Holy shit!

Published on November 3, 2011 by      Print
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By Jordan Chaney

I’ve always been a seeker, but I never really felt spiritually connected in a church environment. I’ve had a preacher lay hands on me, and while everyone else around was convulsing and speaking in tongues on the floor, I was scared motionless — shitless! I wanted to feel what they were feeling; I just couldn’t. 

And still, I’ve pursued enlightenment.  Several years ago, in a Hail Mary attempt to get a taste of what that might feel like, I read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda and also completed a 30-day fast: an Islamic fast where you don’t eat or drink during daylight hours.  A week or so after the fast ended, something big happened. Something truly holy and unique finally happened!

I had just put down Autobiography of a Yogi when I experienced a total blossoming of consciousness.

It was the kind of glow that Leroy Brown experienced in the Last Dragon, or what Neo came to realize about himself in The Matrix. I was glowing and levitating. I saw auras around people’s heads. My energy level shot through the roof! The book’s worn and tattered body lay in my booming wake like a python’s snakeskin had just been shed. Enlightenment? Yes please, and at the bargain bookstores clearance price of $1.99. Shit, not only am I elevating my consciousness, I’m being economic about it too!  I had tapped in, I was the new born Jedi ready to get out and kick some secular Storm Trooper ASS. I was ready to heal the lepers, donate to charity, hell, even pick up some damned litter and maybe clean up a neighborhood park. These things are noble acts, the characteristics of a saint. And by gosh, that is exactly what I had become.

Yogananda and all of his illuminated homeboys had just imparted centuries of meditation from concentrate all for my higher self to absorb. They would be totally proud of this grasshopper! I experienced the omnipotent total connectedness that I had read about in The Celestine Prophecy, or like in the story I heard about the Buddha himself being umbrella-ed in a rain-storm by a colossal cobra when three hobos trippin’ on mushrooms stumbled upon the Great One. I was having THAT experience.

And it fit:  from all of the pictures and souvenirs that I’d seen over the years, Buddha and I were both portly brown guys with big smiles. \ Though admittedly, in a loincloth I probably look more like a big brown cupid that somehow misplaced his bow and arrow. All the would-be lovers missing their divine romantic connections, the ladies overeating chocolates on their periods watching chick flicks all by their lonesome, and the fellas out taking Jaeger shots and playing beer pong with the boys rather than dining with one another on a balcony overlooking God’s twinkling creation while sipping champagne… All of my sage burning, meditating, praying, fasting, not having sex for 30 days in a row finally paid off. The veil of darkness and ignorance had dropped at lightning speed. I was awake.

That very first night of Christ Consciousness, a very cold and rainy night in December, I had starlight coursing through my veins and was standing barefoot in the fountain of the Space Needle splashing water on security guards.

I felt the kind of elation angels must feel in mid-flight. An hour later, Seattle’s Police Department had wrestled me into a paddy wagon, headed to West Seattle Psychiatric hospital, where I was tackled by orderlies and sedated.

Enlightenment came with room and board and Depakote cocktails and some other kind of red pill, unlike the one in The Matrix, and Morpheus became a silly little devil on my shoulder laughing out loud at me! The psychiatrist told me that lots of creative individuals at 25 years old have “psychotic breaks,” and that this was normal. I laughed hysterically, trying to prove my sanity. (By the way, here’s a tip should you find yourself in a psychiatric hospital:  the moment you begin to try to explain or even prove your sanity to someone, you automatically look and sound nuttier than squirrel shit. You should probably keep quiet.)

A few days later, Dr. Dye, the psychiatrist appointed to me, told me that if I didn’t take the meds I would be placed back in psych wards throughout my life. “I have a SEVERE apprehension toward meds, doc,” I said intensely. “So as a precaution we are going to check your blood for the next 90 days to make sure the med levels are there,” he shot back, almost cutting me off.  “And if they’re not?” I asked defiantly.  “Then you will be committed.”

“How far will you guys pursue this? Would you guys follow me out of town?” I asked, wearing a poker face. “No, Mr. Chaney, this is only a county thing.” I gave blood three weeks later — pure blood, my blood, blood that had not been tainted with anti-psychotics, lithium or any other brain-candy they tried to force me to take. Knowing the consequences, I packed up all my things into my Nissan wagon, pumped my last $20 dollars into my gas tank, and drove to a quiet town in Eastern Washington. I would lay low there for a few months until it all blew over.

Well, as the adage goes, “what goes up must come down.”

