We always talk about our physical and mental wellbeing; however, we seldom worry about our spiritual well-being. Our mind, body and soul need to work in tandem for our body to be healthy and replenished. However, when we feel spiritually confused that status quo is disturbed.
This state is also known as ‘’dark night of the soul’’ or spiritual depression. When anyone goes through a similar phase, they feel that their lives are meaningless, and they feel hopeless about the future. They are not motivated to do anything and take any action. The energy levels go down and suddenly the things which were important and precious start becoming meaningless.
Why do we experience this state of being spiritually confused?
This situation often is linked with a life changing experience.
Death in the family
- Death of the spouse or child often triggers these kinds of emotions when the person feels empty and his or her life revolves around that sad incident. Often the person starts blaming God and refuses to accept the reality. He or she loses the purpose of his/her life as all this while his/her existence surrounded his family.
- He/she used to earn for his/her family, perform all the chores for the family and now that family does not exist. The person often has suicidal tendencies and feels spiritually confused. His/her beliefs are brutally shattered, and he/she starts questioning the whole purpose of existence.
Loss Of Earning
- Spiritually confused state can also be caused by something more materialistic in nature. For example, someone puts in a lot of effort to set up a flourishing business and after a few years he/she starts incurring losses in that business. He/she feels spiritually confused as he/she doesn’t know why it happened and there is not so-called logical explanation behind it.
- Such situation can even arise if someone is a victim of social or political unrest, war, earthquake, tsunami or any such natural calamity. Such situation can even arise if someone is a victim of social or political unrest, war, earthquake, tsunami or any such natural calamity. If someone faces extreme sense of loss due to political unrest, losing all his belongings, his family being killed, then the person may lose the purpose in life. Along with the sense of loss of materialistic possession, he/she may feel spiritually confused.
What Spiritual Leaders say
There are many spiritual leaders who believe that in the path of ‘’Sadhana’’ (achieving that state of ultimate consciousness) we often stumble upon similar situations. Some religious leaders advice that spirituality is a constant endeavour and we should not try to reach at a particular place. The moment we define that place, we limit our consciousness and energies.
According to them, spiritual consciousness is not living in any levels of hallucination. It is embracing the truth and living in reality. Truth is far away from the stories which we make up in our minds. Living in truth is very difficult and hence we human beings create stories to give comfort to our own selves. As we progress in our spiritual realm, we start embracing the truth more closely.
Our minds are conditioned by the culture we are brought up in, and we perceive things in the light of our own learnings and experiences. However, truth is far beyond that. Truth is devoid of all those perceptions and myths which the society has put on us.
Why spiritual confusion happens to us?
- Spiritual confusion happens mostly to those people who are on a path of self-realisation. When they break their old constraints and understandings, they feel lost. Since our beliefs, cultures, ways of life have taught us to live in a certain way, we feel confused when we have to break those shackles.
- When we start expanding our awareness, our inner darkness diminishes. Inner darkness is a crisis which is spiritual and existential in nature. However, when we open up, we are not prejudiced or biased against other human beings and we start practicing forgiveness. When we start the process of forgiving others, we realise that we have been holding a lot of grudges against them.
- If we are successful in initiating a dialogue with those people whom we need to forgive, listen to their stories, we will realise that, from their perspectives, they are right. We had thought that they had cheated us, betrayed our trust, however, if we look at things from their angle, we realise that they were right in their own ways.
- Many a times in this path of forgiveness, we meet people who are repenting. They know what they had done to us was not right and they seek our forgiveness. We need to broaden our horizons and embrace such people. However, our conditioning for so many years will stop us from doing it. We are so used to hatred, that embracing love leaves us spiritually confused.
- Since we perceive life through our own thoughts, cultural conditioning, and belief systems, making ourselves free from these barriers is the toughest test in our lives. When we progress towards light, and embrace the truth, we have to cross a dark night of the soul. We all get an opportunity to break all the barriers of our life’s conditioning and we experience rebirth. This time, it is the birth of our consciousness, not of our body.
- This state is known as ”bodh” or enlightenment and there is tremendous peace in this space. This inner peace was always inside us; however, we never knew how to harness its benefits.
- Moving from a spiritually confused space to a spiritually enlightened one is a long journey. And during this journey, we will face a lot of hurdles. Now let’s look at some of the ways of getting rid of spiritual confusion in our lives.
Break the old shackles
- It is easier said than done. Since our childhood, our social conditioning has taught us to live life in a certain way, and suddenly breaking those norms leave us spiritually confused. We start feeling that we do not belong anywhere.
- If you have deep-rooted ideas that you know the secret mantra to lead a happy life, then breaking those shackles become all the more difficult. You become rigid and giving up on old ways of life becomes difficult.
- However, if your thoughts and ideas are fluid, then your ride becomes smoother. When you are going through the phase of being spiritually confused, you do not feel like doing anything. There is a constant tug-of-war within your consciousness, and your self-awareness tries to break the old shackles of hatred, prejudice, guilt, jealousy, and all other negativities within you.
- When you are going through this commotion, your dark side tries to hold on to those old shackles as you have been used to holding on to them. This leads to exhaustion of your mind and you feel trapped in your own web. You need to fist embrace the insecurities, fear and worries which are deep-rooted within you. You need to first accept them in order to allow to let go of them.
