy to work with, most of them coming from the Buddhist traditions, from people like Sam Harris and now recently Daniel Ingrim and I’m trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together to understand what happened to my wife, and how I can be a decent spouse in this whole ordeal, and at the same time, I’m wondering if there’s something there to explore for myself.

There seems to be no resources I can find for the spouse who isn’t the one having a “spiritual awakening” and I am looking to find support in how to be supportive.

I also worry about one of the groups she’s gotten involved with in her spiritual quest. This group has a history of dubious marketing to convince people into signing up for their meditation retreats, and on retreats, have drugged participants unknowingly so that they had “experiences”, as promised in their marketing. This group is very “lovey” and are quick to constantly remind people of upcoming events and “oh we missed you!” if you don’t show up to something. She’s quite attached to this group and I don’t know how to express this concern to her, as she’s often accused me of “holding her back” in the past and I don’t want her to think that is my aim here. My fear is that in her spiritual enthusiasm, she will get taken advantage of and get hurt in the process.

Overall, I feel like I’ve lost my wife in this process, and I’m not sure how to move forward. As I read more about this sort of stuff, I realize that there is no going back for her. This is a shift that I’ll need to adjust to, but I feel the need to find guidance in how to handle this all.

Is there anyone here who has been on the other end of a spiritual awakening? And are there any resources I can use to be a useful spouse?

Second the "group" concern, but I don't see how you could do much about it. She will eventually become disillusioned with them if they are sketchy. 

you seem fantastic. I have not told my spouse about my awakening. I attributed the weird behavior and changes to a psychological breakthrough and spontaneous release of childhood trauma. She certainly would have divorced me otherwise. Or, I shouldn't say certainly, but probably. She has no tolerance for weird. 

once I stabilized things got much better than they've ever been, and it's going good. 

another mildly concerning thing is the assertion that you could "never go" where's she's been. That is just not true, and so obviously not from this side of the fence it sounds like she hasn't stabilized yet. Give her time and be supportive. The upheaval and sensitivity can be huge after an awakening, but as insights get deeper it gets easier to be around others. 

my advice is to stay completely open to her. Show her you are open and willing to help... or... not help. Whatever she wants. 

there are also psychologists who deal with these things but Indont remember what Daniel called them. Jack Cornwall is one I think. Stay away from standard psychologists. They will not help, and may hurt. 

​​​​​​​I wish you luck. 
brian patrick, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 2:48 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 2:48 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 51 Join Date: 10/31/23 Recent Posts
FYI, Daniel seems pretty open to talking on video chat with people. I don't mean to volunteer him, but he was gracious enough to talk with me and I'm nobody. Email him at the institute and ask. He is very direct and helpful. 
shargrol, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 3:10 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 3:10 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Some thoughts... There are a lot of us who have gone pretty far with meditation practice and who have a non-meditator as a spouse. Works out just fine for the most part. Really spiritual growth should be the same as regaining a basic sanity, and so if a spouse is mostly sane then all is good. So don't think you need to take this same path if it feels like you have to "push" yourself. Be true to yourself, listen to your own heart. It's a question of IF you should be searching and WHAT you should be doing. Spirituality might be her thing, not your thing. And you might have completely different spiritual paths.

Yeah, lots of culty stuff out there, so definitely be careful there. Trust your instincts on this. Always google "controversy" and the name of the organization. No group is perfect, but the culty ones are talked about online.

One thing she should be on the watch for is that after every big spiritual opening, there will be a spiritual difficulty. At first the difficult seems to be all the things in life that need to be changed to be in alignment with our spiritual insight. This can be minor stuff or people can feel compelled to make big changes. Usually people change for the better and simplfy their ambitions and develop more compassion. However, what quickly happens next is that the limits of externally creating a "spiritual life" are reached but there is still spiritual difficulty. We're not growing anymore and it feels like we're moving backwards. This is basically the stage when our jungian shadow problems start happening. We deny the pride and egotism that we have and project that on the world, we deny the fears and disgust we have and project that on the world, we deny our power and status seeking and project that on the world --- basically we need to find a new balance and basic sanity that comes from fully owning and being responsible for our reactions within the world. The spiritual awakening also means we can't deny the shadow stuff anymore, it bubbles up to the surface in a very real and direct way.

