There is a certain type of emotional breakdown that leaves us lying on our bathroom floor, smashed into tiny pieces and renders us so low that we are howling in pain and gasping for air.
It is the type of breakdown in which we are completely unable to do anything except be in the moment because we are tired of thinking about how we wish we could go back in time and undo what happened.
My greatest spiritual turning points, funnily enough, have always come from these moments.
For me, it is a sign that I am not only reading spiritual lessons and thoughts in spiritual books, but I am living them too. I am experiencing the dark night of the soul, when I thought I was alone, but I called out to God and she actually, physically answered (explanation below).
Spirituality is so busy telling us how we should be thinking and doing that it dismisses what we are feeling and how to deal with those emotions. Sometimes in the stillness of meditation, we are not encouraged to open up to feelings other than peace and love, but in my experience, I have had to work through my negative emotions first in order to reach that stage.
I’ve had to face my emotions, lying on the floor with them, to see that they are illusions.
After all, how can we truly understand that our emotions are illusions without becoming intimate with them, getting to know them from the inside out?
How can we renounce our ego if we don’t understand how it is affecting us negatively?
It’s like the old saying: “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”
In succumbing to my emotional breakdown, I resign to my pain which results in a surrendering to God. I literally give up who I think I am and allow God to come in, take over and put me back together again.
What society says is our undoing can actually hold the potential to alert us to the fact that there is something not right within us and what spiritual literature implies is our removal from God, in reality, provides us with opportunities to surrender to her.
On the path to enlightenment, I advocate for the more inclusive painful, feminine, emotion-filled path as opposed to the still, poker-faced route. Because all masks fall off and no lies are told in deep, deep pain. We are human and we do suffer. We get caught up in the illusion that is this Earthly world, so why not use it constructively?
If you feel pressured to reconcile your passionate emotional side with spiritual expectations, don’t.
There are ways we can use the moments of devastation and brokenness to rise up wilder than before and closer to God than ever.
Doing these things during rough times is a beautiful sign that we want the experience to be something higher.
1. In the midst of our pain we are not blaming anyone.
We all tend to blame, so if we are not, we can be sure that this type of breakdown is special and can take us into a higher realm of spiritual understanding. If we aren’t blaming anyone, we see that we don’t have to make someone look bad in order for us to look good in God’s eyes. To God, we are all loved equally. This in turn positively affects the way we love others.
2. We are truly examining our thought process and don’t like what we see.
This can only mean one thing: we are open to change and this emotional turmoil is the trigger. We don’t know what we can do to change ourselves because we don’t have the answers right now. But our job is not to know all the answers upfront. We must search for them in the right place. Answers may not come immediately but if we are more introspective, no matter how painful, we are more likely to find them resting within ourselves. I went halfway around the world looking for my answers when all that I needed was to change my mind, my thoughts and my beliefs.
3. Our natural instinct in the midst of our suffering is to do something spiritual.
Whether our instinct is to pray, chant or read a holy text, go for it. This is a sign that we want our breakdown to reform into something higher.
4. We have faith that we are not alone during our emotional breakdown.
We might feel a spiritual presence watching us and refer to it as God or Goddess, angel or spirit guide. We sense them and are convinced that they want to help.
I had an amazing experience where I called out for help from my spirit guide whom I call “Magda.” I was absolutely convinced that she would appear before me during one emotionally charged moment. Of course she didn’t, but when I went to visit a work colleague later that evening, she informed me that a new teacher would be joining our college. I was in a state of disbelief that lasted for weeks when I learned that her name was Magda. The universe loves us.
Try it—ask for what you want with passion and you will receive.
5. We experience gratitude.
Even in the midst of our suffering, we acknowledge the things we have to be grateful for, whether it is a person who has supported us, the fact we have a roof over our head or food on the table. We appreciate that all hope is not lost and when we open our eyes to it, we can notice blessings even if they are few. I am not sure why but I have started thanking God, even in heartbreak, maybe because I feel I have a close relationship with her and I feel genuine thankfulness for her love in my life.
Leave a comment on your views below.
Author: Tina Chambers
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: flickr/Holly Lay