Do We Need To Have A Nervous / Mental Breakdown...?

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)
old dead wood
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 3:42 pm

Do We Need To Have A Nervous / Mental Breakdown...?

Post by old dead wood » Wed Jun 20, 2007 4:02 pm

...like Tolle and Katie, BEFORE we can "wake up" ? Tolle writes that he "swooned" due to anxiety and despair before his "awakening". How can Tolle know that his techniques will help us, when it seems he was just a passive and despairing victim before his brain somehow did a turnaround. I'll bet many people that have had that experience continued with mental illness, committed suicide, or received counseling and medication to alleviate the symptoms. Maybe it's so hard for US to wake up because Tolle's experience was a genuine, but RARE and RANDOM, bio-chemical response to extreme mental breakdown. By the way, so far, MY favorite Tolle quote is:

"It all changed one night when I woke up in the middle of the night. The fear, anxiety and heaviness of depression were becoming so intense, it was almost unbearable. And it is hard to describe that "state" where the world is felt to be so alien, just looking at a physical environment like a room. Everything was totally alien and almost hostile. "

THIS had happened to me many times, once so bad that I was sure if it had continued intensely beyond 60 seconds, I would have ended it right there.

eseward
Posts: 830
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:27 pm
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by eseward » Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:19 pm

I don't know about needing a "breakdown", old dead wood. I would say that it takes whatever it takes for each individual to finally give up their egotism and be willing to learn something new. There is a vast difference between being the depression, anxiety, etc and observing it as something within you, as something by which you have erroneously defined yourself.

Agnieszka
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:31 pm
Location: Poland
Contact:

Post by Agnieszka » Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:03 am

Hi old dead wood,

I once asked the same question on this forum. It seems that serious nervous attacks/diseases help some people achieve this state but apparently not all of them lead to enlightment :D . Definitely, most of them end less spectacularly... and more sadly.

We still know very little what happens in human brain, it's chemistry, electricity, many ways of "co-operation" among its parts and cases of losing or breaking down of this co-operation.

I would suggest that you use the following link to read the articles on this website (also there's one in which the author tries to explain what happened in Buddha's brain when he achieved enlightment):
http://www.shaktitechnology.com/index.htm#articles

It seems what you experienced (I know this feeling well - quite scary) is called jamais vu. When it happens again - try to watch it dispassionately, it usually passes away.

Funny thing, sometimes I have a weird feeling of suffocating in my own body. As if something had thrust "me" into this body and now it's too small to hold me in. Body claustrophobia :) .

I think there are many other, wonderful and interesting, parts in Tolle's books with pointers to use and follow in better and worse moments. Give up this one, stop confirming yourself in this conviction that a nervous- breakdown path to enlightment is a must :D .
I personally prefer a "smooth passage" and wish you the same.

weopposedeception
Posts: 272
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:06 am
Location: Arizona

Post by weopposedeception » Thu Jun 21, 2007 5:23 am

Consider yourself fortunate to have found these teachings. I know I do. When the pain of living in the mind exceeds the pleasure, we look for another way. Unfortunately most of society pursues their escape in alcohol or drugs.
For myself it was more or less "getting burned out on the rat-race", like a hamster running on a treadmill, too busy to check and see if the door is open. You can never get enough of what doesn't satisfy.

innerhike
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 4:23 am

Suffering is optional

Post by innerhike » Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:42 am

How can Tolle know that his techniques will help us, when it seems he was just a passive and despairing victim before his brain somehow did a turnaround. I'll bet many people that have had that experience continued with mental illness, committed suicide, or received counseling and medication to alleviate the symptoms. Maybe it's so hard for US to wake up because Tolle's experience was a genuine, but RARE and RANDOM, bio-chemical response to extreme mental breakdown. By the way, so far, MY favorite Tolle quote is:

"It all changed one night when I woke up in the middle of the night. The fear, anxiety and heaviness of depression were becoming so intense, it was almost unbearable. And it is hard to describe that "state" where the world is felt to be so alien, just looking at a physical environment like a room. Everything was totally alien and almost hostile. "
Dear "Old Dead Wood",

Greetings! First off, I like your name. They talk about laying off the old deadwood in corporate circles, and I used to wonder who they were talking about. :lol:

There are two ways to "wake up":

- Instant
- Gradual

The instant approach is what Katie, Eckhart and Ramana Maharshi have gone through. Ramana had a death experience at age 16 where he literally lay down and experienced a psychological death. I do not need to go into Katie's and Eckhart's psychological death experiences because you appear to know of them.

