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How To Differentiate Spiritual Awakening From Depression...

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by golden, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    I think the differences can be subtle and easily confused.

    I was wondering if anyone has come across any decent articles on this subject.

    I am not a huge fan of New Age terminology and the trappings of Spiritual Materialism but I do think frameworks can be helpful.

    I Have found a couple of articles highlighting the possibilities of a Spiritual Awakening - but these are not really anything like what I was looking for....

    Perhaps a Winnie the Pooh article when he loses his pot of honey would be better :) (if one exists )

    http://personalityspirituality.net/...ncarnation-the-35-steps/stage-5-the-old-soul/


    http://biologyofkundalini.com/article.php?story=ShockofAwakening


    http://personalityspirituality.net/...ncarnation-the-35-steps/stage-5-the-old-soul/


    http://biologyofkundalini.com/article.php?story=ShockofAwakening
  2. moblet

    moblet Unknown Quantity

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    My first question would be: isn't depression chronic, and spiritual awakening acute?

    Spiritual awakening can be destabilising, and all sorts of coping or compensation mechanisms may kick in as a result. Depression could be one of these things, especially if there is some blockage in reality to moving in one's desired direction.

    I tend to regard depression as a functional response to hopeless (or at least apparently hopeless) circumstances, and probably the most stabilising possible response compared with, say, shooting up the local shopping mall. That's very different to spiritual awakening, but spiritual awakening can transform one's perceptions of one's reality and surroundings and potentially make one's circumstances seem hopeless.

    I don't know if that made any sense.
    golden likes this.
  3. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    I think there was a study done recently stating only 15% of people diagnosed as depressed had a correct diagnoses.

    Actually, the more i think of this label, the more its a bit wishy washy. Common missed causes would be :

    Heavy metal toxicity, spine misalignment , dehyration , caffiene/sugar /alcohol junk food , poor nutritional status eg. low vitamin D ,

    Followed by missed diagnoses coeliac disease , digestive problems, not enough oxygen in the system, food intolerances, chemical problems, mould , and so on.

    For you first question ... spiritual awakening acute / depression chronic ....

    It is already getting complicated :)

    I think I was meaning as the norm , society values materialism. We are a work centred culture too .... often at the cost of our own families, the environment, and other communities abroad. I dont think society is particularly happy.

    When shifting to a more spiritual centric self, all the crutches start to crumble and with all known goals hopes and dreams possibly changing , and new realizations arriving but not yet formed , there is a potential for this to appear like depression ....

    I dont know what the correct terminology would be - the Conditioned Mind is dissolving. - and then as you say Moblet - this can makr things seem hopeless - I mean it could be seen as a bit of a downer, the buddhist thingy - All life is suffering !

    I think you have to have optimism and positive outlook to fully understand that - probably why also the buddhists mantra is to to Be Happy !


    I dont necessarily think this stage is acute (unless you measure its in terms of taking only 20 lifetimes ha ha) - but re incarnation put to one side , i still think this can take years to assimilate ?

    Equally, depression can be acute in that its a signal , a healthy signal to change something for the better.

    I think a useful framework could be chogyam trungpas 'bardos' , outlined in book called Transcending Madness -

    'Complete Freedom in Paradox ' - http://www.beezone.com/Trungpa/transcendingmadness/transcendingmadness1.html

    I think we are in the Spiritual Psychology section now - I think it maybe useful to know about.
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  4. Seewell

    Seewell Senior Member

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    Differentiate Spiritual Awakening from Depression?

    Depression could be an early symptom of a Spiritual Awakening

    You are becoming conscious of being unconscious.

    But i think if you are switched on to whats happening ,they are very different..




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  5. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Thanks Seewell :) Thats great .

    After watching Jim speak on you tube I clicked on the next you tube link - the one with the infinity symbol on ...

    Jim talks of Eckhart Tolle and reading his books as a catalyst ...

    E.Tolle had a period off depression. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle
  6. moblet

    moblet Unknown Quantity

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    Totally agree with this. Reaching for the mental illness dx is much simpler and more convenient and fashionable than conducting a proper medical investigation.
    Well, to put this in less abstract terms, say you've spent decades committed to the materialist ideal. You've got the demanding job, the big house with the bigger mortgage, bling bought on credit, a spouse who's equally committed to the ideal, dependent children, and all your friends are just like you. Then you have some spiritual awakening thingy and decide that all of this is shallow and meaningless and can't possibly fulfill you. What do you do then?
    I thought it was more "view life and the world in these ways and you will be better able to be happy".
    Definitely. But if someone ends up depressed because of the conflict between their spiritual awakening and the real world, their depression is a consequence of the relationship between their spirituality and their circumstances, not of the spiritual awakening itself.

