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I got DP because of my extreme search for enlightenment. (everyone who is interested in my story, here is my introduction: http://www.dpselfhelp.com/forum/index.php?/topic/75986-dp-advaita-sucks-any-advise/?hl=advaita)

Since the DP started i try to stop looking into spiritual stuff and i try DESPERATLY to forget the teachings i heard, but it seems to be impossible (after being a follower of advaita/nonduality for more than 7 years). Today i made a big mistake.. i opened an email (newsletter) from my former teacher, where he wrote something like: "if you still believe in free will or some kind of control watch this video" i didn't watch the video (it was something about cells) but since i read this sentence i am totally frightend and desperate. (btw: most of the time i am frightend and desperate)

Since 7 months i obsess EVERY DAY about stuff like free will, control and the self. And it seems that every word i heard from the advaita teachers are true.. that there is no self, no free will and no control at all and that we are nothing more than biological robots. And what's making it all worse is that it seems like scientists support this theories! I can't live with this! It seems impossible to ever feel happy, free and like myself again with this knowledge!

It feels like i am totally gone. I don't know who i am. It feels like i am just a thought in my head, wich can't be real, because it is just a thought... my body is living a life on it's own. Everytime i talk it feels absolutely wrong. Like.. this body is talking, but i am not there to do the talking, nobody does it, it just talks on its own. Everything happens on its own, without "me", without someone inside this body. It feels so terrible. I can't understand why "the truth" should feel so bad and wrong!

I feel that i have totally ruined my life. And not just my own life, the one of my mother too. I live with her since my DP started and every time she recognizes that i am not doing well she is very desperate and sad, because she can't help me. She is 68 years old and i am afraid that she gets ill because of the stress she is experiencing because of me.

If i could, i would delete all these spiritual things i ever heard out of my mind, but this is not possible :(

Do you have any idea what i can do??? Is there even a little possibility that these teachings are not true??? That we have a self and that we are in control ..? That we are more than just biological machines? I don't want to be "pure conciousness", it feels so deeply wrong ...
 

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I don’t have that exact experience but can completely relate. Spirituality theories and philosophy are MAJOR issues for me. But it sounds like you may have some OCD/anxiety going on making this worse. Here is what I’ve learned; the more anxious and obsessive I get, the more the thoughts get worse. And vice versa. So for me, once I get the anxiety side regulated I can start to work with the thoughts and push them away. Has anything in your life truly changed? You may feel it has but it is only your thoughts. Don’t give them so much weight! I know you can get through this. Please feel free to message me.
 

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Those teachers are humans too ,what the **** do they know ? They just assume and develop theories ,and at the end theories dont change the truth at at all.I could name myself today ,Zulu the teacher of matter and energy and talk about lots of stuff for which I have no proof.
And dont think that because "scientists" believe that something might be true it is true.

Humans have free will ,read about an experiment that was made on a guy where a doctor had his skull open ,he put a needle on a part of his brain that made his arm move and it moved.Then he told the patient to resist the movement and the arm did move very little.
You have free will in using your biological body.When you get hungry ,you can either choose to eat a big unhealthy meal ,or something healthy ,or fast the day.
 

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Ask that teacher to define what consciousness is.This debate has been going on for hundreds of years.And then ask him again what the mind is.Tell him you dont want any bullshit explanation that the mind is what gives rise to consciousness and all that trash talk.
They talk about two things they dont even know what they are.
 

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I try and just stay clear of all these bullshit theories. What is the point to ruminating in that stuff?? And like nocturnalman said, they’re humans too. I would honestly try and not think about it and DISTRACT
 

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I got DP because of my extreme search for enlightenment. (everyone who is interested in my story, here is my introduction: http://www.dpselfhelp.com/forum/index.php?/topic/75986-dp-advaita-sucks-any-advise/?hl=advaita)

Since the DP started i try to stop looking into spiritual stuff and i try DESPERATLY to forget the teachings i heard, but it seems to be impossible (after being a follower of advaita/nonduality for more than 7 years). Today i made a big mistake.. i opened an email (newsletter) from my former teacher, where he wrote something like: "if you still believe in free will or some kind of control watch this video" i didn't watch the video (it was something about cells) but since i read this sentence i am totally frightend and desperate. (btw: most of the time i am frightend and desperate)

Since 7 months i obsess EVERY DAY about stuff like free will, control and the self. And it seems that every word i heard from the advaita teachers are true.. that there is no self, no free will and no control at all and that we are nothing more than biological robots. And what's making it all worse is that it seems like scientists support this theories! I can't live with this! It seems impossible to ever feel happy, free and like myself again with this knowledge!