The problem is that spiritual seekers (myself included) are very resistant to the idea that I have a problem... and it's much easier to blame the world or the lack of being on retreat, etc etc.  And unfortunately it's only the rare spiritual group that doesn't take advantage of people when they are in this clinging/seeking mode. It's basically an unsolvable problem if the seeker is in denial. They won't listen to friends or spouses, but they will listen to their enablers.

Having said all of this worst case scenario stuff. There is another side of it. When people who have spiritual awakenings don't fall into the materialism/cult trap and when they own and integrate their shadow self... well, they become even more wonderful people to be around. emoticon  I wish this for you and your wife!

I personally found Ingram's book the most full map of spirituality, free at MCTB.org – The home of the evolving Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. In particular, the Jhana section is very useful becuase it shows how spiritual states are great but true awakening is not about achieving and perminantly locking in a particular state. Also the section on all the flawed enlightenment models is very humbling and a good counterbalance to all the religious/cults that are sell over or more versions of enlightenment.

Best wishes to your wife and yourself!!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 3:47 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 3:40 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
 If I could give your wife advice it would be this. 

I see the phrase "spontaneous spiritual awakening" running around a lot lately. When people use this phrase they're usually pointing at a number of ecstatic or "kundalini" type experiences that can happen when exploring meditation. Often the first few times something like this happens it can be quite an awesome thing. One might feel oneness, connectedness, bliss, compassion and so on... but over time you realize these states are temporary, they are very beautiful but don't actually lead to any lasting satisfaction. 

Any spiritual group or community worth their salt is well aware of this and open to communicating that these "awakenings" are ultimately impermanent. You don't get to stay in bliss forever and what follows the bliss is often quite harsh terrain, though no less important and equally spiritual, equally part of the awakening process. I myself and many others here have been through these cycles countless times. I have experienced astonishing awakenings, time and time again, only to come crashing down heartbroken and humbled. The times when the ego is less bound up in how blissful and amazing I've become then it's less of a crash and more of a slide.

Bliss is a great test of our Narcissism because it won't last no matter how hard we try to force it.  

"Spirituality" (not all of us may use the word) at the kind of depth we discuss here is fundamentally about letting go of our attachment or our clinging to things and states. As we learn to do that we grow into more and more compassionate and open ways of being. But, that growth process will see us move through many ups and downs. Cycles that will challenge us down to the core of our sense of self. It can be a tough process. 

As someone who has flirted with a number of cults, some of which had great meditation practice, I will say this: The most important sense a meditator can develop is the sense of smell. One must learn to sniff out the bullshit... and in time when you've become a little more accustomed to the smell you start to pick out the musty truffles of wisdom lurking buried underneath. 

I did and it led me to some pretty deep people and practice. Practice that has helped me massively reduce the suffering I experience. (That is the benchmark by which this stuff must be judged, frankly and honestly)

Best of luck,
Bb
 
--

Can anyone tell me where the phrase "spontaneous spiritual awakening" has been memeing up from lately? It's a very specific set of words and I'm seeing it a lot. 
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Jim Smith, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 4:54 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 4:44 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 1682 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
It's impossible to tell from just a forum post so I will toss this out not because I think it is relevant but because it could be .. Are you worried that she will become dissatisfied with you and she will end the relationship, or are you worried that you will become dissatisfied with her and you will end the relationship? Sometimes just getting clear at what is at the bottom of our discontent eases it and the problem just isn't really a problem anymore.

I do have some experience with this sort of problem although somewhat indirectly, (and again, I don't know if this is really appropriate for you specifically) but try not to resent the changes you see in her. I used to go to a Spiritualist church and one of the women there was a new member and she was very enthusiastic about it and her husband had no interest. She was taking classes and volunteering and it took a lot of her time and he felt like he was losing her. She tried to bring him to a service so he could see what was happening and to get him involved, and he was sulking and irritable the whole time. My advice is "don't be that guy" if you want the relationship to  survive. Little children get comfort and consolation when they are sulky and pouting, adults get left behind. If you want the relationship to survive, you have to let her have the space she needs. I would advise you not to make a big deal about it. Focus on things you still have in common, not the differences. Try not to bring bad attitudes into your interactions with her.

​​​​​​​When you do talk about the situation, try to explain your side with statements in the form, "When x happens, I feel y". That is a more neutral way of communicating what you see as a problem while avoiding name calling and other provocative tactics that might trigger a heated argument or inflame tempers.
‎ ‎Nihila, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 5:16 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 5:16 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 339 Join Date: 1/19/23 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby
Can anyone tell me where the phrase "spontaneous spiritual awakening" has been memeing up from lately? It's a very specific set of words and I'm seeing it a lot. 