I fell into the deepest darkest depression that I could fathom. I wanted death to come. I was lonely. I lost my job, all of my friends, even my family members shunned me. For months on end I only ate, slept, read and wrote. I ran out of tears; my grief sponge had been squeezed dry. Looking back, I realized that I did die in a lot of ways… but I also rose from those ashes. I rode out the storm and things did get better. A whole lot better, and without psychiatric meds. I ate mindfully, slept, exercised, took vitamins, and eventually what had snapped, snapped back.

Throughout history, there have been many great people who have lost their minds in order to find themselves. So if you are Jesus or Buddha or the great reincarnation of a transcendent alien being who was secretly born into our species to raise the elevation of all mankind and decipher the hieroglyphics and deliver truth to us, keep quiet about it. You’re not crazy, but you most certainly are not status quo in the sanity department for what hopefully is only a short stint, as it was for me. But if you for some preposterous reason feel the urge to shout your newfound spiritual revelations to the world, I suggest doing lots of cardio and pushups, because orderlies are strong and psych wards are scary, but ultimately your enlightenment is for you and you only. Holy Shit can happen, so be prepared!

Metaphors be with you,
Jordan Chaney

About Jordan Chaney 

Jordan Chaney is a spoken word poet residing in Eastern Washington’s Wine Country. He writes for Winepress Northwest and is the author of Double-Barreled Bible, a collection of urban poems that blends Eastern and Western philosophies. He currently teaches poetry and communication skills at a local Juvenile Detention Center, helping youth find their voice.
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  1. Kelley says:

    Jordan – you brave man. I am also opposed to all things Big Pharma and despise the psychiatric profession. All of us who play amongst the stars will have to do so quietly until the rest of the world catches up. xoxo

    • Jordan Chaney says:

      I agree. Looking back, keeping quiet would’ve played a big roll in damage control. It’s hard to understand on our own let alone trying to expect others to do so.

    • Serena says:

      I really wish I could see comments like this and not respond, but on behalf of my patients I will.

      I will absorb and metabolize the hate of you and other’s like you who have no idea what its like to tend to broken souls every day with caution and measure and grace, making thoughtful and reasoned choices to relieve suffering with medication, or not with medication. I will do so while making a strong alliance with my patients so they know that– despite the stigma –that its ok to relieve suffering and not deprive yourself of a helpful treatment even if your well meaning friends/family etc tell you you should just do more yoga.

      You can say whatever you want, but I am pretty certain you’re experience is limited and you’ve never seen the bad outcome version of this story. Your comments are rash and thoughtless and you sound like an absolute child. I sincerely hope that you do not give “advice” to your friends but given your arrogance about your opinions, my suspicion is that you do all too often. When will people figure out that an n of 1 does not qualify them to speak for everyone? And that maybe they just haven’t really seen enough to be spewing out opinions? Do you even realize that opinions like this are part of the reason people don’t reach out for help until they are at death’s door?

      • Jordan Chaney says:


        When I first read this response I was confused, a little angry and then I just understood where you are coming from. That is all. There is honestly not much common ground we could find if what you are reading is “hate”. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • Chrissy says:

        Serena, I do indeed feel and can see what you are saying. I am a nursing student with a concentration in psychology, and my husband is a police officer…our professions will touch all sides of the equation. While I do think that in some cases medication is used recklessly, there are so many more whose lives are saved…If I had a dollar for every person who claimed that they hate my profession, well, I would have a lot of dollars( funny how I always get the ‘evils of big pharma’ speech only at yoga and only from people who need it like hell)so what can we do? Plug on, find balance, slow down and pray that someday there will be as little stigma in medicating the brain as there is in medicating insulin levels or cancer.
        That being said, perhaps Jordan was onto something for himself. Usually when people need medication, they crash and burn only to continue to crash and burn…and no amount of yoga, meditation, healthy eating, what have you will help long term ( those are all great things but should be part of a holistic approach), if Jordan has been stable for any amount of time, then he knew what he needed..however, only he holds that answer…thank you for caring for people….you sound informed and all around awesome.

      • Janna says:

        Jordan’s article is highly relevant and so is every comment made. Serena you are not on the opposing side being a supporter of psychiatric drugs. You are one person with, at best, a few decades of professional experience in a field of medicine that, at best, has only a handful of decades of scientific research behind it, regarding the topic of pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of disordered mental states. You are no more expert than Jordan!

        In fact, Jordan has more expertise on the topic because he has actually experienced it and made it through to a healthy life in which he continues to make a vital contribution to society.

        As far as science is concerned these days, our brain chemistry is plastic and can be molded given the right conditions, a conclusion for which sound clinical evidence exists. A conclusion demonstrated by Jordan’s immense inner strength. To Serena and colleagues who share her opinions, I invite you to become part of the dialogue and not lost in the past.

