Here’s an example.
Let’s say in Paradigm A, your old paradigm, one of the key lessons for you was to actively pursue your own dream, based on the principle that “God helps those who help themselves” and other principles that emphasize the need to be a participant in your own unfolding. You did vision boards and affirmations and knocked on all the doors of opportunity that inspired you…
Then because you learned that lesson well, and your soul is now ready to move onto higher and more expansive things, you shift your energy, you shift your consciousness. And then you shift some more, and suddenly you’re in a new paradigm, Paradigm B, where everything looks and feels a little different. Think of it as starting a new board game. Some of the rules of the game might seem similar to the old board game you were playing, so you start playing it just as you would have with the old board game.
When this happens consider that you’re in an enlightenment trap and you need to reassess the principles of the game. Perhaps in this new board game you need to release the “I am the driver of my life” principle and learn to yield to the direction of a greater You that is far more wise and far more visionary. This means not using “active, active, active” energy like you were in your old board game, but using more of a “meditate, allow, let go and let God” kind of energy.
I recently caught myself in an enlightenment trap, but it’s a little intangible to explain so I’m going to use another real life but extreme example to demonstrate this. An author and healer I’ve learned quite a lot from wrote something in a book that talked about the need to always “stay neutral” in social injustice issues. I know from experience that this can be an enlightenment trap. At one level it might work, at another level it would be disastrous to hold to this principle. And it did indeed catch her in an enlightenment trap—she must have held to this principle too rigidly in her personal evolution because she ended up with a serious health issue caused by Western Medicine. It was so devastating that it required that she stand up for herself and take a stand against Western Medicine with regard to this particular issue. Playing neutral was perhaps an old principle she had to learn, or she held to it too rigidly, not seeing that neutrality is good for the soul but terrible for society. And so, the Universe gave her a big lesson in how neutrality works in some ways and doesn’t in others.
There can be a lot of loss in letting go of old principles and paradigms and so we clutch onto them and try even harder to make them work. And just as hard, the Universe pushes us back, not letting us make even the slightest headway, even like the author above, letting us sometimes learn the hard way that we’re holding onto something too rigidly. UNTIL, that is, we figure out that we’re in a new paradigm with new principles and start to try to apply them. Then the Universe does everything it can to encourage us in the first few baby steps along the way.
If you’re in this kind of an enlightenment trap, take the risk of a baby step in a new direction in a new energy. Grieve any losses but trust that the losses will be more than compensated for by the gains in the new paradigm. S-t-r-e-t-c-h into expanding your abilities to respond to a new paradigm’s rules of engagement.
One of the main resistances is loss, but there’s also stubbornness—you just don’t want to yield to a new way. Sometimes, it's fear of the unknown. Sometimes you are just ignorant. You have no idea that you’re suddenly in a new paradigm with new rules and so the only thing to do is what you know not what you don’t know. Sometimes it comes from ego too, “I’ve got this figured out and this is how it is,” you declare to the world, and the Universe comes along and shows you that maybe in that paradigm you did but not in this paradigm. In this new paradigm you are a Kindergartner and you need to start over on the learning spectrum.
1) Ask for help. From the universe, from a healer, coach, spiritual director. Choose someone who doesn’t have it all figured out. It’ll mean you’re getting someone who’s flexible and open to new information.
2) Look for clues from the universe as to the new baby steps the Universe is asking you to take in this new paradigm. Look for repeating cues: words, phrases, teacher, a book, song lyrics. Look for how the universe is trying to guide you. Meditate and let your intuitive imagining guide you.
3) Open and release your energy. When you’re holding on to old energies and transitioning to new energies, you might go through a contraction of your energy. Notice where you are contracting and breathe in and release that area of constriction.
4) Listen to your body. Your body is more responsive to your soul than your conscious mind as it bypasses the rational thinking self that tends to reject the impossible. What moves in your life make your body feel better? What moves in your life make your body feel worse?
Remember, it’s all good. We all learn in our own way in our own time. But knowing that the more you shift, the more the board games can change as can the rules for playing them, the readier you are to adapt rather than rigidly hold onto the past. And with our rapidly shifting society and earth, the more tools that can help us shift smoothly, with less pain and less suffering, the better for us, our loved ones, and everyone.
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Monica McDowell is a dynamic speaker, author, and practitioner in alternative wellness and spirituality. Find her on Thought Catalog here. She is the author of The Girl with a Gift, Confessions of a Mystic Soccer Mom, You are Light (internationally published by 6th Books in over 14 countries) and My Karma Ran Over My Dogma, and has the distinction of being the first ordained minister in America granted civil rights by a federal ruling. She lives in Seattle, Washington, USA, and can be reached at monica@monicamcdowell