My name is Christopher Tan.
This blog post is about my journey going through my spiritual awakening, surviving my dark night of the soul, experiencing enlightenment, and how these experiences shape my destiny.
Like you, I grew up hungry. I was hungry for answers, hungry for understanding, hungry for truth. But as I looked around me, the world made no sense. Like you, I asked very important questions:
Why was I alive?
Where am I?
Who am I?
I was very observant, even as a child.
I looked around and saw suffering. I saw suffering on my parent’s faces as they struggled to make a living. I saw suffering on the television when I came back home for lunch in the first grade to find my mom crying in the living room because two planes had been piloted into the World Trade Centre. I saw suffering everywhere; sadness, anger, racism, discrimination, poverty, confusion, war.
The questions never left me:
Why did we exist?
Why did suffering exist?
And what could we do about it?
I was pretty happy as a kid. But my happiness left me as I left my childhood and grew into a teenager.
You see, when you get into highschool, this is when Life starts becoming pretty serious. You have to pick a path to “success”. You have to be somebody. And you have to fight to get there. You have to force yourself to study and get the grades. Highschool was a difficult time for me. I felt like an outsider trying to fit in. And every year, from Grade 9 to Grade 12, got worse and worse for me as I became more and more aware that I was on a path where my destiny was influenced by forces that were seemingly beyond my control; the need to find a job and make money and be part of a world which did not have a clue of what it meant to exist.
By Grade 10 I had started drinking. And by grade 11, I was smoking cigarettes and experimenting with MDMA, ecstasy and marijuana. I was going out and having sex with strangers, and I was skipping a lot of school. I was doing everything I could to distract myself from the pain I was feeling inside.
And the questions continued to haunt me. Why was I alive? Why did I exist? Where am I? Who am I?
I barely graduated highschool. Technically, I didn’t. I got a 49 on an online course that I was taking so I could get an extra credit to graduate, and my teacher bumped me up to a 50. God bless her heart. Because of her kindness, I graduated. And then I made the first conscious decision I ever made regarding my destiny. Instead of being a sheep and following the herd of my peers to college or university, “just because”, I decided I was going to figure out life for myself.
Within months, I had an awakening and I found myself on a deeply profound and fulfilling spiritual path. I began meditating and becoming more mindful. I was studying various spiritual philosophies and the works of great spiritual teachers. All the while becoming conscious that this world that we are living in was vastly manipulated by powerful interests. There was corruption, evil and darkness to be found everywhere. I was angry.
This inspired me to become very active. I stood in the rain attending protests trying to awaken my fellow brothers and sisters to what the fuck was going on.
That is, until I learned a very painful and humbling lesson. One night, I got arrested for spraypainting the sidewalk at five in the morning. Not the wisest idea, I know, but with the burning passion of an activist trying to save a world which to me was on fire, I went out into the dead of night with a stencil and a can of black spraypaint.
In bold, capital letters, my message read “THE SYSTEM IS CORRUPT”.
As I was spraypainting this message on the sidewalk, I look up to find a curious police cruiser not more than five feet in front of me. I had seen it coming, but I did not expect it to be a cop car. Just my luck.
Long story short, I get arrested, but they let me go. The very system which I had thought was corrupt showed me compassion. And as I ran home that night, knees shaking at what had just happened, I got home, laid on my couch staring out the window, unable to sleep, thinking how in an alternate universe I would be locked up in a jail cell and processed through the system. I believe life happens for me and not to me, and so I lay awake listening for an answer as to why this situation played out the way it did. When the sun came up, I had an epiphany. I can’t change the world. I can only be the change I want to see in the world. This very epiphany would set me up to face and eventually conquer the greatest obstacle I could ever face – myself.
When I was 13 I developed a rash on my face which worsened quite intensely. Imagine being 13 and having no eyebrows because you itched them off. Have you ever seen those photoshopped pictures of celebrities with no eyebrows? You look like an alien to say the least.
I remember during recess, I would stand in the yard amongst my peers with no eyebrows, feeling so out of place. I became acquainted with suffering at quite a young age, and I suppose this contributed to my tendency to contemplate life. I remembered asking God why such a thing was happening to me. Imagine the depression one would feel not hearing a reply.
Anyway, things did get better for a while. My parents brought me to the doctors and they gave me a magical cream to slather onto my skin. And things were great for six years. Whenever I had an itch, I would just put on this cream and like magic, my problems would disappear.
