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Self Discovery

Post depression after retreat

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Last week I completed a week long solo meditation retreat. This was my first retreat, and everything went as planned. However at the end of the the experience, when I came back to normal reality, I started to feel really sad for some reason. It was such a shock to come back from such a simple life into one of chaos and constant stimuli shot into your brain everywhere you go. Lots of doubts and fears have also been bubbling up that I thought I had gotten over. I feel quite empty actually. I don't have the same drive I felt before the retreat. I feel as though the self image I had of myself prior to the retreat is deteriorating. I actually feel insecure - something i havent felt for a long time (i'm normally a confident & happy guy.) 

For the record, it has been a week since i came back from the retreat.

Is this normal to experience after a retreat? Has anyone had post depression after meditation retreats or even psychedelics?

All responses are appreciated. :)

 

 

 

Edited by Self Discovery

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To be honest, no I haven´t had that. I have only been to Vipassana retreat and the last day you get to talk. And wow everyone talks. I feel it was soooo important to have this day of adjusting before facing the bombardment of stimuli the "normal" life entails. But feeling that your self is deteriorating is exactly what you want, to shatter those ideas of yourself that you identify with.
I understand that you are asking the question and it´s a very good one. I would say wait and see, in my experience, a retreat like this has very profound but subtle changes. Some will be obvious like the ones you stated but some will take time. And the changes that are obvious have not yet run their "full course" ie. the outcome is yet uncertain. Wait a few months and then you can better evaluate what actually happened on this retreat and how it affected you. 
Well done for taking your time and courage to go on this retreat, I applaud you! :)

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@luckieluuke thank you for your take on this:). You're right. I think time will tell. It definitely was a deep experience, and i'm not sure what to make of it yet. 

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@Self Discovery In other words, the retreat worked perfectly ;)

Enlightenment will strip all meaning from life. Hence why nobody pursues it.

You can't get to Being while you're still stuck in meaning.


"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." -- Rumi

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I wanted to create a new topic but I can accord to this one. 

I've just read the text about it.

Depression after spiritual awakening is common. But who wants to talk about it publicly? You will hear endless accounts of bliss and oneness. But it’s not often that people want to talk about how difficult it can be to adjust. Yes, there is bliss and oneness but there can also be tremendous sorrow or disorientation or feelings of profound bleakness. Sometimes these bleak feelings even happen at the same time as bliss and oneness. People euphemistically call this The Dark Night Of The Soul. Well, that sounds poetic, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t feel so poetic when you are in the middle of it. Especially if you believe that it’s not supposed to be this way and that you are the only one.

From https://modernawakenings.com/depression-after-spiritual-enlightenment/

Do the others also feel like that? I'm worried now. I did not have a retreat. But I meditate, focus on my breathing during the day, etc and  also started to feel different. More sad and unhappy with no reason. 

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Here's a video of Shinzen Young talking about post-retreat events. https://youtu.be/0ifHks5EYZU

One phenomenon he talks about is the "aftershock" which might be something you are experiencing. Check out the video, I think it can be helpful 😊.

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@Leo Gura Yeah. I realize that this depression shock came from the realization that the past stories I had about my life & reality were just false. Its kinda sad to see them go, they took quite some time to construct. Though I don't exactly blame myself, it all seemed so god damn solid. O.o I appreciate your input Leo :)

Edited by Self Discovery

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@Violina Yes, meditation and spirituality will bring that, and deeper emotions will come up as you go deeper with your practices. Its useful to look at it from a growth perspective. You must go through the tough emotions in order to rise above them. Try to look at it as if these emotions bubble up for you to understand their core origins and then release them. 

I resonate with what you say a lot. I think surrendering into it all will yield great results. Trusting that all the suffering plays an important role in your development. I know it isn't easy, but its worth it. Thanks for your input on this. :)

Edited by Self Discovery

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@Self Discovery Well done for going solo on your first retreat. I recently came back from my second group retreat and whilst they have their benefits, there are also many downsides with meditating with lots of other people. I'm considering going on my first solo retreat later this year so I have a few questions: Were you doing just meditation, or did you incorporate other things like self-inquiry, yoga etc? What did you schedule look like? Did you plan out your schedule prior to the retreat, or did you make it up as you went along? Did you rent a place like Leo has done? Did you find it challenging to motivate yourself at any point? 

Edited by Space

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@Self Discovery Nice thoughts and observations. Keep it up, 

I am preparing for a five days solo meditation retreat. My first one. Considering your recent experience what would you advise so to maximize the results?

