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The Don

Darkness, sorrow and despair. Awakening?

24 posts in this topic

Hello.

In the past months, I've been raising my capacity to meditate and stay in the present moment for longer periods of time.

I was forcing myself to be in the present moment even when it was unpleasant; even when it was extremely hard.

My meditation technique is about being conscious. I'm not focusing on my breath but only focusing on being conscious of my existence and the reality around me.

After a while, progress came. For example, I was working (in a restaurant) and I stayed present for hours without distractions, although it's a pretty randy place. Another example of progress is the fact that I can read without having my mind wandering all the time. I can stay focused & when I say focused, I mean really focused.

For a while it was great. I've been motivated to keep going. It felt really good. I felt like I was on cloud nine. I was thinking about my future.

But something happened. My enthusiasm and motivations for my clear visioned life purpose (escaping wage slavery, learning about psychology, practicing meditation, improving my communication skills, dating, helping others and being a good value provider to people in need) collapsed. Then I was hit by a shockwave of depression. I didn't know what the heck is going on.

Then my deep depression started to go away but not entirely. I'm still having episodes of depression but they aren't as strong as they were before.

Right now I'm pretty fine (although I'm not) but something doesn't feel right. I no longer have that kind of motivation for my clear visioned life purpose that I had. I go through meaninglessness. I'm having thoughts of meaninglessness. 

I was watching @Leo Gura's video, The Dark Side of Meditation which is helping me going through these difficult times but when these negative emotions are bubbling up, I'm losing faith in the process. It's getting darker and I don't know what to do. I keep reminding myself that it's going to be OK but I still remain in sorrow.

I didn't have a happy childhood. I was raised in a dysfunctional family. My father was a heavy drinker. I was so discouraged when I was a kid. I was stressed. I went through tough and difficult times when I was a kid. I felt hopelessness many many times. It was horrible. I can't describe what I was going through because it's shocking. I guess you understand what I mean.

So, am I having all these feelings (sorrow, depression, hopelessness and so forth) because of my dysfunctional life and childhood as a result of the cleansing process of meditation?

All I need and wish for is to be motivated to work on my clear visioned life purpose and feel OK. I understand that happiness comes from inside but I can't do much when I'm going through the dark side of meditation.

How long is it going to last the dark side of meditation? I don't wanna be stuck in this state as long as I'm living. It would be a living hell.

Edited by The Don
To add some info.

Me on the road less traveled.

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@The Don this is one of my biggest criticisms of Leo and this organization. He promotes hardcore meditation practice, yoga and enlightenment work but fails to truly educate us in the symptoms and fallout. I’m not saying he’s never mentioned these things but in my opinion not enough.

psychedelics are Leo’s path, and he’s a good resource for that but in my opinion he’s not a good meditation teacher. I would look elsewhere for advice on serious meditation practices. 

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10 minutes ago, Meditationdude said:

@The Don this is one of my biggest criticisms of Leo and this organization. He promotes hardcore meditation practice, yoga and enlightenment work but fails to truly educate us in the symptoms and fallout. I’m not saying he’s never mentioned these things but in my opinion not enough.

psychedelics are Leo’s path, and he’s a good resource for that but in my opinion he’s not a good meditation teacher. I would look elsewhere for advice on serious meditation practices. 

Thank you.

Yes. I was having those thoughts as well. People need help when it comes to the dark side of meditation.

Maybe @Leo Gura didn't go through really difficult times and that's why he's not focused on the dark side of mediation. I also don't like the fact that Leo promotes ideas of meaninglessness. Thoughts of meaninglessness are really bad for people who experience the dark side of meditation.

Take a look at this article: https://jackkornfield.com/purification-the-gateway-to-higher-states/, it will shine a light over you. It will help you to go through difficult times. It will help you understand what meditation really is.

Edited by The Don
To add a phrase.

Me on the road less traveled.

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There are two things that I believe are key to moving on once you've reached this point.