    Hmm, maybe I need to start some cult based on splitting hairs.
    Dreambirdie likes this.
  7. Mar777

    Mar777

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  8. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Eckankar has a rather bad reputation. From what I know about it, I wouldn't recommend it.

    "Eckankar presents itself as an ancient secret teaching, passed down from master to student over millions of years. The truth, of course, is far less sparkling.

    In fact, it is the invention of a fellow named John Paul Twitchell in 1965. It is a cult birthed and raised in a cloud of lies, deceit, scandals, intimidation and control tactics worthy of its close relative Scientology. Eckankar is merely another new age religion that, predictably, says one thing to entice the public but teaches quite a different thing to its members. In its secret, members only discourses, it states emphatically that it is the ONLY way to reach God realization - that all other paths, philosophies and religions are misguided and decidedly inferior. Since that sounds more than a bit arrogant, they've toned it down for presentation to the general public in recent years as merely being the quickest way. Their literature, however, sticks to the original premise that it is the only way.

    In a nutshell, it's a poorly-done compilation of bits and pieces of other religions and a number of Eastern light and sound paths, along with not-so-healthy doses of Scientology and occultism. Its professed end goal is for each member to achieve total God Realization in one lifetime. There is only one way to accomplish this - Eckankar's Living Eck Master. All other methods are doomed to failure - so says Eckankar."

    http://truthbeknown66.stormpages.com/eckankar1.html
  9. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    My moments of spiritual awakening have never felt depressing to me personally. During those moments when I'm inspired by a new insight, I feel happily connected to my deeper self and to the universe at large. It's the coming back down into reality that has sometimes felt depressive. The question that remains is how to integrate those moments of awakening into practical reality and keep them alive. Any ideas on that?
    golden likes this.
  10. moblet

    moblet Unknown Quantity

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    Presuming that throwing one's life into utter turmoil is out of the question, by staying aware of how we want our lives to be different and seeing and taking opportunities to get there. Maintaining that alertness keeps it alive.
  11. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Hey Dreambirdie :)
    ..............................


    What do they say ? before enlightenment watch t.v. and stay in bed....

    After enlightenment .....

    watch t.v. and stay in bed ....
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  12. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    Hi wayne,

    Thanks for the link....i like the title 'beyond meditation' :)
    I have never heard of that spiritual discipline before. Fascinating.

    I think its all true about the ego. But also a strong healthy ego is an absolutely essential tool to any spiritual practice. the entity labelled 'ego' has been getting a hard time lol.

    What tends to happen is all the worldly goals and pursuits get dragged into a spiritual framework and we end up with spiritual materialism ....



    I was wondering if the whole process is much harder for the male form. Because men have been programmed /conditioned in a way
  13. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    I think they all have scandal somewhere.... Osho , Maharishi , Jesus in his day :)

    The worst 'cults ' in my view are the ones I was born into. And so I am less likely to recognise it as such. For example the 9-5 cult which persuades you to give up your family the majority of the time to work for plastic.

    Or the cult of psychology or psychiatry which makes you believe you have an understanding of something :) And it gets you to label everything incessantly ....
    (Does that make any sense ? :) - )

    I think God Direct is the best, personally. And Zen.
    Wayne and Sushi like this.
  14. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Regarding the critique that was posted denigrating Eckankar: It feels like it was off-topic to me (hi-jacking a thread perhaps). But for anybody who would have an interest in researching an abundance of criticism that’s been leveled at this spiritual teaching over a period of many years, do a google search on Eckankar and “David Lane”, or Eckankar and “Ford Johnson”.

    David Lane spent many years investigating Eckankar, and especially its founder Paul Twitchell, and has written extensively about his perspectives. Ford Johnson was a former member who also writes extensively, and even wrote a book with a primary focus of trying to invalidate the spiritual experiences of those who follow this path. They are both far more articulate [perhaps eloquent] about their views than the relatively poorly written critique that was posted above.

