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Excerpted from Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain. Copyright © 1986 by Shakti Gawain. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"When we can face our fears and move through such a 'dark night of the soul,' we are greeted by the dawn of a profound new adventure."

Shakti Gawain, Living in the Light, Part 3

In retrospect, I can see that I was going through an experience that all of us must pass through at one time or another (or many times) - what mystics call the piercing of the veil of illusion. It's the point where we begin to recognize that our physical world is not the ultimate reality and we turn inward to discover the spiritual aspect of our existence. At these times, we usually feel, emotionally, that we are hitting bottom, but as we actually hit bottom itís as if we fall through a trap door into a new place - the inner realm of the soul, where we can begin to explore our connection to life in a whole new way. When we can face our fears and move through such a "dark night of the soul," we are greeted by the dawn of a profound new adventure.

New Experiences

Over the next few years, I began to have new experiences, openings, a growing awareness that did not fit into my former rational framework. In college, I studied psychology and got involved in some encounter groups and sensitivity training groups that, in addition to allowing me to release old emotional pain, led me to new feelings o love, joy, and oneness with all. I studied dance and discovered that when I was dancing, I would often have an exhilarating feeling, as if some higher force had taken over and was moving me in an abandoned and thrilling way.

I had always been interested in Eastern philosophy, so I read books about Buddhism and Hinduism. I practiced yoga and meditation and found that they helped me feel more centered, relaxed, and in tune with myself. After graduating from college I spent two years traveling around the world, living for several months in India, where I gained a deep awareness of the eastern mystical tradition. My travels were a powerful experience for me because with little money and no real plans, I lived by following my intuition. I had set off originally for a vacation in Italy and ended up making a two-year journey around the world. I learned that I could live happily with virtually no possessions and move safely into unknown places. This was one of my earliest experiences of the synergistic things that happen when we trust our inner guidance and follow the flow of our energy.

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