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@Self Discovery You’re half through this.   Still need to take time to sit nd understand. It’s like you cleared the distractions and your self imposed blockages haven moved into your awareness....but you have’t Focused the awareness & clarity to understand how you created the blockages. When you do, they disappear. You’re doing awesome btw. How many people make that retreat call? Not enough. Good for you ❤️ Keep diggin. 

@George Fil 🙏🏻 Excited for you! 


  Nonduality & Meditations         

Empty your head, fulfill your heart       

 

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I did not have any opportunities to have retreats. However I observe my thoughts  during the day, I listen to my inner mind, focus on my inner silence. And I'm really surprised that I started to feel emptiness, I'm sad every morning after meditation, I've got a lot of doubts. I also became more irritated if I realised that my mind is somewhere else and I can't focus on the present moment. 

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@Lurtsi Exactly the insights I was looking for. Yes i'm definitely in the aftershock. This video was right on, and it actually cleared a lot of doubts I had of weather or not I fucked up with the retreat in some way. It's nice to know that this kind of reaction is a sign of growth. Thanks for sharing. :)

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@Space  

7 hours ago, Space said:

Were you doing just meditation, or did you incorporate other things like self-inquiry, yoga etc? What did you schedule look like? Did you plan out your schedule prior to the retreat, or did you make it up as you went along? Did you rent a place like Leo has done? Did you find it challenging to motivate yourself at any point? 

Yes, I did a mixture of different mindfulness meditations as well as self inquiry, yoga and some holotropic breathwork. I documented the whole process and you can read about it on my retreat report here. I didn't really plan anything, I just kinda went with the flow of things. If I felt like self-inquiring, thats what I would do and so on. However, I made a commitment to get a solid 9-10 hours of solid formal practice completed each day. My average day looked like this:

  • 10min concentration
  • 60min do-nothing
  • 15min concentration
  • 60min self-inquiry
  • 30min Kriya Yoga
  • 60min Self-inquiry
  • 10min Concentration
  • 70min labeling
  • 10min concentration 
  • 75min do-nothing
  • 60min holotropic breathwork
  • 10min relaxation meditation
  • 30min labeling
  • 30min Self inquiry
  • 10min concentration

I didn't rent a place, I'm 18, so I still live at home so I did it here in my backyard (living on my own for the summer). There is a little cottage there, that used to be a kids play house. It's well built and warm inside, and since I'm never in there I thought it would be a perfect spot to do it, since its just enough of a environment change to feel different from daily life (which is important.)

As for my personal motivation, it was definitely tough at times, which you will see if you read my report. However, I was strongly determined, and generally curious about the true nature of Self & Reality, so that helped of course. I never really felt that I was on the edge of quitting. What helped enormously was simply anticipating the worst. Don't expect it to be a cake walk because it's not. Also don't assume you can't do it, because you definitely can. It's a matter of balancing the two and creating a realistic expectation of whats to come. :)

 

Edited by Self Discovery

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@George Fil

#1 tip is to create a pre-mortem for the retreat.

other tips:

  • Decide strictly on how many days you will do and commit to it with all your heart.
  • Shut off all technology, close all the books and put it all away into a closet. Commit to not using any of it throughout the retreat.
  • Don't get discouraged by monkey mind. There will be a lot of it. Push through.
  • Writing down insights can be a good idea, but don't use it as a distraction from doing the formal practices. 
  • Watch out for subtle distractions, like cleaning the place constantly, fixing things that don't really need fixing, taking "mindful walks" & snacking all the time etc. 
  • Long-term thinking will motivate you to finish the retreat. 
  • I would suggest doing it away from home if possible. I did mine at home, only because of my financial situation at the moment, since i'm a student. 
  • Strictly healthy food only (obviously)

Read my report. You'll get more valuable insights & tips from there. :)

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13 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

@Self Discovery In other words, the retreat worked perfectly ;)

Enlightenment will strip all meaning from life. Hence why nobody pursues it.

You can't get to Being while you're still stuck in meaning.

Right - as to give meaning to something is to give it significance, that significance based on memory/belief/knowledge/desire/conditioning, which is one and the same as thought. 

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10 hours ago, Self Discovery said:

@George Fil

#1 tip is to create a pre-mortem for the retreat.

other tips:

  • Shut off all technology, close all the books and put it all away into a closet. Commit to not using any of it throughout the retreat.
  • Watch out for subtle distractions, like  taking "mindful walks" 

@Self Discovery  Not even meditation music from smartphone?

Not even mindful walks ? These walks energise the body... damn! o.O

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@George Fil I took some walks and did some stretching. But don't use a walk as a distraction from doing the deep work you gotta do. 

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