Embrace the Negativity
- We human beings tend to look good in front of others and hence fear to accept the dark side which is very much existing inside our core selves. We try to convince ourselves that we are good human beings and we do not have vices. We lie to our own selves and cover up all the negativities.
- In order to attain the path of self-awareness, we first need to acknowledge that there are negativities within us. We all have a dark side, and we need to embrace that darkness within us first. We blame circumstances, society and sometimes God for all the things which did not go well in our lives as per our plans. We constantly live in the fear of losing the people, the wealth, the social position which we have earned over a period of time. The day we are able to reach a level of fearlessness that the absence of these things does not bother us, we will reach that ultimate state of self-awareness.
- However, embracing our own selves completely is a difficult task for all of us. There are a lot of aspects in our lives which we do not like, and hence avoid. Many of us do not like our own physical appearance and some of us do not like our own personalities and attributes. We have to first love our own selves fully. We need to choose our own selves along with the divinity and vices.
- And this path of embracing our selves is full of spiritual confusion. We stumble upon many blocks and often get derailed. But someone who is looking for the complete enlightenment of the soul will not give up. Feeling spiritually confused is okay, as long as we are on the right path.
- When you start to welcome every thought, embrace the negativities, you will slowly see your ego dying. Once you start accepting every rationalization, every feeling, every justification irrespective of the person from whom it is coming, your horizon broadens further. You transcend from a state of spiritual confusion to a state of self-awareness.
Write down your feelings and thoughts
- It is believed that 60, 000 thoughts cross through our minds every day and we do not remember most it after a couple of hours. If you maintain a journal every day and write down everything honestly about your feelings and thoughts, you can analyse it later and find the pattern. We might feel spiritually confused while doing this exercise, however, do not stop. Also, do not censor your thoughts in order to look good. If you do that, then you will be fooling your own self.
- You can vent out your frustrations and jot down your insecurities. Once you have practiced this for a couple of months, go back to the journal and categorize those thoughts into the main ones and write them down separately. If your thoughts have stemmed out from insecurities like lack of love, money or power, then you know what to work on. If you are worried that you will not be able to complete the course which you have enrolled for, your insecurities stem out of lack of self-worth. If you think that you will not be able to earn enough money to support your family, then you need to stop pleasing everyone around you.
- Expressing what you are feeling will help you to maintain a focused mind. After a long day at work or managing home, you may feel confused, exhausted, burnt out and low on energy. You might not be able to pinpoint the reason behind your feelings and even label your feelings. By writing down your feeling and thoughts, you should be able to analyse your thoughts and feelings and take appropriate action later.
- Once you have identified your thought patterns, you will realise that you are feeling extremely light.
Take No Action
- Once you have identified your primary thoughts and feelings, you have won half the battle. Do not immediately jump to taking the actions. First absorb all those thoughts and feelings which you experienced in the last one month or so. Since we are so much oriented towards taking actions since our childhood, we will be propelled towards that direction again and again. Do not fall prey to that urge because it will only leave you more spiritually confused.
- Go for long walks, read good books (it might be romantic love stories, or stories about travel expeditions), take relaxing massages and sit in the jacuzzi. Watch movies which give you pleasure. It does not matter how many stars the cinema critics have given to that movie. If you enjoy cooking, gardening, painting, doing origami or any other art form, practice that. Your spiritually confused state will start diminishing. You will feel rejuvenated and energized. Do not resist the changes which you are experiencing now. Do not resist the ideas which you might have picked up from a movie, book, or video. It might throw some light on how to tackle your life’s problems.
- Do some light exercises, breathing exercises, yoga and practice a moderate amount of meditation. Observe your thoughts and your state of mind. Observe what replenishes your soul. Do you enjoy going for a walk more than watching a movie in high beam lights? Do you enjoy cooking than learning a new skill? Allow your inner self to guide you. And stay open to new ideas and what life brings in for you. It is absolutely fine to remain spiritually confused for a while than suppressing it and enacting that everything is great.
- Now since you have identified the reason behind your state of spiritual confusion and know the activities that give you pleasure, try to align your life towards the same direction. If you are stuck in a profession where you do not enjoy any aspect of it, then it is the time for thinking of a career switch. It is okay of you have invested X number of years in that profession, we are never too old to learn new skills.
- If you are worried that you might not earn enough in your new career, then save well in your previous one before making the switch. However, do not remain stuck in any situation for societal pressure or monetary gains alone. No matter what you choose to do in life, never forget to celebrate life. Enjoy every moment of it even if it is not joyful. If you are stuck in a traffic and know that you will be late for work, just look around. Feeling frustrated will not reduce the traffic jam.
- Smile at a baby in the next car or enjoy the tree in full bloom. The traffic will remain the same, but your heart will be filled with joy. Getting news of a job loss will give pain but try to find solace in the thought that you are getting an opportunity to do something new. Death in the family or close circle again will fill you with a sense of loss, however the fact that they were suffering and got relieved might give you some comfort.
In short there are many reasons for feeling spiritually confused, but there is nothing to worry about, as this state is not permanent. Find the root cause of that blockage and embrace it. Slowly you will find a solution to overcome it. Resistance only increases friction, and acceptance helps us to look beyond the problem. There is no rule book for creating a happy life. We all have to write ours.