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AbbyElfie

Confusing spiritual experiences in withdrawal?

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AbbyElfie

As I tried to describe in my intro topic today, I am very confused by my experience with spirituality in withdrawal. I was never brought up with any kind of religion, just open-mindedness. My Mum is a little spiritual in the sense she believe we're souls incarnating, learning lessons etc.

 

When I found Buddhism, my entire life changed. Things also began this way after 2 shamanic ceremonies I took part in where I drank the plant medicine, Ayahuasca. Even after years of mental torture with OCD (prior to withdrawal), and years of asking 'why me?' after losing pretty much everything, I suddenly saw the purpose of it all. That I had to go through it, of course I did. On a deep unconscious level it became all so clear, I laughed a lot at that time because I'd taken the suffering so seriously but knew it was all exactly what I had chosen in this incarnation. It all happened exactly and perfectly as it was supposed to.

 

Picking up the pieces wasn't always easy at that time. I had left an 8 year legacy of chaos. But it was joyful work, even when difficult. There was now choice, opportunity, manifesting left right and centre, synchronicities, profound meetings and experiences. Stuff I'd never imagine happening.

 

Then came withdrawal. Since the last few severe waves, all have that has blown to bits. I have 'highs' in withdrawal, not just windows and waves. I don't know if that's unusual. Waves are a torturous level of suffering, feelings of being in hell, my whole life being a lie, images of torture, rape, murder, there's no end to the depth of it. It's a place you can't unsee no matter how much 'recovery' you have. I experienced something similar before medication, during my first random 'episode' of Pure-O OCD as a teen, but withdrawal obviously makes these things a million times worse. My confusion comes from feeling 'split', like I have two completely opposing personalities. In w/d I've gone from being utterly convinced I'm seeing myself as I truly am, and it's way worse than I realised, to feeling blissfully connected to everything. This can happen very rapidly, and has done from the start.

 

I've pretty much abandoned most spiritual practice at this point. Yet I still have these experiences and days where I see things this way. At this point, I'm more concerned that I have completely deluded myself. That I have somehow managed to confuse spiritual awakening with plain old mental illness and delusion, to compensate for being actually a very dark or even dangerous person. My entire life, every action, thought and behaviour has been thrown into constant question, often to the point of paralysis.

 

I also know it's common in a Dark Night of the Soul to experience these 'temptation' like thoughts, the shadow self trying to make itself conscious. But the switches and craziness of the whole thing has broken my ego structure in a way that leaves me totally confused. Another 'voice' will tell me I'm just making all this up on some level for attention, or boredom, which would be even more disturbing.

 

I know a lot of this makes no sense. Thank you if you read this far. Can anyone who experienced any kind of awakening prior to withdrawal (or even during) - through any avenue - share their experiences or give any insight?

 

Thank you x

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ChessieCat

google survivingantidepressants.org spiritual

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MRothbard

Makes perfect sense in that i can relate. Your post reminded me of this quote, "when you are relaxed, that's who you are." I wouldnt interpret your symptoms as your personality traits.

 

Having a closer connection to the spiritual world can be facilitated by the things we go through with this withdrawal stuff. But personally i dont try to analyze these occurences when im not feeling well. Might be best to just accept them and put them on the shelf for the time being.

 

Seems like every time i fervently pray for help, the prayer is answered by other people--something they might say, or maybe i get connected up with a good doctor of holistic health practitioner. Or i "stumble" on some really helpful info. God usually speaks to me in a still, small voice, never yells even when i wish he would.

 

You probably know this but mindfulness is a great tool. Brushing your teeth? Pretend you are at the teeth brushing olympics and your mission in that moment is to only focus on giving your teeth a championship cleaning. Apply that focus to anything. Really helps with the ruminating.

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AbbyElfie

@MRothbard thank you so much for your reply. It resonated a lot. Especially about finding God through random people and situations. There have been many times in withdrawal where ive prayed for help, believing i was totslky permanently lost, only for someone to say something that saved me in that moment, or like you say, a therapist or healing opportunity to just arise out of no where. There have been so many little miracles. My battle is to try and let my over analytical mind not to touch them as much as possible.

 

One day id had a terrifying panic attack and withdrawal episode and was staying at my sisters. We stood outside and i was shakey, exhausted from crying, feeling desperately suicidal, and a woman in a mobility scooter literally drove past the door and stopped to say hello. She started talking about how she found god and how he'd provided everything for her since. I listened politely and my sister said something about me not feeling well and that was why i wasn't very responsive. And the woman said 'dont ever give up, god always provides' or something similar. She was so happy and full of gratitude, i couldnt believe someone like that had appeared at one of the worst times in my life. 

 

Mindfulness is what I'm focusing on right now. Just being alone and quiet and doing simple things. It's the only place i feel safe. My huge fear this year as been that i am not a spiritual person, and too bad or undeserving to be connected spiritually, that it's an illusion. I think why me, why would I have that when everyone else in my family doesn't (there's a lot of mental illness, pain, negative behaviour). What makes me think I'm special etc. But i know I need to let go of that. 

 

Thank you for your response, it's very reassuring to know I'm not alone. 

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FarmGirlWorks
On 10/11/2018 at 4:55 AM, AbbyElfie said:

Things also began this way after 2 shamanic ceremonies I took part in where I drank the plant medicine, Ayahuasca. Even after years of mental torture with OCD (prior to withdrawal), and years of asking 'why me?' after losing pretty much everything, I suddenly saw the purpose of it all. That I had to go through it, of course I did. On a deep unconscious level it became all so clear, I laughed a lot at that time because I'd taken the suffering so seriously but knew it was all exactly what I had chosen in this incarnation. It all happened exactly and perfectly as it was supposed to.

I relate to that. I have not had that specific experience with ayahuasca, however a yoga teacher was talking about the concept of "good" and "evil" and how quick humans are to judge someone as a"evil." He told a story of a bunch of souls in a holding area before being reincarnated. One soul said that it had done a lot of forgiveness but hadn't done a transformative act of forgiveness. Could anyone help? Finally, after silence, another soul said it would reincarnate and murder the soul's child. So, is the soul that reincarnates to murder evil or heroic?

 

The point being that you deeply knowing that your suffering is part of this incarnation and not to be taken so seriously is brilliant. I am agnostic about reincarnation but I often wonder if somehow I chose two major brain traumas and "going crazy" as part of this incarnation.

 

On 10/11/2018 at 4:55 AM, AbbyElfie said:

At this point, I'm more concerned that I have completely deluded myself. That I have somehow managed to confuse spiritual awakening with plain old mental illness and delusion, to compensate for being actually a very dark or even dangerous person.

I think that neurodiversity can sometimes be spiritual... and sometimes not. In spiritual emergence, a spiritual awakening as I understand it, often extreme mental states come into play. There is a thread on BeyondMeds.com called MadSpiritual which talks about this.

 

On 10/11/2018 at 4:55 AM, AbbyElfie said:

Then came withdrawal. Since the last few severe waves, all have that has blown to bits. I have 'highs' in withdrawal, not just windows and waves. I don't know if that's unusual. Waves are a torturous level of suffering, feelings of being in hell, my whole life being a lie, images of torture, rape, murder, there's no end to the depth of it. It's a place you can't unsee no matter how much 'recovery' you have. I experienced something similar before medication, during my first random 'episode' of Pure-O OCD as a teen, but withdrawal obviously makes these things a million times worse. My confusion comes from feeling 'split', like I have two completely opposing personalities. In w/d I've gone from being utterly convinced I'm seeing myself as I truly am, and it's way worse than I realised, to feeling blissfully connected to everything. This can happen very rapidly, and has done from the start.

I can relate to this too... in occasional windows I feel the web of life and my place in it. But mostly, in waves, it's horrible. I have absorbed the message of Acceptance from Claire Weekes (there is a thread on her anxiety advice here), kundalini gurus, AA members, and even motivational stuff on YouTube. And, occasionally, I hear it deeply and surf these waves instead of getting swallowed by them.

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AbbyElfie

I'm so glad you can relate @FarmGirlWorks. I love that story about the souls, spiritual exploration definitely makes you consider the real nature of good and evil. And how our minds are so rigid in their division of everything.

The extreme mental states in both withdrawal and awakening are confusing, especially when they overlap. But it's good to know I'm not alone in asking these questions. Maybe I chose this as a vehicle to that awakening, I think I would a lot more selfish without it! And probably complacent. 

 

I'm going to look into the claire Weekes stuff because I've heard it's good. I often use radical acceptance in times of crisis and it sounds like it could help with this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, I hope you're holding up ok x

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FarmGirlWorks
30 minutes ago, AbbyElfie said:

Maybe I chose this as a vehicle to that awakening, I think I would a lot more selfish without it! And probably complacent. 

I would definitely be more selfish!

 

@AbbyElfie, this helped me yesterday; it gets kinda redundant in the last third but another way to say Accept, Accept, Accept. This addresses the Claire Weekes' method that says that by layering judgement on an emotional state it just makes it stronger. Hard in WD, of course.

 

https://www.rohiniross.com/emotional-wellness/the-counter-intuitive-approach-to-less-emotional-suffering/

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AbbyElfie

Thank you, good article. I'll pass it on to my mum too as I think it'll help her right now. 

 

I remember the first experiences of letting go, and seeing how things naturally align when you do. Since withdrawal it feels as if i 'lost' that ability, or moved backwards spiritually. It's often a struggle to not see it that way, but in reality you can't 'lose' anything. It's more related to my high expectations of myself, and inner criticism. I do get occasional bursts of waking up from this though, and remembering again. I guess withdrawal would be a much worse experience without those moments. 

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MRothbard

Love  that article.

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Cleerity
On 10/11/2018 at 6:55 AM, AbbyElfie said:

...concerned that I have completely deluded myself. That I have somehow managed to confuse spiritual awakening with plain old mental illness and delusion, to compensate...

 

I am coming in this conversation late, but thought I would share...

 

I think it is natural and also very healthy to question our beliefs as we examine our lives.