I've used something akin to it a couple times to refer to my crossing the A&P. I label it that ways because I had not meditated in years prior to it and it came more or less out of the blue. It was basically just a realization/insight that I didn't exist, and never had, acompanied by a lot of laughter. No cool kundalini energy or blissful states or anything, just that and a descent (ascent?) into DN.

Sorry for going off topic.
brian patrick, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 6:42 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 6:42 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 51 Join Date: 10/31/23 Recent Posts
Nihila ‎
Bahiya Baby
Can anyone tell me where the phrase "spontaneous spiritual awakening" has been memeing up from lately? It's a very specific set of words and I'm seeing it a lot. 

I've used something akin to it a couple times to refer to my crossing the A&P. I label it that ways because I had not meditated in years prior to it and it came more or less out of the blue. It was basically just a realization/insight that I didn't exist, and never had, acompanied by a lot of laughter. No cool kundalini energy or blissful states or anything, just that and a descent (ascent?) into DN.

Sorry for going off topic.

I used it because I had never successfully meditated or practiced ever. It came with bliss and then crushing dark emotional and physical upheaval. 
some people who are still anonymous came out of the woodwork and helped me or I don't think I would have made it through. I notice a push to integrate with science, and take it out of "woo woo", but so far, as I see it, that's going to be impossible. It's woo woo AF. I could be wrong certainly. 
shargrol, modified 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 7:17 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/15/24 7:17 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 2409 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
It's scientifically woo woo AF emoticon
Adi Vader, modified 3 Months ago at 1/16/24 12:12 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/16/24 12:12 AM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 291 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
Hello Mr Bowlin

I am not in a position to give you any advice from the perspective that you seek. I have spent a whole lot of time meditating and in this process have been the recepient of my wife's kindness, patience and generosity. All of these positive qualities, I have sorely tested emoticon. Though I dont have a first person perspective of what it feels like to be married to me, I can certainly use my imagination emoticon

I would like to give you a perspective of what a spiritual life is and what it means for some people versus others.

When we meditate deliberately with a lot of firm resolve, we actually get good at it. Some people get good at very rapidly. What we are getting good at is observational qualities - of mindfulness, concentration and investigation (amongst others). What we are investigating, whether it is an explicit goal or not, is the processes of our own mind. From a 'view' of hey here I am and that there is the world, we move to a view of hey the world and I within it is constructed by mental processes. Does the world exist, does it not exist is secondary and well kind of irrelevant to the meditative investigation process. What is primary to the investigation process is the fact that our ability to be conscious of, to perceive the world and all experiences including the experience of existing within the world is the result of impersonal processes.

Put in these dry terms, it doesnt seem like that big a deal. But in the experience of it, it is exhilarating. For the first time in our lives we realize that all the trials and tribulations that we have experienced in our lives are also a product of impersonal processes that create the experience of the one being tried or the one undergoing tribulations.

This depth of Insight into the workings of experience itself comes about through what is called samadhi. or deepening concentration. Deepening concentration is something that the mind isn't used to. It in and by itself is a novel experience for the mind. The mind responds to this novel experience by creating all sorts of strange hallucinatory phenomena and all sorts of ideas about what those hallucinatory phenomena may mean.

So you have 4 things happening:

1. A mind intent on investigating itself
2. Deepening concentration
3. A first person observation of the construct nature of ordinary experience
4. Extra ordinary experiences created by the mind that totally excite us

Someone who approaches meditation practice with proper guidance or someone whose personality is such that they are hard-nosed empiricists, they remain grounded ... more or less. But someone who stumbles upon meditation, has no appropriate guidance, has the *latent* tendency to be grandiose or mystical or 'spiritual' .... their life can get disturbed.

The good news is, this is temporary. the bad news is, there is no way to predict how long this will last - a day, a week, a month, an year .... no idea! It is specific to the  individual. In Indic languages what happens to us in meditation and how we relate to it is often ascribed to something called 'paramis' - cultivated, accumulated mental behavioural qualities. But that is just a way of trying to put an explanatory paradigm around that which we observe.