Here's the problem: just because these guys got it instantly does not mean that everyone gets it the same way.

The paths that lead up to "waking up" are as varied as the personalities that populate this planet at any given time.

We need not mimic the circumstances that these guys went through.

Matter of fact there is no formula for waking up. If you think that this is just some bio-chemical bull crap or something that can fit into a box, you may not be ready for this sort of thing.

I say this not with arrogance, but to question your questioning of this phenomenon that does not yield itself to rational thinking.

Once these people have have instant awakenings, all they can do is explain how we can all follow in their footsteps. The results are quite varied, let me assure you.

What are you willing to give up in order to experience this state of being?

If your answer is "everything", then we have a chance, otherwise this is just some hobby or passing interest that may yield some temporal therapeutic benefit.

In my experience thought precedes bio-chemicals. We sponsor our biological and psychological realities. The question is who are we? Are we a biological organism or are we a feeling-thinking organism inhabiting a biological organism?

Slow and steady wins the race. This is a race with no competition. It's fate is already decided. You will overcome, at some point. The question is how willing are you to practice the simple things that help you come back to happiness, over and over, until all that is left is happiness itself.

Let go of Eckhart and Katie. Let their approach and story be. Connect with the feeling that they generate in you. Your analysis of their story is your mind. Your feeling is your heart. Stay in your heart. Feel. Feel.

"My happiness begins where I cease to exist."

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4592
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Post by kiki » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:03 am

Let go of Eckhart and Katie. Let their approach and story be. Connect with the feeling that they generate in you. Your analysis of their story is your mind. Your feeling is your heart. Stay in your heart. Feel. Feel.
I agree. Teachers provide a general direction for others to look to, but at some point every teaching must drop away in the light of one's own experience. When You become your own teacher, your own guide, all former authentic teachers rejoice. The resonance others generate in you IS your "heart", as innerhike puts it, and that is the most authentic and unerring guide. Lay aside thoughts of how it should or shouldn't be and dwell in the sense of your own presence, your "heart".

Agnieszka
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:31 pm
Location: Poland
Contact:

Post by Agnieszka » Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:32 pm

I suppose that everything, or almost everything, in the spiritual realm has its physical, material representation. Also human brain is the material, biological (the lowest, so to say) layer of everything that happens in us and to us. Some brains seem to be more and some - less capable (less adroit in a way) of attaining enlightment IMO. I can serve as an example - my brain functions slightly different than the brain of a typical, "standard" human being :D (e.g. I have enormous difficulty in staying focused on inner body for example).

And still, after 4 years of practising self-knowledge and app. 3 months of self-awareness according to Eckhart's pointers, I'm doing quite well, I'm capable of maintaining Presence quite often nowadays. So, I follow a path, where there is no path to follow :D . Unfortunately, I allow everyday life to draw me out of this wonderful state of peace. I suppose the main factor keeping me from maintaining it is my ego=fear that I will "lose" this earthly, regular life for good.

So, I agree Innerhike - I'm not yet ready for enlightment. But the brain is important, maybe crucial in this quest. Are mentally ill people able to even begin such a practice? (they are excluded from Vipassana courses for instance).

I don't want to discourage anybody here, and I actually cannot do it. All people who found this forum are more or less determined to pursue ET's or some other spiritual path. And if they really and deeply want it, they will succeed.

User avatar
kiki
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4592
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Wherever "here" happens to be

Post by kiki » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:12 pm

Anigieszka wrote:... I suppose the main factor keeping me from maintaining it is my ego=fear that I will "lose" this earthly, regular life for good... I'm not yet ready for enlightment.
Why even label it as "enlightenment"? That word seems to be a source of trepidation. Instead, let me ask you this: Since you are already "here" whether you are "enlightened" or not, are you willing to be here consciously? Just be here; just be here; just be here. Anything to fear about that?