It feels like i am totally gone. I don't know who i am. It feels like i am just a thought in my head, wich can't be real, because it is just a thought... my body is living a life on it's own. Everytime i talk it feels absolutely wrong. Like.. this body is talking, but i am not there to do the talking, nobody does it, it just talks on its own. Everything happens on its own, without "me", without someone inside this body. It feels so terrible. I can't understand why "the truth" should feel so bad and wrong!

I feel that i have totally ruined my life. And not just my own life, the one of my mother too. I live with her since my DP started and every time she recognizes that i am not doing well she is very desperate and sad, because she can't help me. She is 68 years old and i am afraid that she gets ill because of the stress she is experiencing because of me.

If i could, i would delete all these spiritual things i ever heard out of my mind, but this is not possible :(

Do you have any idea what i can do??? Is there even a little possibility that these teachings are not true??? That we have a self and that we are in control ..? That we are more than just biological machines? I don't want to be "pure conciousness", it feels so deeply wrong ...
Don't feel bad. Your spiritual journey was not in vain and if -- as your teacher said -- you think there is no free will, then I suppose your spiritual journey was meant to happen anyway.

I was on a similar route. In fact, until this day I'm still fascinated by existence and spirituality. I just intake less of it nowadays because of the DP.

I don't want to undermine anyone but I think ppl that are existential/spiritual to begin with, really get their ass kicked if DP comes knocking at the front door.

I sure did. All my life I've been a curious individual, wondering about the stars, reality, the Universe and the "why" to everything.

But really I think what affected me the most was my long-term anxiety and the tough childhood I experienced.

I won't knock science and logic. I think the Universe exist because of a logical system even if some things to us seem illogical.

I do think that my background contributed to this.

BUT I've gotten a lot better, further strengthening my conviction that DP can happen in either two ways:

A long arduous spiritual journey in which one awakes and is confronted with the illusory "I" OR

A buttfucked bag of mishaps and experiences that gives DP a booty call.

Forgive my facetious character, if it offends, that isn't my intention. Just trying to alleviate the mood with some humor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't have that exact experience but can completely relate. Spirituality theories and philosophy are MAJOR issues for me. But it sounds like you may have some OCD/anxiety going on making this worse. Here is what I've learned; the more anxious and obsessive I get, the more the thoughts get worse. And vice versa. So for me, once I get the anxiety side regulated I can start to work with the thoughts and push them away. Has anything in your life truly changed? You may feel it has but it is only your thoughts. Don't give them so much weight! I know you can get through this. Please feel free to message me.
yes, i struggle a lot with anxiety (since more than 10 years). this was also the major reason for me to look into spirituality. you are definitely right. everytime i manage to stop thinking about it so much, it gets more bearable. i take antidepressants to deal with the anxiety, but they don't really help. i don't know why, because i took them before and they always made me less anxious. the only thing which helps a little bit is lorazepam, but i don't want to take it too often.

sometimes i think nothing has really changed in my life. except of my focus. i focus on myself all day long. i didn't do this before, at least not so intense. and than i get afraid that i was a robot without a self before this strange "shift of my focus" happend, i just didn't realise this. can you relate to this? and did you also look into spirituality before you got DP?

Those teachers are humans too ,what the **** do they know ? They just assume and develop theories ,and at the end theories dont change the truth at at all.I could name myself today ,Zulu the teacher of matter and energy and talk about lots of stuff for which I have no proof.
And dont think that because "scientists" believe that something might be true it is true.

Humans have free will ,read about an experiment that was made on a guy where a doctor had his skull open ,he put a needle on a part of his brain that made his arm move and it moved.Then he told the patient to resist the movement and the arm did move very little.
You have free will in using your biological body.When you get hungry ,you can either choose to eat a big unhealthy meal ,or something healthy ,or fast the day.
thank you for saying this, it's good to see that somebody still believes in free will! yes, i know that they are humans too and that no human can know everything. but i was so conviced of the teaching, i really thought this has to be THE truth. i always thought it is pure logic to not believe in free will. it made total sense to me that every decision i make is a result of the conditioning in my childhood and later experiences. for example the experiment you mentioned: i could say that the man just moved his arm, because the doctor told him to do this. and that he had no choice to do some other thing because he decided to participate in the experiment. and if i would know this man i could probably find some reason why he participated. and so on ....if i think like this i always come to the conclusion that somehow the brain decides what we do and there is no "i" :(

as long as this was only a believed theory and not part of my day to day experience i was totally fine with it. i think a major reason why i wanted to believe in this deterministic concept is that i could be free of guilt. and i wanted to have peaceful relationships, so the thought that all people have to act the way they do, was somehow reassuring. now it isn't anymore. it's frightening and not worth believing in. but it's really hard to give up
such an belief system, especially if it makes sense somehow and you don't have any evidence for the opposite :(

