When Life Falls Apart

When Your Life Crashes Down

“Those powerful moments of true knowledge that we paper over with daily life… But every so often something shatters like ice and we are in the river of our own existence. We are Aware.” – Louise Erdrich

Have you ever had that experience in a movie theatre, when you are watching a good movie – flowing with the emotions, leaning forward to know what happens next – and the reel snaps. The screen goes blank. Maybe a collective groan rises. The lights come on and you blink and look around with an awareness of yourself sitting in a row of seats in a movie hall.

Sometimes, my brother and mentor GD reminded everyone in a recent Sunday session talk, Consciousness appears to pulls the plug on our life-movie too. It feels painful and heart-breaking. But is it really so?

When Consciousness wants to awaken to itself, GD said, it often starts dismantling your life. When Consciousness wants to be fully present, fully embodied in your system, it will not let anything work. Work starts failing, relationships start failing, health starts failing. The mind panics and starts putting all kinds of band-aids to fix the cracks. But if you’re lucky, nothing will work…

I remembered the time in GD’s own life when, despite his undeniable creative talent, nothing seemed to work out. Everything he tried ended in failure, and he was literally forced to explore meditation and the deepest aspects of his psyche. Most friends told him he was wasting his youth in spiritual pursuits. And it was truly a difficult period, complete with a sense of depression and lost-ness.

It took many years for the ‘dismantling’ and ‘reassembling’ to settle down completely. But today, as a result of that, he has that quiet glow which attracts people to him for healing and clarity. Had he continued down the career path he so much wanted, he would probably have been a successful advertising executive today. But something even more precious than that would never have emerged.

“This is important to know,” GD says in hindsight, “because we all resist the dismantling of our life. We keep asking and praying for something new – but when the old is being taken away, we fight, scream, therapeutize, we hate ourselves and God, and we judge our spiritual path also. But what if this dismantling is the exact answer to your prayers?”

Disappointments and failures, in these days of DIY abundance & affirmations, are seen as signs of inadequate spiritual practice or faulty manifestation. But I remember that three years ago, it was a slip disc that finally pushed me to make the painful decision to quit the only life I knew, that of a highly paid full-time corporate executive.

When I told GD I was writing a blog on this subject, he showed it to me through a different lens: “Consciousness – your true nature – is inherently Freedom. So when the time comes, it will start breaking down all the situations, relationships and beliefs that limit Itself. It will make the job dissatisfying… it will make the marriage dissatisfying. That is Consciousness wanting to break out, wanting to be fully Itself, completely unfettered by the mind.

“So this simple process of Consciousness coming into its own feels like a breakdown of your life. But actually it’s an expansion of you, it’s the process of becoming more fully You. A time comes when Consciousness wants to break out of every box created by the mind. It will break every self-definition and limitation you have created – so you can be something much bigger and vaster.”

I wanted to put this out for all those who may be going through this phase or feel the pain of a loved one going through it. As a reminder that when the movie-reel stops, heart-wrenching as it feels, it is also the wake-up call you had set for yourself: to remember that you were never the movie.

Image used under creative commons via fiddle oak

21 thoughts on “When Life Falls Apart

  1. So well written, but……maybe worthwhile to mention, yes, things may fall apart, some people may have their entire life story turned upside down, and others not at all or in part……….such a play!

  2. Thank you for that true words. I believe that everyone goes through this phase in life, but not all can change completely to fully consciousness as rent and bills have to be paid, responsibilities for the family assumed. The hardest time is when I feel I want to change to live the life I dream of but then are hold back. So I just try to make the best out of it and be as conscious and happy as I can be. Maybe GD might say that those are wrong reasons because I am afraid of making the last important step and most likely he is right.

  3. specially in today’s time and age, consciousness is lost somewhere taking residence at the deep recceses of mind, maybe falling apart is what truly needed after all the butterfly only emerges after the chrysalis cracks…thank you for this wonderful piece

  4. Well said 😉
    Freedom that is all there important,but it is difficult to cross our own barriers, also often I always heard say that people who have been close the death or have lost something or someone important,open their consience on life and feel lucky and free to restart from scratch,be in peace & help others…. !

    I hope that i will be”aware” without go through it 😉

    “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” Leo Tolstoy

    • Thank you Fatima. Your comment reminds me of one of the most powerful and inspiring books I have ever read on the wisdom hidden in suffering. A book called “Life With A Hole In It” by Vicki Woodyard.

      Vicki was faced with the death of her seven-year-old daughter from cancer. Already on the spiritual path, she deepened her resolve to continue. In 2000, her husband began his fight against a fatal cancer.

      Vicki’s writing is emotionally raw, intensely moving and often hilarious. She accomplishes with beauty what so many spiritual writers find difficult to do — describe awakening as it occurs in ordinary life…

      A must read if this area interests you…

      • Thank You Aalif
        Well sure I’ll read it 😉 Especially because you advise me & this is a true story….
        and also because “almost” all area interest me ! I have the inquiring mind,I love learning,enrich and improve off my knowledge. 😉

  5. Wonderful!! Things fall apart so they can fall together, was the last i heard to encapsulate this.
    It is the grand Trust that is required during the process of falling apart that most often needs to be bolstered. (Follow the synchronicities for good clues there…).
    On maybe a useful note for you and GD to share further… let us not forget that we can induce these feelings of things falling apart, in others – just by following our own path, our expansion, our Awareness. While our molds are breaking in a useful way, others may just feel it as going against the grain, causing trouble, ‘not behaving’. Through this though – seeing that we can disrupt others unintentionally, shake them up and out — we can at least embrace compassion for both ourselves and others .
    This is a wonderful blog, Aalif, thank you and well done! If you are the brother that I met, you might remember me from a small sage-filled and very long meditation on the evening of the fall Equinox a few years ago at GD’s in Pune. If so, my love to you all – if not – the same! 😀

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