First let me just say that, I REALLY wish we understood this process better and I'm guessing but it feels like I'm on the right track. The problem is  that I can tell you what was key for me, but everyone's path is different. I think we really need to try to understand this process better in a more general way rather than relying and teaching based on our own experiences. That's how I see most teachers going about this because right now that's the only way they can. Sorry for the long side note, it's just a disclaimer to remind you that I am a random person on the internet. :) 

The two things that were key for me where the law of attraction and shadow work. These things must go together. You cannot do shadow work and focus only on the negative and the past, you must do it from a timeless detached state that appreciates your life experiences from outside the limited perspective of you. The best way I can describe how this happened to me was that I realized myself as the author of my life, I loved myself as my own created character and saw that I wrote the challenges in my life and exactly why and what purpose they had. I highly recommend Abraham Hicks and having a very good understanding/application of her teachings in addition to Leo's and other traditions that focus mostly on meditation and accepting what is. My experience was a sort of collapse of the dualities between positive thinking/ you create your reality and the acceptance of everything that is. 

From what I understand you must have another person to do the shadow work with, and a good psychotherapist with a good spiritual foundation is the best place to look. This work can also happen in other ways outside of that traditional setting but lots of problems can arise with that. I believe that as a community we need to design a safe and inexpensive solution to this need. 

Edited by mandyjw

Light on Earth The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.” - Rumi

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Also pay attention the the last step here in this video. This is the missing element from your meditation and realizations. The law of attraction or teachers who focus on love can help you with this, also time in nature, making time for self care, creativity and exploration because the realization of this in yourself is what is needed. 

 


Light on Earth The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.” - Rumi

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1 hour ago, mandyjw said:

I believe that as a community we need to design a safe and inexpensive solution to this need.

That's true.

Actualized.org and @Leo Gura should consider your statement.


Me on the road less traveled.

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1 hour ago, The Don said:

People need help when it comes to the dark side of meditation.

I agree. As someone who's been through this I can tell you that's it's very hard to find your way out on your own. May advice would be to start doing therapy with a good therapist. Also, find a meditation teacher who's familiar with dark night. If you don't have friends, get some. You will need them to help you stay grounded. Find some stage green friends. I ended up moving to city that had it all (greenish people, meditation teacher, and a therapist). I still deal with depression from time to time but it is manageable.

1 hour ago, The Don said:

Thoughts of meaninglessness are really bad for people who experience the dark side of meditation.

Yep, that's why I backed off from going to the zen center. They talked about meaninglessness and the dark side of meditation all the time. It felt like rubbing salt on an open wound.

I think I asked you before but what does your life look like? Exercise, friends, hobbies, work, etc.

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 @The Don In the letting go of it all, the feelings, one by one, which we placed innocently onto our being; my anxiety, my depression, my anger, my issue - are experienced as they empty. Experienced with a sense of detachment, and loss, triggering fear. Ultimately, the fear of dying, of nonexistence. 

We learn to be patient with ourselves. To appreciate life, & take better care. Lines of judgement blur, understanding expands, & we live more generously & deeply, within and without. We learn the lessons of love, at the same time we’re making a place for being. With truth, things are being set straight, so to speak. The actuality of the gospel, underway, and it is good. 

At a point, enough is cleared, and enough shines through, and there’s a major discovery. The purged feelings were never about what was transpiring in our experience, about those around us, about an unfairness in life, or in the world. The feelings which arise and are released, which evaporated in truth, were the labels, conditions, and limitations we placed on our being, to protect the very same. Every act is an act of love. It’s inescapable, and it’s madness to try. 


  Nonduality & Meditations  Now

   “ ...every revolutionary act, is an act of love...”  - Zach de la Rocha

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57 minutes ago, ivory said:

They talked about meaninglessness.

I don't understand why is it necessary to have this tragic view on life as meaningless. Why is it helpful? What's good about it?