Ask that teacher to define what consciousness is.This debate has been going on for hundreds of years.And then ask him again what the mind is.Tell him you dont want any bullshit explanation that the mind is what gives rise to consciousness and all that trash talk.
They talk about two things they dont even know what they are.
you are right! there are also very different interpretations of "enlightenment" and "self". it always depends on the teaching, the teacher, the lineage etc. who knows THE truth? sometimes i think i was very naive. i always thought i was a critical thinker, but i never really questioned the teaching. it made sense somehow and so i believed it. i never asked for any definition of the words they use.

Don't feel bad. Your spiritual journey was not in vain and if -- as your teacher said -- you think there is no free will, then I suppose your spiritual journey was meant to happen anyway.

I was on a similar route. In fact, until this day I'm still fascinated by existence and spirituality. I just intake less of it nowadays because of the DP.

I don't want to undermine anyone but I think ppl that are existential/spiritual to begin with, really get their ass kicked if DP comes knocking at the front door.

I sure did. All my life I've been a curious individual, wondering about the stars, reality, the Universe and the "why" to everything.

But really I think what affected me the most was my long-term anxiety and the tough childhood I experienced.

I won't knock science and logic. I think the Universe exist because of a logical system even if some things to us seem illogical.

I do think that my background contributed to this.

BUT I've gotten a lot better, further strengthening my conviction that DP can happen in either two ways:

A long arduous spiritual journey in which one awakes and is confronted with the illusory "I" OR

A buttfucked bag of mishaps and experiences that gives DP a booty call.

Forgive my facetious character, if it offends, that isn't my intention. Just trying to alleviate the mood with some humor.
i was always interested in existential questions too. i always liked the idea that we live in some kind of matrix and can find our way out of it. i remeber that i loved to read fantasy books in my childhood and i always imagined that something like this can happen to me - that i discover a beautiful "parallel world" and have to fight against monsters and stuff like that, haha :D i think i wanted to be special somehow and i wanted to escape from this world. i always had the feeling that i don't belong here. i never understood why society works the way it does.

i can totally relate to long-term anxiety and a tough childhood. probably this is a major reason for my DP. or rather .. i hope so.
i am still afraid, that this is some kind of enlightenment, like you said: "A long arduous spiritual journey in which one awakes and is confronted with the illusory "I"" do you really think that this could be some form of awakening? if there really is something like this.. maybe it's just another way of looking at strange/mysterious experiences and has nothing to do with a "higher truth". and i don't know why sudden awakening should
feel so bad and disturbing. there are some stories from teachers who had "sudden awakenings" (like eckhart tolle and byron katie) and they always tell that it was a great experience.

how did you get better?
and how do you deal with spirituality and DP?
 

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I can go down the rabbit hole of “what ifs” if my anxiety lets me... and then I can pretty much have an answer to undo anything anyone tells me. I would love to do this without meds, but every time I’ve tried it hasn’t gone well. Maybe I’m wired a certain way :/ Therefore, anxiety more in check, ocd thoughts more in check, I live my life More lol. I’ve always had issues with spirituality. And this time around my DR was triggered by what I felt was a near death experience (I had a high risk delivery with my child and was terrified for 48 hours in the hospital) mortality, spirituality, existence... they all became a focus again :/
 

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Holy crap, this sounds exactly like me.... I started with Zen and Taoism but all that existential and philosophical crap is what caused my dpdr. You seriously sound so similar to me I read your other posts and they sounds so similar....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Holy crap, this sounds exactly like me.... I started with Zen and Taoism but all that existential and philosophical crap is what caused my dpdr. You seriously sound so similar to me I read your other posts and they sounds so similar....
so good to know that i am not alone!! can you tell me more about your experience? how and when did your DP start, what are your symptoms and how are you doing now?
 

