Maybe enlightenment is a form of psychosis

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lucy
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Maybe enlightenment is a form of psychosis

Post by lucy » Thu May 11, 2006 1:56 am

A thought that I can't seem to get rid of (and I know that this is the ego being clever and hanging on) is that a lot people who have awakened describe their pre-awakened life as being either on the brink of mental illness or outright mental illness. Pre-awakening, ET talks about being suicidal, Byron Katie talks about a nervous breakdown where she thought suicide was the only way out, there are numerous others who suffered so much before they were given the grace of awakening. My ego has latched onto this idea and is creating fear and doubt: maybe these people are actually still mentally ill; Maybe shutting down the mind is a form of mental illness. How do we know that the awakened state is not really a form of mental illness and the dissolution of the "me" isn't just a form of brainwash that happens in places like the army and other mentally training programs.

I tell myself that the truth is suppose to be self-authenticating and that when you are awake you need no proof that your true reality is awareness, still something lurks inside that keeps me from it. How can I get passed this barrier?

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Post by heidi » Thu May 11, 2006 2:57 am

I think the power of Tolle's work is that he shows how you can skip the dark night of the soul; you don't need to hit rock bottom, all you have to do is become conscious, present, aware. No need for the drama, unless of course your ego needs to be startled into humbling - bumbling into humbling (which is good too :). Trust your gut. IMHO.
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Post by lucy » Thu May 11, 2006 3:40 am

Thanks Heidi,

I guess what I'm wondering is that how can we trust that what ET and others call enlightenment isn't a form of psychosis. I don't know much about multiple personalities but what I have read is that when a person is severely tramautized the mind can "split" into many personalities as a defence mechanism. How can we know for sure that ET and others did not experience a similar response of defense. Not everybody who awakens speak of the "dark night of the soul" but it seems to me the majority do.

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Post by Larryfroot » Thu May 11, 2006 8:51 am

I had a long dark tea time of the soul.

It wasn't pretty. But I know that the pain route is only one way into grace. In retrospect it could have been a sight more easier....But would I classify despair as a mental illness? Which was my mind set when I realised who and what I wasn't.

The state of grace - when I do get into the groove - is eminently sane. Far far saner ie more happy, more content, more peaceful, more productive, more creative than anything I have experienced before. And it is sustainable. It isn't running on mental stimulation or excitement or any form of mania. It doesn't require any sub - routine of the mind or personality to a) engender grace or b) sustain grace.

For myself, I no longer care about the pain I underwent before getting here. After all the past only exists as a mental movie. And it has been worth it. But that is not to say pain is good or necessary or particularily clever - in and of itself. it's not. And it is only one route into the realisation of now. And not one everyone has to take.

ET, Byron Katie et all are working and teaching to help individuals avoid unecessary pain. ET has pointed out that for many people pain seems to be a route in. But he certainly hasn't been exclusive about this route.

I wouldn't wish what I had undergone on anyone. The end result....well yes, but I would do my best to see that anyone coming into grace has a happy and as inspiring a time of it as possible. And people can. Honest enquiry can lead one into grace. I supose the pain has provided a strong motivation for becoming aware....suffering as the cattle prod of enlightenment.

But an open person adequately informed can get there, I'm certain of it.

A very good point, though Lucy. And one thread that I hope will run awhile. Larryfroot
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Post by heidi » Thu May 11, 2006 2:06 pm

...suffering as the cattle prod of enlightenment.
Larry, you certainly do have a knack for turning a phrase. :)

It is funny how a dualistic concept such as good/bad suffering/peace seem to a language we use in talking about gaining non-duality and peace. Paradoxical.
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Post by Larryfroot » Thu May 11, 2006 4:11 pm

Language is only another signpost....it is wonky and strange and dualistic, but it can point the way, thank god.

That is all I have to say on the subject of language and the now!

(I'm not the sort to get heavily involved in lingo debate).

But Lucy, do you feel a bit more reassured by the replies on this thread or would you like to carry on discussing?

In one very real sense the ego driven mind is an ill place to be. So we all start off on a wonky note to begin with. I have seen schizophrenia at very close quarters for a number of years (my brother is a chronic schizophrenic) and I really can't think how such a debilitating, hellish condition can be a precursor to enlightenment. The person inside the schizophrenia is sane, but the sheer overload of mental and sensory input they undergo simply swamps any line of reason they may be trying to pursue....which may seem a sort of crazy wisdom idea, but in my experience of meeting crazy wisdom people the emphasis has so often been on the crazy rather than the wisdom.

But then I may be wrong. But schizophrenia as a precursor to enlightenment is rather taking a sledgehammer to a nut.

Prayers and Love for Shizophrenic people please. Or rather for the nice sane people stuck inside the schizophrenic nightmare.

froot bless, larryfroot
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Post by phil » Thu May 11, 2006 4:34 pm

lucy wrote:I guess what I'm wondering is that how can we trust that what ET and others call enlightenment isn't a form of psychosis.
Interesting question Lucy, really. We are often being led by folks with self proclaimed mental problems. No need to get all cynical etc, but surely your question is a reasonable one.