But after six years, something concerning was happening to my body. It didn’t matter how much cream I put on, the rashes were no longer going away, but in fact they were spreading across my body at a frightening pace. The rash which had once been limited to my face had now spread to my neck, arms, torso and legs. It was like the demon I was suppressing all these years could not be told to go away anymore – and it was very angry. I could feel an insanity building within me as my mind could not find answers for the questions it was pleading. Why? Why is this happening to me? Why do I exist?
After searching the entire span of the internet in desperation, I came across a term which would be etched into my brain until I die. TSW – topical steroid withdrawal. I discovered a lot regarding what was happening to me, thanks to a grassroots community leading the charge on this issue so many people were facing around the world. The cream that I was using all these years contributed to the problem I was now experiencing. They suppressed, they didn’t heal. All these years it was like a pressure was building within me, which after six years, could not be held any longer, and had to come out. My body was the literal analogy of a volcano. And thus began my battle of a lifetime, which I would ultimately win and which would teach me the greatest spiritual lesson humans can learn – that we are not our minds, and we are not our bodies.
With any withdrawal, there are withdrawal symptoms. And the symptoms I experienced were absolutely horrendous. I experienced an itch from hell, and a haunting insomnia that lingered over my head for months. What I went through, I would not wish upon any soul. What I went through was suffering at its essence.
Through out my healing journey, I experienced flares, which describe periods of worsening skin. Imagine the healing journey as cyclical. There were times where my skin would get really bad, and then after the flare was over, my skin would return to a manageable state.
Flares were bad. The itch was an itch that debilitated me. It was an itch that transcended pain. I would tear open my skin with my nails just to soothe the itch. I experienced flare-ups which is a term used in the community to describe regular “itch attacks”, that occurred multiple times a day. One of the worst periods lasted six months. And I literally mean six months of no sleep, back-to-back flare-ups, worsening health, and seemingly no way out of my suffering.
During this time, I experienced enlightenment. Let me explain to you the state of my body and the state of my mind, and how exactly I experienced enlightenment.
The worst night I ever experienced was in the middle of this really bad six month flare. My mind was racing a million miles a minute. It was like it was searching the entire span of the cosmos for an answer as to why I was experiencing what I was experiencing.
And the fact that I could not find an answer contributed immensely to my suffering. I was two years into my healing journey and had experienced three flares during that two year period. The current flare I was experiencing was the worst of them all and was lasting longer than usual.
As usual, I couldn’t sleep, so I was up late at night browsing the forum for people who were going through what I was going through. I came across a story of some dude who was like 5 years into his healing journey, experiencing another flare.
And that’s when my mind broke. I could not fathom three more years of this kind of suffering. I remember wanting to die at that exact moment. If I had a gun, I probably would have taken my life. That’s how bad things were. I was trapped in a prison of suffering – in my own body – which I could not escape. The sensations I was experiencing were unbearable and it felt like I was going insane. It was like I was teetering on the edge of a cliff which I wanted to leap off of, but couldn’t. I so desperately wanted to feel nothing. I wanted to stop being the victim of my thoughts. I wanted darkness. I desired peace.
In the midst of all this chaos, of all this suffering, something happened. It was like I took a step back from my experience.
That’s the moment I experienced enlightenment.
I saw very clearly for the first time, who I was – what I was. I became aware of my soul. This part of me which was indestructible and eternal.
It could not be touched by the suffering of my mind and body. It was immaterial. It was there, all this time, watching, experiencing.
And my body and my mind, which I have been identifying with all this time, I realized was the cause of my suffering. In that realization, I transcended suffering.
And once I did, in that moment, I realized how to overcome suffering, and from that moment onward I’ve devoted my time and energy to outlining a process to teach others what I learned. That is why you are watching this video and that is why you are part of this group I have created.
I have had many realizations since that one which have been absolutely transformative, and I wish to share them on this blog. Realizations about the soul, about the functioning of the mind, about energy and emotions, and the nature of our lives and reality. And I hope that you join me on this journey of self-discovery, self-mastery, and transformation.
My journey since that initial realization has been a practice of intense meditation and a process of self-mastery – of mastering the mind, emotions, my physical body and ultimately making manifest my mission of liberating others from suffering.
Enlightenment is not the end, but rather, the beginning. It is the realization of who and what you truly are, and in that realization comes the power to master yourself and your life. You then become the creator of your reality. Enlightenment is like opening a door to infinite possibility.
The purpose of this blog is to create a framework of understanding of what it means to be alive – the true nature of it; to share my truths and explorations, and to serve as a vehicle for those of you who may find value in my work.
I hope that you join me on my journey of self-discovery, self-mastery and self-actualization, and I hope that I can be of value on yours.