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so good to know that i am not alone!! can you tell me more about your experience? how and when did your DP start, what are your symptoms and how are you doing now?
Well I always had existential anxiety since 11 years old, which also turned into health and death anxiety. This pushed me to seek answers spiritually and I eventually got into Zen and stuff. I've always been a bit naive and kind of believed a lot of the mystical stuff in mysterious Asian religions and culture. I eventually found a teacher who taught something similar to what you mentioned, where you are the world and everything is one crap. I believed it for a good amount of time, and looking back at some points it did spark DPDR but I didn't know what it was and didn't last very long either. I've always been kind of against society and conforming and things like that in general, I didn't get how everyone else could live knowing all these things like death and afterlife and whatever. Anyway about a year ago I accidentally ate some edibles, after smoking a bit of weed. I never did too much weed before so I freaked out and had panic attacks for like 2 or 3 hours, eventually calmed down. I didn't have any delusions per say but I did have strange racing thoughts and of course the panic. I had slight background hallucinations, like when you close your eyes hard and open them you see like background lights or whatever. The next day I wake up and I am pretty ok, I'm like wow never going to do weed again... but then randomly I was packing up my things and something just seemed off and it freaked me out, this was DPDR. I had anxiety for a while like a week and then went back to normal.

Then about 2 months later I wake up from a big panic attack. During those 2 months I was mostly fine except for some random anxiety and panic here and there, but nothing unusual cause I always had anxiety although the panic attacks were less than before. Anyway I wake up and I start wondering "What if reality is EVIL and my soul is trapped in this simulation by a malicious entity feeding off my consciousness energy?" Yea I just started panicking and stuff like that, that then turned into solipsism where I had intrusive thoughts that "what if my parents and everyone is fake and im the only one here", which turned into more existential stuff about my soul being trapped and tortured, or this is all one big game that traps us and tortures our souls...

Went on Zoloft to calm the panic attacks, did CBT and started switching my brain patterns from "The universe is punishing me" to "It was my mistake and how do I improve next time". Its about a year now and although I do get anxiety because I went off Zoloft a month ago, I am mostly fine and I can brush off existential thoughts, my thoughts cannot bother me anymore because I am in charge and I can choose what to believe. Anxiety should be gone soon once my brian patterns get more ingrained and my anxiety patterns start to diminish for better and more useful patterns... like you know.. not having pointless anxiety.
 

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I got DP because of my extreme search for enlightenment. (everyone who is interested in my story, here is my introduction: http://www.dpselfhelp.com/forum/index.php?/topic/75986-dp-advaita-sucks-any-advise/?hl=advaita)

Since the DP started i try to stop looking into spiritual stuff and i try DESPERATLY to forget the teachings i heard, but it seems to be impossible (after being a follower of advaita/nonduality for more than 7 years). Today i made a big mistake.. i opened an email (newsletter) from my former teacher, where he wrote something like: "if you still believe in free will or some kind of control watch this video" i didn't watch the video (it was something about cells) but since i read this sentence i am totally frightend and desperate. (btw: most of the time i am frightend and desperate)

Since 7 months i obsess EVERY DAY about stuff like free will, control and the self. And it seems that every word i heard from the advaita teachers are true.. that there is no self, no free will and no control at all and that we are nothing more than biological robots. And what's making it all worse is that it seems like scientists support this theories! I can't live with this! It seems impossible to ever feel happy, free and like myself again with this knowledge!

It feels like i am totally gone. I don't know who i am. It feels like i am just a thought in my head, wich can't be real, because it is just a thought... my body is living a life on it's own. Everytime i talk it feels absolutely wrong. Like.. this body is talking, but i am not there to do the talking, nobody does it, it just talks on its own. Everything happens on its own, without "me", without someone inside this body. It feels so terrible. I can't understand why "the truth" should feel so bad and wrong!

I feel that i have totally ruined my life. And not just my own life, the one of my mother too. I live with her since my DP started and every time she recognizes that i am not doing well she is very desperate and sad, because she can't help me. She is 68 years old and i am afraid that she gets ill because of the stress she is experiencing because of me.

If i could, i would delete all these spiritual things i ever heard out of my mind, but this is not possible :(

Do you have any idea what i can do??? Is there even a little possibility that these teachings are not true??? That we have a self and that we are in control ..? That we are more than just biological machines? I don't want to be "pure conciousness", it feels so deeply wrong ...
Trying desperately not to think of something is the best way to keep it in your thoughts, but I think you already figured that out!