Nihilism and lack of meaning lead to depression and despair.

59 minutes ago, ivory said:

I think I asked you before but what does your life look like?

I'm studying lots of topics. I'm reading. I'm meditating. I eat good food to nourish myself, meaning 'healthy foods'; no sugar. I work and sometimes I play video games.

I also go outside and run; jogging.


Me on the road less traveled.

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This is a common human/personal experience. I think it may be beneficial to make distinctions between: awakening and personal development ; between personal and transpersonal ; and between absolute and relative. This are common terms pointing to the same essence. If these dualities are seen unclearly and get conflated, additional inner turmoil can arise. 

3 hours ago, The Don said:

In the past months, I've been raising my capacity to meditate and stay in the present moment for longer periods of time.

I was forcing myself to be in the present moment even when it was unpleasant; even when it was extremely hard.

My meditation technique is about being conscious. I'm not focusing on my breath but only focusing on being conscious of my existence and the reality around me.

This is mixing up awakening and personal development.

The awakening is Presence. That's it. Whatever is happening Now. That Presence may be uncomfortable or comfortable. That Presence may feel hard or easy. It all just IS. That is an absolute awakening. Whatever is Now is Now. There is nothing "more Now" than "another Now". There is a singular absolute IS. . . Personal thought stories can appear Now, yet those thought stories are no more or less ISness than bird chirps. The thoughts stories are relative to the person and important to personal development. Such thought stories may include "That meditation session was uncomfortable, I thought the whole time - it wasn't very productive" or "I wasn't very conscious that meditation session. I'm not making much progress anymore". In terms of awakening, these are just thought appearances happening Now - there is no "me" to take ownership. In terms of personal development, these thought stories have a personal owner "me" and it is important to the personality and for personal development. I think it can be helpful to make this distinction.

3 hours ago, The Don said:

After a while, progress came. For example, I was working (in a restaurant) and I stayed present for hours without distractions, although it's a pretty randy place. Another example of progress is the fact that I can read without having my mind wandering all the time. I can stay focused & when I say focused, I mean really focused.

For a while it was great. I've been motivated to keep going. It felt really good. I felt like I was on cloud nine. I was thinking about my future.

Here there is a conflation between transpersonal awakening and personal development. The thought stories about "making progress" is a construct relative to the person. There is an idea of what "progress" is. For you personally, progress means feeling present without distractions or staying focused while reading. This is important at the personal level for personal development. That's awesome. Yet awakening is trans-personal. This involves detachment and disidentification of this personal construct. Here, awakening would be the realization of Now. Whatever is happening. Staying focused while reading is Now. Being unfocus while reading is also Now. They are both Now. It is the personal thought stories saying that "focused Now" is better/more spiritual than "unfocused Now". As well, it is the personality creating thought stories that feeling "motivated Now" is better than feeling "unmotivated Now". That is important to the person/human. We live our lives as a personality and it's part of being human. Yet I think it's helpful to see the distinction between personal dynamics (making personal progress, feeling motivated) and transpersonal dynamics (whatever is happening Now, IS happening Now). Both have value. 

3 hours ago, The Don said:

But something happened. My enthusiasm and motivations for my clear visioned life purpose (escaping wage slavery, learning about psychology, practicing meditation, improving my communication skills, dating, helping others and being a good value provider to people in need) collapsed. Then I was hit by a shockwave of depression. I didn't know what the heck is going on.

Then my deep depression started to go away but not entirely. I'm still having episodes of depression but they aren't as strong as they were before.

Right now I'm pretty fine (although I'm not) but something doesn't feel right. I no longer have that kind of motivation for my clear visioned life purpose that I had. I go through meaninglessness. I'm having thoughts of meaninglessness. 

