Young adults do not have enough resources and tools available to deal with the lessons that come with spiritual awakening. This is especially true in western societies, where children are brought up in places that are unfamiliar with different states of consciousness. If you grow up in India, and claim to have seen the divine in yourself, there might be a celebration of some sort to honor your insight. But if you go on and say the same thing in the United States, let’s say, around an extremely conservative crowd, they will, without a doubt, question your sanity. There is a possibility that you could be going insane. Absolutely. But if awakening is authentic, that is, if it carries with it an undeniable force of truth, goodness, and piercing, ineffable insight, you can be sure that something special is happening. Life is opening up to itself, becoming conscious, waking up. This is amazing. But if you think the road is going to be filled with trans-galactic rainbows and prophetic glitter falling from the sky, I am afraid you are in for a shock… these come later on.
The direction of any authentic spiritual awakening is toward the end of your world as you know it. As Adyashanti says, “The way is always from knowing to not knowing.” It is more of a loss than a gain, more of a stepping backward than forward, more of a revealing than an obtaining. And if you are a young adult who is already dealing with the pressures of a deranged society, bent on turning you into a monotonous robot, twisting you this way and that, a drastic change in perspective like this can turn your world upside down. It is also a lot easier to get caught up in spiritual materialism and spiritual bypassing, for the romantic stages of awakening are alluring, and for the most part, excite the delusional taste buds. Younger people are also far more likely to head for the stars after an awakening occurs, instead of grounding down and dealing with the simplicity of the present moment. They get lost in the magic of it all—in astrology, conspiracy theories, and psychic phenomena. In doing so, they forget about the magician, who is a lot more important. As Trevor Hall puts it in one of his songs, “The magic is false; the magician is true.” I am not saying these things from a place of judgment. I am saying these things because I swim in the sky from time-to-time myself, and as a young-adult, repeat the same mistakes on a regular basis. I am far from being finished with the journey. There are still dirty, karmic stains on my white t-shirt. But I am trying awfully hard to get rid of them. And I want to bring young people together who are trying to do the same.
Why? — because reality is potent. And although limitless in its expression of joy and freedom, it is no joke. Nor is it an idea, or system of belief to fall back on for a false sense of security. It is real, a force of nature hell-bent on creating more space for the truth of what is actually and truly the case of existence.
Communicating something like this to loved ones can be daunting, especially if you are living with them. And knowing what to do after a moment of grace—such as a mystical experience—is equally daunting (especially when you have no reference point for what it is that just blew you out the bloody water). What’s more, you have to go about implementing this far-out realization into a world that requires you to make a living, pay rent, deal with taxes, and pass your final examinations in an educational system that was most likely built from a state of consciousness you have now left in the dust. The day after my very first mystical experience, I walked into the office hours for a philosophy class I was taking at the time, sat down, and walked straight back out. There was a man attempting to convince me of the existence of God based on a few logical steps written on a chalkboard. After stuttering all night from a vision of piercing light, and weeping incessantly from the amount of unconditional love I felt, can you blame me for walking out? I think it is unwise to believe any worldly, intellectual hype after you have been brought to your knees by an otherworldly force.
Before I continue, let me get one thing clear: I am not here to coddle anyone. This article is not written by a millennial in order to promote the millennial standards that we are apparently renown for. Laziness, arrogance, and entitlement are never things to be proud of. But if you have gone through some sort of spiritual awakening, the chances you have realized the absurdity of the system in place are high. And the chances of you feeling the urge to run away from it, and rebel against it, are even higher. This is because you have switched your channel of perception entirely. On this channel, your sensitivity to life is intelligent, and your intuition is telling you there is another way to go about life entirely. It is telling you that love is more than just the romance and tragedy they feed us on the media. It is a way of Being, a style, an embodied expression of reality itself. It is telling you to change your diet, listen to conscious music, and—this one is important—align your life situation with what you have come to realize about life itself. This is particularly difficult when looking around, all you see are systems of fear and oppression that are immature, uncreative, and limiting, to say the least—and which concentrate on aspects of education that only serve the alert, problem-solving consciousness.
There are not enough systems and spaces in place that value other states of consciousness—those which are subtler, more sophisticated, and harder to pin down.
And there are not enough young communities coming together, and discussing their difficulties and insights with regard to genuine spiritual matters—matters aligned with the source of life itself—not philosophy, history, science, and anthropology. And even if they are out there, none have them have caught my eye. None of them have spoken to me from a place that is mature and realistically aligned with the plights and joys of being a young adult in this day-and-age.
When I was going through the initial stages of awakening at the age of 21, I had nowhere to turn and not many people to talk with about the intricacies of this extraordinarily subtle process. I’m sure it’s like this for many people. It’s as if you are underground, away from everything and everyone, while a hidden world has its way with you. What you come to realize, is that the unknown has a specific way of painting your life. And the closer you move toward it, the more revealing the painting becomes. Yes, I am waxing poetic, but there is simply no other way to put it. When pursued in a sincere manner, reality gives signs of progress and signals of proof. But because its nature is emptiness—a very full emptiness, I might add—you can’t show it to someone as you would a table or chair. If you could see it, you’d try to grab hold of it. And that is the wrong approach altogether. You can only ever embody it, and allow it to shine through in a style that is effortless. As Nisargadatta once said, “To know is to be.”
For this reason, the spiritual life is, for the most part, an unseen art form. The stroke of genius occurs under the sheets when no one is around. Life teaches every individual from the inside out, in a style that is unique to his or her karma. In that sense, we are always alone. But that does not mean we should not come together and speak about our aloneness, for the deeper we plunge into the personal, the more universal it is seen to be.
But who is out there, teaching the youth about these strokes? Who is out there giving voice to the unseen, and deconstructing the ins-and-outs of enlightenment for teenagers and young-adults undergoing radical shifts in their perception and state of consciousness? Who is out there preaching for the sword, and, when necessary, employing the fluff? Where are the skillful means for young-adults to approach their loved ones about a topic that seems impractical and thick with woo-woo? And where are the relatable figures? There is an abundance of spiritual teachers, but there are not enough of the young ones, sincere in wanting to assist and still making those glorious, youthful mistakes.
So, consider this a call to action. I am calling on all young adults to speak up. If you have experienced some sort of spiritual awakening, I want to hear from you. Comment below, message me, reach out to me. I want to build a community. And I want you to be a part of it. The world needs us. The future depends on us.