You don't have to forget anything to get over it. I can remember everything (and even experience it fleetingly) and discuss it here, but emotionally I'm indifferent to it.

Focus on and deal with the anxiety itself more than the object of the anxiety. It doesn't really matter whether it's being "pure consciousness" in a biological machine, or riding elevators!

If you'd continued down the advaita path a bit further, or chosen a different path, you'd probably be fixated on something else. I won't give examples! :) This is just the one that bothered you the most.

I explored advaita quite early and seemingly burned through everything in mainstream spirituality in a short time. When I was 17, I had already discovered U.G. Krishnamurti, and devoured everything written about him. He called his enlightenment "the calamity", emphasizing the suffering. So I was alert to the dangers early on, and somewhat prepared for it. It always seemed that they didn't go far enough, and since I was so terrified of being in error (more than losing my sanity), I kept trying to push further.

It was soon after that I first suffered derealization. I went to a doctor and explained it. I didn't have a name for it, and they couldn't help. I don't think I was taken seriously. (It was suggested, tongue in cheek, that I could be put in an induced coma for a couple of weeks to help forget it. I wouldn't have hesitated, since it seemed like my only hope!)

I absolutely believed I was the first person to suffer from it, and that it would last forever.

Of course, I wasn't and it didn't. I recovered from the DR, and developed DP a year later. Then I was drawn back to the spiritual path another year later, and plunged myself back into DR and DP. Much worse this time, because I'd discovered many more ideas to terrify myself with! After another lengthy recovery... well, you can guess.

The teachings are half-truths. There are hidden assumptions. When you question the assumptions, the whole edifice starts to fall apart, in the same way that your sense of self did. They're fundamentally wrong about the nature of self and reality, but right in enough ways that it is easy for them to delude themselves, you and other seekers.

Most academic philosophers or logicians could tear advaita to shreds and expose its logical inconsistency. Unfortunately, their arguments can be a bit inaccessible.

It's like your eyes trying to look at your eyes without a mirror, or trying to look at your back in a crazy game of Twister with yourself and giving yourself spiritual whiplash. If you could really see the comedy in it, and laugh until you cry, I think that would be the beginning of the end of your anxiety. Take one more step back (or forward), and see the ridiculousness of your self looking for your self!

Your self is much more than you can know, and certainly more than you have been led to think. It's not just a thing or a thought, but something far more than that. (I believe Kierkegaard's understanding of the self is correct. The concept is not so easy to grasp, and probably isn't useful to you right now, but just know that the simplistic advaita view is not the only one! In Kierkegaard's words, "The self is a relation that relates itself to itself." That relation is between the psyche/soul (possibility/freedom, eternity, infinity) and the body (necessity, temporality, finiteness), and we are suspended between freedom [pure, free-floating consciousness] and necessity [biological machine with no freedom and control], the finite and the infinite, etc.)

You probably read my post on free will, so I won't repeat that here.

KNOWING your self is BEING yourself. Being yourself involves MAKING DECISIONS and ACTING in the world, physically and socially. You are your freedom, and if you don't use it by making decisions and exerting your will in the world, you will feel insubstantial and empty, and you may as well be nothing.

No matter how you're feeling, or what mischief your thoughts are getting up to, you must still go out into the world and act, as far as you are capable. The worst thing to do is isolate yourself and withdraw from the world. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

You don't seem to be isolated since you've sought out a lot of help. But do more and more until you have literally no free time, and you're so exhausted from the day that you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow! Whatever you do should be challenging, rewarding, and take a lot of concentration, effort, and mental engagement. Painting class, cooking, dancing, motorcycling, a foreign language. Don't be unwilling to shake things up a bit and act a bit random and out of character. This is not just for distraction: distraction is secondary. It's just that existing means doing, not just obsessively, passively watching things happen (inside and out).

During DR/DP, I joined a lot of groups and classes (unrelated to DP/DR), and became active in my community. I socialized a lot more, and was the best self I could be under the circumstances. The second time I went through DP/DR, my response was even stronger. I traveled a lot, and lived and worked for a while in two foreign countries (where I met my wife).

To recenter and empower yourself, you should do things that are within your control. If you can't change something, can't know something, or can't do something (like twist your third eye ball around, so to speak), acknowledge that. Then turn your attention to what is under your control.