        • cathy g says:

          What a vital and important article to read on a yoga site! Brave words. Thank you.
          Serena, you are afraid. there was nohatein his words, only hisclear need and desperation to be well and to take a personal risk and gamble to be well without a long term medical experiment.

          Psych meds are not for everyone. Some of these meds send people back into mental wards over and over for new cocktails, thus increasing the individual’s dependency on meds and greatly lowering their self-esteem and bank accounts. The meds themselves cause symptoms which ‘require’ more meds. I know people who began with one pill and ended up with prescriptions for 5! And the classic medical response to bad side effects.” we will hospitalize you for a few weeks until you are stable”. Hooked on multiple pills and with giant bills and no recourse to get out of this horrible medically generated cycle. The only way out is a true self review and scary personal risks.He made t out. Many will not.

          Serena, woman up! Medicine with psych meds is trial and ERROR! Some are personally in touch with themselves enough to know they will not survive the ERROR>

        • Jordan Chaney says:

          Right on, Janna!! You would make a great Lawyer, Director of Public Relations and Diplomat of all that is good! :D Thank you chiming in!

  2. Kristan says:

    Beautiful. Sounds like you had a pretty wild Kundalini awakening. Glad you found your footing again. Thanks for sharing your words.

  3. Kris Nelson says:


  4. Joslyn Hamilton says:

    Jordan, I adore this piece. You are a man after my own heart. So honored you chose to write for Recovering Yogi!

  5. Kaspalita says:

    Thank for sharing Jordan. Your last paragraph reminds me of the Buddha’s first encounter with another person after his enlightenment experience.

    The Buddha met another yogi on the road, and he was all, “I have roared the lions roar” full of his enlightenment experience…

    The other guy raised his eyebrow and said, “Yeah, right…”

  6. GG says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better. Thank you

  7. Prana & Pie says:

    This sounds a lot like Eckhart Tolle’s experience – except without the whole becoming-an-iconic-cult-figure,-write-rambling,-nonsensical-books,-and-make-millions thing. I think your path was probably the better one, Jordan: eat well, lay low, take lots of naps, exercise and chill out. Good on ya.

    • Jordan Chaney says:

      I have heard of that author but never read any of his books. In fact after that incident I only read select poetry books. Rumi & Kahlil Gibraun mostly. I was very cautious of what went in after that.

      • MaLi says:

        wow . . . are you still reading just selected poetry . . .i’m curious what out of this experience made you be so selective in what you read?

        • Jordan Chaney says:


          Oh no I meant to say I was really drawn to Rumi and Gibraun’s writings their poetry in particular. I think for a while, when the wound was still pretty fresh, I tip-toed through any literature because of the suggestive mind state that I felt I was in. But today my nose is nestled in all kinds of literature! :D

  8. Don says:

    Great story, thanks for sharing!

  9. Mateo Moore says:

    Love it! Put me on some list. Preferably an email one.

  10. Mareesa Henderson says:

    Jordan- you inspire me more than words can express. You have left this experience so far behind you in the dust of your hard work and dreams, but I love that you continue to draw upon it for strength and growth. I love you my friend!

  11. Laura says:

    Brilliance comes from crazy – and this is a shining example, my friend. Quite an exquisite piece, thank you for sharing.

  12. Mollia Jewett says:

    Holy Shit! Great read…i would love to read more about your experience. I love that you saw auras…truly worth the trip.

  13. Doug Cummings says:

    Kundalini Rises, Spiritual Awakenings, or whatever you’d name them, along the
    lines Jordan’s described, are in no way easy, even though some people think it
    might be “cool” to have one.

    “Cool” has nothing to do with it. Seriously.
    Jordan was unlucky to have apparently no other resort than standard psychiatric
    assistance in a remote area where there’s no qualified assistance. I was
    fortunate enough to have an advisor who’d been though this experience herself
    when I had mine, and was not misguided into drug use by uninformed medical

    Jordan’s experience is all too common. Seems he’s made it through okay, though.
    When Kundalini decides it’s time to blow through your life, it’ll do it on its
    own terms, not yours. Kundalini has no regard for your three-dimensional
    concerns, or your five-sense world. When it comes, it will blow your mind in no
    way you can possibly imagine. I’m not kidding, and I’m not making this up

    If it rises up at some point in your life, you’ll likely realize that this
    energy is way more powerful than you, not to mention that it could do absolutely
    whatever it wants with you, up to and including destroying you.
    For those who’s destiny includes such an experience in this lifetime there will
    be no going back to the understanding of the world you’d lived in before a
    Kundalini Rise.