 

But I also believe that our experiences, whatever they are, are very real and genuine.  

 

I don’t know if it will be helpful, but I will share the following:

 

Example:  Shortly after I experienced a powerful kundalini awakening, my mind was flooded with the idea, “I am the divine!”   I am like “Christ.”  I watched myself experience this and thought, “Good God, I am deluded.”  It scared the **** out of me!  I felt the inflation in my psyche, the power of the thought…and I imagined where it could lead.  I worried over the fact that it even entered my mind.  And I thank the wisdom in me that told me identifying with such a charged thought was dangerous.  But it did not remove the fact that the Christ archetype is indeed a very real thing which touched my life in a powerful way:  a divine bean of light that descended on me and instantly energized every one of my chakras.  It was as if the gateway to my Self was blown wide open and on this distant end of that axis sat my little ole human self, suspended like a limp puppet caught in the traction of the light.  Delusion? No, it was very, very real. Extreme bliss followed for many months. This was a blessing, for it gave me hope in the face of what I was soon to endure, which was the unloading of my unconscious … a truly horrific experience for my untamed/unprepared mind. All my reference points for life and living had been rent asunder as all my defenses were stripped from me.  After the mind-blowing crises began to subside, I researched online and came to understand what had happened/was happening to me and learned that many, if not all folks, with full blown kundalini awakenings, must pass the “I am the divine” test.  Had I ever shared that divine notion with any mental health practitioner other than my Jungian analysts, I would have been diagnosed!  So, I am likewise glad for the innate wisdom that told me to keep my spiritual experiences secret from the mainstream mental health folks. I endured/experienced many profound spiritual phenomena, but, in the end, they are just that.  Phenomena.  The real test (I believe) is in living an ordinary life.  

 

I think we go through honey moon phases with some of our life experiences.  And when the honey moon period is over, we reflect, take stock, and put things into useful and healthy perspective as we continue to move, grow and mature in life.  It may be that you were/are experiencing something similar to this…  

 

But nothing can change the depth, truth and reality of my spiritual (and other) experiences, even if they are no longer in the forefront of my life.  They are all part of my history, all part of what makes me uniquely me.  

 

I did go through an alarming period after I stopped chasing gurus and enlightenment.  It was very unsettling to my ego.  It disturbed me because I realized what a charade I had been living.  I felt like I’d given my agency away to an array of beliefs (and people) which left me feeling broke and empty, disillusioned, cheated.  It was very, very uncomfortable as myriad realizations popped into my psyche/awareness, but a true period of growth, in that I eventually began to come home to myself in a way I never had before, really then beginning to “know” that all I had been searching for was already (and always had been) present inside of my own self/Self.  All the rest was illusion that had kept me chasing it.

 

Also, when we latch onto group movements (spiritual paths often start as part of a group movement), we are also latching onto the energy of that (group) movement, which is in itself energizing to us.  It’s all highly charged.  But when it is over, when we are in withdrawal from it, we experience the loss of what we knew when we were part of it.    

 

Did I touch the divine? Oh, yes, I certainly did.  But, for me (personally) my life does not and cannot center on that experience or any of my other spiritual experiences.  Now, I see it like I wear a coat of many colors. I have not lost anything.  My experiences remain real and an integral part of who I am and what I have been through. 

 

Similar to what I hear you saying, I have come to see my journey as one where the stars that shine on me decided I would go through a long and arduous healing journey, like the unconscious chose me for a very particular (very individual) and very deep descent into healing.  

 

On 10/18/2018 at 1:49 PM, FarmGirlWorks said:

He told a story of a bunch of souls in a holding area before being reincarnated. One soul said that it had done a lot of forgiveness but hadn't done a transformative act of forgiveness.

 

This reminds me of the story of the "Little Soul and the Sun" by Neale Donald Walsch, first published in Book 1 of his "Conversations with God" series.  It was turned into a children's book.  It's a wonderful story, and it made me cry the first time I read it years ago, because I really had a lot of forgiving to do.  

 

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AbbyElfie
17 minutes ago, Cleerity said:

But nothing can change the depth, truth and reality of my spiritual (and other) experiences, even if they are no longer in the forefront of my life.  They are all part of my history, all part of what makes me uniquely me.  

 

I did go through an alarming period after I stopped chasing gurus and enlightenment.  It was very unsettling to my ego.  It disturbed me because I realized what a charade I had been living.  I felt like I’d given my agency away to an array of beliefs (and people) which left me feeling broke and empty, disillusioned, cheated.  It was very, very uncomfortable as myriad realizations popped into my psyche/awareness, but a true period of growth, in that I eventually began to come home to myself in a way I never had before, really then beginning to “know” that all I had been searching for was already (and always had been) present inside of my own self/Self.  All the rest was illusion that had kept me chasing it.

 

Wow thank you @cleerity for such an honest, heartfelt reply. It feels as if my experiences, in some way, have been validated. It's been extremely confusing to go 'back' into a state of what feels like total egoic awfulness once you've had any experiences like this, but you're right in that the true test is living an ordinary life. I still have no idea how much of this is withdrawal, trauma being unearthed, a deep spiritual 'clearing out' (I also did my Reiki mastership prior to this which resulted in a lot of mental and physical churning and clearing) or something else. I don't have any purpose or direction, yet all my 'stuff' is coming to the surface. Part of me gets so overwhelmed with the multiple different 'voices' and chattering and messages in my head that I want to literally abandon anything remotely 'spiritual' sometimes...it was sometimes physically painful going back to the meditation centre and feeling triggered and irritated by it all. Followed by the grief, guilt, shame etc.

 

I'm really grateful that you shared your experience, it means a lot. I remember Neale Donald Walshe's books - they were one of the first I read in that area. That little story is lovely, thank you for sharing x

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Cleerity
11 hours ago, AbbyElfie said:

thank you @cleerity for such an honest, heartfelt reply

 

You are welcome.  

 

I am sure you know the importance of tempering what they call the “monkey mind” in spiritual circles.  So, will just offer a gentle reminder to not attach to the myriad thoughts/impressions that arise.  Sometimes easier said than done, I know.  But do your best to just observe without attachment or judgement. 

 

Do be careful, though, not to bash ego.  I know they naysay ego in many spiritual practices (and this is part of what perpetuates the “split”), but from a Jungian perspective, ego is the center of consciousness.  And it is the vehicle through which the light of the Self ultimately shines in the world.  We could say that ego IS the little hero that takes the journey.  

 

I’m glad if anything I said in my earlier post was helpful.  I send you all good wishes and I trust that you will work through what you are experiencing. 

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AbbyElfie
10 hours ago, Cleerity said:

Do be careful, though, not to bash ego.  I know they naysay ego in many spiritual practices (and this is part of what perpetuates the “split”), but from a Jungian perspective, ego is the center of consciousness.  And it is the vehicle through which the light of the Self ultimately shines in the world.  We could say that ego IS the little hero that takes the journey.  

 

I need to remember this, I seem to have fallen into a vicious pattern of constant self evaluation combined with condemning myself terribly for being that way. Ego attacking ego. It's ridiculous in theory, yet it's constant. Thank you again for your insights, it really does help not to feel so alone.

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FarmGirlWorks
On 11/11/2018 at 4:28 AM, Cleerity said:

Extreme bliss followed for many months. This was a blessing, for it gave me hope in the face of what I was soon to endure, which was the unloading of my unconscious … a truly horrific experience for my untamed/unprepared mind. All my reference points for life and living had been rent asunder as all my defenses were stripped from me.  After the mind-blowing crises began to subside, I researched online and came to understand what had happened/was happening to me and learned that many, if not all folks, with full blown kundalini awakenings, must pass the “I am the divine” test.”

Well that is a gem, @Cleerity. I haven’t experienced a kundalini awakening so, if it happens, this is like a marker of what might happen and how to handle it. I started kundalini yoga at the beginning of this descent which has, as @AbbyElfie said, has dredged up every horrid emotion and thoughts our unconscious harbors; right now I have an obtrusive thought that pops up every few minutes. I try to label it “Fear” when I can and that seems to help.

 

Typing from a cell phone at LAX... gotta board now. Great topic.

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Cleerity
7 hours ago, FarmGirlWorks said:

this is like a marker of what might happen

 

From my own research and understanding, I found that the experience of kundalini is different for everyone.  Some never report extreme states, but, instead, only ever experience a very gradual and very pleasant unfolding.  One that I consulted with back in 2000 (when it all began for me) was Dr. Bonnie Greenwell.  She has written some good books on the matter.  Before her, there were not many westerners writing about kundalini.  I was mostly clueless (at the start) when it happened to me, as it is not something I tried to make happen.  Hindsight being 20/20 (as they say), I think it started in my childhood and Greenwell's studies/writings confirm this possibility...  Trauma can awaken it.  So can near death experiences, which I also endured as a child.

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Cleerity
7 hours ago, FarmGirlWorks said:

dredged up every horrid emotion and thoughts our unconscious harbors

 

It did this to me, too.  The depths I walked were horrendous.  It was as if sci-fi horror was turned real in my mind/body and soul.  I don't like sharing the details because they were terrifying and not everyone's experience will be so.  But it seems one thing is sure for those in the throes of a kundalini process:  spiritual energy will dredge up the unconscious contents (sometimes the collective unconscious as well as the personal).  Most important advice for anyone living with it:  surrender.  Surrender is not always easy, because we learn to like control in life.  But witnessing from a state of surrender and acceptance of what is happening, without trying to judge, label or even understand.  Understanding comes, in time.      

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AbbyElfie
9 hours ago, FarmGirlWorks said:

has dredged up every horrid emotion and thoughts our unconscious harbors

Yep, I feel that. I said to a friend a while ago 'I'd love to be one of those people who have a lovely, smooth, gradual spiritual awakening!' haha. It's just not pretty to face the dark corners of your psyche.

 

1 hour ago, Cleerity said:

Trauma can awaken it.

