Piercing the denial of abuse makes me question materialism and makes me wonder if the spiritual and not the physical is fundamental.
I have been treading the path of recovery from abuse for several years after a devastating relationship that resulted in a custody battle with a severely disturbed malignantly narcissistic individual. I eventually got a new job in a new area which seemed to me at the time like I was back on my feet. This was however really only the start of the inward journey. An astonishing and intricate series of synchronicities eventually led me to some very deep realisations about the nature of the relationship with my mother, namely, that she was extremely abusive and never loved me. These realisations appeared to be mediated and orchestrated in concert with the external universe through a complex set of synchronistic events relating to new people and situations in my life. Having been out of touch with the idea that there is some kind of Higher Power, I am now persuaded at the very least that there is “something going on”.
The synchronistic events seemed to me to function as a signpost inward towards the realisation that was necessary to pierce the denial of the abuse. Each time that I got wrapped up in the external events and my focus was diverted outward towards the people and situations in the present rather than the psychic reality it was a reflection of, some other insane coincidence would pop up to remind me which direction I should be looking in. It was a very intense set of circumstances in which a great deal of emotional affect was involved on my part.
With the realisations and visions that eventually pierced the denial relating to my mother, the resulting state of consciousness was almost supernatural with a noetic quality to it of “this is how it should be” as if something had been revealed. It was as if something had been removed and something fundamental of a higher order had been exposed. Everything seemed to be suffused with peace, everything seemed alive and there was no barrier between me and the rest of the world or other people. I cried because I was so grateful for this whatever it was.
Some weeks later I made the mistake of speaking to my mother over the phone after the guilt trips she had delivered by text through my dad. She told me that “I’ll ring her up and she’ll be dead soon” and that “I used to have the key to her heart but not any more” not forgetting to remind me that the name of my 4 month old daughter was “disgusting”. With just a few words this new state of consciousness receded as if a veil had been brought down between me and It. I was however left with the feeling that something had been revealed and now felt I understood what people mean when they talk about “contacting the Divine”, “Divine ecstacy” and the “Divine Within”. I had very intense experiences of unitive states of consciousness when I was younger mediated by psychedelics but these experiences were not suffused with the peace, love and aliveness of this other state I appeared to have contacted spontaneously.
By this point I was already in a state of almost stupefied astonishment over the stunning sequence of synchronicities that had led to this breakthrough state. Rather than some kind of psychotic break with reality however this felt like tapping into something pure and authentic. I can’t tell you what a powerful and moving experience it is to feel at one with everything and be able to look strangers in the eye and speak with not even a single trace of anxiety after a lifetime of struggling with this. The whole sequence of events and realisations felt like a state of grace. Having previously had no religious persuasion, I am now very interested in theological thought. It seems to me that many people have these kinds of experiences but are reluctant to talk about it.
I had been helped a lot listening to Meredith Miller’s YouTube channel and in particular her book “The Journey” describing her own recovery from lifelong narcissistic abuse. In it she reassured that the trauma bond to the original abuser would dissolve in a “spontaneous breakthrough moment”. After relentlessly facing the truth eventually the moment would come where the denial would be pierced. Her own key breakthrough moment was also mediated by synchronistic events. In her book she describes the parallels between her psychic reality of the relationship with her mother mirroring a very unpleasant experience of being stung by a scorpion and the resulting physical manifestation of the body processing the poison and her purging the site of the sting, paralleling the purge of the relationship with her mother. Meredith Miller describes how these experiences were so significant for her that she know considers synchronicity to be something sacred to her. I have to say I have had a similar experience in terms of awakening to the power of synchronicity to mediate sudden shifts of the unconscious into states of being that are freer and more alive.