    Why they would invest so much energy into their pursuits is fairly puzzling to me. But I guess we all have reasons for what we do. What I find even more puzzling, is why, when a PR member makes reference to their own spiritual path, that a fellow PR member would go out of their way to denigrate it. Would that have been the case if somebody made a reference to being Jewish, or Catholic, or Muslim? Probably not, as that would likely be deemed anti-Semitic, or some other way of describing unacceptable intolerance.

    I’ve long noticed that for some reason, Eckankar and its tenets are upsetting to some people, so I’m just going to delete my above post so it doesn’t distract further from this thread.
  15. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Wayne It looked to me like you were promoting Eckankar in your post, and trying to sell it to others here by advertising the Eckankar CD and guidebook. Not everyone has had good experiences in Eckankar. If you google, you will see that MANY serious complaints have been filed by ex-Eckists about this group. My main source of "real life" info came from a couple people I know pretty well (one on PR and one on FB) who had *very* negative experiences in Eckankar and complained to me vociferously about that. So I don't think it's out of line to address this issue, and to warn others about some of the dangers of being in a group of this sort.

    In general, I'm not a fan of any organized religion, whether this be New Age or traditional. I too, have had my share of bad experiences (some VEY BAD!) in so-called "spiritual" groups, which after the fact appear to me more like spiritual hypocrisy groups. During my 20s and early 30s, I briefly flirted with involvement in an assortment of groups of this nature, including Buddhist, Sufi, Native American, Kabbalah and yoga based groups. Each of them had a charismatic narcissist at the helm, who perpetrated his own specific flavor of dogmatic control (including various types of intimidation and abuse) on the members of the given group. It was appalling to watch grown adults, many of them successful professionals in their fields, completely surrender their power, and replace their own judgement with that of an abusive parental authority figure, who they allowed to tell them what they should think, feel, believe, perceive, chant, eat, say, and do or not do. Some of the controlling and manipulative tactics used by these group leaders were more subtle and passive aggressive; others were blatantly aggressive and very abusive. The worst was the sexual abuse that was perpetrated by Rinpoche Trungpa's group on his Buddhist followers in Boulder in the 1970s. Fortunately I was out of the loop when that happened, and very glad to have seen what was coming early enough to reject any involvement in that insane group. Though no other group I participated in was as bad as the Trungpa Buddhist group, none were free of the power play dynamics that guru-led groups inevitably fall into. I was very turned off by each and every subsequent group I had the displeasure of investigating.

    At this point, I prefer to connect with spirit directly, through nature, through my dreams, through creative pursuits, and through my personal intuitive explorations of the spiritual dimension. I find that spiritual insights can happen anywhere, at any time. I don't need a group or a religion to tell me how to do that.
    Valentijn likes this.
  16. A.B.

    A.B. Senior Member

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    Any experience has positive aspects, but you don't solve your crisis by giving it a beautiful label or hoping for the best. That's psychological thinking. View your problems as concrete problems, and seek concrete solutions for them. I don't know if spiritual awakening exists but I know that happiness cannot be mistaken for depression.
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  17. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    John Heard crow 2 copy.jpg

    PS No followers welcome. Do your own dream. Listen to your own heart.
    Valentijn likes this.
  18. Bluebell

    Bluebell More % Neanderthal than Adreno but less hairy :-D

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    Hi Golden,

    Here are some links I have in a "spiritual emergencies" Internet Explorer folder.

    I can't vouch for any of them - they are just links I saw several years ago and saved in my bookmarks.

    By the way, I realize that neither depression nor spiritual awakening is necessarily considered a spiritual "emergency", that's just how I titled the folder. :)

    ------
    1. "Religious or Spiritual Problem is a new diagnostic category (Code V62.89) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fourth Edition (APA, 1994). While the acceptance of this new category was based on a proposal documenting the extensive literature on the frequent occurrence of religious and spiritual issues in clinical practice, the impetus for the proposal came from transpersonal clinicians whose initial focus was on spiritual emergencies--forms of distress associated with spiritual practices and experiences. The proposal grew out of the work of the Spiritual Emergence Network to increase the competence of mental health professionals in sensitivity to such spiritual issues. This article describes the rationale for this new category, the history of the proposal, transpersonal perspectives on spiritual emergency, types of religious and spiritual problems (with case illustrations), differential diagnostic issues, psychotherapeutic approaches, and the likely increase in number of persons seeking therapy for spiritual problems."
    http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/jhpseart.html

