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 Jnana Yoga/Self-Inquiry - Advaita (Non-Duality)
 Self-Inquiry & Depersonalization.
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734 Posts

Posted - May 09 2012 :  10:43:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit mr_anderson's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply

I have experienced exactly what you are feeling - many times. Where self inquiry, or excessive spiritual practice, takes you to a place where you feel totally "desolate". A state of bleak, dismal emptiness. When I get like this, I stop practices, the excessive desire to get somewhere else, and I just focus on doing stuff which is fun and pleasurable, and get lots of exercise.

There is one tool I can recommend to you. It is in my mind perhaps the only tool I have ever encountered that has brought real and lasting change into my felt perception of life - i.e. how present I feel in the moment, how free I am from emotional reactivity etc

It's called the Presence Process, by Michael Brown. It takes you deep into what you call your 'repressed emotions' and the emotional body, and teaches you how to deeply embrace and engage these emotions. It's rather unlike most self-help related to emotions as it has nothing to do with trying to control your emotions, "eliminating" negative emotions, or trying to choose "positive" emotions over negative ones. These are all control strategies of an emotionally immature mental body, which wants to control experiences, lording it over the emotional body, so it "feels good".

In fact, the process helps restore a neutral relationship with emotional energy (positive and negative emotions, without the mental label, are just energy, neither good or bad) which results in a transformational improvement in the emotional quality of all your experiences. It also brings a loving conclusion to emotional reactivity and suppressed emotions.

Reccomend checking it out - I've tried everything, byron katie, AYP, eckhart tolle, just about every self help book on the planet, NLP, energy healing, and so many different modalities.

In my view AYP is the ultimate "ascension/transcendence" practice for awakening to spiritual truth, transforming the neurobiology, bliss, ecstasy and ultimately enlightenment.

The Presence Process is the ultimate counter-practice for "descension/being in the Now/dealing with the immanent" - this is my practice for dealing with the nitty gritty, raw, emotional human issues of day to day life. It's a very grounding process and may help what you are going through.
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United Kingdom
10 Posts

Posted - Jun 14 2012 :  6:42:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Mr_Anderson.

Thanks very much for the recommendation for the presence process. Practicing the conscious breathing within it has made me realize there are some very real physical/emotional/psychological things going on with me at the moment. When breathing deeply and consciously the numbness starts breaking away and I begin to feel sick, tense, anxious, sad, emotional.

This is starting to make me feel human again, though it may be a long and traumatic process. Thank you.
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1813 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2012 :  11:43:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit Katrine's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Perej

Will the things you have suggested allow me to cleanse my repressed emotions? It feels like I have strongly supressed emotions in my body, but I can't connect them to a sense of self anymore so they are just sitting there, it's this horrible dark energy. I suppose Eckhart Tolle would call it the 'pain body' but his book did not help me one bit.

Stopping meditation and self-inquiry for now is a very sound approach. This is in fact exactly what life is showing you with regards to your symptoms.

We tend to forget that life is always bringing us what we need in order to grow clear. There is no exception to this rule.

Life does not go away and hide - not ever.

So whatever is here at all times, whether we feel detached or attached or sad or glad or whatever - what is being presented is always what we have to be with.

It is very difficult to go through what you are experiencing. Please be kind to yourself and stop any activity that make you feel worse. Go out in nature, or find your way of being in nature. Hug a tree, touch the sea, walk a trail, buy some flowers, visit a pet you like...or get one yourself.....see a forest......or whatever does it for you. Grounding will help immensly. Walk. Swim. Sing?

And make sure that you find something ....or laugh with.

Hold a warm cup of tea and enjoy the fact that you can drink it.

I would just like to add that meditation is not the only way to cultivate inner silence.
Inner silence does in fact not need cultivation per se. It is our recognition of the fact that there is something other than our habitual self within us that is important. When that is not felt, it does not mean it is not there. It is well to remember that.

Cultivation of that recognition can come about in many ways. The recognition of inner silence is cultivated when we act as life wants. And it is not always for us to decide, remember? Life decides. Right now - meditation and self inquiry is clearly not what it tells you to do more of. It is wise to not make the tool wiser than the life that applies it, no?

