There is only freedom without, when there is freedom within.
When newly awakened and feeling alone and isolated, how would one reality check? First, sort out what is you and what is not you. When you feel alone you feel this awareness more. You will find that your sense of being alone is actually just not relating to things the way you used to, and no actual presences have vanished. They are in fact more available to you then they ever were before. But likewise for the newly awakened, the ruins of their old mental construct ideas are there still, and much more evident to your awareness. Like if you are judgemental, you might start feeling like a raging ogre, a seriously egotistical nut job. This is not the case. What it is, is your inner light illuminating what was just in the shadows of your mind before, and those old ideas can be torn down.
Or you might feel all out of sorts? True. You can just be very disoriented, because you don’t understand your old ideas anymore. They just sort of become a smear that makes everything look garbled at first. This will clear up.
This reminds me of a story of an enlightened Buddhist monk. Someone asked why he was acting like a monkey and the master said it was just his nature coming through. That’s perhaps the second challenge for the newly awakened. You will start having urges that make no sense, not to your usual thinking. Feel dislike for someone who before wouldn’t have bothered you, or feel compelled to help someone you don’t like and you know doesn’t respect what you offer. But if you ignore these they won’t go away. They will get much much worse.
Why you have these urges is that your “animal” mind is now responding to things that were too subtle before. You were too much in the habit of reacting to just a few set things. I call that list of things you react to your “stupid pet tricks.” Those fall away, but your feelings and instincts do not.
You deal with these urges like you deal with the urges of the body. When we were very little, as infants, we didn’t really understand much of what our body was doing. If we had to poo, it was scary. If our tummy was hungry, it was scary. Awakening is like being born all over again, new feelings, and something can be done about them. One way to manage these is to find a mentor, but this can often be hard and unrewarding. Another is just through experience and being willing to be “weird.” By acting and checking and asking questions, you make new choices that satisfy these urges and let these become your new habits. The confusion passes as long as you are willing to let go of your “freaking out.”
Is it helpful or harmful to compare yourself with the way you were before and look for similarities/differences? Helpful. It is part of the reality checking. Seeing parts of you that are still there lets you accept the “new stuff” more easily. Reassures you, you are still actually alive.
But, you cannot go back. The mystics have a saying. Once having seen the unseen country, you cannot unsee it. You will have to accept that your only way is forward. It’s like the story of Orpheus when he was rescuing his wife from Hades. He was given a chance to bring her back to earth on the condition that he not look back at her on the way out. You will recover your life after awakening, but you do that by going forward until you feel balanced again.
There can be a grieving process to go through for aspects of your life? It causes some stress, and the new complexity of relating to other people is really upsetting. You will have the need to talk and share and feel connected, but most of the people you knew probably won’t have a clue what’s “wrong with you.” You can’t take them with you, not possible, but what you can do is allow those who remain friendly and supportive to experience the new you. You can often share by example what words will fail utterly to do.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.