My one advice to you, and I offer it very tentatively, is try and get your wife away from this culty sounding organization. See if you can motivate her to find a Dharma teacher/ a teacher of awakening practices and theory. Generally a safe bet, when we dont know the teaching landscape or the people involved, is to look for teachers associated with centuries old traditions. I believe that the western world has a few known well established organizations that offer Dharma teaching. Look for someone who is not money minded, some one who either works on donations or a very transparent fee structure. At the same time, you will have to realize that you don't 'own' your wife. And you cannot control her. You have some say and some play, some influence due to love and affection. But if you engage in friction and confrontation, that love and affection will fly out of the window emoticon.  

I wish you the very best. I hope you will be able to find a path that brings the best outcomes for both you and your wife.
Olivier S, modified 3 Months ago at 1/16/24 11:43 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/16/24 11:43 AM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 889 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby

Can anyone tell me where the phrase "spontaneous spiritual awakening" has been memeing up from lately? It's a very specific set of words and I'm seeing it a lot. 

Could be this paper: Spontaneous Spiritual Awakenings. If not, you can probably trace the source from it. 
J Bowlin, modified 3 Months ago at 1/17/24 10:40 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/17/24 10:34 AM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 2 Join Date: 1/15/24 Recent Posts
I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to reply. I have found each response useful in its own way! You are all quite an amazing group to chime in to help emoticon 

" From Nihila

Awakening experiences just have to run their course sometimes. Maybe read up on the MCTB insight stages of what might come."

Thank you, Nihila, I will definitely ready MCTB in its entirety. 


" From brian patrick

my advice is to stay completely open to her. Show her you are open and willing to help... or... not help. Whatever she wants. 

there are also psychologists who deal with these things but Indont remember what Daniel called them. Jack Cornwall is one I think. Stay away from standard psychologists. They will not help, and may hurt. "

Thank you, Brian. I think my mistake at the start of all of this was utter confusion and some resistance. She had felt she had found her "soul" and the "spirit of God", and myself having had a very strictly religious upbringing, I was flabbergasted as to how someone I had known for so long can suddenly believe in a man up in the sky… So needless to say at the beginning I shut myself down, and I know she felt it. I am beginning to be a bit better about it, but she still insists that the Christians and Buddha were saying the same thing - and she's never read the bible, whereas I've been beat over the head with it, so I still vastly disagree. I am actually beginning work later today with a psychologist who has experience with folks dealing with trauma and religion, so I am intent on making some headway here to be more open to the totality of what her experience is. 

"From shargrol

Having said all of this worst case scenario stuff. There is another side of it. When people who have spiritual awakenings don't fall into the materialism/cult trap and when they own and integrate their shadow self... well, they become even more wonderful people to be around.    I wish this for you and your wife!"

Shargrol, I have read some other replies on this board, and the entirety of your reply is really helpful. Thank you. I really hope that we get to this 'more wonderful to be around' stage together! I myself began meditating in 2018 with the Headspace app, honestly just to calm anxiety. I never knew there was more to it, or that something could be unveiled through it. The more I read and learn about meditation as a path, I am intrigued by it. I'm really not interested in visions of God or Jesus (probably due to my religious trauma ha), but a shifted perspective could be useful. I'm intrigued to read about the flawed enlightenment model, MCTB is next on my list!! 

"From Bahiya Baby

But, that growth process will see us move through many ups and downs. Cycles that will challenge us down to the core of our sense of self. It can be a tough process. "

Bahiya Baby, I think I 'understand' from an outsider's perspective that these cycles of ups and downs will happen. Given the content my wife has been reading, I think she's beginning to know this as well. Thinking from a supportive spouse standpoint, do people on these spiritual paths typically share what is happening to them to the 'not awakened' spouse? I want my wife to know that I am here for her no matter what, but I'm not sure how to express that without seeming nosey, insensitive, or like a complete idiot since I 'don't understand'... 

"From Jim Smith 

Are you worried that she will become dissatisfied with you and she will end the relationship, or are you worried that you will become dissatisfied with her and you will end the relationship?"

Well, primarily it's been a worry that she will become dissatisfied with me and end the relationship because I don't 'understand'. For a brief moment I wondered if I could handle this new dynamic in our relationship due to my previous bad religious experiences, but I feel like after some investigation, the notion that I would leave due to this has gone away. 

"From Jim Smith

She tried to bring him to a service so he could see what was happening and to get him involved, and he was sulking and irritable the whole time. My advice is "don't be that guy" if you want the relationship to survive. Little children get comfort and consolation when they are sulky and pouting, adults get left behind. If you want the relationship to survive, you have to let her have the space she needs. I would advise you not to make a big deal about it. Focus on things you still have in common, not the differences. Try not to bring bad attitudes into your interactions with her."