    2. "Course Description
    The inclusion in the DSM-IV of a new diagnostic category called "Religious or Spiritual Problem" marks a significant breakthrough. For the first time, there is acknowledgment of distressing religious and spiritual experiences, including spiritual emergencies, as nonpathological problems. Spiritual emergencies are crises during which the process of growth and change becomes chaotic and overwhelming. The proposal for this new diagnostic category came from transpersonal clinicians concerned with the misdiagnosis and mistreatment of persons in the midst of spiritual emergencies.
    This course covers the history of pathologizing theory in the mental health field, the work of Stan and Christina Grof, John Perry, John Mack, R.D. Laing, and many other clinical approaches for working with religious and spiritual problems...."
    NOTE: The course is free for everyone to look at. The payment option is for those who want to receive continuing education credit for it.
    http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/dsm4/course_dsmiv.asp

    3. "These people can no longer work. They become passive, find it difficult to concentrate, lack endurance and get problems with their memory. The feeling of meaninglessness causes them to loose the will and desire for life. A feeling of loneliness, powerlessness and emptiness does that they isolate themselves from the world around. They become drained of energy. Some do not at all have the opinion that they are sick, while others are aware they have "noise" around them, and feel a cold draft of invisible creatures around. The last mentioned are the ones who sometimes seek help on their own. Within psychiatry, they are most often diagnosed psychotic or schizophrenic.

    The symptoms are actually exactly the same of a psychotic or schizophrenic person, and a person who has become ill due to spiritual exercises."
    http://kundalini.se/eng/super.html

    4. “One often hears and reads about the dangers of Yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed Kundalini Yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, which in certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not to be meddled with in our typically Western way. It is a meddling with Fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the chönyid state…”
    Carl Jung, Introduction to The Tibetan book of the Dead
    http://www.yogadangers.com/


    [FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial]5. "Many individuals whose Kundalini has been unexpectedly unleashed DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING, and the prevailing social ignorance about this multidimensional transformative process makes it hard to find medical or alternative health practitioners or spiritual advisors who recognize the symptoms, particularly when they are strongly physical. Many people know that the risen Kundalini flings open gates to all sorts of mystical, paranormal and magical vistas but few realize it can also dramatically impact the body. A large percentage of our old[I] Shared Transformation[/I] newsletter subscribers reported long bouts of strange illness as well as radical mental, emotional, interpersonal, psychic, spiritual and lifestyle changes. Over and again we hear stories of frustrating, sometimes desperate visits to doctors, healers, counselors, etc. who neither understood nor were able to help with the myriad pains and problems catalyzed by raging Kundalini."[/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][url]http://www.elcollie.com/st/symptoms.html[/url][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT]

    [COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Arial]6. [url]http://dangersofyoga.blogspot.com/[/url][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR]
  19. rosie26

    rosie26 moderate ME

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    Gosh Golden, trying to get my head around your question, ha ha my poor brain !

    I think unresolved problems are the cause of a lot of depression. They can nag, irritate and frustrate all the way up your life if you can't find an answer to them.

    I think you need to realize when embarking on a spiritual awakening of any kind, that it may not resolve those problems and could make you feel even worse, hopeless and causing more depression.

    Best just to be as kind and gentle with self and any shortcomings. None of us are perfect or have the skills to fix every problem. ( I have to remind myself about this last paragraph all the time )
    Wayne and merylg like this.
  20. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    :)

    Well, there are pros and cons to having a 'guru' thats for sure. Discerning one to guide you out of the maze, without adding to your problems, and letting you be free at the end of it maybe tricky. It depends what your aiming for too. If you want fluffy support then choose a positivity group. I guess spiritual alchemy isnt always pleasant.

    The FEAR factor in some articles on yoga I find amusing. Leave it to the experts like Jung , dont mess with it, they recommend.

    I mean if they would do my dying for me - then i would be happy to , but since i have to do it by myself .....i had better learn :)
    The tibetan book of dying , i dont like. Its a bit scary ...:)



    But I have been searching still for good articles and they are few and far between.

    I googled Spiritual depression, the wisdome of depression, the biology of kundalini

    http://timeless-wisdom.blog.co.uk/2013/03/26/the-biology-of-kundalini-15676776/
    (not a great article but interesting talk of brain stem)

    The psychotic Buddha...

    And not found anything yet.


    Transpersonal Psychotherapy did hold an interest for me many years ago and i applaud the psychology profession for trying to understand the spiritual aspects without permanently labelling them as mentally ill.

    I am not suprised psychiatry thinks of spirituality as psychotic :(

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