Is awakening easy?

No, but it’s worth it. I think what fascinated me when I starting looking at the process of awakening is how we think what we see out there is “reality”. It is reality of a kind, but it’s our reality. Our reality with all our preconceived ideas, filters and beliefs bolted on as well.

An analogy would would be say – wearing a ski mask. When you have the mask on, all you can see is the inside of the mask and the outside world through the lens. Take the mask off, and hold it in front of you and you can see, not only the view through the mask but also the area around the mask. So more information comes in and is available to the “viewer”

This can be pretty overwhelming at first as we can cling pretty hard to the “what we see is what we get” mantra. I’ve seen many patients over the years who have come in to see me in a bit of state because they have experimented with psychedelic drugs and suddenly opened up their world of reality and they haven’t been able to incorporate it or make sense of it. This doesn’t happen to everyone but can certainly occur.

Usually these people will be treated for anxiety or more rarely bipolar as the stress of the experience can manifest in the pressure of speech and flight of ideas that occur in the acute phase of mania.

I remember one lady who had experienced quite a quick awakening following the use of LSD. She subsequently reported to doctors that she could intuit peoples’ intentions. This can certainly happen with people who are highly awake and present and in touch with their own processes. However, it was viewed as a psychotic phenomenon and she was medicated. Personally I don’t believe she was psychotic as she functioned fairly well in other aspects of her life. She was turning up to work, running a home and managing to look after her kids. Gradually she learnt to use her new found gifts in a quiet way and she became a very skilled therapist and counsellor

Personally, I found change to be challenging. I had well-worn ways of doing things and to be able to look at some of the medical processes that were going on – over reliance on drugs / over reliance on guidelines / heavy drug industry sponsorship and realise that in many cases, these were not the way forward and were not helping the patient to get better. Once I saw this, I had to change my role and practice but also watch carefully that I practiced in a way that was fitting with the regulatory authorities of my country. This was important because we have to keep patients safe.

But what if it becomes too rigid and our patients fail to get better. What if they are harmed by drug side effects or develop a resistant infection through the use of unnecessary antibiotics? To help people heal can require a dose of creativity which is not accommodated for in the rigidity of western medical practice

Waking up and seeing things more clear as perhaps they are is enlightening but scary at times. It’s harder and stand back and do nothing. It makes it easier to people to find and practice what truly makes sense for them. In the service of others, it allows more connection, more creativity and perhaps a greater social conscience

Less me and more us


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