Thank you for sharing this story, Jim. It's highly relevant. At the beginning of this, I was 'that person'. I am aware that that was a bad approach and I'm trying not to bring bad attitudes into this, and I'm actively working on what is triggering me in some of the conversations regarding God, Jesus, soul, spirit, heaven, etc. Thank you for the very good reminder that sulky adults get left behind. That is my fear. 
​​​​​​​
" From Adi Vader

At the same time, you will have to realize that you don't 'own' your wife. And you cannot control her. You have some say and some play, some influence due to love and affection. But if you engage in friction and confrontation, that love and affection will fly out of the window."

Adi, thank you for your very patient explanation of what the spiritual life of a meditator looks like, and the advice to help encourage her to find a Dharma teacher. She has recently found a Dharma Sangha and has been attending that as well as the culty organization. I've attended functions from both organizations, and observed the communication styles and methods of both. The culty organization is definitely money minded and pushy in contrast to the Dharma Sangha - which is volunteer run and donation based, and doesn't push anything. My hope is that she begins to see the difference in approach from the two different groups, but ultimately I cannot force her to quit the group I am concerned with precisely because I think it will cause friction and confrontation, as you so rightly pointed above. 

Again, I want to thank everyone for their kind input on my questions and for helping me gain a better perspective on this situation. You are all very kind!
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Bahiya Baby, modified 3 Months ago at 1/17/24 10:14 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/17/24 5:35 PM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 461 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Bahiya Baby, I think I 'understand' from an outsider's perspective that these cycles of ups and downs will happen. Given the content my wife has been reading, I think she's beginning to know this as well. Thinking from a supportive spouse standpoint, do people on these spiritual paths typically share what is happening to them to the 'not awakened' spouse? I want my wife to know that I am here for her no matter what, but I'm not sure how to express that without seeming nosey, insensitive, or like a complete idiot since I 'don't understand'... 

J, I think just embrace not understanding. That's the most authentic thing to do. If you can learn to be comfortable with that, without compromising who you are, then I think you'll continue to find the right perspective on these matters.

Some spiritual communities and people can at times be superior, snobby, cliquey, mean, crazy, abusive. I have been and have experienced others to be so. Some spontaneous spiritual awakenings of my own have left me feeling astonished at the beauty of life yet somehow, in reality, more alienated and disconnected from the people I loved. On this journey you may encounter people going through the same. Know that it is often just a phase. 

There doesn't need to be anything special about "spirituality". I can operate within worldviews where all these experiences and transformations are just symptoms of neurological rewiring that occur as the nervous system ceases panicking and adapts to deeper levels of calm and relaxation. Not a big deal. A natural thing.

Based on how you responded to these replies and the way you communicate I reckon you're probably a pretty good person. 

​​​​​​​Be a good person ... and don't be afraid to stick to your guns cowpoke. 

---

Nihila, Brian and Olivier ... Thank you emoticon !!
Ben Sulsky, modified 3 Months ago at 1/18/24 9:57 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/18/24 9:57 AM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 170 Join Date: 11/5/19 Recent Posts
"saying that I could never understand, that I can’t go where she’s gone. "  This isn't fair to you.  We're all already here and the experience of cutting vegetables is just as phenomenally rich and full of life as any kundalini fueled spiritual trip, albeit very different. 

-- Cult thing is scary.  Charging money for teachings is an orange flag.  It depends how they charge, and typically you want them to meet the highest ethical standards for the way the culture they're embedded in handles tricky money stuff.  

"have drugged participants unknowingly so that they had “experiences”, as promised in their marketing," <---- this is a bright red flaming 'get the fuck outta there' flag.

Best of luck to you both!

Ben


 
Hector L, modified 3 Months ago at 1/18/24 10:20 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 1/18/24 10:20 AM

RE: My spouse had a "spontaneous spiritual awakening" & I am lost

Posts: 139 Join Date: 5/9/20 Recent Posts
When something like this happened to me I read a lot of books too but my spouse was very supportive. I also never said you won't be able to follow along rather I researched all the ways they could follow along and started grad school on the topic.

​​​​​​​The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge https://a.co/d/fCD5MKu by Jeffrey Kripal documents this phenomena more broadly but more for my category of scientists abruptly becoming spiritual.

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