How do you know when someone has crossed over?

Crossing the precipice

I use the concept both in my blog post and in my youtube video about ‘crossing over’ a precipice.  The precipice is a spiritual point of no return.  It’s a concept that is difficult to pin down and perhaps only those who have already crossed over will identify with it fully.  So I’d like to explain what I mean by the term crossing over firstly and then to describe what signs to look for when you are in the company of someone who has “crossed over”.  I use the concept of crossing over a portal or going through a doorway or gateway that once crossed, you can never return from.  It is usually followed by a significant change in outlook or circumstances or both.  Richard Rohr, who I’ve become a great fan of these last few months calls it the death of the constructed or false self. He suggests that the false self is constructed to protect the perceived vulnerability of our core selves.  The fear of the false self is that the little person inside will be annihilated without the false self.  This is what makes our jobs as hypno-psychotherapists at times challenging when we cannot get through the defence of the false self.  It is also the false self that has to identify tribally with social, religious and interest groups to maintain a false identity.  Lacking insight in itself, the group constructs a reality from the outside in, seeking comfort and identity in its mores, ethics or code of conduct. The threat of being too much your true self in an identity group, you can imagine, could risk destabilising the cohesion of that group.


Characteristics of the ‘crossed over’

The Buddha’s energy

People who have crossed over have had a profound change of perspective on their pasts.  Instead of nursing and storing past hurts, crossed over people realise the futility of living in the past. They stop looking for answers in their past, that is, trying to re-work or re-frame what happened.  They stop re-running scenes, even positive ones, and free up their energy to look forward.  People who have crossed over sit with great ease and great acceptance with their pasts.  The past no longer presents an all pervasive sense of injustice or loss, but rather transforms into a calmness, perhaps sad at times, but simply an acceptance that life has been what it has been. With real acceptance comes self love.  The acceptance that I am only human after all, and everything I thought I had to be or do to earn my place here was always irrelevant. Crossed over people are grounded.  They look for the positive.  They keep an open mind and a curiosity for life.  They look for solutions, not problems.  Their criticism is constructive.  Their presence is stabilising and accepting.  They are philosophical and know how to laugh at themselves.  They tend to ask questions. They tend not to take what others say about them too much to heart – and this is because they are in communion with everyone else on this planet and sense without words the kinds of self limiting ideas people have. They tend not to worry if someone else has or knows more, because they know their inherent self worth. Their energy is bright and positive. They are free to create the future they want. They tend to have a natural wisdom born of their experiences. These people are modern day buddhas who feel the flow of the times and still remain firm in their inner reality. Crossed over people are few and far between. If you meet one, you will know. Crossed over people pass through a portal and can never return to how they used to be.  They will however stray from the path at times. Yet, now that they have not just seen, but witnessed the promised land, they will always know where they are headed.


Characteristics of the ‘un-crossed over’

Disconnection from self

Those on the other hand, who have not yet crossed over are still deeply wed to their past.  Living the injustices of the past, they spend large amounts of energy looking backwards or even, trying not to look backwards. They look for confirmation around them that their past is just how life is and all manner of events are construed and interpreted to confirm that view. They have an attitude of complaint which is often repetitive. They are sometimes resigned and hopeless, almost childlike and vulnerable as the future threatens to be more of the same already experienced from their pasts. There is no acceptance of themselves as whole people, nor of the people who figure in their backward looking experiences. The thought or memory of their parental figures still causes an internal anxiety that remains unexpressed. They can be cynical and closed minded – even if they profess to have a spiritual calling. They look for problems, not solutions.  Their criticism is at worst destructive and at best unproductive. Their presence is a responsibility to others.  They compare themselves with others and feel threatened when others are ahead of them materially or spiritually. They can take themselves too seriously at times and take too much to heart from others’ throw away comments. Their decisions seem at times to lack a sound basis.  They see the world as they are.  People who have not crossed over are everywhere.  Our society in particular, relies upon people who are subject to comparing themselves with others, to trying to shore up the false self, to living an outside in life: our whole media machine is geared up to keeping us in this relationship with ourselves that looks for external validation.


