Portfolio of Hope

person standing on rock near body of water during night time

In 2021, aged 20, I went through the roughest patch of my life. It wasn’t that something had happened to me, but rather, that something was happening within me. Something that, I now realise, was a spiritual awakening, or rather, the awakening process, within which I experienced a ‘dark night of the soul’– a collapse of perceived meaning in life…

This (‘the dark night of the soul’) saw me…

  • Constantly questioning ‘the point’ of it all, having lots of, what I can only describe as (and, I don’t use this term lightly), ‘suicidal thoughts.’
  • Feeling very alone and isolated, an extremely deep rooted sense of disconnect in my bones.
  • Feeling irritated by frivolous small talk. Wanting to talk about the deepest of topics surrounding the nature of all of this- life– but realising that very few people are comfortable talking about such deep and meaningful topics. ‘Who am I? Why was I born? What am I here to do? What is the purpose of my existence?’
  • Feeling wholly misunderstood/like I didn’t belong anywhere.
  • Grieving for the loss of something intangible; a longing to ‘return home’ again.
  • Going through a complete identity crisis- not knowing who I was, where I was, where I was going, if I even wanted to go there (/anywhere)…
  • Losing interest in all the things I used to enjoy.
  • Being in a state of constant, unrelenting anxiety about EVERYTHING– the past, the present, the future…
  • Knowing that there is more to life, that we are all alive for reasons far greater than to work and earn money (materialism and success and profit), that we all have a higher purpose, but not knowing what that purpose is, and getting really down because of my ‘lack of purpose’/sense of being ‘directionless’ in life…
  • Feeling as though I was falling through an endless void of darkness, getting sucked in to a black hole of emptiness.

All in all, it was just a really bad time for me, characterised by extreme existential dread. I can remember crying to my mum one day (I never show how I’m feeling) and saying to her; ‘I just feel so sad all the time.’ That’s the only way I could describe what I was going through then. I didn’t have the words, or the knowledge, that I have now, to describe it in any other way. All I could recognise, at that time, was my sadness, and my lack of awareness as to why I was feeling so sad.

A Spiritual Awakening Misdiagnosed?

I finally spoke to my doctor about how I was feeling and got the dosage of my anti-depressants doubled, because all the ‘symptoms’ I were experiencing did point to a depressive episode. I now realise though, that the depression I felt wasn’t the ‘problem’, but it was a symptom of something much bigger that was going on for me- a spiritual awakening, and so, ultimately, anti-depressants didn’t help me because, like anything, to get rid of the symptoms you first need to address the problem (which, I wasn’t doing). I wasn’t addressing the ‘root’ of it all because I was oblivious- awakening but not awakened, with no idea of what was really going on…

Now, in my opinion the ‘symptoms’ associated with a spiritual awakening (the ‘dark night of the soul) will be felt by us all at one point or another in our lives, that can pretty much be guaranteed. What can’t be guaranteed, however, is how we will deal with those symptoms. Some people will try to cope with the intensity of their feelings by numbing the pain they feel with addictions, developing mental ill health as a result. They will therefore most likely find themselves in a constant back and forth with their GP, trying to work out ‘WTF is wrong with me?!’ and being misdiagnosed…Other people, the people who will most likely go on to be ‘awakened’, will lean in to their discomfort, knowing that it is temporary and, instead of hitting ‘self-destruct’, will find healthy ways to deal with, and express, their emotions…

To go through a spiritual awakening is, I would argue, to go through the most difficult experience known to humanity, whereby everything is stripped away from you, there is no light, no clarity, and no peace…

‘Enlightenment is a destructive process… the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.’


So yes, at its core my spiritual awakening was confusing, and yes, it was lonely and hard and every other possible negative word you would associate with someone who feels extremely depressed verging on suicidal but, at the end of it all, it was also beautiful and profound and every other positive word you would associate with someone who finally ‘gets it’-


Now, reflecting back, I realise that all the pain was undoubtedly worth it. The pain made way for hope made way for contentment made way for peace. Without having experienced a spiritual awakening and all of the pain that comes with that process, I’d still be navigating my way through life pursuing the emptiness of surface level superficialities like money, fame, power, etc., all in an attempt to find the ever elusive thing we refer to as ‘happiness.’ But, I did experience it (a spiritual awakening), hence why I possess within myself the capability to see through the lies and illusions of this world, because, I know that absolutely nothing external has ever, and can ever, bring me true happiness, or true fulfillment.

Like waking up from a dream, a spiritual awakening sees us ‘waking up’ from the dreamlike reality of ego-centered living, as we begin to question our old beliefs, habits, and social conditioning, and see that there is so much more to life, and ourselves, than what we have been taught…

As in a nightmare, when you’re in it, it feels so real. It’s scary and it’s painful and you don’t think you’re ever going to wake up from it, you don’t even know it’s not real so you don’t think there’s anything to wake up from. This is the same as life. Life can be scary and painful, but when you wake up to the true nature of existence, you realise that it wasn’t real, that it never was… All that is real, is the fact that we are all one- a glimpse into our true, eternal nature. An understanding that who we truly are goes beyond all thought, beliefs, ideas, memories, and/or mental constructs… We are all expressions of the same divine source, and we have never been separate from this reality (the mind has only believed that to be the case).

Having undergone a transformed state of consciousness/death of the ego driven sense of self, now I am more present in life. I take more notice of the things around me. The smallest of things bring me a sense of contentment, a feeling that’s new to me. A falling leaf, a spider’s web, a child’s laughter, a puddle- life is no longer ignored, it is seen as magical, amazing and beautiful. As the barriers of the ego breakdown, I lose interest in drama, conflict, and anything that perpetuates hatred. I embrace freedom.


whereby I am free of domination, free of all the structures of society, free of the oppressive modern lifestyle, free of society at large.

I am free.

a photo to highlight the importance of perspective.

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