My Story of Awakening

Alex Stein
5 min readJul 28, 2022

When you change your consciousness, you change your reality.

I chased my tail for years trying to be who I thought I should be– someone special. Sure, I developed some skills and accomplished wonderful things pursuing a career as a composer. But it all came at a steep price. I was often miserable: anxious, fearful, resentful, self-obsessed. I was happy when I accomplished something amazing, but the rest of the time I judged myself for not measuring up. I judged others, too. There was plenty of good stuff in my life, but I often couldn’t see it. I lived in my mind– a labyrinth of reactions to people, things, and its own thoughts. I did not trust life. I did not even trust myself.

When I was 26, my younger sister died, launching me onto a path of spiritual discovery. I visited mediums, hoping to connect with Olivia. I discovered astrology. I learned shamanic journeying, receiving my first powerful initiation into another state of consciousness… and my first glimpse of another reality. A series of powerful drum journeys opened the floodgates in my psyche and my world became a lot more magical and mystical, full of synchronicity. I started down roads that would lead me very far from where I’d begun. I still approached spirituality as a way to fix my problems and to get more of what I thought I wanted. I had no idea what was in store.

Right on cue, I met my first mentor on the path, astrologer and mythologist Richard Stromer. With Richard, I learned to see the stories I was unconsciously living, and gradually discovered the story that I wanted to live. I came to appreciate the power of the unconscious, of the shadow, and of the value of getting to know the different “gods” and inner characters that ran my life. While working with Richard, I began to study astrology deeply. It was amazing to discover this universal language, which linked my own consciousness to the consciousness of the universe, and which could provide an endless source of insight into the inner dimensions of anything.

About a year into my work with Richard, and two years into my shamanic studies, I tried LSD for the first time… It was amazing. I had always been scared to try it, especially after a bad mushroom trip in college. But it felt like coming home. I felt at one with everything. I understood things with so much more clarity. I saw through myself and all my neuroses as never before– and I was amused! No judgment. For the next few weeks I literally kissed the ground every morning. From then on, it became my mission to find a way to integrate this consciousness into my everyday life. I decided to meditate daily– something which I had struggled with, on and off, for years. I also abruptly decided to put music aside and pursue a career as an astrologer. That raised quite a few eyebrows! But sometimes awakening requires drastic measures. You are forced to quit taking instructions from the ego as you surrender to your Higher Self, the Divine Mother, the Universe, God… whatever you want to call it. Sometimes that means doing things others might consider stupid or crazy.

It was not long before my life as I knew it fell apart. Not only did I change careers, but my marriage ended, and with it many friendships. From where I am now, I do not regret it. But it was incredibly painful for me, my ex-wife, and everybody involved. In the midst of the chaos , I met my partner Hilary, who has been a huge catalyst for my awakening and a life partner in more ways than I could have imagined.

Almost at the same time, I found my next mentor, Raja Choudhury. From Raja, I learned practices for awakening Kundalini and cultivating the deep meditative state called Turiya. Raja also gave me the gift of seeing who I am and can be, and holding me constantly to that standard. He introduced me to the Divine Mother. In the Indian tantric tradition, She is known as Shakti— the energy and power of the Universe in manifestation. I came to experience life as a dance between consciousness and energy– Shiva and Shakti. When Shakti appeared, She took over my life. She come in various ways: as power, overcoming all obstacles, as magic, as grace, and as love. Since I met Her, things have never been the same.

Soon massive awakenings began to occur: the experience of seeing the purpose and context of every moment I had ever lived; the integration of lifetimes’-worth of learning; the resolution of lifetimes’-worth of karma; the experience of 10,000,000 volts of Divine Feminine energy lighting up my entire being; the experience of the Void and Infinite Bliss; the experience of unconditional love; and the knowledge that death is an illusion, that it is possible to be free of the mind, and that the mind can be made into a tool to create a more beautiful world. Finally, I have come to the realization that all of the stories– even the beautiful story of awakening that I am telling right now– are relative. Nothing is that “real”. The realest thing that I have experienced is the Mystery itself… The inexplicable fact that existence and consciousness are. And I cannot tell you exactly what that is like. You have to find that one out for yourself.

Where I used to feel dissatisfied with life, always craving something more, always clinging tightly to some agenda, I now live what I can only call a magical life. I am awed and grateful for the beauty in everything. And ironically, because I need less, because I know that I already have everything I will ever need… I get more of the “extras”.

My awakening and transformation are the result of deep and sustained inner work. Psychedelics alone will probably not get you there. Neither will simple mindfulness, as essential as that skill is. Alchemy is required– transmutation, alignment, and balance, on every level of your being. Every aspect of your life is an expression of the One Light behind everything. Alchemy removes the veils that obscure that Light.

None of my experience has been wasted. All of my work mastering music helped prepare me to understand the laws of vibration and music of the spheres that are so central to my work now. I really do see life and the cosmos as a piece of music. And all of my suffering and mental traps gave me a clear understanding of just how tricky the mind can be– and also just how one can free oneself. I haven’t “fixed” myself, because I was already perfect, just like you. But I have seen through the delusion that kept me believing in my separateness and suffering.

Today I want to pass on the gifts that I have received, to help people experience the beauty of becoming free from self-made traps, and realizing the power we all have to create a beautiful existence.

I am excited to begin the next leg of my journey, as I pursue a PhD in East-West Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies.

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Alex Stein is an inner alchemist and astrologer helping clients to navigate their own awakenings. Learn more at

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