You will feel the reality of your self when you're in gear, not stuck in neutral watching your body and mind on auto-pilot playing out unconscious habits (like walking, typing, speaking, blinking, breathing). If your conscious mind is busy, there will be less space for these thoughts. Learn to juggle 5 balls, and you might occasionally drop those thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Richard.. thank you SO MUCH for your detailed reply!

i had different kind of strong fears (including panic attacks) before DP - hypochondriac and social fears - so probably you are absolutely right when you say that i should deal more with the anxiety itself than with the content. it just seems so much "deeper" than every fear i had before. often i still think i have to solve this big existential puzzle in order to get out of it, but at the same time i know i will never solve it. i will never find the evidences i want without simultaneously being able to doubt them again.

it's interesting what krishnamurti said about his enlightenment. in the advaita-community i never heard something like this. it was always more like "in the end you will discover that there is no-one who gets enlightened and that's great", "you have to die before you die and that's great", i never heard negative stories so i wasn't prepared for anything... but i think, even if i had known this, i would have followed the path.. unfortunately :( now i think this whole spiritual path and enlightenment stuff is just a waste of time.. it is more valueable to just live life .. as a human being. and that's it.

do you think your first experience with DR was triggered by the spiritual teachings? by thinking about them or meditating?

it's so good to hear that you think that the teachings are half-truths. i thought this also and i also found many of these hidden assumptions but i am still very captured by the arguments they have for their way to see the self and the world and everything.. it's hard to let go...

you said: "It's like your eyes trying to look at your eyes without a mirror, or trying to look at your back in a crazy game of Twister with yourself and giving yourself spiritual whiplash. If you could really see the comedy in it, and laugh until you cry, I think that would be the beginning of the end of your anxiety. Take one more step back (or forward), and see the ridiculousness of your self looking for your self!"

-- that's great and funny, thank you so much! i think one of the hidden assumptions in advaita is that because you can't see or find your self, it is not there. what do you think about this? what also disturbs me very much is this statement "there is experience but no experiencer" or "there is choice but no-one who chooses" - is this really possible? it feels somehow true at the moment, but this could also be a delusion - what do you think?

and you said: "KNOWING your self is BEING yourself. Being yourself involves MAKING DECISIONS and ACTING in the world, physically and socially. You are your freedom, and if you don't use it by making decisions and exerting your will in the world, you will feel insubstantial and empty, and you may as well be nothing.

No matter how you're feeling, or what mischief your thoughts are getting up to, you must still go out into the world and act, as far as you are capable. The worst thing to do is isolate yourself and withdraw from the world. Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."

-- that sounds beautiful, thank you <3 if i would not think about "there is experience but no experiencer" it would sound even more beautiful :D

yes, fortunately i am not totally isolated and i try to keep doing things. but i think you are right and i have to do even more.

"To recenter and empower yourself, you should do things that are within your control. If you can't change something, can't know something, or can't do something (like twist your third eye ball around, so to speak), acknowledge that. Then turn your attention to what is under your control. You will feel the reality of your self when you're in gear, not stuck in neutral watching your body and mind on auto-pilot playing out unconscious habits (like walking, typing, speaking, blinking, breathing). If your conscious mind is busy, there will be less space for these thoughts. Learn to juggle 5 balls, and you might occasionally drop those thoughts."

-- that are great hints, thank you!

what i still don't understand - and you are not the first one who said this - how can speaking be just an unconscious habit? is it always like that? before DP i never experienced it this way but somehow it seems to be true?
 

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it just seems so much "deeper" than every fear i had before. often i still think i have to solve this big existential puzzle in order to get out of it, but at the same time i know i will never solve it. i will never find the evidences i want without simultaneously being able to doubt them again.
It's enough to introduce some doubt. For a start, the reality of the transcendental (what lies outside human conception), casts doubt on your reasoning and reveals its limitations. That is obvious when we encounter the many paradoxes in existence and logic.

do you think your first experience with DR was triggered by the spiritual teachings? by thinking about them or meditating?
Absolutely, no doubt. I remember the thought that triggered it: the exact words. There was intense frustration and desire to make a spiritual breakthrough. I summoned everything I had and the result was derealization. I think my powers of concentration from meditation practice, my love of truth, and my frustration with the unsatisfactoriness of life, all combined to give this thought power.

Panic and anxiety arose simultaneously with DR and I was confused about the causality. Later I understood that DP/DR is intimately related with anxiety.