This is very true. Sometimes I feel now that maybe I was supposed to come off meds and go through the withdrawal at exactly that time, because as screwed up as it's been, it has been a catalyst for surrendering. It's almost as if the trauma of it has 'forced' this unearthing of every kind of crap my unconscious holds. I've had extreme episodes with my mental health since I was 16, which were also traumatic but important catalysts to other things. This doesn't help my fear/belief that I only seem to grow with intense suffering - and as I become more aware of it I get afraid I will unconsciously push myself to very scary places as I think that's the only way, as if I have a strong association between pleasure and pain. Often this turns into vicious self punishment, martyrdom etc. I'm not sure how to approach this issue, but it's something I'll have to bring up with my Somatic Experiencing therapist. At least I'm more aware of it now, I guess. I try to focus on balance above anything, but it's just such a deep pattern I don't seem to notice I've done it again until it's too late. Food for thought. Thanks for sharing guys.

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FarmGirlWorks
11 hours ago, Cleerity said:

 Some never report extreme states, but, instead, only ever experience a very gradual and very pleasant unfolding.

Kundalini has been a gradual experience for me... I liken it to a very long and slow psychedelic experience (however, following that metaphor, I go back and forth from the anxiety and paranoia of starting a trip and then the oneness with all things that start after it). I never expected a "kundalini awakening." At all. I remembered doing it several years ago a few times and loved the experience. More spiritual, for me, even though the vinyasa/jivamukti yoga I was doing had a huge spiritual bent. However, that yoga had a more "religious" feeling to it and being raised in a crazy Pentecostal home, religion is a trigger for me. Kundalini is more of a one-to-one relationship with "god/Always/Universe/whatever" that makes more sense. But now I feel like I "need" to do it just to keep a sliver of sanity in this mess of WD.

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Cleerity
11 hours ago, AbbyElfie said:

This doesn't help my fear/belief that I only seem to grow with intense suffering -  as I become more aware of it I get afraid I will unconsciously push myself to very scary places as I think that's the only way, as if I have a strong association between pleasure and pain

 Hi Abby:  I'm not sure of what you are saying here in the second string of your thought...  Are you indicating that you have a tendency to dive into issues?  

 

As for the first part, are you able to reframe it?  Perhaps see what you have accomplished in the way of healing so far in your journey.  Just the fact that you are "conscious" of so much speaks oodles about the intelligence and fortitude of your spirit.  

 

Because you have a history of engaging in healing practices I wonder over how long you have held a desire to heal.  My own desire started when I was still very young in and I can't help but see the events of my healing journey as being like an answer to a prayer ("my" own hope, wish and prayer). The universe does respond to us.  On that note, please don't forget prayer!  

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Cleerity
1 hour ago, FarmGirlWorks said:

But now I feel like I "need" to do it just to keep a sliver of sanity in this mess of WD.

 

I am glad you find your kundalini yoga practice so helpful!

 

Religious history is ripe ground for examining one's conditioning. 

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AbbyElfie
On 11/13/2018 at 11:37 PM, Cleerity said:

 Hi Abby:  I'm not sure of what you are saying here in the second string of your thought...  Are you indicating that you have a tendency to dive into issues?  

 

As for the first part, are you able to reframe it?  Perhaps see what you have accomplished in the way of healing so far in your journey.  Just the fact that you are "conscious" of so much speaks oodles about the intelligence and fortitude of your spirit.  

 

Because you have a history of engaging in healing practices I wonder over how long you have held a desire to heal.  My own desire started when I was still very young in and I can't help but see the events of my healing journey as being like an answer to a prayer ("my" own hope, wish and prayer). The universe does respond to us.  On that note, please don't forget prayer!  

 

Sorry I've only just seen this, busy/stressful week. By the first part, I mean I seem to have gone in extreme cycles throughout my life.. I guess you could say that yes, I dive into issues often without realising it. As if I long for balance but can only sustain it for a period, and then a crisis of some sort happens. I've never really had stability, so while it's what I want and need, I don't really know what it is. 

 

I began wanting to heal around the age of 24, triggered by really traumatic years being ill and in psych wards etc. Sometimes I'm able to reframe it, i think my confidence in healing has just been shaken so violently with coming off medication. I never imagined this could happen, even though I've had many sudden tragic or painful events in my life. I just thought I was 'past' that kind of thinf, as odd as it sounds. 

 

Prayer is definitely helpful, thank you for the reminder 

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Cleerity

Hi Abby,

 

Sorry to hear you have had such a stressful week.  I hope the weekend finds you taking a positive turn for the better!  I wanted to respond when I was online yesterday afternoon, but I took a phone call and ran out of time, as I needed to depart to pick up my grandchildren for the weekend, both of whom are still asleep right now.  

 

Nature likes balance. What swings one way will inevitably swing back the other way.  Though it can take time, I believe we can eventually learn to rest in the middle ground … and how to bounce back there after other upsetting periods.  I truly hope you find your balanced, restful position. 

 

I may yet find the same thing you have, in that I also think I am “past” some things in my life, but I also know the medications I am on definitely have sedative/tranquilizing effects.  

 

Wishing Peace and Healing,

 

Cleerity

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AbbyElfie

I'm going to try and word this as best I can, I can't seem to communicate all that well but feel I need to write this out. The past week or so was good - I'm terrified of clinging to any positive experience for fear that a crash will occur, but miraculously, I felt some things 'click' together again in my brain. I started a course someone offered me to do for free, positive thinking manifesting success stuff. I actually managed to do some of the exercises and felt my paradigms start to change, things felt new and there was possibility again, along with a fair amount of 'good' feelings. This should be great, and it is, I enjoy it when I can. What troubles me is what happens, and how I reframe those experiences, during a wave or crash.

 

Last night it happened again. I know this is a 'wave', and also possibly made worse by the fact I smoked weed again (I won't lie about it, I am really doing my best to stop. My excuse this time was my back went into spasm and I'd rather have a joint than a diazepam. I did manage several days fine without it, so I know I can do it.) The thing is, these experiences aren't new to me, they are just more frequent in withdrawal. I was lying in bed sort of meditating, as I do often before sleep. I kept going deeper and began to notice how my mind is constantly obsessively evaluating itself, and how crazy it is. No matter how much I know this and have seen it before, it still troubles me that it's so bad. I tried to watch objectively, though. And suddenly had the thought 'you have never experienced God/love/truth, because it just can't be done with this mind'. It was suddenly very painful to realise I have never experienced, really, this love or oneness that I am always seeking. I'm always talking about spiritual stuff and using it to keep me going, but how can any of that be authentic as there is a part of me that believes none of it is real. That there is nothing and no one, this is a cruel, pointless world and no point to anything - I call this slipping into the void lol. Another part of me instantly felt horror because I felt like a fake (this has happened many times before, just different 'flavors' of the same fear/obsession). Instantly my compulsions started, the urge to mentally check and obsessively doubting every thought I had. The reason this 'nothingness' or 'godlessness' is so terrifying is because I've experienced it - so it exists. If that exists in my mind, I have no idea how to rationalise there being love or anything good there also. Because it's a place so dark there just no light possible. It's kind of like deep nihilistic, existential nothingness. The complete absence of love. It makes me want to die.

 

The first time I felt this I was 16. I had 'tastes' of depression as a teen but nothing major. I also had a tendency towards obsessional thinking and anxiety. But one day my world broke apart - I read something online and it triggered a 'what if?' fear (the same way all OCD fears start, I won't go into the content now, I'm not sure it matter much anyway). It was a fear that rendered everything I knew about myself and the world obsolete, and in a matter of minutes my reality shattered. I was alone, terrified, there was nothing there but hopelessness. I can't even describe it, but it's basically that void experience I described above. Immediately the obsessing began - constant 24/7 checking to see if the fear was real, to find relief or to neutralize it. Nothing ever gave relief for long. For the next few years I walked around like a ghost, felt I could not connect with any of my family, my boyfriend or friends because it was no longer 'real', and my reality had been so disturbed I was just constantly doubting and mentally doing checking compulsions, analyzing etc. By the time I was 20 I had abandoned my university course, broke up with my boyfriend, emotionally distanced myself from all friends and family, and was on drugs. Going from party to party, just trying to survive that fear. Hence the medication, being hospitalised, bla bla.

 

So the medication did stop those 'black holes'. But I know I need to face them. I'm not sure if I have some mild kind of ptsd from that first episode, because when it comes up I'm just a helpless teenager all over again. I'm embarrassed of my 'successes' - most people think I've 'done well' as I stopped taking (hard) drugs, I don't drink anymore, I wrote a book, thought I'd recovered when I 'found' spirituality. But when this happens each wave, my reality is shattered all over again. It takes different forms - over the years the obsessional fears have centred around various themes including believing I'm a liar, a paedophile, a sociopath, a narcissist, have committed a crime I've forgotten about, or generally just a pretty bad nasty person. Regardless, it's the same experience. A complete shattering of everything and a return to that place of lovelessness. Like being cut off from God. I'm so embarrassed to be back here, purely because I was silly enough to believe I never, ever would be. I feel like a fake, a coward - I'm basically a very broken, terrified kid inside, so when I have those windows where I'm a semi-confident, productive adult I can never give in to it fully, because this intense experience always comes to tear it away. I'm ashamed at how much I've deceived myself, how I literally have no backbone, and have spent my life trying to figure out who I am through others. Through seeking reassurance, and also being self destructive...now I don't do those obvious destructive things, but instead I'm just one of those suspicious, anxious people who avoids everything out of abject fear. Which isn't a whole lot better.

 

I've swung between these realities for years, save for those 2 years where it all disappeared. I really did regain hope then. But I was on Prozac, it was just masking everything. My deepest fear is that dark place is the 'real' place...that I'm in denial and it will always be there waiting for me, and anything positive or any 'love' I feel - either for people, the world, or just general gratitude each day - is a lie and not real. Rationally I guess these are two extremes, and 'reality' is somewhere in between. But I can never stay there, there's just too much heavily ingrained trauma in my mind. I try to convince myself it's not there, and sometimes it literally disappears, but when it comes back I remember it never did. Recently I started again to believe people when they say 'you are never stuck, you can never go back'. But I'm having a hard time believing that, it feels like no matter what happens it always comes back to this. How does anyone ever trust their mind after something like that? After it happening over and over and over? Often I think I've just resigned myself on some level to just die off slowly as a result of this. There's this huge split and two extremes in me and I have no idea how to live with them in any real way.

