“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to accept what is true.”
– Soren Kierkegaard

The fundamental core of spiritual transformation involves moving from a lower state of consciousness to a higher state of thinking, feeling and acting in the world. From tribes of indigenous peoples in the most remote parts of the world, to the Secret Societies of the western world, to the Mystery Schools of the ancient past, the initiation process has been an integral of the process of spiritual transformation. One of the key components of this process is one in which the initiate goes through a type of “death and rebirth process”, in which he ceases to identify with all of the things that he saw as “who he was”, and moves into a perception of the world that is in tune with the true nature of reality and understanding of the Laws of Nature and Creation.

The “ego death” is a concept that is spoken of extensively in Eastern traditions, particularly in Buddhism, where one seeks to overcome the illusion of “Samsara”, aka. the material world of suffering, and awakening to a state of “Nirvana” or “Enlightenment”. The core idea here is that one cannot fully awaken to the Truth of Spirit and move into a state of Self Actualization if they still identify with the false illusions of this world, as “One cannot serve two masters”.

Occultist and activist, Mark Passio refers to these false illusions as “Barriers to Self-Realization”, and I will be primarily using his model to describe them as I find it the most concise. I am referring to these same things as “Barriers to Self-Actualization”, because one can realize and even see the Self within, while holding on to certain illusions and negative belief systems. Ultimately, this is purely semantics as we are talking about the same things.

The Self is the core essence of our being that is Divine and Eternal Light from the Creator. It is our internal Sun, and physically resides within our Solar Plexus. It is the essence of our highest potential and pure goodness and virtue. It is the Light within us and it is ultimately who we truly are.

When we incarnate as physical beings, we become engrossed and enchanted by the material world and forget who we are, which is an individuation of the ONE; the ALL. Like facets on a diamond, we are like cells in the body of God. We contain the core essence of that being, but at the same time, we are not that being in totality. We are “made in the image of the Creator” in that we have the power to create in a similar way as the Creator does. However, we have forgotten all of this through our being immersed in the trials, tribulations and traumas of physical existence. The goal of spiritual initiation is to rise above these carnal influences and remember who we truly are.

We can think of our incarnating in this dense physical reality as a sort of “resistance training” for our spirit. Like a heavy weight, the resistance from the material world serves the purpose of building spiritual strength and power within us, worthy of becoming gods in our own right. The more we develop, the more weight will be put on the bar. The trials, tribulations and traumas of physical existence are the plates on the bar. When we understand that we are training, we are able to move towards Self-Actualization. As we move towards Self-Actualization, we move towards fully embodying the principles of Light, Life and Love and becoming a sovereign god-being.

The Barriers to Self-Actualization are the things that attempt to distract us from our training, and attempt to keep us from realizing who and what we truly are, so we can move into spiritual adulthood and become fully awakened beings. These are things that will keep us stunted and spiritually immature if we allow them to. These barriers are as follows:

I. The Five Sense Illusion
II. Ego Attachment/Identification
III. Left Brain/Right Brain Imbalance
IV. Personal Belief Systems
V. Institutionalized Belief Systems

We will delve into each one of these one by one, so we can fully flesh out what we are talking about here. The purpose here is similar to the practice of “stalking” in the Toltec tradition of Carlos Castaneda, where we observe every aspect about our prey before we strike. We cannot know something is holding us back if we don’t even realize it exists, and we certainly can’t act to neutralize it. Our purpose is to shine a light on these things that keep us from realizing our full potential as Divine awakened human beings.