Well, in my psychotic opinion, we'd be best off to forget we ever heard the word enlightenment.

So, enlightenment, out the window. One less future trip cluttering up my mind.

How about this?

Sit in a chair, close your eyes, and patiently watch your breath for an hour.

Did it feel good?

If yes, repeat as needed.

If you boil it down to something this simple, it doesn't really matter whether some teacher is nutty, or whatever.

Take it one hour at a time, use your common sense, decide for yourself what the best next step is.

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Post by lucy » Thu May 11, 2006 7:39 pm

Thank you everyone for your insightful replies.

I guess the main proof that enlightenment isn't a form of psychosis rests in the testimony of those who have awakened and "feel good", they no longer are tormented by their inner demons or the "mind stuff." But again, my ego says "ignorance is bliss", who wouldn't "feel good" if they were told to shelf their problems because there is no tomorrow. Are we deluding ourselves because we can't cut it in the real world and need a form of escape?

Is there anyone out there on these message boards who has awakened and feels that being awakened is unquestionably self-authenticating, and that all doubt is removed that the the awakened state or being self-realized is the truth?

Byron Katie talks about being fully awake, but then she also talks about her tongue bleeding whenever she ate meat. What has that got to do with being awake? My (little me)confusion rests in the fact that there are so many out there talking about being awake and yet their description of it is very different then that of others. Who is really awake?

There seems to be a faction of nonduality which people like Tony Parsons, Nathan Gill etc. belong to who claim that there is absolutely no one here and there is no path and no divince purpose, and that other teachers like ET who say there is a divince purpose are misleading readers. Why would awakened people need to debate this if in fact being awakened is self-authenticating and is the ultimate truth of who we are. there should be no debate.

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Post by heidi » Thu May 11, 2006 8:33 pm

Hi Lucy - I'm not so sure debate is actually happening (as she debates the statement, ha ha)
Maybe they are all saying basically the same thing in different ways. If divine purpose is To Be, then some might say the purpose is to have no purpose, or at least not be attached to outcomes. ;)

Who is really awake? Your guess is as good as mine. And does it really matter? I guess it would if you were driving yourself and others crazy over something that is beyond your control or not in the now. Then you could simply say yes to what is, accept and go along your merry way enjoying being. I think Tolle speaks nuts and bolts common sense about cutting the mind-made BS and letting inherent joy flow.

Works for me.
:)
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Post by mccpcorn » Thu May 11, 2006 8:59 pm

One thing not mentioned so far is ETs words about life and life situations.

For people who have read PoN and New Earth one key thing should leap out, namely that when you become aware (satisfied and accepting of your life situation if you will) all of a sudden things seem to start going your way. Whereas before we would come up against barriers, now these barriers seem to open for us. We get little quirks of insight and find little slices of luck to help us on our way.

Now it's hardly empirical evidence I will admit. ET teaches to accept the bad and embrace and appreciate the good, wheras before we would relish the bad (gives us something to moan about and identify with) and ignore the good. In other words there is a good chance that when we suffered we simply tuned out of anything nice that happened or dismissed it as a freak occurance. By abandoning our negative outlook we could may just be noticing these nice happenings more.

But surely this is a good thing? The basic premise of the Now is to rebalance our lives so that we are no more negative in our outlook than needlessly positive. In this way we can enjoy what is good and be better equipped to deal with the struggles we face.

I've experienced a great deal of emotional trauma in my life and I have to admit that when I first began exploring the Now I was at a pretty low ebb. The first half of 2004 was about as rotten an experience as I've ever had. Yet my life flipped through a complete 180 in the last 4 or 5 months of the year. I got a new job and left the one that was destroying me spiritually and finally got some control of my finances.

I am less happy in my new job now than I was then, but I can separate out my enjoyment of the job and the people from my disatisfaction with the work, and I can consider my options for the future more positively. I still struggle with my mind and it can be frustrating, but I feel I am slowly gaining the upper hand.

Certainly I know ET is spot on when he describes the mind as a tool that should be put aside when not in use. Ever have one of those annoying songs jammed in your head and you couldn't get it out? That's the mind refusing to quit. It's a bit like when you hear a car alarm going off outside. You kind of tune it out to the point you can probably sleep with it there; you don't realise it's there again until it shuts off - and then isn't it a blessed relief that has you grinning ear to ear? (Okay perhaps that tells you more about me than about you!)

To return to the original question, if what I am experiencing now is merely another facet of mental breakdown then it is certainly far more enjoyable and comfortable than any prior experience I've had in this area. I did have a friend tell me I sounded like a cultist when I was describing with enthusiasm my experience, and I suppose I do occasionally worry about this being a form of indoctrination.

However in saying that I would also say so much of what I read made sense; as if I had always known it but pretended it wasn't there, ignored it. Whilst it's true a cult needs a certain kind of person the fact that this 'community' is global, more or less spontaneous, and random all around the planet means it doesn't have an effective cult structure.

The words only make sense to those who already have half an idea, people who are ready. They're not targeted. All of us have been moved to try something, had an inkling something was wrong, that there was something more. The words we found only give it a contextual meaning the mind can understand.