I think the underlying source of energy is important here. . . As the person awakens to absolute Now, there is often an energetic shift from personal to transpersonal. This includes what many refer to as "ego death". When the personality is transcended it will feel like a form of death, because it is the end of the personality as it was known. It is like playing a character in a movie and for your whole life believing that character. Then one day the character realizes the whole story of the character is just a story, that there is no "me". This was depicted in the movie "The Truman Show". At the end of the movie, Truman had an awakening that his whole identity of "Truman" wasn't real. His whole life story wasn't real. This created a crisis in Truman - if he isn't this Truman character who is he? If his whole life story wasn't real, then what is real? He went through a form of "ego death" in which Truman as he knew it died. This can be really hard for him to walk through, accept and surrender to. . . There can be a lot of resistance, pain and depression at this point. It is the point of "I don't know what the heck is going on". At this point, there can be an expansive energetic shift that transcends the personality into a "transpersonal realm". Or there can be an energetic contraction back into the personality. Both can have similar thoughts and feelings, yet there is a different source of energy and orientation. In the process of transcending the personality, questions may arise such as "If there is no me and all Now is the same, then nothing has meaning. What is the purpose of life?". There can be a sense of sadness as the personality is transcended. Almost like the sadness of a child when they realize Santa Claus isn't real. From trans-personal energy, this will open up a whole new world of curiosity, exploration and discovery. Yet when there is still attachment/identification there is an underlying question of "What's in it for me? This realization sucks for me. There is no meaning in my life. There is no purpose in my life". This is contraction back into the personality. . .

For most, personal transcendence involves a "no-self" awakening stage in which there is immersion into "no me", "no doer", "everything is nondual". This is helpful because it provides contrast for the opposite personality dualism 99.99% of people are immersed into. It's an important stage of development, yet the "personal vs. transpersonal" duality will eventually collapse as well, yet you are not at that stage yet. 

3 hours ago, The Don said:

I didn't have a happy childhood. I was raised in a dysfunctional family. My father was a heavy drinker. I was so discouraged when I was a kid. I was stressed. I went through tough and difficult times when I was a kid. I felt hopelessness many many times. It was horrible. I can't describe what I was going through because it's shocking. I guess you understand what I mean.

So, am I having all these feelings (sorrow, depression, hopelessness and so forth) because of my dysfunctional life and childhood as a result of the cleansing process of meditation?

All I need and wish for is to be motivated to work on my clear visioned life purpose and feel OK. I understand that happiness comes from inside but I can't do much when I'm going through the dark side of meditation.

To me, it seems like you may have gotten a couple brief glimpses of awakening, yet you are still deeply immersed within the personality of "Don". It's all getting contextualized relative to "me" to the story of "Don". You just haven't had sufficient direct experience needed to transcend this personal story/identification.

One can work on both awakening and personal development. Even after awakening, the personality appears. The story of "me" appears. A life history of mental and physical conditioning appears. For example, while I'm at work there is a character that appears to interact with my co-workers. There is a story of "me" that appears. This is necessary to interact with other humans and has practical value. As well, previous life conditioning may appear. If someone has a broken arm and awakens, they will be awakened with a broken arm. Similarly, if someone has conditioned neurosis due to previous trauma, they will be awakened with neurosis due to previous trauma. Awakening often relieves a lot of this, yet it still persists. The show goes on after awakening. Personal growth is infinite and will continue for the life of the being. Even after realizing this, many beings still experience patterns of conditioning. For example, a few months ago a physical condition appeared in my body that was extremely unpleasant. At the personal level, I couldn't make it stop and felt it would go on forever. This triggered extreme anxiety and panic in my mind and body. The "flight or fight" response. I decided to get some EMDR therapy and with the assistance of the psychologist, we were able to revist previous traumas in my life in which "I couldn't make it stop and felt it would go on forever". We were able to explore the roots of this conditioned mental/physical response and unravel it. There was a release and now my mind and body no longer goes into anxiety and panic as a response to the discomfort. 