When listening to what life has to say we must start with the very immediate. So - if you feel dead, then this is truth for you. So life is needed. If you cannot feel it inside.....go see nature where it is so obvious at all times. Or even the sky outside your home. Or see people you know with warmth, kindness and intelligence. Or do something you know you will like that you have never done before but always wanted when I had cancer, I used to ask myself every day (for years): What would I do today if I knew I was dying tomorrow? It always brought the most surprising .....and it was never what I originally thought it would be.....

When you ground and find balance again, life will release whatever emotions that need to come to your attention. Emotions are usually tied into all kinds of reactional chains. There is no need to go looking for knots. NO need to force this process. When life is ready, it will happen of its own accord. And then we deal with one knot at the time. The one that is right here. Just like you are now. Be glad not every turmoil there is comes up at once!

Natural is just fine. It is enough.

And thanks to life/you for coming all the way here to share.

All the best, and please keep in touch.
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United Kingdom
10 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2012 :  7:50:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
bless fam
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1608 Posts

Posted - Jun 15 2012 :  8:33:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Beautiful post Katrine.
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1 Posts

Posted - Oct 23 2014 :  10:21:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello everybody, hello perej,

About 6 months ago I had an experience which is almost word for word described by Perej, with the subsequent feeling of detachment:

Originally posted by Perej

Hello everyone, I am new to this forum.

About 2 years ago now, I began to practice self-inquiry, the process as advocated by masters such as Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

After following the process for some time, I realized that I couldn't find a 'me', or a 'self'. This discovery led me into a state of depersonalization and derealization, whereby I feel like I am non-existant. I can no longer feel my emotions and live in a spaced out state of mind where completing daily tasks is much more difficult.

My memory is absolutely awful and I will often just completely forget what I need to be doing and other things.

I feel like I have died in a sense, and have no awareness of the present moment anymore. I feel completely detached from life and feel as if it is a dream that I will wake up out of any second. This frightens me and I experience some anxiety about this.

I have asked hundreds of questions on various forums all over the internet and this website I have decided to ask in now.

Has anyone experienced this? I believe it could all be coming from an emotional blockage, as even though I feel like I don't exist anymore in the ego sense, all my anger from the past and the energy of old self-hatred is still there.

In my case the realization that there was no self was a happy one, and I felt like I was letting myself go into this realization, but after a few moments with this knowledge, I had a thought that if I let myself go, this somehow is going to end my marriage. This thought at the moment seemed so important that it was followed by a huge wave of panic, with me trying to escape from this state mentally. Ever since this experience, I feel like I can't feel, like I can't be in the moment, fear and anxiety are always with me and sometimes they are unbearable. I was hoping that this would pass, and I have had positive experiences that almost seem to take me over, but then I always hit a mental wall which I feel is impossible to break.

I have tried many things, meditations, yoga, the Presence Process, ayhuaska, but all to no avail. I still feel like I killed a big part of myself and there is nothing I can do to get it back..

And until I saw this perej's post i thought I may be the only one who has that.. It is such a relief to realize that this is not something unique to me....

Perej, your original post is almost 2 years old, could you tell me if you have found something that works? Everybody else, any new ideas?

Thank you all so much in advance,

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Mykal K

265 Posts

Posted - Oct 23 2014 :  1:24:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mykal K's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I would advise you to not worry much.
I do not know what it is that I experienced, maybe I am nowhere near what you experienced but I definitely think that there are similarities in our experiences.
You say that you have lost a big part of yourself, and that you can not feel... But if you can not feel where is the fear? Where is the anxiety? Where is the problem?
For me, those questions helped me to get a grip back, it took just a little bit of courage and persistence over a couple of days.
Hope this helps...
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1477 Posts

Posted - Oct 24 2014 :  3:37:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello Derevyan,

Welcome to the forums!!! Stay grounded and this too shall pass. Just do the next thing that needs to be done-grocery shopping, cooking, work, cleaning,meeting up with friends. Don't think about it too much. Stay away from anything spiritual. Don't sit by yourself, even though you may prefer to. Make yourself do these things- walking, eating heavy diet, spending time with family, helping people in need, cleaning, laughing at yourself helps too

I went through this experience when pregnant with my first child (after receiving shaktipat unknowingly). Just stay with the emotions-don't try to block them or feed them. Nothing works, give it to your Istha (Check out these lessons on Ishta (chosen ideal) - 67, 68, 112, 220, 221, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342). I always visualize myself holding onto the feet of my Isthas with the emotions ( I know, very dramatic but always works). I now have two kids and I would say that I feel more integrated. My worldly responsibilities keep me grounded. Nothing more grounding than waking up several times at night and nursing , keeping your calm when your toddler throws tantrums. Hope this helps and answers your questions, as I'm not very good at explaining things. Also, sorry if I went on a rant and not really answered your questions .