The truth of the words, running far deeper than the words themselves, is what is creating the purpose.

And now I'll be quiet because I'm getting tangled up in my rant. :wink:

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Post by lucy » Thu May 11, 2006 9:44 pm

mc -you have hit the nail on the head my friend.

In the sixties, cults flourished, eg, Moonies, Hare Krishnas etc... those people that flocked to those places thought that the message that they were hearing was the "truth". They wanted to be with a like minded community of people that also had heard the message. They were convinced that they were the only ones that were "ready" to hear the message. They were promised liberation and freedom, all they had to do was believe and (often donate money). These people lost their identies and became "servents of the so -called truth". Where are they today?

With the internet, we don't need to flock to any of these places, we have access at our fingertips. Like the cults, there is a lot of money being made from these teachings. Adyashanti, Chopra, Byron Katie etc, do not give away books and seminars they charge for this precious knowledge that we are all suppose to have deep inside us.

Sorry, I'm not trying to sound cynical here, I admire ET et el, their words reach down and resonate with me, but then my mind comes in and undoes it all by asking these questions: am I being indoctornated? Is this a form of pychosis? Is this a cult?

I find it reassuring when you say that life is starting to "work" for you and that your life situation has turned around.

My doubts arise from the fact that years ago I believed that I had found the truth and lived my life with a sense of carefreeness. Now I look back and although times are tough, I have what I need, and for that I am thankful, if I had been more aggressive and not so passive and willing to let things take care of themselves, I would somehow improved my life situation.[/quote]

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Post by kiki » Thu May 11, 2006 11:38 pm

lucy wrote:am I being indoctornated? Is this a form of pychosis? Is this a cult?
Are you required to follow a certain line of thinking in order to know what you are? If so, then there is indoctrination going on. But knowing directly what you are (awakening) has nothing to do with believing anything at all. In fact, one must drop all beliefs, and therefore all indoctrination, to know what you are in reality. Awakening is the shattering of all indoctrination, the shattering of all beliefs so that you are unencumbered by anything.

Cults are built around rigid beliefs, and those who belong to them gain their identity based on those beliefs. Awakening is the total relinquishment of all beliefs and all identity; it is the seeing that the "me" is nothing more than another belief. The "me" is seen to be illusory, and without a "me" there is no longer an entity which will believe/disbelieve anything. Just accepting this is not enough because then it is just remains another belief. One must see this for oneself.
but then my mind comes in and undoes it all
When you start to awaken the ego/mind will throw up every kind of resistance it can think of in order to keep in control. This is what this kind of thinking is. It's a clever strategy, but one that must be seen through for what it is. Once you see it as a way of avoiding the truth of what you are you become open to that truth being realized.

You'll know you're being mislead if you are asked to believe anything. Find out what you are prior to the arising of any belief.

k

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Post by heidi » Thu May 11, 2006 11:44 pm

Hi Lucy - The beauty of an internet forum is that you can come and go as you please. You may read as much or little as you like. You can buy a book or borrow one. I'm glad Tolle's making money, otherwise he'd still be on the park bench accepting his plight. :lol: When reading this forum, I pass over things that don't resonate with me.. :) I don't "follow" Tolle; I've just read the work and find it to make huge pragmatic sense to my mind and connect deeply with my heart, and I truly can say that I have an easier go of all the stuff of living because I've been being nowish and accepting and surrendered.

As far as I'm concerned humanity in general is insane. Tolle's work helps bring us to a gentler place, and for me, allows my being to expose the ecstacy that light of creation, (sheesh I'm waxing poetic) that's at my core so that it is from that place that the action of my life springs (rather than reaction to sh*t I have no control over).

Some might try to make that cultish to the very needy, but I don't see that happening.
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Post by lucy » Fri May 12, 2006 12:02 am

Hi Kiki

"When you start to awaken the ego/mind will throw up every kind of resistance it can think of in order to keep in control. This is what this kind of thinking is. It's a clever strategy, but one that must be seen through for what it is. Once you see it as a way of avoiding the truth of what you are you become open to that truth being realized."

I know that it is my ego/mind that is throwing up this resistance. But how do we know that this isn't the organism's way of protecting itself from insanity. (i know ET would say that it is the ego's way of protecting itself against annhilation).

You're right Kiki, at my present state of consciousness, these are just concepts for me. ( concepts that I hope will dissolve into a direct understanding) But I can't help but think that these thoughts might be my mind's last defence against insanity. An insane person does not think they're insane, but rather the opposite, they think everyone else is.


[/quote]

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Post by phil » Fri May 12, 2006 1:20 am

In fact, one must drop all beliefs, and therefore all indoctrination, to know what you are in reality.
Including this belief?

Wow. Now forums, books, tapes, seminars, all flooded to the rooftops with an overflowing tsunami tidal wave of beliefs, thoughts, conclusions, positions. A wide river of raging thought, posing as the end of thought.

Honestly, the traditional religions are actually simpler than we are because they just have beliefs. Period.

They say, "Here are our beliefs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. We believe this stuff and that is our religion. End of story."

If only we could be that plain about it.

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