 

Maybe I came to spirituality as an automatic survival mechanism. But I so wanted to believe that feeling of being saved, that I was loved unconditionally and there was, at some point, peace waiting for me. I really, really did. But I just don't believe it because of what my mind has 'seen', and that breaks my heart to say. Without faith in anything, there's no hope. The worst thing is, if god or the divine or whatever you want to call it appeared to me in some way, I'd doubt it as an automatic fear mechanism. The doubting is so constant and so relentless, it has driven me to the point of insanity. When I was 17 I remember sitting in the library trying to hold it together, obsessively googling things related to my fear at the time, for up to 8 hours a day. The compulsion to check and find out was so strong, I've spent so many years doing this. While my checking now is not obvious, it's still there, just in a more covert way. I don't spend hours online checking anymore (only occasionally), but my whole day is in some form focused on checking for my safety. And the worst thing is I know on some level how toxic and pointless that is. Reassurance seeking fuels OCD fears. But I can't stop, although I can sometimes slow it down a bit. 

 

Sorry for the length of this, I really needed to get it out. I can't have this conversation with anyone. All I want is to call my Mum and have her hug me while I cry like a baby and be looked after, but I can't do that. I'm not a kid anymore and I don't think my Mum can deal with it because she is just a kid emotionally as well. It feels like there is no help, we're all alone, and I will go around in these awful circles for eternity. I know victim mentality is absolutely not the answer, I really do try and avoid voicing all this for the most part. I just feel, when it comes to existential stuff like this, there is so much loneliness. I want the truth, but know it can only come from me and not anything external, which is terrifying because I just cannot believe in myself. It's too scary a risk to take, and the more traumatised I get the more I fear I'll get worse as I age, rather than better. I always kept hope that things improve with age, but this isn't necessarily true. My mum said jokingly the other day 'I always thought life would work out and get better when I got older, but it's just as awful as ever.' And it's true, she's lived a truly miserable life and tries so hard. She has her faults, but she never gives up, she has looked for love everywhere albeit usually in the wrong places, but inside she has a good heart and yet she is alone with nothing. It's heartbreaking. I want so much to believe things can get better.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Thank you if any of you read this at all, and I'm sorry if it dragged anyone down. I needed to type something out. x

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Cleerity

I read every single word and you did not drag me down one iota.  Quite the contrary, I found your words very courageous and beautifully honest, which is (to me) inspirational.

 

I related to a lot of what you said, including the darkness.

 

After having mentioned Bonnie Greenwell in this thread some days ago, I went to her website to see what she is up to in her life now.  I found she has some essays posted on her site.  One of them is titled "Flashes of Light and Dark."  By the way, I am "not" promoting her, just illuminating how I came about what I am about to share/say.  In that essay on Light and Dark, Bonnie shared some words she said were spoken by the Mother (some woman associated with the teacher Aurobindo).  These are the words:  "When there is a great darkness inside, you can be certain there is a great light."  I think they are true words.  You, of course, do not have to answer, but, In the interest of conversation, I thought I would ask, "why might these words be true?" 

 

 

 

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AbbyElfie
43 minutes ago, Cleerity said:

 "When there is a great darkness inside, you can be certain there is a great light."  I think they are true words.  You, of course, do not have to answer, but, In the interest of conversation, I thought I would ask, "why might these words be true?" 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply. I guess, from that dark place, it's as though the memory of light is what causes so much pain. So the pain itself is almost a reflection of it. In those moments it's as if there is no light, but there can be surrender.

I guess you can't have one without the other, maybe if I stayed long enough in the dark I'd understand it more. But I can never seem to stay there consciously, it devours me and then I go into survival mode. I'll have a look on her site and read the essay you mentioned

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Cleerity
4 minutes ago, AbbyElfie said:

I guess, from that dark place, it's as though the memory of light is what causes so much pain. So the pain itself is almost a reflection of it. In those moments it's as if there is no light, but there can be surrender.

I guess you can't have one without the other, maybe if I stayed long enough in the dark I'd understand it more.

 

I remember the first time someone told me of the "irony of longing,"  for I then longed (very painfully) to be loved and to know love, but all I was experiencing was the distance from it and absence of it (and how empty my life had always been of it).  I was in utter despair.  Having read her words (it was an online acquaintance) I realized (intellectually, but also viscerally) that I could not long for that which I did not already (somehow) "know."  I surmised then that my pain was a necessary release and deep acknowledgment of the lifetime I spent separated from love.  How ever could I truly know and value unconditional love without knowing its opposite?!  Still, I sometimes weep.

 

It is the presence of the light of consciousness inside of us which enables us to apprehend ("see") the darkness inside of us.  I didn't know this as I travelled through my personal hell in deep darkness, utterly terrified I was going mad, constantly whispering desperate prayers for sanity and clarity, to a God I didn't even then believe in.  It was as if my Self (self with a big S) was shining a spot light on all the darkness inside of me...and all I could do was endure it.  

 

Without the light of "consciousness," we would be what?  Blissfully unaware.  Right?  Unconscious.  As they say, ignorance is bliss.  But you are aware.  You have great insight.  You are even able to acknowledge that your mother is still a child inside.  Many people go to their grave never able to understand what you already understand...  When we are healing and growing, there are birthing pains, as we are released from our conditioning.  Do your best to just watch and allow, as you take solace in whatever form of higher power/belief that is "comforting" to you.  Buddhism?  I think you said.

 

I dabbled in a lot of the New Age and with Hinduism and Buddhism.  But I am Christian in my heart ... a Gypsy Christian, as I say.  And Mother Mary works for me.

 

3 hours ago, AbbyElfie said:

miraculously, I felt some things 'click' together again in my brain. I started a course someone offered me to do for free, positive thinking manifesting success stuff. I actually managed to do some of the exercises and felt my paradigms start to change, things felt new and there was possibility again, along with a fair amount of 'good' feelings.

 

This "IS" great.  Keep working on shifting your thoughts.  

 

Oh, I also wanted to let you know that I struggled with validation as well.  Having come from a severely dysfunctional childhood, nothing about my being (thoughts, feelings, pains, fears, emotions, hopes, dreams) was ever validated.  Ultimately, it does have to come from ourselves, but it does take time for us to learn how to do this for ourselves.  I still learn.  So, do be patient.  It would be nice to jump from "here to there," so to speak, but we would miss the learning if we did that.

 

 

 

 

 

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cpuusage

Have posted all this on here before - 

i can't see things in terms of either / or - imo we exist as individuated Beings as part of one reality. We exist at 'levels' of mind, body, soul, spirit & environment - biological, psychogenic, sociological / relational / environmental & soul / spiritual / transpersonal levels - integrated / integral / whole. 
 

Things can go awry on any of those 'levels' / areas & effect other areas. My own experiences i see as differential - aspects of serious illness & spiritual crisis / emergence. 

As a flawed human being i try & work on a balance, between very human areas & a spiritual path & practise. Within such a holistic perspective all life can be seen as ensouled & divine; mineral, plant, animal & human - that the earth is Divine - the Anima Mundi / World Soul - Solar Logos - Galactic Central Sun - Universal Life Force - that all is part of / from Source / the Absolute - that we exist within a conscious, deeply intelligent, aware Universe / Cosmos / reality. The everyday, human, mundane, physical, society / culture is still part of the whole of reality, it is still real & exists. i find that understanding a help - that everything is part of the whole, real & valid. There is No dichotomy / duality from a 'higher' perspective. 

 

i feel that the Ancient Vedic Mystics had it 'all worked out', as have others - All is Brahman - 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

 

The Three Simultaneously True Levels of Nondual Reality

(one Absolutely True, the other two “relatively true”)

3 - Conventional level 
2 - Psychic-Soul level 
1 - ONLY GOD 

 

https://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/3_levels_of_nondual_Reality.html

 

Spiritual, but not Religious, but not Secular: Spirituality and its New Cultural Formations (Lecture draft)

www.academia.edu/37804743/Spiritual_but_not_Religious_but_not_Secular_Spirituality_and_its_New_Cultural_Formations_Lecture_draft_?email_work_card=title

The contemplative traditions, universal wisdom / perennial philosophy, universal spiritual principles / practise & actions, nondualism & certain themes within certain human experience, do appear to have universal / perennial aspects. Within a comparative religious / mythological / spiritual study, despite cultural / time differences etc, there is far more similarity than difference, & it all appears to flow from the 'same' source. 

List of basic, universal spiritual principles -

www.allisnow.com/blog/spiritual-principles/

Nondualism -

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nondualism

Self-realization

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-realization

Enlightenment (spiritual)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_(spiritual)

Perennial Wisdom -

www.theosociety.org/pasadena/ts/pere_wis.htm

Individuation -

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation

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cpuusage

There has been a lot of work done exploring the question of differential diagnosis (psychological / emotional difficulties [psychopathology] & spiritual emergence / experience). 

 

i am more familiar however with the areas of research within psychotic disorders / schizophrenia in relation to spiritual crisis / emergence / emergency. 

Differential diagnosis between spiritual experiences and mental disorders of religious content - 

 

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0101-60832009000200006&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

 

Differential Diagnosis of Spiritual Crisis & Psychotic Disorders

 

http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/dsm4/lesson5_1.asp

 

i found this quite a good more contemporary book on the subject - 

 

In Case of Spiritual Emergency

Moving Successfully Through Your Awakening

By Catherine G. Lucas

 

She also wrote - Coping with a Mental Health Crisis

 

One perspective on 

Depression:
Soul's Quest 
for Depth, Meaning & Wholeness

http://www.jungcircle.com/depression.html

by Maureen B. Roberts. PhD

 

But i also feel that there is no end to all the information / suggestions / opinions on it all, a lot of it all really saying very similar things within just different words / terms. 