Have you started AYP? If not, once things settle down, I would highly recommend it. I’ve been practicing AYP for over two years. It has changed my outlook in life.


Edited by - sunyata on Oct 24 2014 4:11:22 PM
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Mar 04 2015 :  4:40:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by Perej

It feels like I have strongly supressed emotions in my body, but I can't connect them to a sense of self anymore so they are just sitting there, it's this horrible dark energy.

Coming in late (I bumped into this thread via a web search). Not sure if you're still reading, but I think I have an answer for you on this.

Stop trying to peel off the unwanted parts. The problem isn't in the peeling, per se, it's in the underlying assumption that beneath that stuff - beneath the "negativity" or whatever - lies some perfect core. There's no perfect core, it's a myth. You are nothing but a big mass of resistance to What Is....all the way down.

You're stuck in the mistaken idea that you need to winnow the bad parts from the good parts. Better to recognize that the whole damned thing needs to unclench. Wind shall blow through unimpeded. Less You, more Everything.

So don't cannily scheme to drop certain baggage from your burden. Don't even drop all your baggage. Drop the baggage and the bearer of that baggage. Atlas, it turns out, didn't need to hold it all up. He never did. It's all just fine on its own, as-is.

Two ways: 1. self inquiry to reach the conclusion I've just described, or else 2. just keep building an awareness of the futility of your effort to expunge this weight, and you may eventually reach a point of utter despondent despair, which naturally and organically leads to surrender (including surrender of the surrenderer). In other words, don't soothe your feelings of frustration. Anesthetization is not the answer. Stay right there, until you cultivate a lovely absolute despondence over the absolute futility of hoping to shine it all to a high buff or to get this or that spiritual result. The most beneficial declaration is "I give up!!"....preferably wailed while sobbing inconsolably.

If you experience surrender but feel that some Bad Stuff nonetheless remains, then surrendering was partial. That very distinction, and the perspective behind it, is exactly what needs to be let go of. Not the stuff. The stuff can stay. The stuff can always stay.

Added via editing:
Sigh, rereading, I see that the above reply was poorly focused to your actual statement (the part about the issue not connecting to sense of self; you're talking more about vestiges than struggle). I'll leave it, because it might be helpful to others....and also because it sets up a more well-targetted reply to you. Here goes: what remains isn't shreds of this or that, it's shreds of sense-of-self. Remember: It's always about perspective, not about stuff. When stuff attracts attention, that's perspective showing itself.

If this makes sense, then cool. If not, jump back up to the previous part of this posting, which is for you, after all.

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Mar 05 2015 2:55:18 PM
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2516 Posts

Posted - Mar 05 2015 :  02:42:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
love your post Jim
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United Kingdom
1723 Posts

Posted - Mar 05 2015 :  08:04:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, it might well be helpful to others. And yes, the whole damned thing needs to unclench Thank you Jim
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Mar 05 2015 :  3:01:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
the whole damned thing needs to unclench

....including the voice making those sorts of spiritual pronouncements!

(Otherwise, you're just rebranding the same old clenching with spiritual themes...that's what the vast majority of us seekers do!)
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United Kingdom
1723 Posts

Posted - Mar 05 2015 :  5:06:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Then I should be silence. Woops... pronouncements again
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Mar 06 2015 :  12:49:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yup, there's always another layer of narration, isn't there? It's just another sticky wicket to rue while sobbing inconsolably (I'm a big fan of sobbing inconsolably!).
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1 Posts

Posted - Aug 18 2018 :  7:08:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
The positive result should have been U are a non-separated Self and that the apparently separated self is but a temporal cover that is a joyous gift used to further express and manifest Love compassion wisdom and service--Beauty. Instead the ego sense has persisted distorted. ask Who is in Loving Communion with the Divine treasure without need of thought? Feel that...
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111 Posts

Posted - Nov 17 2018 :  05:18:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Perej

