The moment we first experience self actualization is like a trip to the twilight zone. Since it is a new experience we have no words to describe it and no references to go by. It is particularly unnerving because it is highlighted with an absence of external stimuli. For the first time in the individuals’ life they are purely motivated by their own parameters. They are not pleasing others, they are not defying others, they are not afraid of retribution from others, they are free of family and society ‘s roles, rules and rituals. There are no “shoulds”. There is no guilt. There is only acceptance and accountability. One can do exactly what one prefers. One has stepped into the “light”.

In my own personal experience it felt as if I was drifting off into space. My psyche had lost its gravitational pull. All my lines of attachment to rules had been severed. I was adrift in a universe of a thousand choices. What would I use to decide? I felt as if I was in a dissociative episode, or maybe depressed, or was I physically disoriented because of illness. After a few moments of unsuccessfully assessing my situation I grew irritated and started an old familiar uproar with another person by saying something I knew that would set them off. I was left thinking “what on earth was that”. After a few days of pondering and another brief trip into this new reality I recognized what had happened. I had achieved a state of being that I had been searching for. The quest of this lifetime. I was free. I was self determined. I was totally unprepared to handle it.

How does it work? From here on this is my personal assessment:

It seems that at some point in our soul’s development we begin to trust our “self” more than we fear pain or oppression from external sources. In the psychological jargon we move the locus of control in our lives from an external to an internal source.

At the moment of this switch we disorient as if the polarity in our body has changed. It has never happened before so our intellect does not have a strategy or even words to recognize and deal with the situation. We are disconnected from any previously known state of being.

We become fearful and then recreate an old familiar situation to reorient within on the old reality. Since our intellect is comprised of stored information it is also locked into the past. It is the source of the old tried and true, but it can also be a trap that stops our evolution, cold.

Any movement away from this backward focus will be accompanied by a  perception of threat. The natural sense of risk that comes from venturing into the unknown. Imagine stepping into a dark room where you have never been before. The intensity of the fear causing  this impasse is relative to the level of pain we have experienced previously in our life changes.

At first we feel afraid, then relieved and then we become perplexed. There is some knowing in us that drives us to want that freedom again. We are seized by some archetypic force, an obsession of sorts driving us for another sweet taste of clarity,  as with the boy tasting  and being burned by the salmon in the story of the Fisher King. Gingerly we begin to experiment and explore this soulful growth.

Our true self is driven to emerge and self actuate. Some people bounce back and forth between a sense of empowerment and then a sense of shame. We know that if we tell someone, we risk being scorned or even being accused of insanity. Yet it cries out to be spoken.

As we become skilled and become self motivated. Not needing others validation, we move further and then retreat, advance again and retreat, moving forward in a ever broadening spiral.

Eventually the movement of our “control locus” from external to internal and the movement of our life purpose from internal to external sets us free, truly free. We begin to have a clear sense of and acceptance for our mission in life, our destiny. We accept that we are a  functioning part of a whole much larger than ourselves.

We then instinctively know that we have to take brief journeys into this reality. This is so our intellect can create identifying words and orienting strategies which will allow the courage us to move further and further from the perceived safety of our childhood paradigms.

Once again we are catapulted into another realm. A realm of knowing, of seeing beyond the limited reality our education. This knowing”  brings a clarity that goes beyond anything we have perceived before. We see beyond the “rules”. We understand how everything works, we know instinctively what to do. We lose our tolerance of our own and other’s perceptions of “victimhood”.  Our energy level is escalated and our focus is more centered and experiences are more expansive than ever before..

This is a frightening process to those experiencing it and those witnessing it. Like all new found power it is easy to misinterpret and to misuse it.

When the symptoms of self actualization appear use caution. It might be seen  by conventional professionals and lay persons (especially family) as pathology. It might be called paranoid delusions, a delusion of grandeur, a manic episode based on some delusional beliefs. This is disturbing  because there is a fine line between function and non-function here. I believe that it might truly be a venture into self actualization accompanied with an episode of “hyper-excitement” linked to new found aspects of self. The excitement and energy accompanying a true surrender to our higher self  “zeal” and its connection to the universe. Metaphorically it is like turning the canoe downstream and paddling with the river. There is a seeming sense of free energy that we call synergy. The “intellectualizer” may also be overwhelmed by the inclusion right brain visual stimulus.  This includes flashes of color and images that have been ignored heretofore. This can be perplexing because the new viewer does not know how to interpret, integrate and enjoy the experience.

This phenomenon is not easily recognized by others unless they have personally self actualized. Often even those who have experienced it will renounce it out of fear of reprisal. It is just hard to believe that this experience is real. Our society shuns this and as children we learn to discount the possibilities that come with it.

Personally my experience was stabilized by a wise therapist that was more interested in than, afraid of, what was happening to me. She supported my exploration and experimentation. She was available to keep an overview on the “rationality” of the excitement. She was smart enough to be able to verify the awareness’s I was having. She supported me. I was going on beyond where I thought I could possibility go. She was my mentor. I will say here that it was not long until connection to the universal consciousness showed the perfection of it all. I learned that everyone, including me, had a specialty of one kind or another. Thank you Lis.

Mine was delivered in a dream that included my head being enveloped in a glowing light. I was surround by crowds of indifferent, lost souls and they were closing in on me, wanting what I had. I was frightened by the prospect. I woke up yelling, “No..,” I did not know how to handle this.

My mentor and several friends that I confided in assured me that I was not crazy. Later, I saw a book written by Dan Millman. It had a man with his head in the “light” on the cover. I wonder what the artist knew?

Free yourself. Find a mentor that believes in your personal journey to walk with you. There is someone for everyone. Find yours.

Know that there is an order larger than yourself that is leading your soul. Personally, I now believe that if we have the courage to accept to the universe as it is, we will find peace in our place. We will walk in the reassuring guidance of mother nature/the universe/God/ Goddess or whatever one calls their higher power. We are never alone or lost. We are always guided. Sometimes we just don’t understand and are afraid.

Michael Rebel LMHC


2 Responses to “Blastoff:Self-actualization”

  1. pj says:

    Well, Michael, reading that was like attending a master class in psychology. I just went from a prestigious job with a title and decent money–to a job as a food server. Nothing wrong with restaurant work–it just didn’t mesh with my perceptions of myself, my identity, or how I wanted others to view me.
    After a period of depression, self-loathing and disgust, I just got so busy that the whole identity thing went out the window–so to speak–and I just WAS. There was no time to filter some packaged persona of myself to the world. Crummy jokes and all–I just was. That was pretty enlightening to me especially when noticing peoples reaction to me. Some obviously showed disinterest or even dislike–I suddenly didn’t care or have time for reacting in my normal manner of more self-loathing, inadequacy, or low self-esteem. (The OLD WAY–They MUST KNOW I am worthless) Some people reacted so positively to my new, clear presentation of me with no masks, that is was like recognizing a kindred spirit. Now THOSE are the people I want to have surrounding me. Thanks for clarify the process I have begun. It’s an interesting journey…p.s. miss you!!

  2. sylvr1976 says:

    reading this blog has been an awakenig revisted for i. i will come again and read more as time permits. ty for ur time today! it was reassuring to hear from someone else the same theologies i’ve been living for a lifetime.

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