In Jung’s book “Synchronicity” he points out that there seems to be some phenomenon of meaningful coincidences that become more intense the greater the emotional affect involved and I would certainly agree with this from my experience this year. Although Jung is credited with bringing modern attention to this phenomenon we might well assume that it is something that has always been experienced. He points to a letter from Avicenna to Albertus Magnus in his Liber sextus naturalium speaking of magic referring to this phenomenon written in earlier times translated from the Latin which I thought was rather beautiful and certainly resonated
… a certain power to alter things indwells in the human soul and subordinates the other things to her, particularly when she is swept into a great excess of love or hate or the like. When therefore the soul of a man falls into a great excess of any passion, it can be proved by experiment that it [the excess] binds things [magically] and alters them in the way it wants, and for a long time I did not believe it, but after I read the nigromantic books and others of the kind on signs and magic, I found that the emotionality of the human soul is the chief cause of all these things, whether because, on account of her great emotion, she alters her bodily substance and the other things towards which she strives, or because, on account of her dignity, the other, lower things are subject to her, or because the appropriate hour or astrological situation or another power coincides with so inordinate an emotion, and we [in consequence] believe that what this power does is then done by the soul…. Whoever would learn the secret of doing and undoing these things must know that everyone can influence everything magically if he falls into a great excess…. and he must do it at that hour when the excess befalls him, and operate with the things which the soul prescribes. For the soul is then so desirous of the matter she would accomplish that of her own accord she seizes the more significant and better astrological hour which also rules over the things suited to that matter…… Thus it is the soul who desires a thing more intensely, who makes things more effective and more like what comes forth…. Such is the manner of production with everything the soul intensely desires. Everything she does with that in view possesses motive power and efficacy for what the soul desires.
Perhaps what the soul desires is to know the “Divine Within”. Gustav Jung points out in his book that the numinosity of the experience increases with the number and inprobability of the meaningful coincidences. In my own experience this year the coincidences were many, in sequence and appeared to be intricately arranged; a state of grace, leading to a breakthrough into a blissful and unitive state of consciousness that I will never forget.
The shift in mental state upon piercing the denial seemed so sudden and incredible to me that everything I had read about how trauma is tied to neurological changes in the brain suddenly seemed in doubt. How could it be that if the anxiety, depression, attunement to threat and so on that had resulted from a lifetime of relational trauma that apparently results from permanent changes in the amygdala and hippocampus volumes and the connections between brain regions and so on could suddenly evaporate into a peaceful state of ease and connection in an instant. I had the feeling that perhaps somehow the spirit and not the physical was fundamental. In Christina Grof’s book “The Thirst for Wholeness; Attachment, Addiction and the Spiritual Path” in her chapter on “Alienation, Abuse and the Human Experience”, she says that each of us are individual units segregated from the ocean of our true nature, and that a major impulse in our makeup is to reunite with our source. As we begin to disengage from the sea of spirit at conception we are estranged from our celestial roots as our essence becomes contained in matter. If, in our isolated form, we are abused an any time during our ensuing existence, our sense of isolation deepens and becomes cemented into place. Just as the darkness of night is essential for the illumination of dawn, so the predicament of our cosmic loneliness is necessary in order to create the instinctive incentive that will eventually drive us toward our sacred source. At one time these words would have sounded like mumbo-jumbo to me, but after my breakthrough experience her words now really resonated.
I have always been surrounded by materialists/atheists and people who generally wouldn’t give these issues the time of day. However, it seems to me that when materialists/atheists and the like start arguing with the more supernaturally persuaded, it is rather like listening to people try to speak over the radio with each other tuned into different frequencies. Experiences of the numinous are just that – experiential. They are subtle and yet powerful, and connect the above and below, within and without.
To try to convince people who subscribe to “scientism” to open up is not easy. Things are not so simple however even in the rational realm as to what is primary consciousness or matter. In the book “Godel, Escher Bach: the Eternal Golden Braid” the Physicist Douglas Hoftstadter talks about his obsession that took hold when he found out about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem and his linking that to consciousness. In his book he talks about self-referential causal loops as like the image of one of those impossible Escher staircases. Also J.R. Lucas published “Minds, Machines and Gödel,” in which he formulated a controversial anti-mechanism argument. The argument claims that Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem shows that the human mind is not a Turing machine, that is, a computer. Eastern philosophy seems to me to point in the same direction. If a tree falls in a forest and there is no-one there to hear it does it make a sound? This is cliche but when it stops your mind then you’re tapping into the mystery. If we are of the same substrate as those air molecules moving in the realm of unfelt non-existence then what are we? In what sense do we exist if our consciousness arises from some unknown mechanism out of that physical substrate of unfelt non-existence as of those same air molecules “existing” out there in the void of unawareness? Is it really consciousness that is ephemeral or is it the physical that is ephemeral? Which is fundamental the physical or consciousness or neither? I don’t think it is as clear as materialists believe.