You may have Depersonalization Disorder, which is a serious disease and requires professional treatment. You may think it was only caused by practising self-enquiry, but the true underlying cause needs to be dealt with by a professional. With this problem, self-enquiry will only make the situation worse. Please seek professional help by a qualified Phyciatrist. Once DD has been ruled out, the following advice may help you:

I too have been practising self-enquiry as taught by Ramana Maharshi for about the same length of time you have. Ramana encourages the “annihilation” of the ego and this may be your problem. Before starting self-enquiry I had spent several decades carefully building up my self-esteem and self-confidence, which, if one is a giving and loving person and continues to love others and give of himself, is similar yet different than ego-building.

In my case(and I think in many other cases) the ego does not get annihilated. What has happened to me is that Ramana’s teachings have helped me to unidentify with my ego as who I am, to find the Self, and to identify with That. In doing this my ego has gradually become a “servant” to the Self. I still continue to keep my self-esteem and self-confidence strong but now, in large part thanks to Ramana’s wisdom, I use the ego to serve the Self.

This probably sounds very confusing and, if so, I’m sorry that I haven’t yet explained this better. I will try explaining it again but with different words. The following is from a text that I recently sent my daughter, in reply to some of her questions about the nature of the ego, the higher self and whether it talks to us or guides us in some way:

“Our ego is the self-image we have, based on our childhood experiences, then developed throughout our life. Whenever someone tells us something good or bad about us and we buy into it, this contributes to our ego. But it(the ego) interferes with spiritual development.

Spiritual development is all about finding and identifying with God/Divine Consciousness. When we find God for real we realize that we are not an isolated individual but rather part of or one with the entire universe.

God is within us and we thus have a Divine Center or Core. This is our soul. When we experience or realize God within, we connect to who we really are, our true Self. This is our higher self.

At that point it starts to dawn on us that our ego interferes with our sense of God within. The ego is all about I, me, and mine. While God/Divine Consciousness is all about surrendering this egotistical sense of ourselves and learning to live as one with or identified with God. On any authentic spiritual journey we gradually stop living for selfish reasons and learn to live more and more in connection with our higher self, for this higher self only wants what is good for the entire universe.

God/Divine Consciousness is Love, selflessness and compassion. The ego is the opposite of that. Being identified with the ego makes us selfish and uncaring. The ego isolates us from others as we unconsciously try to get everything for ourselves, whereas God wants to use us to help mankind and bring mankind together.

The higher self doesn’t talk to us so much as influence us and draw or impel us to do and think about certain things, because the Self or God is not separate from us but within us and we can even become one with God. But never in an egotistical way.

Experiencing oneness with God is always about humbly surrendering our egos and giving God all the credit, honour and glory. This is why truly spiritual people are always humble, loving and compassionate.

The ego never goes completely away, but we are to unidentify with it through learning(during progressive spiritual experience) that God lives in us and we are thus children of God. The more we experience God within and identify with this Divine core or soul, the more the ego takes it’s rightful place as a servant. Feeding our ego gives us self confidence but we must be careful to use this confidence to do the work of our higher self in helping others and the entire world. This is what is meant by the ego being a servant of your higher self. The goal is to develop a healthy ego/self-esteem but to use it to serve your higher self.”

One other thing, while studying the teachings of Mooji, a competent student of Ramana, I found where he eloquently explaines that the experience of the Self includes a strong sense or feeling of “I am” or “I exsist!”* So, compared to that, your experience is way off and may be being negatively influenced by your own negativity and/or low self-esteem. Sorry if this seems like a personal attack, but it’s coming from a strong desire to help you. Again, I have practised self-enquiry as taught by Ramana as long as you have and want to help you get better or heal.

Looking at your posts here on this thread leads me to believe that you would benifit tremendously from a lot of work on your self-esteem and by taking a break from self-enquiry. Try doing all the positive things recommended by the other posts on this thread. Once you feel better and wish to persue your spirituality again, maybe try AYP or some other acceptable “public” form like regular attendance at your chosen place of worship ie Church/Synagogue/Mosque/Temple. But whatever you try I think you better do it with the loving help and support of spiritually mature people.

*For Mooji’s comments on “I exsist” see page 10, of “Vaster Than Sky Greater Than Space”

Edited by - Herb on Nov 18 2018 08:08:59 AM
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