So how on earth do you ‘cross over’?

Do you do it? Or is it done to you?  It is an interesting question, how to cross over.  In my experience, it comes from an intense pain. In fact, to quote Khalil Gibran

“Your pain is but the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding”

In order to ‘cross over’ one needs to feel a pain that the false self has been trying to protect you from your whole life.  The fear of feeling the pain can be so great, that we’d rather carry on with what we know than  risk feeling pain.  So surrendering to our pain is not only important but essential if we are to release ourselves from the past and cross over into the present.  There could never be a more relevant truism than the oft quoted phrase: “What you resist persists. What you feel heals”.  There are a range of questions to ask yourselves when faced with the prospect of finally releasing your pain. Questions like, “What would my life be like if I could release this experience?” “What will be the outcome if I don’t?” “What would be the worst thing about holding onto this pain?”.  Questions like these can be really scary questions. And ones that you need to spend some time answering.  The heart and soul of the human condition cannot cope with too many of these questions at once.  The answers to all of them come in layers of conscious and subconscious thoughts and feelings.

I’ve crossed over in various layers of awareness.  Each time, I’ve peeled off another layer of consciousness. For a fair while, maybe months, sometimes a few years, it feels like I am completely whole and grounded. I need very little effort to keep myself in a very open and receptive state of life.  Over time I realise often I need to keep refreshing the experience, and in my case I attempt to do that daily with my spiritual practice. However, at times I stray from the path too. But I know where I’m headed and my compass keeps leading me there.  Where is that place?  Into the heart and soul of people, myself, others.  I’ve been told I have xray vision.  I don’t have x ray vision. I just understand the hurts and wounds that we so zealously guard for fear we are nobody without them. The irony is that we are so much more than we could ever imagine if we just let go of them.

Can you teach this insight as a skill?

You can. But not technically or academically.  This awareness is by definition experiential. It is about getting to know yourself inside and out. It is about revealing your true self and learning to love, without great overtures, the person that you are.  It is nothing short of a spiritual awakening and one I believe we as therapists need to be constantly in pursuit of.

Mental and emotional health – or spiritual health?

I believe, our 2 dimensional society has misunderstood what they are describing when they talk about mental and emotional health.  This assumes there is not much more driving us than mere thoughts and emotions.  No wonder our medical system is creating drug dependency and, in their relying upon clinical cognitive procedures, causing such isolation in those with so-called ‘mental health’ problems.  I believe what they are trying to treat is of a spiritual nature and by definition, medical ‘science’ cannot yet venture there.

True essence

What is spiritual then? I’d like to challenge that the spiritual is about belonging. It is much more than just the release of trapped emotions, or the correction of negative thinking.  The spiritual is about belonging right here, right now, in this body in this life and in these circumstances. It is about understanding our gifts, our hearts, our purpose and our community. It is about being connected to our friends, families and communities meaningfully.  It is about valuing our intrinsic worth and realising how valuable we are to others as well as to ourselves.  It’s about coming home to our true self, the self that was there from our birth into this world. In short, it is about living a truly human existence. And now we might understand why our media driven society, that depends upon the continued hypnosis of what we THINK is valuable, has become so powerful an influence in the culture of our times.  I dare you to step back from it.  To stop engaging with it. And deepen your inner journey to the centre of your self.  You can re-engage once you realise who you really are and perhaps then see the media for what it really is.

And in crossing over into your true selves, you’ll find a treasure you remembered once, from so long ago you’d almost forgotten: from a time when you hadn’t yet learned all the ways to keep yourself trapped into a false self. A time when you played freely and joyfully just for the sheer hell of it. And if you find it, please let me know. I’d love to hear your story. Join me in one of my supervision and mentorship groups, sign up to my newsletter on the about page.  Or just leave a comment below.  Let’s get to know each other.


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