I did have some social anxiety before this, so maybe that played into it.

i think one of the hidden assumptions in advaita is that because you can't see or find your self, it is not there. what do you think about this?
Yes, that's one of the fallacious assumptions. I want to give another example which will make this even clearer, but it would be triggering for you so I will refrain! Just because you can't see something (in whatever sense you're trying capture and represent it to yourself) or all aspects of it or its causes, doesn't mean it's not real.

"there is experience but no experiencer" or "there is choice but no-one who chooses" - is this really possible? it feels somehow true at the moment, but this could also be a delusion - what do you think?
To me, the experiencer is in a sense more real than the experience. The I is a condition for consciousness. Its reality is intrinsic to logic and duality. An experience without an experiencer is logically inconsistent. It's not just semantics.

I used to believe that all consciousness was the same: I can identify my self with you (in a spatially separated sense) just as I identify my self in this body temporally (yesterday's self is tomorrow's self). Then pure selfishness/self-love becomes agape, crime is punishment, and so on.

However, I no longer believe this. I think it's beautiful that it can be seen like that, and the simplicity is appealing.

I see (dualistic) existence as only the visible aspect of reality, and I ground myself in that "hidden" transcendental power that "created" it.

what i still don't understand - and you are not the first one who said this - how can speaking be just an unconscious habit? is it always like that? before DP i never experienced it this way but somehow it seems to be true?
For me, speaking (or writing) is usually a highly conscious and deliberate act -- not physically or grammatically, but in composition.

I tend to think a lot before I say something, and even mentally rehearse it in some circumstances. I'm far from spontaneous. But there are times when the inhibitions break down and I get out of the way of my unconscious/hidden self. Then everything mostly flows with minimal conscious effort and I experience a mild (not unpleasant) kind of dissociation. But to do something new and form a habit requires the presence and participation of my conscious self. (Maybe "habit" is not the best term. It trivializes the intelligence of our unconscious self.)

Habits are unconscious competences, developed from unconscious incompetence, through conscious incompetence and conscious competence. This reminds me of a fascinating video on unlearning a skill:

 

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yes, i struggle a lot with anxiety (since more than 10 years). this was also the major reason for me to look into spirituality. you are definitely right. everytime i manage to stop thinking about it so much, it gets more bearable. i take antidepressants to deal with the anxiety, but they don't really help. i don't know why, because i took them before and they always made me less anxious. the only thing which helps a little bit is lorazepam, but i don't want to take it too often.

sometimes i think nothing has really changed in my life. except of my focus. i focus on myself all day long. i didn't do this before, at least not so intense. and than i get afraid that i was a robot without a self before this strange "shift of my focus" happend, i just didn't realise this. can you relate to this? and did you also look into spirituality before you got DP?

thank you for saying this, it's good to see that somebody still believes in free will! yes, i know that they are humans too and that no human can know everything. but i was so conviced of the teaching, i really thought this has to be THE truth. i always thought it is pure logic to not believe in free will. it made total sense to me that every decision i make is a result of the conditioning in my childhood and later experiences. for example the experiment you mentioned: i could say that the man just moved his arm, because the doctor told him to do this. and that he had no choice to do some other thing because he decided to participate in the experiment. and if i would know this man i could probably find some reason why he participated. and so on ....if i think like this i always come to the conclusion that somehow the brain decides what we do and there is no "i" :(

as long as this was only a believed theory and not part of my day to day experience i was totally fine with it. i think a major reason why i wanted to believe in this deterministic concept is that i could be free of guilt. and i wanted to have peaceful relationships, so the thought that all people have to act the way they do, was somehow reassuring. now it isn't anymore. it's frightening and not worth believing in. but it's really hard to give up
such an belief system, especially if it makes sense somehow and you don't have any evidence for the opposite :(

you are right! there are also very different interpretations of "enlightenment" and "self". it always depends on the teaching, the teacher, the lineage etc. who knows THE truth? sometimes i think i was very naive. i always thought i was a critical thinker, but i never really questioned the teaching. it made sense somehow and so i believed it. i never asked for any definition of the words they use.

i was always interested in existential questions too. i always liked the idea that we live in some kind of matrix and can find our way out of it. i remeber that i loved to read fantasy books in my childhood and i always imagined that something like this can happen to me - that i discover a beautiful "parallel world" and have to fight against monsters and stuff like that, haha :D i think i wanted to be special somehow and i wanted to escape from this world. i always had the feeling that i don't belong here. i never understood why society works the way it does.