 

i think that Carl Jung went into the most depth on the mapping of the human psyche. 

 

Of course there is also a very natural desire to feel well & good. There is a drive for physical, psychological / emotional, relational & spiritual health & well-being. & yes there is always the potential for healing, but healing does not always mean cure, & people do seem to vary greatly in presentation & prognosis of illness. i do feel that there is what can be considered to be more mental illness, what is more spiritual crisis / emergence & what is more differential. Not to deny that we are all ensouled. It is just so individual, in depth & complex when it comes to what is considered to be mental health conditions. 

 

 

 

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cpuusage

i used to read / research these areas all the time. i'm not sure that there are any categorical answers to it all? Dunno if any of the following can help? 

 

Wilson Van Dusen, a clinical psychologist, categorized his patients' hallucinations, and came to believe that the work of Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), which categorized human experience as a series of interactions with spirits, was a model for Van Dusen's observations of hallucinations.

www.theisticpsychology.org/books/w.vandusen/presence_spirits.htm

In an article at the John Mack Institute, Virginia Goodchild wrote -

It is possible, therefore, that the encounter experience is a contemporary form of an ancient mystical knowledge or gnosis, that is, knowledge that comes from the reality of visionary or revelatory states, that are also taking place in an actual "space" of the soul, or subtle vehicle. Such experiences also make it imperative that we expand our dichotomous worldview to include once again these other levels of reality, that in fact are by no means new, but recover an ancient multidimensionality.

Source - en.citizendium.org/wiki/Transpersonal_psychology

 

"Sometimes, a person can have a combination of symptoms that require treatment for medical or psychiatric conditions -- and also need support for a spiritual emergence that may be taking place. Boisen is an example of someone who had a psychiatric condition that became the impetus for spiritual growth.

Swedenborg wrote a lot on the process of "regeneration" -- or spiritual growth -- where there can be many stages and types of experiences. He might say today that some things considered "psychosis" or illness are actually ways in which one is experiencing regeneration. But, then, Swedenborg preferred "both/and" to "either/or." So he would probably say that many experiences could be BOTH part of a spiritual awakening AND a psychiatric or medical condition"

Regeneration or psychosis, Swedenborgian Community

A very substantial document on the subject - 

The differentiation of psychosis & spiritual emergency - 

digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/47986/8/02whole.pdf 

by Sandi Crain | Sciences 360

Mystical Psychosis: Picking Up Where Jung Left Off

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions"-Joel 2:28 (KJV)

"I felt like I obeyed God and there will be good out of this. . . I feel like He will reveal His power and they will be raised up. They will become alive again"-Deanna Laney after she stoned two of her children to death because God told her to.

"So habitual is the trance of ordinary life that one could say that human beings are a race that sleeps and awakens, but does not awaken fully. Because the half-awake is sufficient for the task we customarily do, few of us are aware of the dysfunction of our condition"-Arthur J. Deikman.

In the 1970s, Arthur Deikman (a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco) introduced the term "mystical psychosis" to the psychiatric world. Himself a student of Zen, Sufism, and the Human Potential Movement of the 1960s, he sought to understand those who have experiences similar to mystical experiences but yet are not socially acceptable. The experience may be a psychotic episode brought on by extreme stress or substance abuse but may not be pathological. This could mean that the person guilty of killing because God told them to do it may never be tempted to do it again once the trigger for this altered state of consciousness is eliminated or at least understood by the subject who experienced it.

This particular field of research is not without precedence. Carl Jung, one of the father's of modern psychiatry, had no problem accepting mystical experiences in his work. As his peer and rival Sigmund Freud was exploring the psycho-sexual nature of humanity, Jung was delving into the spiritual and paranormal aspects of human nature. Jung, himself, was no stranger to unexplained phenomena. As a young man he was convinced his own stress and temperament caused a dining room table to crack down the middle (psycho-kinetic energy). And, throughout his life he experienced visions, premonitions, and telepathic communications. Although he didn't speak much about it until his career was well established, the spiritual and paranormal were always in his thoughts when he psychoanalyzed patients. So much so that he suspected those we consider autistic are in multiple dimensions at one time rather than fully in the 3-D physical world most of us are accustomed to.

Arthur Deikman and his view of "mystical psychosis" is a step forward from Jung's point of view. In a society in which Freud's animalistic view of human nature dominates, Deikman's work can be seen as courageous. We've been conditioned to believe that there is no unseen spiritual world. A person who has a truly mystical experience is obviously insane so why bother trying to understand that the person who thinks God told them to hurt someone might just be having an isolated spiritual breakdown?

Fortunately, the works of those like Jung and Deikman are respected in certain psychiatric circles. In 2003, the Dalai Lama and a group of Buddhist monks shared thoughts and spiritual expertise with neuroscientists and psychologists at MIT. Both groups walked away understanding more about the human mind. And, just this year (2009), The Center for Mystical Psychosis, founded by Rob Sacco, seeks to help others deal with the mystical psychotic experiences in their lives. In the exact words from their website, "psychiatrists can no longer afford to neglect the importance of mystical experiences to their patient's lives".

"True spirituality-the authentic religious journey-can never be an escape from life's problems. God, the sacred center at the source of all authentic spiritual journeys, must be met in the midst of life, not in the escape from life. Today we live in a global age-and age of planetary exploration and communications and new global interdependencies. Our spiritual journey-our search for life in God-must be worked out now in a global context, in the midst of global crises and global community. Our spirituality must be a global spirituality"-Carl Jung.

www.deikman.com/

www.seedsofunfolding.org/issues/11_08/feature_english.htm

Early in my psychiatric career, while treating psychotic patients who had experiences with powerful religious imagery, I started wondering whether the great mystics of the past would have been considered the psychotic patients of the present, and whether the patients I was caring for would have been considered great saints in the past. Is the mystic psychotic? Is the psychotic patient a misunderstood mystic?
When comparing the following two accounts, can you distinguish which one is a description of a psychotic episode and which one a mystical experience?

1

All at once, without warning of any kind, I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant I thought of fire, an immense conflagration somewhere close by in that great city; the next, I knew that the fire was within myself. Directly afterward there came upon me a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Among other things, I did not merely come to believe, but I saw that the universe is not composed of dead matter, but is, on the contrary, a living Presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal; that the cosmic order is such that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world, of all the worlds, is what we call love, and the happiness of each and all is in the long run absolutely certain.1

2

From the first, the experience seemed to me to be holy. What I saw was the Power of Love—the name came to me at once—the Power that I knew somehow to have made all the universes, past, present and to come; to be utterly infinite, an infinity of infinities, to have conquered the Power of Hate, its opposite, and thus created the sun, the moon, the planets, the earth, light, life, joy and peace, never ending…. In that peace I felt utterly and completely forgiven, relieved from all burden of sin. The whole infinity seemed to open up before me, and during the weeks and months that followed I passed through experiences which are virtually indescribable. The complete transformation of “reality” transported me as it were into the Kingdom of Heaven. I feel so close to God, so inspired by His Spirit, that in a sense I am God. I see the future, plan the Universe, save mankind; I am utterly and completely immortal; I am even male and female. The whole Universe, animate and inanimate, past, present and future is within me; all things are possible.2

Similarities

It is clear to me that psychotic and mystical experiences have many characteristics in common.

Intense subjectivity. The person is totally focused inwardly. There is a compelling attraction to what is happening inside so that the outside world and daily ordinary aspects of life seem irrelevant. The external world is only relevant to the extent that it reflects the profound subjective experience the person is going through.

Sense of noesis. Something very important is happening to the person. In both types of experiences, the person’s attention is riveted with a sense that an important message or knowledge is being discovered.

Ineffable quality. Both psychosis and mystical experience are very intense situations which the person has trouble putting into words. One simply cannot communicate all the richness and intensity encountered. Both types of experience transcend the rational and usual, ordinary way of experiencing life.

Loss of self-object boundaries. Both experiences are often accompanied by a loss of ego boundaries. One experiences a sense of oneness with others, nature, the universe as a whole. New connections between oneself and the external world are discovered. The clear boundaries of inside (self) and outside (other) are blurred. There is an expansion in the sense of self and how one defines oneself.

Distortion of time sense. In both situations, the linear sense of time (past—present—future) is lost, with the present appearing as the only reality. The intensity of the experience in the present gives the sense that it is eternal, lasting forever.

Perceptual changes. Heightened perceptions in all sensory modalities, synesthesias and hallucinatory phenomena (especially visual and auditory) are very common.

Intense affective experiences. Both involve intense emotions. Great ecstasy and great moments of terror are often described. The more negative affective experiences tend to be more common in psychosis, but they can be experienced in either.

Attempt at renewal and healing. The mystical experience involves an expansion of one’s present state of consciousness. It is the attempt of the psyche to transcend a limited identification of self. It is the psyche’s effort to break the boundaries of the personality totally trapped in the ego. The mystic sees his/her connection with all of life, and through that new vision expands his/her identity and sense of self. The mystical experiences heal the narrow, limited concept of the self, transforming that smallness into a being more deeply connected with all of life.

Psychosis is also an attempt at renewal and healing. The person has reached an impasse in his/her psychological life, and the only way it can be resolved is through such a drastic transformation. John Percy, in The Far Side of Madness,3 talks about psychosis as an attempt of the psyche to borrow the energy and images of the archetypal layer in the unconscious to heal a broken sense of self. He describes how in acute psychosis the individual goes through a process of death, rebirth and renewal symbolically to heal him/herself.

Altered states of consciousness appear after a period of preparation or restlessness followed by a sudden realization. Evelyn Underhill describes this progression from preparation to sudden mystical experience in her book Mysticism.4 Malcolm Bowers, in Retreat from Sanity,5 describes this process of increased anxiety, altered states and sudden psychotic realization in the psychotic patient. Peter Buckley explains the similarity in the altered states of consciousness in mysticism and psychosis by “the possibility that there is a limited repertoire of response within the central nervous system for such altered state experiences even though the precipitants for entering this altered state may be extremely different.”6

Differences

Even though there are many similarities between the phenomenology and subjective experiences of mysticism and psychosis, there are also some major differences. As Ram Dass said in a conference on Buddhism and Psychotherapy: “The psychotic brother thinks he is Jesus Christ and only he. I think I’m Jesus Christ, and everyone else too.”

