Until and unless you have experienced a 'mental breakdown', it's impossible to convey what it feels like to go through such a crisis, or why it happens. But once you have gone through such an experience, it's much easier to make sense of the dramatic change and transformation which occurs during such an event.
The interesting thing is, humanity is currently going through a collective breakdown, so it's useful to know how to navigate such an existential crisis, in order to make sense of it, and stay sane during it.
So let me tell you a story.
Nearly half my lifetime ago, at the age of 28, I had what is classically termed a 'nervous breakdown'. The funny thing is, no-one ever named it as such at the time, and I had no idea what was happening to me. It took me years to piece together what had happened, and that comprehension was pivotal in coming to understand the mechanics of consciousness.
As I lay in my hospital bed, self-admitted for clinical depression, I found myself unable to read, watch television, or hardly even talk. My brain seemed to barely work except for the basic functions of eating, walking, showering... that I could still do. But to try and hold a conversation with another human being, or read a newspaper, or even watch television... it was all too much... overload. I couldn't handle it. So I didn't. I stopped trying.
Instead I lay in bed, spiralling down into a never-ending abyss of darkness, never knowing if it would end. There simply was no light at the end of the tunnel. It felt terrible, and I was scared. Really scared. There was nothing to 'hold onto', and trying to hold on to something wasn't working, so in the end I decided to give up... and surrender. I just let go. I surrendered into the abyss.
And magically as I did so, I found myself coming out the other side... of this disintegration in my mind. I started to feel better. More hopeful. I had hope again, after never thinking or believing I would.
Slowly slowly I started to be able to hold conversations, and read, and feel like a human being again. Slowly.
I was allowed to return to my flat one afternoon (I lived quite close by) and on the underground in London, I distinctly remember sitting on the train feeling like a new-born baby. It wasn't until many years later that I recognized the huge significance of this observation. Little did I know at that time that I had been 're-born' in some way, and that specifically it was my consciousness which had been reborn. At that time I had no idea.
Fast forward several years, and I had started to study esoteric science and delve into personal transformation, and as I looked back I could see that during that period of 'breakdown' I had gone through a major shift of consciousness: a breakdown of consciousness which actually was a breakthrough of consciousness... to a new and different paradigm.
The analogy which came to mind was that of the demolishing of a skyscraper on a plot of land where you want to build a new one: in order to build the brand spanking new building, you have to first demolish the old one. This is a messy business. The old building has to be demolished, leaving a pile of rubble on the ground which then has to be cleared away. This takes time and effort and doesn't happen overnight. Then once the rubble is cleared away, for a while there is space... nothingness... a blank canvas. And then slowly the new building construction starts, and starts to take shape, eventually forming a brand new building. And very quickly you forget the old one ever existed.
This is how it is with our consciousness. There are times in our life when it is going to need to be upgraded and even replaced. The old has to go to make way for the new. And it's not a comfortable experience, because the old 'mind' has to let go to make way for the new upgraded version. And the problem is, the old mind doesn't want to let go. It wants to hang on for dear life, because after all, it's being asked to die.
It will fight for a while, but eventually the power of the new will become too strong, and the old will surrender to the new. It will give up and die. But in the period between the old going out and the new coming in, there is confusion, because what was familiar is no longer there, and what is due to take its place has not yet arrived. This is a confusing and scary time, but the changeover is temporary, and once we come through, our new way of thinking seems quite normal.
Once we come through this 'awakening' into a new level of reality, a new paradigm, we start to see things differently: we understand things we didn't understand before... we see things in a new light... subjects which before did not make sense now do... topics that before did not interest us or we thought were stupid or crazy now seem interesting and important... everything changes. Our whole focus of life changes.
We will find ourselves gravitating towards different interests... a new job... new hobbies... We will find old friends falling away... and new ones taking their place. Life takes on new meaning. And we are grateful for what happened, because we see new vistas opening up ahead of us which we never even knew existed before. Such is the process of awakening to a new reality.
And now, as I write this, humanity is going through a collective breakdown... to breakthrough.
This is big. More than big. Impossible to understand or even write about, because we find ourselves at the start of this breakdown... we are not yet through it. So we have not yet built the collective consciousness to understand it or know how to navigate it. We are in it, experiencing it, lost in it. And it's only just started.
The good news is, there IS a part of us, collectively, which has greater wisdom, which knows what it's doing. It understands. It knows. And it's our job, individually, to surrender to this higher wisdom, to trust in it, surrender to it, allow it to guide, to trust that all will be well, even if right now it doesn't feel like it.
And one of the major premises here is TRUST. And surrender.
This is a big challenge for many people: to trust. To truly trust that everything will be OK.
The opposite of trust is fear. And many people are caught up in fear, because they have not spent enough time cultivating trust.
Yes, trust has to be cultivated and worked on. Even though it's an innate quality of our heart, we have forgotten how to trust, and fear has taken its place, because in the absence of trust, other qualities will fill its place, including fear.
So we now have a choice, during this period of transition and crisis. We can learn to trust, or we can continue to fear, and the choice is ours.
Fortunately there are many ways we can re-learn to trust, and navigate a crisis. And learning Yuan Gong is one of them.
Yuan Gong is the name given to a series of internal Qigong exercises for restoring inner peace and calm, and more than this, for growing self-realization and wisdom. And one of the most important steps is learning how to cultivate the '5 essential qualities of the heart consciousness': trust, openness, love, gratitude and respect.
When we cultivate and grow these qualities inside our heart, there is no room for fear to hold sway. We can learn to grow unconditional trust. And when we do, everything changes, because no matter what is going on externally, we can feel OK internally.
How would that feel? Wouldn't you want this - to feel calm and trusting inside, no matter what? What difference will this make to you personally? What difference will this make to the collective consciousness of humanity?
It's likely to make the world of difference. So I invite you to join the upcoming training on how to transform your consciousness, for a better you and a better world. Now is the time. This is not a dress rehearsal, and now is the time to choose between trust and fear.