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Three Waves of Initiation

By Kiara Windrider, June 8, 2005

I sit by the sea watching the waves come in.   A big wave crests and breaks, sweeping in over the thirsty sand.  Then it pulls back, creating a rush of turbulence as it confronts the next wave on its way in. Soon this next wave breaks past the turbulence, and sweeps in again towards the shore. Forward and back, flowing and ebbing, the ocean’s dance continues into infinity.

I reflect on the process of change.  Some weeks ago I was speaking with my friend Barry Martin, who used the metaphor of the Three Waves to refer to the process of planetary awakening.  Sitting here watching the incessant movement of the ocean in front of me, I am reminded of this conversation.

Whenever a new project begins there is always a great enthusiasm and energy that accompanies it.  This is the First Wave.  It is strong and exhilarating. We are caught up in a vision. We feel the power of the universe moving through us.  We feel we can break through all seeming resistance.  A great power surges through us, and we are sure we can endure anything in the fulfillment of this vision.

Then comes the second wave, the “backwave”, as the ocean inevitably pulls back towards itself.  There is a great turbulence.  It is a time of testing and agony.  We watch helplessly as our fondest hopes and dreams begin to collapse all around us.  The universe suddenly seems to have forgotten all about us, or even seems to have turned against us.  We wonder if we have been given a false vision, or if the universe makes any sense anymore.

Many call this the “dark night of the soul”.  Before a person actually experiences this, there is always a romantic notion attached to this.  We are told that an initiation will be coming, and that this “dark night” is the passage to a great awakening, the gateway to a spiritual rebirth.  We even begin to secretly pray for this, feeling quite ready for the challenge, foolishly certain that we will make it through, no matter what.

The problem is that when we are in the First Wave, we only experience the rush of infinite divine possibility.  We have received the “deeksha”.   We have had our first taste of enlightenment.  We have caught our first vision of an imminent Golden Age.  We have seen the big picture where all the world’s problems have been miraculously solved.  We have glimpsed a hope deep in our psyche that spells freedom from a lifetime of despair and suffering. We have fallen in love with the infinite possibilities of being.

Then comes the “reality check”.  The Second Wave hits us, and everything is suddenly going backwards.  All our dreams suddenly dissolve in the foam.  No longer are we experiencing divine ecstasy.  We find ourselves being pounded into the sand and churned around by the universe until all that is left is a blind sense of betrayal and despair. 

Eventually the Third Wave breaks through this sense of soul pounding, and we enter into an altogether new realm of mastery. The last remnants of the ego’s attachment to separation dissolve, and we are free.  But how do we get from here to there?

I have spoken with many who are going through a “dark night of the soul” some weeks or months after receiving the “deeksha”, and have also been experiencing this myself over the past few months.  It has given me an opportunity to reflect more deeply about these things, and I would like to offer some perspectives. There are certain characteristics of this “dark night” that many of us have experienced in common:

  • loads of “shit” happening all at once
  • feeling totally overwhelmed by life
  • a plunge of self-esteem
  • feelings of betrayal, despair, helplessness
  • loss of any certainties or hope
  • no feeling of divine connection
  • feeling isolated in a private hell

From time to time I discover that there are certain things I can do while being mercilessly buffeted into the sand.  I breathe into the fear.  I take time out where I can scream or cry or pray or just be quiet. Sometimes I ask myself what is the worst thing that could possibly happen, and then relax into the comparative grace of what is actually going on. I seek to recognize the many masks and mirrors of my ego. I ask myself how much of my experience is based on traumas from the past or fears of the future. I look towards the big picture, what’s really happening behind the illusions of the separate ego.  I take the opportunity to deeply examine my personal shadows, all of which I realize are coming to the surface to be healed.  I ask myself if my faith in the divine plan is truly unconditional, or if it only works when things are seemingly going well. I look for the attachments I must give up. I look for the gifts I must reclaim.

All these things help. But, by themselves, they are not enough.  The purpose of the Second Wave is not to struggle to find a way out.  The purpose of the Second Wave is simply to be pounded into the sand until there is nothing left to do anymore. The purpose of the Second Wave is to shred any remaining attachments or identities held by the separate ego, including what we might call our ‘spiritual ego’.

The Third Wave inevitably comes. The stronger the First Wave has been the stronger also the Second Wave can be. The more consciously we can go through the Second Wave, the more permanent the Third Wave will be.  In context of receiving the “deeksha”, if the First Wave is Enlightenment, then the Second Wave is Endarkenment, and the Third Wave is a state of Oneness which is neither dark nor light, and beyond the distinction of either dark or light.  This is where the “fire” from heaven has burned away the last remnants of separateness.  This is where we experience our true face, which has nothing to do with the face we have learned to recognize in the daily mirrors of life. This is the territory Jesus wrestled with in the wilderness of his soul before he could fully embody the energies of the Christ.

I sense that the Three Waves which each of us will be going through in this passage towards Oneness are the same Waves that collective humanity will be going through.  It is also the same Waves that an organization like the Golden Age Foundation or any movement that ultimately still has roots within the mass consciousness of humanity will also have to go through.  It is the same Waves that our beloved Earth is going through as She prepares to birth humanity and all life into a Golden Age. Despite appearances, there is a huge omnipotent, loving Intelligence that is working through all of this.

It seems to me that perhaps we are now collectively entering the Second Wave.  From all the feedback I seem to be receiving from people, it may be that something is coming to a head on a planetary level, like a big collective event about to happen.  What this would look like I do not know and cannot say.  But it is important for us to recognize that the grace of the Third Wave which is also pouring into the Earth today is beyond all temporal forms and can never be diminished or held back by anything. 

Sri Aurobindo, the great mystic sage of India, referred to the Second Wave as the “supramental catastrophe”, and noted that there would inevitably be a period of transition where all our collective shadows would surface.  My sense is that this is about to peak on our planet in these coming months and years.  Yet he also stated that this would be followed by the “supramental manifestation”, identical to what Sri Bhagavan refers to the as the dawning of the Golden Age.

So if we are experiencing the Second Wave at this time, let us remember the big picture. No matter what stage of the process we are going through, the gift is alive in us, and we are blessed with the capability to pass it on and on and on. If we stay in state of transparency with all this, and allow the winds of the destroyer to blow through us without resistance, we shall come out the other side of this in a much deepened capacity to serve the One.