    Kundalini is nothing to be played with. Be careful.
    If you’ve got the courage and determination to live the rest of your life in a
    forever changed consciousness, then go ahead.

    That’s what it will take, no question.
    I know. I’ve been through it, too.

    • Jordan Chaney says:

      I’ve never heard of kundalini. The experience I had was not all bad and it was not all good. But you are right about your word of caution. A lot of folks that do snap, rarely snap-back.

      • Robert says:


        Here’s a website which might help explain some of the Kundalini awakening experience for you. It was a big help for me for an initial explanation of WTF Just Happened?


        Buy the book, it’s worth it. Be careful of exploring too deeply, too soon, however. Our brains aren’t wired for too much information and connectedness without a lot of support from people who have gone through (and made it through) this kind of thing and a culture which understands and respects such experiences.

        Also, be aware that the book was written by a highly intelligent person who has had such experiences… there’s a fine line between genius and insanity so take what you read from anyone (like that author or me) who has had such experiences as potential but not definitive truth.

        The ‘disjunctive’ quality of such experience can take a long, long time to integrate back into a framework which allows one the space to function in everyday life. For me, that’s the goal. Self preservation and happiness trump blinding awareness any day. (True awareness should never be blinding!) Treat what you experienced as a gift, but do not seek out replication. Rather, seek how you can integrate parts of what you have learned in a gentle, everyday way. It seems like you have started to do that. Kudos to you for doing so.

        I’ve found Jungian Analysis a softer, gentler process of raising awareness within oneself without the ‘blasting’ aspect of what you experienced, nor the post-traumatic meds. Carl Jung bridged the gap between the psychological and the spiritual better than any other psychologist, IMHO.

        Best wishes and blessings.

        Thank you for the gift of your funny, insightful article! You’re a great writer.

        • Jordan Chaney says:


          I don’t no where to begin accept with a big thank you. Everything that you just said has been on my mind a lot lately. What you said about not trying to replicate the experience is something I really needed to hear. And you are right about happiness trumping the reach for total awareness. Everything that I have been reaching for these days is exactly that; happiness. Cultivating a life that sustains healthy pleasures and passions has become my focus. Even though that experience happened 7 years ago I am still gleaning truths and insights from it. I’m not the same. I know that I have achieved that “thing” that I was reaching for, I just never imagined how an experience so ugly and scary could have such beauty and power follow it. It’s the old Phoenix fable come to life.

          Thank you for your feedback, it came at the right time!


  14. 509JAMES says:


  15. Leah says:

    When’s the book coming out? I could devour this prose for a good long time!

  16. Leanne says:

    Excellent, very valuable story. You’re an amazing writer.

  17. Jenifer says:

    First, love the style of the writing — very sophisticated process. I love that.

    Second, you are the several-th story about awakening-to-psych-ward story I’ve read. This one is the only one I’ve read that reads. . . super-real.

    Third, I love your photo. I can see the baby you were. :D

  18. Chrissy says:

    This was a beautiful, piece. Going into the healthcare profession, and as an almost practitioner, it is a sobering reminder that we need to take more than a clinical look at a person.
    I will refer back to this someday in the future when I have to complete my psych rotation…one size doesn’t fit all, and while medication has the ability to save lives, there are cases where it should NEVER be the springboard!

    • Jordan Chaney says:

      That is a very considerate approach. Yeah i guess if i were to off any advice is to try to understand that the person is interpreting reality in a very fast and colorful way. I know that that mind-state is very suggestive as well. It would take me along time to explain exactly what I mean by that, but anyone who has had that experience could most likely relate.

      • Chrissy says:

        I can relate….for me, looking into another person’s eyes ( which truly are the window to ones soul), and “seeing” free from judgement is the key to a whole care approach. My favorite statement ( I say it to my kids all of the time until they wanna puke I’m sure) is “I can’t know unless you tell me”, which is my promise to listen; in my humble opinion, everyone deserves to be heard, because someday , it will be our turn to need that open heart.
        Everyone has their own interpretation of reality, so a one size fits all approach should not translate in a healthcare setting, yet it does…why this is is again open to interpretation…

  19. Jordan Chaney says:

    I appreciate all of you comments!! This is a short version of a memoir I am working on. Just out of curiosity what would be a good title for a Memoir like this??