i can totally relate to long-term anxiety and a tough childhood. probably this is a major reason for my DP. or rather .. i hope so.
i am still afraid, that this is some kind of enlightenment, like you said: "A long arduous spiritual journey in which one awakes and is confronted with the illusory "I"" do you really think that this could be some form of awakening? if there really is something like this.. maybe it's just another way of looking at strange/mysterious experiences and has nothing to do with a "higher truth". and i don't know why sudden awakening should
feel so bad and disturbing. there are some stories from teachers who had "sudden awakenings" (like eckhart tolle and byron katie) and they always tell that it was a great experience.

how did you get better?
and how do you deal with spirituality and DP?
From a spiritual perspective, everyone's "awakening" is different. I think the real struggle is coming to terms with one's own image and perception of the world.
This is the real kicker: To stare at that reflection and truly ask who is this person looking back at me? Or better yet, what is this thing looking back at me?

Our values, morals, perceptions, customes, believes, philosophy and doctrines are molded by our childhood experiences and late teenage experiences. Truly, the environment around you shapes who you are, your peers, colleagues, parents, what religion you are part of (non-religion as well) what your socioeconimcal background is...everything.

It's hard for individuals to detach themselves from all of these "identities", or rather, what society offers us.

We wake up everyday being the summation of past emotional experiences and memories. And even memory can be deceptive. We dont remember details as good as we think we do!

Every day this "you" that wakes up is the amalgamation of roles, identities, mask and values we put on as if they were attire.

A person's values cannot be easily shaked, and someone's firm conviction of something can be so profound, that any interference or challenge to that "truth" can be considered a hostile action to the brain.

This gives us comfort, it gives us a sense of sensibility and logic. We are creatures of habit..but when and if everything we knew of the world and its existence is flipped upside down, our brain goes into haywire, all this new sensory (or lack of it) overwhelms the brain thus in turn that individual's mind.

"awakening" can be cruel because it is as if your entire past was just doodles on a plain piece of paper. We hold on so firmly onto our possessions and beliefs that when someone does go through this experience , their "ego" wants to pull back and go back to its safe environment.

I can write more..but im tired lol

I did get better, still am. PM me
 

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IMHO - nobody knows for sure what is real and what not. If you talk to a Christian, they think their God is real, if you talk to an arababic person, they think their religion is real. You on the other hand, have always choice what to believe. I would recommend to go for beliefs that feel the best for you. If you do that, you choose what feels good for you - you making a choice what feels good for you that is not dependable on external things. If you ask other people what you should believe, you are then unconsciously reaffirming to yourself that you see yourself not worthy to trust your own feelings and your own guiding system. No wonder that you feel confused and not yourself.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Wow... I am so glad I found this... go check out some of my recent post... this makes me feel a lot better I have very very similar experiences that you are speaking on...
 

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And wow they conversation you guys had on talking and speaking is Big!!!!! It’s one of my biggest issues. Kalinka the fact that you bring up the thinking being unconscious makes me feel you have similar issues as me with unconscious acts. I have a hard time speaking right because I feel I am speaking without thinking and that makes me feel I am out of control and there is no free will. And then Sol reponse is interesting and almost a tactic to that by making sure you are thinking about what you are saying before you say it. Interesting, I have been doing this lately but it makes me feel restrained. I am a professional bullshitter and I usually speak one thousand miles an hour without hardly any effort, but becoming aware of that process now and feeling disconnected from it and the fact it feels automatic and happens without much input from my conscious mind it sends me into terror and feeds into that idea that I have no control. Actually thinking about ocd, it seems my cycle is focused on automatic unconscious movements in its ability to try and PROVE that there is self control, free will, self.(which is my ultimate overall feel my ocd is fixating on. So it’s like everything i fixate on is trying to prove that free will doesn’t exist, because ocd requires certainty, and this challenges my need for control mindset. The fact you brought up hypochondriac and shit may also be due to control/certainty issues.
 

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This is exactly what I am going through two years after reading a spiritual book named "dada bhagwan" and it ruined my life i have used to be productive and active but after reading that stuff i am isolated lost social connections no one to talk to nog getting pleasure in any activity that i used to enjoy before...always a voice chatting in my mind no matter what i do I can't concentrate in any activity and i pray that i could die asap...if you are recovered or able to forget that spiritual stuff please also give me some tips....any advice would be appreciated
 
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