And absence of meaning does not mean "no meaning". Assigning "no meaning" is assigning meaning. It creates a "meaning vs no meaning" duality. For example, there is an absence of meaning for trifloz. There has been an absence of triflioz meaning your entire life and this never bothered you or excited you. However, if you spent your whole life seeking meaning of trifloz and then decided that trifloz is meaningless, that would be a very different dynamic and the human would likely suffer. What is the point in living in trifloz is meaningless?. . This sounds silly with something like trifloz that is irrelevant to you personally. To your well-being and personal survival. If you believed trifloz was essential to your personal well-being and survival, there would be a very different psychological dynamic. 

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20 minutes ago, The Don said:

I don't understand why is it necessary to have this tragic view on life as meaningless. Why is it helpful? What's good about it?

Why does life have to have meaning? I find joy in reading, hanging out with friends, and working out. For me that's enough. Life having no meaning just means you're responsible to live a life that's meaningful to you. In other words, you alone create meaning by doing the things that are important to you.

 

22 minutes ago, The Don said:

Nihilism and lack of meaning lead to depression and despair.

Nihilism does, yes. But the existentialists had an answer to nihilism. Live a life that's meaningful to you. Find out what you enjoy and do that.

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Anyway, on Wednesday I was working.

I work at the best restaurant in my town; it's an amazing experience. Not to brag but it's true. We have the best quality food you can eat.

So as I was working, this girl came to me. I have a beautiful female colleague who is much taller than me. I can see clearly that she is starting to chase me.

As she came to me, she asked me what am I doing here alone all the time. She couldn't see the fact that I was sad and depressed because I don't look depressed even when I am depressed. I know how to keep a smiley face. But she asked me because she noticed that I'm not like other people. I observe the fact that she's developing an eye for me. It's amazing!

What intrigues me and what I can't understand at the same time is how can a beautiful girl like her (who is much taller than me) walk up to me and offer help.

When a girl likes you, she chases you. She offers help even when the help is not needed, just to start up a conversation. Nothing bad with that. I love it.

But how a girl taller than you can like you? I thought taller girls like taller men.

Anyway, what I want to say is this: as I was depressed and as she came up to me, it was like a bight light getting me out of depression. It was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

Moments like this are necessary. Moments like this can help you get over an awful depression.

Edited by The Don

Me on the road less traveled.

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It's nice when a girl likes you. I get that. But what you experienced was a high. Life does no provide that all the time so it's not a good thing to rely on for your happiness. What you likely need is to ground yourself with a good group of supportive friends. Your mileage may vary, but I find this true for myself.

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9 hours ago, The Don said:

Hello.

In the past months, I've been raising my capacity to meditate and stay in the present moment for longer periods of time.

I was forcing myself to be in the present moment even when it was unpleasant; even when it was extremely hard.

My meditation technique is about being conscious. I'm not focusing on my breath but only focusing on being conscious of my existence and the reality around me.

After a while, progress came. For example, I was working (in a restaurant) and I stayed present for hours without distractions, although it's a pretty randy place. Another example of progress is the fact that I can read without having my mind wandering all the time. I can stay focused & when I say focused, I mean really focused.

For a while it was great. I've been motivated to keep going. It felt really good. I felt like I was on cloud nine. I was thinking about my future.

But something happened. My enthusiasm and motivations for my clear visioned life purpose (escaping wage slavery, learning about psychology, practicing meditation, improving my communication skills, dating, helping others and being a good value provider to people in need) collapsed. Then I was hit by a shockwave of depression. I didn't know what the heck is going on.

Then my deep depression started to go away but not entirely. I'm still having episodes of depression but they aren't as strong as they were before.

Right now I'm pretty fine (although I'm not) but something doesn't feel right. I no longer have that kind of motivation for my clear visioned life purpose that I had. I go through meaninglessness. I'm having thoughts of meaninglessness. 