  20. mehwhatever says:

    hey, thank you for sharing your story. it was excellent, and i’ve been going through a lot of weird times. i found a sort of enlightenment (somehow involving math and space dust and 11 dimensions) but with it came all the crazy repressed crap memories i’d done so well hiding from for, well, my entire life. yikes, wtf? i didn’t sign up for that. the deeper i go to become ‘enlightened’ the deeper the well of ‘wtf’ seems to run, which is bizarre. but the amazing cannot exist without the utter horrible, right? take care of yourself. as for memoir name, what’s wrong with Holy Shit Can Happen So Be Prepared? ;)

  21. TAH says:

    I was about to write “Holy Shit! Great read” but someone else beat me to it. What an article. Passing it on.

  22. Holy sh*t! ~ Jordan Chaney | elephant journal says:

    [...] sh*t! ~ Jordan Chaney  Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on November 3, 2011.  [...]

  23. michelle says:

    Holy shit, i can relate! Like the time i came back from an awakening on the beach and told my boyfriend i suspected i was the second coming….poor guy, but that’s what you’re gonna get if you date me. (Do not mix me with Ocean Air Prana unless you’re truly ready.) Many years later, i have a much more integrated perspective on those levels of consciousness, and i have developed great ways to communicate them to people so that their rational left-brain doesn’t freak out. But, truth-be-told, i’m tired of building bridges to people who don’t care and don’t want to get it….but i’m always stuck with this belief that there’s a soul inside everyone whose deepest wish is to grow–which causes me to get back to building.

    Thank God for the internet, where i have found communities that can tolerate my big visions and who will share theirs.

    Thanks for writing this, Jordan, and thanks for posting it, Recovering Yogi.

  24. michelle says:

    By the way, for anyone dealing with this category of experience, i recommend Voice Dialogue and Internal Family Systems as excellent models for integrating intense experience into your life, and healing all the other stuff that gets unearthed when you have these awakenings….these psycho-spiritual models really do get it and provide incredible tools to handle the often stormy seas!

    All the stuff the yoga community wants you to stuff down, shame away, ignore, judge, or pretend you’re “above” can have space in these models….you can have your emotions without suppressing them (at one extreme) or getting totally blended with them and losing your anchoring (at the other extreme). Life-saving tools.

  25. Kara-Leah Grant says:

    Hey Jordan,

    Loved reading your story because… yeah, it happened to me too.

    Well actually, I loved reading your story because it’s bloody well written and super interesting, not because it had anything to do with me… but it’s great to see other people share these experiences.

    I laughed out loud at your psych ward experience… yep, I too realised that I’d better keep quiet and take the meds otherwise they might think I was really crazy… and then spent the time I was in the ward being as sane as possible to get out as fast as possible. No complaining about the total lack of nutrition in the food, or the general lack of a healing environment…

    Sounds like you made it from Holy Shit and back again with your sense of humour in full working order.

    Thanks for an awesome article.

    • Jordan Chaney says:

      Thanks Kara! Lol to be honest for the year and a half following it all I almost thought that I lost my sense of humor completely. Now that was the truly scary part for me.

  26. Larry C aka zenabowli says:

    Forty years ago education, experimentation, and circumstance led many of us to the rapture of expanded consciousness… cosmic consciousness. Human evolution is intrinsically inclined to transcend illusion and structured acceptance of reality.

    Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Mohammad, Crazy Horse, and Walt Whitman were just way ahead of the curve. What was once an anomaly is becoming a human attribute. One day—if we don’t annihilate our existence—earth people will become members of an inter-galactic community.


  27. Lisa says:

    Paramahansa Yogananda, he has that effect on people. I speak from experience! Blessings to you Jordan! Keep channeling the divine!

  28. Margaret says:

    Thank you. For all of it.

    With much love, a fellow alien

  29. cathy g says:

    what happened to my carefully thought words?
    I am impressed by this article and the author’s courage.
    I am abashed at Serena’s reading hate inhis honest and personaly risking personal healing.
    Psych meds are part of trial and ERROR medicine. It takes a very courageous soul to make a scary choice to self heal and keep from a lifetiem of uncertainty and psych meds.

    • Jordan Chaney says:

      Cathy G,

      Thank you for reading! You’re right about the scary choice to self heal because it meant total alienation and abandonment from all the people that I loved and cared for. Having a background in drug and alcohol counseling, I was well aware of the menu of medicines that would have zonked me down to a socially acceptable tone but I also knew from experience that the unfortunate souls that feel there is no other option to their suffering tend to get trapped in the manic-depressed-manic-depressed cycle for a lifetime. That’s scary! I appreciate you reading my piece Thanks! :D

  30. cathy g says:

    absolutely welcome
    Good fo r you.. it was a hugely courageous act.
    I have made same decision before.

    I alsomade another comment elsewhere.. there are a lot of comments to a very imortant topic.
    Have you though tof submitting this or another piece other places?

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