Attachment to the world. The mystic, through practices of self-control, concentration and study, gradually reduces his/her attachment to the world. The mystic sees the material world as transitory and values that which he/she perceives as more permanent, eternal.

The psychotic also detaches from the world in that he/she focuses on inner experiences to the exclusion of socially established rules of behavior. But the psychotic is also highly subjected to profound and intense reactions to whatever is in front of him/her. His/her ego boundaries are easily broken down, and because of the incapacity to control emotions, it is easy for the psychotic to shift from one state to another very quickly, leaving the patient with a disruption of any sense of continuity in his/her sense of self and the world.

Self-image. The mystic reduces his/her sense of self to a minimum. The mystic wants to be an infinitesimal point of consciousness, with the smallest possible ego, so that he/she can perceive life in the least distorted way. The personality is seen as a barrier, a filter that does not allow one’s consciousness to perceive life in its truest form. Humility before the enormity of the universe is a common attitude in the mystic.

The psychotic sees him/herself as omnipotent and omniscient. There is a great increase in self-centeredness, with a feeling of being all-important. He/she is the center of the world, and only he/she is sufficiently important to matter.

Ego-identity is shed by the mystic. He/she works to transcend the smallness of ego and tries to find a more expansive sense of self. The psychotic has never acquired a strong ego identity and often clings to whatever fragments he or she can find of him/herself.

Serenity increases in the mystic through detachment to the temporal and transient. The mystic identifies with the eternal, that which is most sacred and valuable. In that deep identification, the mystic finds peace and inner tranquility. The psychotic, however, finds little serenity in his/her life. The emotional and mental life of the psychotic is completely fragmented: fear and lack of control of one’s mind are the predominant states.

Change is welcomed by the mystic, who is open to new possibilities. The psychotic person tends to reject change, for anything new brings with it a whole set of circumstances to learn to deal with. This frightens the psychotic patient since he/she has little ego-identity or inner strength with which to meet the new situation.

Thought processes are not disrupted in the mystical experience. In the psychotic experience thinking usually becomes fragmented and disordered.

Aggressive or paranoid elements are found exclusively in the psychotic experience, sometimes to the point of being impossible to control.

Hallucinatory experiences tend to be visual in nature for the mystic. Often these are described as visions of light, superior beings and beautiful panoramic phenomena of a most positive nature. The psychotic tends more often to experience auditory hallucinations, which are usually negative and frightening because they are projected, unacceptable thoughts that person has and can no longer keep buried in the unconscious.

Limited in time characterizes the mystical experience. It is usually short-lived, but it always leaves an intense impression upon the memory and has a profound impact on the person who experiences it. It leaves one with a new sense of oneself and the world.

Psychosis can become a chronic condition.

The consequence of the experience is the most important difference between mysticism and psychosis, and I believe that it often is the only way to truly differentiate between the two.

The mystical experience leaves the mystic more connected and involved in the world. He/she expands his/her capacity to love and to serve. The mystic becomes more appreciative of the beauty and the miracle of life. The mystical experience leaves the individual with a feeling of reverence for all life, embracing every aspect of life and death as sacred.

Psychosis unfortunately most often leaves the person more self-centered. It narrows his/her possibilities of connection with the world because the psychotic needs to protect him/herself from the anxiety that such a connection produces. The psychotic reduces his/her capacity to love because he/she cannot forget him/herself. The psychotic spends so much energy on survival that there is little psychic energy left for more.
There are times when it is very difficult to know what it is that a person is going through, and it is only the result of the experience which clarifies retrospectively what it was.

Most importantly, I hope this discussion will make us more sensitive to the personal, subjective experience of others. We need to remain open and respectful, without judgment, helping the psychotic to heal and the mystic to live fully all the possibilities latent in the human soul.

References:

1. Burke’s description of his mystical experience as quoted in: William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience. Macmillan Publishing Co., 1902, Collier Book Edition, 1961, pp. 313-314.

2. John Custance’s description of his psychotic experiences as quoted in: Peter Buckley, “Mystical Experience and Schizophrenia.” Schizophrenia Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1981, p. 517.

3. John Perry, The Far Side of Madness. Englewood, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1974.

4. Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1955.

5. Malcolm Bowers, Retreat from Sanity. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1973.

6. Buckley, p. 521.

This article was originally published in Seeds of Unfolding, Vol. VI, No. 4, Fall 1989. It is one of a number of papers written by Dr. Tomás Agosin, a psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and a founding member of Cafh in New York. Dr. Agosin died in 1991.

www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/15/237

Conclusions

During the last decades, research on the etiology of psychosis has predominantly focused on various biological factors. The high level of childhood trauma and insecure avoidant attachment in patients with chronic psychosis as well as their association with symptoms and coping abilities lend support to the investigation of psychological and environmental variables in future research on this condition. Among other, the relationship, in particular in terms of causality, between symptoms and attachment categories represents a major issue, due to the obvious clinical implications it entails. Indeed, the present cross sectional research, but also other research involving follow-up [8] cannot disentangle this problem of causality. This warrants further research on the pathways leading both to psychosis and adult attachment insecurity. That should foster clinicians to shift from a fixed, fatalist stance, for example when facing negative symptoms in the field of relationships with significant others, to a view more concerned with an attachment related stance. That would allow clinicians to place attachment in the core of their psychosocial intervention, instead of reducing patients experience to fixed, biological impairments. Another issue important for clinicians is that patients with unstable attachment may need increased attention and specific interventions in current rehabilitation settings. Approaches involving this domain (e.g. those fostering mentalizing capacities) may be useful in this perspective.

Other studies showed that patients with chronic psychosis can use spirituality as a positive resource for coping (e.g. [17]). In this research, one of the underlying dimensions of the attachment theory which supports these previous data has been highlighted. In particular, it appears that some processes involved in spiritual coping might induce deep psychological changes. At the same time, spiritual beliefs and practices may constitute a privileged window through which to examine IWMs and their transformations.

www.globalfreedommovement.org/a-bridge-to-the-mystical-the-entanglement-of-physics-and-mysticism/

On the Entanglement of Physics and Mysticism
An excerpt from Chapter 4 of The Grand Illusion

While pre-quantum/Newtonian physics is typically a good approximation for objects much larger than molecules, we know that this worldview is fatally flawed. In fact, where initially it was supposed that nonlocal entanglement could not be evinced by anything other than quanta in specially controlled circumstances, we now know it is a fundamental aspect of reality. To illustrate the point, the entanglement of holmium atoms in a tiny chip of magnetic salt has been unexpectedly observed in the laboratory, showing that “big” things like atoms, and not just photons and electrons (individual quanta), can be entangled. More recently (December 2011), it was announced by a group of physicists that two diamonds approximately 3 mm in size and separated by about 6 inches were successfully entangled at room temperature.[ii]

Previously, it was believed that once things got to the level of atoms and molecules, the universe started acting strictly deterministically again, according to predictable Newtonian laws. This is no longer a scientifically viable view. A review of developments on entanglement research in March 2004 by New Scientist writer Michael Brooks concluded that “Physicists now believe that entanglement between particles exists everywhere, all the time.”[iii]

Wide-scale or “nonspecific entanglement” has been experimentally validated in many ways. For example, around 1956 Pavel Naumov conducted animal biocommunication studies between a submerged Soviet Navy submarine and a shore research station. These tests involved a mother rabbit and her newborn litter. According to Naumov, scientists put the baby rabbits on board the submarine, but kept the mother rabbit in a laboratory on shore where they implanted electrodes in her brain. When the submarine was submerged, assistants killed the babies one by one. At each precise moment of death, the mother’s brain produced detectable and recordable reactions.[iv] Many examples can be found in Soviet literature dealing with dogs, bears, birds, insects, and fish in conjunction with basic psychotronic (psi) research. The Pavlov Institute in Moscow may have been involved in animal telepathy until 1970.[v] Researchers such as David Wilcock and Richard Hoagland posit that these nonlocal interactions are facilitated by the hyperdimensional torsion/spin waves of the unified field/aether (or gravity, as Wilcock emphasizes in The Source Field Investigations) we are all immersed in. We will look further at torsion and nonlocality between sentient beings soon.

[Rest in Link]


www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/16/can-madness-save-the-world/

by Paris Williams

Over the years of my explorations into psychosis and human evolution, a very interesting irony became increasingly apparent. It is well known that people who fall into those deeply transformative and chaotic states typically referred to as “psychosis” often feel at different points throughout their journeys that they have received a special calling to save the world, or at least the human race. Indeed, this experience played a particularly prominent role in my own extreme states, as well as within those of at least two of my own family members. From a pathological perspective, this is often referred to as a kind of “delusion of grandeur,” though in my own research and writing, I have come to feel that the term “heroic (or messianic) striving” is generally more accurate and helpful. The great irony I have come to appreciate is that while I think it’s true that these individuals are often experiencing some degree of confusion, mixing up different realms of experience (for example, mixing up collective or archetypal realms with consensus reality, or confusing unitive consciousness with dualistic/egoic consciousness), I have come to feel that perhaps the key to saving the world, or at least the human species, may in fact actually be revealed within these extreme experiences. To better explain this, let me first go over some key concepts.

[Rest in Link]
 

Seth Farber has also written extensively on these areas - as have others - 

www.sethhfarber.com/ 
 
Endless amounts of books / research papers / web sites / articles on it all. 


 

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cpuusage

Sorry for all the posts / information - a few of the quotes that i have collected over the years on all this - 

"Once upon a time, scientists assumed they had the keys to absolute knowledge. The last hundred and fifty years has brought us to acknowledge there is no such thing within the realm of standard human perception and reason. When it comes to facts alive and well in the real world, we can make some pretty good stabs at the truth. When it comes to questions of the future, we can make limited speculations. When it comes to knowing the origin of things, empirical materialism is completely out of its realm. Perhaps we are ready today to recognize a place for the inner vision of the prophet and the mystic."

"Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don't they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering you are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion. Yes, maybe they are crazy, these divine fools. Maybe they are mumbling idiots in the face of the Abyss. Maybe they need a nice, understanding therapist. Yes, I'm sure that would help. But then, I wonder. Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity — a total embrace of the entire Kosmos — a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It's at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?"


Ken Wilber, in A Brief History of Everything (1996)

“The entire world we apprehend through our senses is no more than a tiny fragment in the vastness of Nature.”


~ Max Planck

- Tzvi Freeman

"If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind's clothings
with more sooty knowledge.

No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.

For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.

So don't just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.

Jump now into the space
between thoughts
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down."

~ Adyashanti

"Our essence is beyond space and time, aware of itself as a part of infinity. I'll call this Spirit


This essence puts a very small part of itself - the soul - into the world of space and time, incarnation, and so develops its consciousness through experiencing duality.
After hundreds or even thousands of incarnations, the soul is ready to merge into its spirit and continue its evolution in worlds beyond our imagination.

The soul itself creates another layer - the personality or ego - which is the vehicle of consciousness for the soul in one particular life time.

In Western culture the soul is strongly encouraged to forget its own identity, and to identify itself solely with its personality. This makes for a cheap, obedient workforce.

Spiritual emergence in this model occurs when identification with the personality/ego is broken, even for only a moment. The personality/ego has to come to terms with the realisation that there is much more to life than it had realised (made real).

Once this limited identification is broken, the ego will desire to return to its old way of life, yet usually has to concede it has a bigger purpose than it wants to know about. Consensual reality no longer works for it, so it must experiment and create a larger map of reality.

Often ego inflation occurs at this stage. The ego has a strong sense of separation, yet has had a glimpse of the immensity of the universal mind. It may then decide it is the messiah or God or a chosen saviour. As a spirit, it is indeed God, however as a soul and ego, it is still evolving to become God incarnate.

A spiritual emergence is a part of the evolutionary process when awareness shifts from ego to soul. With mindfulness, we can observe if our thoughts, emotions and actions arise from our ego - that strong sense of a separate me - or from the soul.

Eventually, the ego has had enough of suffering, and is ready to accept it is a part of a much greater being than it believed itself to be, and to be grateful for that."

Heed these words, You who wish to probe the depths of nature: If you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither will you find it outside. In you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Know Thyself and you will know the Universe and the Gods.


Delphi Oracle

Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall, while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then Return to the Source. Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the Way of Nature.

~ Lao Tsu ~
Tao Te Ching

"We are so addicted, either to materialism or to transcending material reality, that we don’t see God right in front of us, in the beggar, the starving child, the brokenhearted woman; in our friend; in the cat; in the flea. We miss it..

All mystical systems are addicted to transcending this reality. This addiction is part of the reason why the world is being destroyed. The monotheistic religions honor an off-planet God and would sacrifice this world and its attachments to the adoration of that God.

But the God I met was both immanent and transcendent. This world is not an illusion, and the philosophies that say it is are half-baked half-truths. In an authentic mystical experience, the world does disappear and reveal itself as the dance of the divine consciousness.

But then it reappears, and you see that everything you are looking at is God, and everything you’re touching is God. This vision completely shatters you."

~Andrew Harvey
 

"There is an enormous amount of information that is continuously flowing in from the world through the senses, the tissues of the organs of your body. Only a small part of this information reaches your conscious mind.... Who decides what will finally make its way to your conscious mind from all the material that is pouring in from the world? Three decisive filters: first your attachments, second your beliefs and third your fears. Your attachments: You will inevitably look for what fosters or threatens them and turn a blind eye to the rest. You won't be interested in the rest anymore than the avaricious businessman is interested in anything that does not involve the making of money. 
.
Your beliefs: Just take a look at a fanatic who only notices what confirms his/her belief and blocks out whatever threatens it and you will understand what your beliefs are doing to you. And then your fears: If you knew you were to be executed in a week's time it would wonderfully concentrate your mind to the exclusion of everything else. That is what fears do; they irresistibly rivet your attention on to some things to the exclusion of others. You falsely think that your fears protect you, your beliefs have made you what you are and your attachments make your life exciting and secure. You fail to see that they are actually a screen between you and life's symphony. "

~ Anthony de Mello (20th century Indian Catholic mystic)

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence. To understand the true nature of the universe, one must think it terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 

— Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943)

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cpuusage

i won't post any more articles / links in this thread & i know that some of it is probably in the other thread. Move to there if not OK here. Just thought some specific replies may help. 

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AbbyElfie
20 hours ago, Cleerity said:

It is the presence of the light of consciousness inside of us which enables us to apprehend ("see") the darkness inside of us.  I didn't know this as I travelled through my personal hell in deep darkness, utterly terrified I was going mad, constantly whispering desperate prayers for sanity and clarity, to a God I didn't even then believe in.  It was as if my Self (self with a big S) was shining a spot light on all the darkness inside of me...and all I could do was endure it.  

 

Your words are comforting, thank you. It helps just to know others have been through similar. It makes a lot of sense that the only reason it's so painful in the first place is because you are 'missing' something you already have. I feel as though so many wires are crossed and I'm frantically trying to pull something together, but also know that won't get me anywhere either. I'm afraid of allowing myself to 'feel better', but can't keep running on the same patterns and getting stuck in this loop. I appreciate being able to talk here, I'm not great at communicating with people in person anymore. There just seems like there's so much to process and instead of doing so I end up swimming in it, just stuck. How did I end up complicating something so simple? lol

 

2 hours ago, cpuusage said:

Just thought some specific replies may help.  

 

Hi cpuusage, thank you for posting those links/quotes. There's a lot of good info there. While I know on some level that there is no division, and things are not 'this' or 'that', there's a part of me that overtakes that seems to aggressively divide everything. Like a really unconscious part of my psyche. With regards to the part about mental illness/spiritual emergency - this is where I began to fall into crisis this time last year. Initially I felt it was some sort of spiritual awakening, but as time went on I've become increasingly doubtful. I don't think I'm becoming more at peace, in fact I'm afraid that I'm becoming more self absorbed. Well, I know I am. I can even be (verbally) aggressive if I'm around people too long, I notice how defensive and egotistical I sound in most conversations, my relationships have all suffered, I feel more and more disconnected from others - I feel like I'm not a very nice or purposeful person in general, and maybe now I'm just seeing that and have to somehow accept it.

 

Several people have said to me, 'you're an old soul', and this confuses me. One part of me, at times, believes I am intuitive, aware, even wise and compassionate. Then when this 'switch' happens and all the panic with it, I feel terrible for believing that. The 'other' part of me is terrified, cowardly, fearful, defensive, selfish...totally opposite. I just think, surely an 'old soul' (however you interpret that) wouldn't have this 'side' of them. The extreme self doubt leads me to believe I must be this selfish person in reality, and all the other stuff was delusion. I either think I'm quite good (not necessarily better, although I now am aware of a lot of narcissistic thoughts), or else really bad. Either way this vicious merry-go-round of obsessing over it causes me to just go into meltdown. I figure, if I have no idea who I am the only way I can survive is by not relating to the world as much as I can - avoiding people, blocking it out (until I can't), staying away from people. These episodes flare up and I'm just in danger mode constantly, trying to hyper rationalise everything even though I know how pointless that is. It spirals and I think god, no 'good' person would be experiencing this. I was deluded all along. Yet within hours or days I'm behaving 'normally' again and it's a relief..before I suddenly remember 'this is an illusion', and fall back into fear and shame again. What if this is me just realising I am a deluded narcissist deep down? What do I do with that? This feels similar to previous ocd fears that weren't rational at all, but I just can't see what's real or not. I am constantly on guard for feeling good about myself, because my brain instantly goes 'see, you're self centered, it's true'. I won't allow myself to have confident thoughts about myself or positivity if it makes me feel good, because I've somehow felt I've 'realised' my very being is 'wrong' or harmful. So I can't 'enjoy' anything, as it would be delusion. Yet, ironically, this in itself makes me more selfish because I go into addictive, self protect mode - seeking addictive behaviours for relief, doing things for an ego boost, buying myself things. Then I feel good for a while and suddenly, the guilt hits as I've 'proven' I'm this bad person, and the cycle starts again. This is all quite difficult to explain.

 

I don't necessarily expect answers to this by the way, I'm just venting. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts, I've no idea how much of this is 'me' and how much of it is withdrawal. I either feel really ashamed or else like I should be feeling more ashamed. My survival mechanism this year has been to generally just try to go with the 'good' windows and deal with the guilt etc afterwards during a crash, whenever it comes. Which it does every few weeks usually, along with two massive episodes in the last 6 months. It's no way to live really, because I cycle back round and always know how split I am really. I can;t help but think what I will do the rest of my life, although I know it's not helpful to think that way. I've no idea how I will ever form a proper human relationship, or hold down a job, let along do any of the things I wanted to do beyond that. But I keep going all the same, because that's just what you do. At this point, too, I'm really just sick of my whole boring story. Bla.

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Cleerity
36 minutes ago, AbbyElfie said:

I don't necessarily expect answers to this by the way, I'm just venting

 

It's good to have a venue like this where one can express what is inside and have it accepted without judgment.  However you end up framing/defining your experience, remember that "old souls" also get entangled in all the trenches/conditioning of the human experience.  There is no escaping the conditions into which we are born.  I think if people tell you they see the eyes and light of an old and wise soul inside of you, they are probably correct, but remember you are also/simultaneously having a human experience defined by the life circumstances (and all its entrapments) into which you were born.  It was very helpful for me to be reminded by another that my "Self" chose this life, as painstaking and unbearable as it often seemed to my little self.  Shadow is a bugger.  Accepting that all possibilities of personality and temperament reside within us is humbling.  In my opinion, all that any part of us ever really wanted to know is that it is love. Love is the way.  