I was watching @Leo Gura's video, The Dark Side of Meditation which is helping me going through these difficult times but when these negative emotions are bubbling up, I'm losing faith in the process. It's getting darker and I don't know what to do. I keep reminding myself that it's going to be OK but I still remain in sorrow.

I didn't have a happy childhood. I was raised in a dysfunctional family. My father was a heavy drinker. I was so discouraged when I was a kid. I was stressed. I went through tough and difficult times when I was a kid. I felt hopelessness many many times. It was horrible. I can't describe what I was going through because it's shocking. I guess you understand what I mean.

So, am I having all these feelings (sorrow, depression, hopelessness and so forth) because of my dysfunctional life and childhood as a result of the cleansing process of meditation?

All I need and wish for is to be motivated to work on my clear visioned life purpose and feel OK. I understand that happiness comes from inside but I can't do much when I'm going through the dark side of meditation.

How long is it going to last the dark side of meditation? I don't wanna be stuck in this state as long as I'm living. It would be a living hell.

@The Don Sounds like you are in the dark night stage. If you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel Ingram, he explains it and how Buddhism teaches how to get out of it to the other side to equanimity. Its an important stage that has to be passed through on the way to enlightenment. Im pretty well versed in the subject so if you have any questions, Id be happy to help. I went through this stage a few years ago. 

https://alohadharma.com/the-map/the-dark-night/ 

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11 hours ago, The Don said:

I don't understand why is it necessary to have this tragic view on life as meaningless. Why is it helpful? What's good about it?

Nihilism and lack of meaning lead to depression and despair.

It's not a tragic view. That's just how your ego interpets it. You are assigning negative meaning to meaningless, which of course is absurd.

You are not going to awaken without confronting the truth that all meaning is imaginary. To the ego this can feel depressing and deflating because your ego's whole plan is to concoct and chase meanings until you're dead.

Depression can be a problem on this path, but don't blame it on meaninglessness, blame it on ego.

If you feel this work is making you unstable, take a break for a while. Come back to it later. It means you're not ready yet to go that deep.

Understand that awakening is a very hardcore pursuit. You must be very mature to want it and to actualize it. Many of you are simply not there yet. Don't force it too much. Go live a bit of life first before you try to go full-Buddha.

Full-Buddha is definitely not for most people. You have to really be fed up with material life to go full-Buddha. Many of you here have barely begun material life. Ask yourself why you are pursuing awakening? Is it simply because you are blindly doing whatever Leo talks about? Or does your heart truly desire it?

Be careful doing things I talk about simply because you heard me talk about it.


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

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4 hours ago, Leo Gura said:

If you feel this work is making you unstable, take a break for a while. Come back to it later. It means you're not ready yet to go that deep.

Okay, @Leo Gura. I'll do that. I'll take a break.

Should I keep my daily meditation habit and continue with personal development and self-actualization?

Or should I stop my daily meditation habit and pursue only personal development and self-actualization?


Me on the road less traveled.

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@The Don Sit for a few minutes and try to listen to your heart. Asking people what you should do with your life is not healthy. Be your own pillar.


unborn Truth

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1 minute ago, ajasatya said:

@The Don Sit for a few minutes and try to listen to your heart. Asking people what you should do with your life is not healthy. Be your own pillar.

Thank you!


Me on the road less traveled.

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1 hour ago, VeganAwake said:

@The Don  thanks for sharing great topic I was curious do you take medication for your depression?

No. I don't take any medication for depression. Somehow I managed to get out of depression; all by myself and without any medication. It may come back but I'm not scared anymore. Wanna know why? Because I don't identify myself with "my depression". Any awful state of depression is not you.

Right now I'm just observing my mind, my thoughts and nonetheless, what is happening to me.

I know I'll overcome anything bad. I am much stronger than I thought I was.

Faith and hope are necessary.

Lays of Ancient Rome is a collection of narrative poems or lays, by Thomas Babington Macaulay.

And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods.


Me on the road less traveled.

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