User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6850
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:40 pm

Very well said Kiki.

It's an interesting paradox, nothing changes yet everything is new.

Agnieszka
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:31 pm
Location: Poland
Contact:

Post by Agnieszka » Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:08 am

You are right Kiki :oops:
I realized that when I almost quit labelling in everyday life, I mysteriously switched to labelling when dealing with the spiritual realm :shock: .

too haht tzay

Post by too haht tzay » Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:08 am

:)
Last edited by too haht tzay on Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
boogeyman
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:38 am

Re: Do We Need To Have A Nervous / Mental Breakdown...?

Post by boogeyman » Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:59 am

old dead wood wrote:...like Tolle and Katie, BEFORE we can "wake up" ? Tolle writes that he "swooned" due to anxiety and despair before his "awakening". How can Tolle know that his techniques will help us, when it seems he was just a passive and despairing victim before his brain somehow did a turnaround. I'll bet many people that have had that experience continued with mental illness, committed suicide, or received counseling and medication to alleviate the symptoms. Maybe it's so hard for US to wake up because Tolle's experience was a genuine, but RARE and RANDOM, bio-chemical response to extreme mental breakdown. By the way, so far, MY favorite Tolle quote is:

"It all changed one night when I woke up in the middle of the night. The fear, anxiety and heaviness of depression were becoming so intense, it was almost unbearable. And it is hard to describe that "state" where the world is felt to be so alien, just looking at a physical environment like a room. Everything was totally alien and almost hostile. "

THIS had happened to me many times, once so bad that I was sure if it had continued intensely beyond 60 seconds, I would have ended it right there.
I think we do need a sort of mental breakdown. Atleast from the POV of the ego it certainly would look like that. Spiritual practice is breaking down the thought forms the very thing the ego strives to preserve. Ofcourse it can be a very gradual smooth process or a violent one. It depends how hard you resist. Acceptence is the key, but resisting can do it allso. By resisting things all the time the suffering can and will eventually become so strong that it start to eat away the thought forms. Like in the case of ET, he reached a point in suffering that it made it happend. As for most of us, we sway between happy and unhappy and never really reaching a point of such imense suffering that would cause total surrender.

The gradual smooth path would ofcourse be the nicer one to go but it's not always possible for everyone. This might be the case with me, and the suffering seems to be doing it's thing in breaking the thought forms

My favorite quote from ET is a short one:

"If you don't mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness?"

Finbarr
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:47 pm
Location: deep underground...

Post by Finbarr » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:36 pm

The mental breakdown discussion is a very pertinent one in my opinion. The negative egos propaganda is that seeking our true nature/present moment/enlightenment is analagous with death/cracking up/nervous breakdown/social isolation etc. Remember our negative ego/personality (Latin persona = mask) is unaware of the perfect God self (Tolles Now) and will scare you with all manner of doom. Meditation/awareness of the present never drove anyone insane I assure you.

User avatar
yougarksooo
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:14 pm
Location: Indiana

Post by yougarksooo » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:01 am

There is a vast difference between being the depression, anxiety, etc and observing it as something within you, as something by which you have erroneously defined yourself.
That's worth repeating. Thanks Eseward.
"When people ask me who they are or who God is, I smile inside and whisper to the light: there you go again . . . pretending."

Adya

User avatar
yougarksooo
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:14 pm
Location: Indiana

Post by yougarksooo » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:04 am

Why even label it as "enlightenment"? That word seems to be a source of trepidation. Instead, let me ask you this: Since you are already "here" whether you are "enlightened" or not, are you willing to be here consciously? Just be here; just be here; just be here. Anything to fear about that?
Wow. Amazing clarity. I find it so interesting that people argue against being present. I know in my own experience that it's the mind's agenda to do so. But when you look directly at it, you could translate it to "I don't want to be at one with life" or "I don't want to accept life" or "I want to avoid life."

Seen that way, isn't it funny? I'm saying this not to pick on anyone. This is how everyone lives until something changes inside.
"When people ask me who they are or who God is, I smile inside and whisper to the light: there you go again . . . pretending."

Adya

Post Reply