Human resistance to accept change is one of the main causes of suffering. Although some people already react to the slightest change and others only when the change is life-threatening, as soon as one tries to prevent change, one enters the dark tunnel where toxic emotions and suffering arise. But for any change, a life experience can provide many points of reference that act as flank of light pointing the way out of the tunnel.
But the awakening goes beyond the ordinary change. It is a transformation that burns everything that was previously known and makes you rise like a phoenix into a new “old” reality. Therefore, it is not surprising that people experience very strong emotions when their close friends or family members undergo such a transformation.
After awakening, due to the shift in perception, your reactions to life situations are not only different from your previous responses, but also from those of the wider world. Previously, you probably shared your drama with the closest people: complaining about bosses, kids, significant others, or anything else. And though, sometimes you may be overwhelming to your friends, at the same time, your drama was a ticket to being accepted as a part of the gang – gang of shared suffering. It has made everyone feel less lonely in their bad days. In essence, drama is a tool used by the ego with the purpose to be accepted, liked, comforted or motivated.
But after awakening the drama disappears and you relate differently to family and friends. You do not need their acceptance, love or motivation to feel happy. In fact, you stop needing anyone and anything after you realise the connectedness of all. And this sense of unity with everything prevents you from looking at the world with differentiation. The result is that although you feel deeper for everyone, at the same time you are not tied to anyone, not even your closest friends and family. And still, although there is no longer any priority list for friendship, they are more present to you than before; only now, you are there for their needs not yours.
This change is very large and at the same time very subtle, which can be misunderstood from a worldly perspective. But there you are actually, after you awakened, back in the world and surrounded by the same people and the same life obstacles. Only, now all of this lose its dramatic touch. Your desire to discuss problems in detail, to break the situation down to the bone, to continue drilling into friends and events through uninterrupted questioning no longer hunts you.
Everything is still there, nothing really disappears, but this time you become fully aware what is going on and why, knowing nothing is permanent, not even wicket behaviour or situation. Anything what created toxic emotions in you now just raises your compassion.
You will still see “bad habits”, addictions and pain your friends may have but you will stop being irritated or angry because of it and you will let them go their own way. That may seam to be cold and unfriendly and once you stop participating in their drama you may even be accused of no longer taking care of them. They will continue to expect the old behaviour from you and will be confused, angry and irritate if you do not meet those expectations. It is even more confusing because in many ways you seem to be the same as before.
People are egger to distinguish, categorise and create identities. It's an internal optimisation process that speeds up our response to stimuli and makes life somewhat easier and safer. All emotions, thoughts, principles, and forms that are somehow connected to you are fused and encapsulated, creating a memory code of your avatar / illusory identity. If, even after awakening, you retain some of the features that others have used to identify you (name, job, home or appearance), your avatar will go awry and unclear, what will require transcoding and re - labelling to match your new identity.
The greater the effect of your transformation, the more re-coding need to be done and the harder it becomes for others to handle it. Your friends and family have been developing your coding over the long term, creating an illusion of stability. For this reason, they will firstly try to persuade you to return to your previous state so that the coding can be reconciled. But once you have transformed inwardly, there is no way back, and after they finally accepted it, re-labelling will start again.
But if you happen to have friends or family members who generally resist change, or dislike some aspects of awakening, your relationship will begin to break.
One of those, unacceptable aspects is the fact that your emotions are no longer explosive. You will stop being overly excited, surprised, shocked or loud. You will stop trying to entertain others and if you are naturally introverted, once you awaken, you will return to your own nature, which will lead to the rejection of crowded places or events. All this will change the dynamic of your relationships. You will become difficult to read and communication can become a challenge. Especially friends who in the past have used your excessive energy to lift their own, will have difficulty accepting your transformation.
The closer the relationship was, the stronger will be the resistance to change, which is usually manifested through criticism, blaming, and triggering toxic emotions. But won peace and bliss will keep your inner balance intact and make you respond to poisonous emotions with compassion.
Nevertheless, common friendships are usually bound by emotions other than compassion. Thus, showing compassion, may feel, measured by the worldly standards, as arrogance. For friends who may have witnessed your suffering over the years or decades, your new compassionate response may be considered as fake.
In principle, our ego constantly measures and assesses the position and dynamics between people. Any great change that feels like a move to the less favourable position for the ego, will be unacceptable and rejected. Drama is the currency the ego is willing to take, but as soon as only one side shares the drama, the transaction stops and the one without drama is thrown out of the clique.
Drama is like a dust on your mind mirror and without it this mirror becomes clear. Naturally, a clear mirror is not always welcome because it reflects others as they really are. Seeing a clear picture of oneself, with all the wrinkles and blemishes, may feel frightening and ego perceives it as an attack. In its attempts to rebalance, the ego uses well-known strategies: blame, anger, hate, irritation, depression and so on.
These strategies are developed over years and decades creating a perspective that works through established opinions, prejudices and ideas. Dropping this perspective is only possible when one “wakes up”. People who have not yet awakened would not be able to drop it or to see an enlightened person as he/she really is. They can only use measures from their own experience basket. With that, they can only believe or not believe that their old “troubled” friend has got over the suffering. They will have only the concepts picked up in books and movies as a reference for assessing this new situation. And by holding on to second-hand information rather than to their own experience, they will expect their friend to fit an imaginary model of the enlightened person, thereby blocking their own perception and the opportunity to take relationship to another level.
But no matter how hard it sounds, an awakened person is always different than expected and will never match images of the unenlightened mind.
Although every friendship changes after awakening, there is no need to break it. One just need all let all go: friendships, their resistance and emotions but as well awakening and explanations about it.
Simply, in order not to lose the connection, one should not try to reconcile the chameleon with the common lizard. Instead, one has to accept that both are just an expression of life.