Dissociated Spirituality

This topic is relevant to every seeker's journey: dissociation. Transcendence and dissociation often intersect along the spiritual journey. While transcendence allows access to higher truths, dissociation occurs when consciousness fragments in the metaphysical realm. This leads to spiritual bypassing, emotional numbness, and disconnection. Dissociation can stem from trauma and serves capitalism's agenda by exploiting vulnerabilities. Healing requires integrating spirituality without dissociation and being mindful of industry manipulation.

At some point along our spiritual path, most meditators and spiritual seekers experience transcendental states of consciousness that serve as a point of access to the metaphysical realm where higher truths can be realized. This quality of transcendence is available to us in moments where we have an “out of body” experience, enter trance-like states, or immerse ourselves so deeply in the present moment that time & space collapse & we make contact with the world beyond form.

However, at what point does transcendence become dissociation?

For the spiritual seeker, this point occurs when one or more parts of our consciousness gets “trapped” in the metaphysical realm. Dissociation happens when we don’t come back home to the body; instead of moving towards integration and wholeness, what we get is a fragmented consciousness. This can lead to spiritual bypassing, emotional numbness, cognitive dissonance, and alienation from ourselves and our surroundings. Not to mention, it can harm our relationships with others as well as impair our relationship with the Divine. We’re not fully present or conscious when we’re dissociated.

In the shamanic perspective, dissociation can lead to soul loss, which is what happens when we get disconnected from our essential Being. I believe that many of our modern-day existential disturbances are born from a fragmented consciousness, such as the feelings of depression, isolation, disconnection, addiction, and lack of a sense of purpose, meaning, or fulfillment in our lives. For some people, these symptoms get expressed as internalized shame and unworthiness; for others, it looks like narcissism and violence against others in the form of gossip, domination, coercion, abuse, or supremacy. Either way, dissociation is a self-destructive energy that intoxicates everything good in our life.

How do we transcend our consciousness without dissociating? How do we know if we’ve dissociated? And more importantly, how do we find our way home from a dissociated consciousness?

(I want to mention here that dissociation can happen in varying degrees, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Dissociation can be as harmless as daydreaming to more extreme cases of disordered identity, such as depersonalization. I should also note that dissociation work should be done with a licensed, trauma-informed therapist. Workbooks like Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists is a great starting point for you and your therapist.)

The dangerous thing about dissociation is that it is an incredibly powerful defense mechanism of the ego to protect us from something potentially threatening. Many of us with a history of trauma (including me), formed a pattern of dissociation from childhood to cope with uncomfortable emotions born out of stress, illness, or trauma.

For many of us, dissociation is survival. For many of us, the spiritual journey offers us a chance to heal our dissociation wounds and experience who we are beyond our past, our pain, and our trauma. Hence why we may be particularly drawn to transcendental-type practices that open the doors of perception beyond 3D reality. This includes openness and curiosity to trying new or unconventional avenues for transformation, such as drugs, plant medicine, energy healing, astral traveling, and other forms of mysticism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these practices; in fact, they can be soul-enriching. Where we get tripped up, however, is when instead of transcending 3D reality, we detach from it. Instead of expanding our consciousness, we disperse it. Instead of going beyond the “self,” we split from the self.

Not surprisingly, a dissociated consciousness is capitalism's wet dream.

One of the ways that capitalism perpetuates itself is through the politics of dissociated spirituality. Simply put, the politics of dissociated spirituality is a “divide & conquer” strategy aimed to fragment and hijack our consciousness in order to hold power over us. The more dissociated we are, the more disempowered we are towards anyone and anything that tries to sell us shit. Hence why the spiritual materialism sector of new-age is so lucrative. But what we are buying are not just trinkets and expensive crystals; by unconsciously participating in these transactions, we are conforming to the needs of an industry that survives off exploiting our vulnerabilities and traumas.

Realizing that part of my consciousness had been hijacked by the new-age hate economy was extremely uncomfortable, but incredibly necessary for my next-level awakening. I can’t tell you the freedom that came with liberating myself from my own internalized oppression.

A big part of sacred activism is reclaiming the parts of our consciousness that have been severed off and used against us without our conscious awareness or consent.

How do we deepen our relationship with spirituality without dissociating? How do we integrate with the teachings that tend to be misunderstood and manipulated by new-age, without participating in rampant consumer capitalism?

I’m so excited to share this comeback episode with you on the Conscious Revolution podcast with a 40-minute teaching where I discuss:

  • The 6 subtle differences between transcendence and dissociation
  • The psycho-spiritual mechanisms of dissociation and how it relates to trauma.
  • 3 specific strategies the new-age industry uses to capitalize on our vulnerabilities & traumas that we should watch out for
  • Self-inquiry questions to guide your wholesome spiritual practice.

You can find this episode on Apple Podcasts. Check it out!

I’d love to hear your thoughts–do you have a dissociation story? As always, simply reply to this email to share your questions, feedback, and reflections.

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Conscious Revolution is a newsletter & podcast about the intersection of cults, cons, and capitalism. How do we define ourselves outside of exploitative social systems, mainstream cults, internet echo-chambers, and authoritarian agendas? How do we navigate the collective struggle to discern reality from illusion? Conscious Revolution is a critical exploration of this and so much more! Get in, loser: We're starting a Conscious Revolution!

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