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Cleerity
4 hours ago, cpuusage said:

And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity — a total embrace of the entire Kosmos — a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature

 

I would not say I have made it to the highest reaches of evolution, but I can share that I did touch infinity.  I would guess that many mystics have touched this ... and perhaps only touched, as I am not sure it is a state a human being can live from.  The energy/experience of it was out of this world, to say the least.  But it seemed an experience I was destined to have, for it called to me for weeks.  While I will not share all the details here, when I resolved to "let go" to the experience, I first perceived myself (my consciousness) as the primordial black nothingness from which creation erupted.  I felt "ancient" with a capital "A."  No words I can share will ever do the experience justice.  Only one's imagination can help.  Primordial, vast, bottomless, eternal, black (DARK), powerful, empty, full, vacuum, yet containing all potentialities and possibilities.  When the energy reached my brow chakra, I felt alien consciousness inside of me (strange as that sounds ... though I do not believe it was alien in the literal or understood sense of the word), and then I experienced the energy of creation reaching out into infinity, never, never ending infinity...vast, vast reaches, forever expanding into the furthest reaches of the cosmos, and beyond...

 

You share interesting things cpu, but, I admit, I am no longer inclined to delve into all of them any longer.  Or, at least, not at this time in my life.   As you indicated, all lives are highly individual.  It felt good, however, to share the above somewhat publicly, as none others have ever heard it save my Jungian analysts.  I also do not want to hijack Abby's thread here.  And, there are times in our life when less is more/enough.   

 

I absolutely loved the poem of Adyashanti's that you shared.  I had the good pleasure of attending one of his retreats some years ago and penned a poem while there and he ended up closing the retreat with his reading it before the group.  He first called my name to identify me, and I shrunk inside and got all anxious, not then ready, I guess, to accept my own worth.

 

Abby, my apology if it seems like I or cpu have hijacked your thread.   Honestly, it it just that your expression/conversation has also opened my sharing/disclosure of things I also feel I have to keep from the mainstream.

 

I remain ears listening.

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cpuusage
9 hours ago, AbbyElfie said:

 

Your words are comforting, thank you. It helps just to know others have been through similar. It makes a lot of sense that the only reason it's so painful in the first place is because you are 'missing' something you already have. I feel as though so many wires are crossed and I'm frantically trying to pull something together, but also know that won't get me anywhere either. I'm afraid of allowing myself to 'feel better', but can't keep running on the same patterns and getting stuck in this loop. I appreciate being able to talk here, I'm not great at communicating with people in person anymore. There just seems like there's so much to process and instead of doing so I end up swimming in it, just stuck. How did I end up complicating something so simple? lol

 

 

Hi cpuusage, thank you for posting those links/quotes. There's a lot of good info there. While I know on some level that there is no division, and things are not 'this' or 'that', there's a part of me that overtakes that seems to aggressively divide everything. Like a really unconscious part of my psyche. With regards to the part about mental illness/spiritual emergency - this is where I began to fall into crisis this time last year. Initially I felt it was some sort of spiritual awakening, but as time went on I've become increasingly doubtful. I don't think I'm becoming more at peace, in fact I'm afraid that I'm becoming more self absorbed. Well, I know I am. I can even be (verbally) aggressive if I'm around people too long, I notice how defensive and egotistical I sound in most conversations, my relationships have all suffered, I feel more and more disconnected from others - I feel like I'm not a very nice or purposeful person in general, and maybe now I'm just seeing that and have to somehow accept it.

 

Several people have said to me, 'you're an old soul', and this confuses me. One part of me, at times, believes I am intuitive, aware, even wise and compassionate. Then when this 'switch' happens and all the panic with it, I feel terrible for believing that. The 'other' part of me is terrified, cowardly, fearful, defensive, selfish...totally opposite. I just think, surely an 'old soul' (however you interpret that) wouldn't have this 'side' of them. The extreme self doubt leads me to believe I must be this selfish person in reality, and all the other stuff was delusion. I either think I'm quite good (not necessarily better, although I now am aware of a lot of narcissistic thoughts), or else really bad. Either way this vicious merry-go-round of obsessing over it causes me to just go into meltdown. I figure, if I have no idea who I am the only way I can survive is by not relating to the world as much as I can - avoiding people, blocking it out (until I can't), staying away from people. These episodes flare up and I'm just in danger mode constantly, trying to hyper rationalise everything even though I know how pointless that is. It spirals and I think god, no 'good' person would be experiencing this. I was deluded all along. Yet within hours or days I'm behaving 'normally' again and it's a relief..before I suddenly remember 'this is an illusion', and fall back into fear and shame again. What if this is me just realising I am a deluded narcissist deep down? What do I do with that? This feels similar to previous ocd fears that weren't rational at all, but I just can't see what's real or not. I am constantly on guard for feeling good about myself, because my brain instantly goes 'see, you're self centered, it's true'. I won't allow myself to have confident thoughts about myself or positivity if it makes me feel good, because I've somehow felt I've 'realised' my very being is 'wrong' or harmful. So I can't 'enjoy' anything, as it would be delusion. Yet, ironically, this in itself makes me more selfish because I go into addictive, self protect mode - seeking addictive behaviours for relief, doing things for an ego boost, buying myself things. Then I feel good for a while and suddenly, the guilt hits as I've 'proven' I'm this bad person, and the cycle starts again. This is all quite difficult to explain.

 

I don't necessarily expect answers to this by the way, I'm just venting. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts, I've no idea how much of this is 'me' and how much of it is withdrawal. I either feel really ashamed or else like I should be feeling more ashamed. My survival mechanism this year has been to generally just try to go with the 'good' windows and deal with the guilt etc afterwards during a crash, whenever it comes. Which it does every few weeks usually, along with two massive episodes in the last 6 months. It's no way to live really, because I cycle back round and always know how split I am really. I can;t help but think what I will do the rest of my life, although I know it's not helpful to think that way. I've no idea how I will ever form a proper human relationship, or hold down a job, let along do any of the things I wanted to do beyond that. But I keep going all the same, because that's just what you do. At this point, too, I'm really just sick of my whole boring story. Bla.

 

 

Hi Abby. i totally identify with all that. i have been told that i am a very old soul, a warrior shaman, a mystic, that i am going to transform the mental health system, & many other things over the years, especially since working with a lot of healers & psychics over the past 17 years. Then why would i have gone through 38 years of severe mental illness / severe schizophrenia - 8 very major breakdowns, 8 years in very severe psychosis, & end up disabled from it all. 

i also get told, often on-line that i am a psychopath & have a personality disorder. There has been a lot of interpersonal conflict in my life, especially in my drinking & drug taking days. i have been too unwell to formally work for the past 17 years & have been single for 20 years. If i don't take the medication i end up severely psychotic & delusional. 

i get it Abby. How are we meant to square what has been considered to be serious illness, with all that has entailed / entails, with deep spirituality? & why can't we resolve it all? 

The way that i personally try & deal with it all is to see it all as differential, that there is a serious no fault illness, & also spiritual aspects to it all. As Cleerity says, maybe some older souls have chosen all this for the challenge, soul growth / progress, learning & experience. So much as well i do blame on the wider society / culture / system / 'civilisation' & in it's general understandings & treatments of 'madness' / people suffering / going through these experiences. i do think that we could have been & could be far better treated, understood, helped & supported. 

Abby, you are doing the best that you can with the resources that you have available, & that is all that you can do. & someone who was genuinely nasty would not be bothered by it all as you are. You come across as sensitive, good, kind & caring. Yes we get angry, defensive & argumentative at times, but so what, everyone does. We are human. You have made far more progress than you likely realise or give yourself credit for. 

Feeling bad inside & that we are bad people i think is very common within all this area. But it's Not you - we are living in dark times within a very difficult environment / World. 

When i feel good bad things happen, & i know that part of my identity is tied into the illness / condition, but why would it Not be? 

You are Not alone with it all.  

 

 

 

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cpuusage
8 hours ago, Cleerity said:

 

I would not say I have made it to the highest reaches of evolution, but I can share that I did touch infinity.  I would guess that many mystics have touched this ... and perhaps only touched, as I am not sure it is a state a human being can live from.  The energy/experience of it was out of this world, to say the least.  But it seemed an experience I was destined to have, for it called to me for weeks.  While I will not share all the details here, when I resolved to "let go" to the experience, I first perceived myself (my consciousness) as the primordial black nothingness from which creation erupted.  I felt "ancient" with a capital "A."  No words I can share will ever do the experience justice.  Only one's imagination can help.  Primordial, vast, bottomless, eternal, black (DARK), powerful, empty, full, vacuum, yet containing all potentialities and possibilities.  When the energy reached my brow chakra, I felt alien consciousness inside of me (strange as that sounds ... though I do not believe it was alien in the literal or understood sense of the word), and then I experienced the energy of creation reaching out into infinity, never, never ending infinity...vast, vast reaches, forever expanding into the furthest reaches of the cosmos, and beyond...

 

You share interesting things cpu, but, I admit, I am no longer inclined to delve into all of them any longer.  Or, at least, not at this time in my life.   As you indicated, all lives are highly individual.  It felt good, however, to share the above somewhat publicly, as none others have ever heard it save my Jungian analysts.  I also do not want to hijack Abby's thread here.  And, there are times in our life when less is more/enough.   

 

I absolutely loved the poem of Adyashanti's that you shared.  I had the good pleasure of attending one of his retreats some years ago and penned a poem while there and he ended up closing the retreat with his reading it before the group.  He first called my name to identify me, and I shrunk inside and got all anxious, not then ready, I guess, to accept my own worth.

 

Abby, my apology if it seems like I or cpu have hijacked your thread.   Honestly, it it just that your expression/conversation has also opened my sharing/disclosure of things I also feel I have to keep from the mainstream.

 

I remain ears listening.

 

Thanks for sharing Cleerity, i have had similar experiences as well. 

For the past 7 years i have wanted to leave all these areas alone, & have somehow got heavily involved with another shamanic healer on-line & another healer in my life. 
 

 

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