My name is Alex, I live in Toronto, and I am 21 years old.
I’ve watched your videos on YouTube and became fascinated with your insight into the process of waking up and dropping the ego as a means of reaching a healthier outlook on life.
You are really well read on the subject, and I think that the world needs more people like you that listen to themselves and take action.
I myself had an experience very similar to yours:
I had been in a strong native ceremony two years ago.
Because of the thoughts and feelings that were brought to the surface after the ceremony I was shocked that there was so much repression of feelings that I had kept up….
I thought I did not bottle my emotions, but certainly I did, and I realized that as long as I lived with these emotions and memories bottled up, I would never be a free human – I would be torn apart from the memories (mainly of conflict within the family) and that these memories themselves would rule my life and set patterns that I would be doomed to repeat so long as I ignored them.
Well to make a long story short, I experienced letting go and acting upon the repressed feelings, my family was shocked at the emotional person I became. I also experienced some hallucinations, and they took me to the hospital.
I was in the psych ward, and I felt very abused, very sad, Very depressed from being in there, and I began to go into my imagination further and further to forget my troubles.
I obviously had a rational normal mind while I was going through this, it’s just that it was easier to listen to the feelings than to the rationality.
Anyways, within a week I was out, had to go some psychiatrist, he prescribed some meds which I never took.
I slowly began addressing my memories with meditation, by reading about philosophy, by spending more time in nature, and by hanging out less with friends that influenced me to drink and do non-productive things.
The thoughts and feelings that came up, I treated with the principles of mindfulness and equanimity (not judging) -vipassana meditation- and I feel today like I´m progressing to become a balanced person – more so than the average 21 Canadian male.
I work part time, I am in College, I graduate next year, and I am leading a happy life.
I think that without the experience that I had I would be not as happy as I am today, and as “unpleasant” as it might have been, I am glad that I had it.
I don’t know how useful this might be to you, I noticed in your videos you mention your involvement with Brazilian shamanism.
I am interested in perhaps getting more involved in facilitating experiences for other people, and learning more.
I do vipassana meditation, zen meditation, and sports to improve in every aspect of my life. There is a very good meditation teacher whose name is Shinzen Young – he has a program named The Science of Enlightenment- This program gives a very good short and detailed explanation of how it is that a path of insight and improvement can be made by watching the mind, and how these periods of “turmoil” are excellent points of turnaround to a higher calling in a persons life.
Thanks for sharing your rather unique story!
One surprising thing for me is that, while your experience sounded quite mild (like mine was) you had hallucinations. What sort of hallucinations?
And if you could share any other ‘symptoms’ like I had, I’d be interested.
Well, looking back to the time before I was hospitalized:
It was easier to observe my subconscious thoughts; I heard drums everywhere in a mall, in the street, at wonderland.
I felt as if my spoken words (the sound) made the walls vibrate, and it was as if I could feel the wall and it’s feelings as if they were alive – when other people spoke, they vibrated – and the quality of the vibration depended on the mood and tone of the people speaking.
I had the somatic sensation of my body becoming physically bigger or smaller in a wave-motion in correlation with big or small thoughts.
I felt like the music I listened to and the words spoken to me, and almost all things that happened had a purpose; a pattern that was observable and predictable; it was almost like I had to crack a code by paying close attention to words and thoughts and when I cracked it God or the nature of reality would be revealed almost like life and the universe were a puzzle and I was about to breakthrough.
During that time I was also thinking that I was “rewiring my thinking brain” and it seemed like I was using new areas of my brain – I even got back headaches at times-
I felt as if my brain was taking a new shape- one to suit a more wholesome reality.
There was a sense I had powers to attract animals, and some insects (lots of bumblebees). I felt a little bit more in tune with the language of animals.
When I interacted with people it was like having a bigger picture; I did not stay stuck on thought, rather I saw things impersonally -as if purely with awareness, and therefore, real life felt as though it were an already filmed movie, and I could take it with such lightness that a movie could be taken; this was because I saw everything from a 3rd person pov – non-judgmental.
When it rained, I felt each and every droplet as if it were myself, and It felt glorious; my sensation and colour was amplified, I felt like I was watching a million worlds being created and destroyed; and each droplet had a symbol and a major effect; I could go up to the clouds where rain was created and travel as a droplet myself; My perception was amplified.
Not all aspects of my experience were positive though; I seemed to have a lot of apathy sometimes, and did not know what I wanted to do. I also had a very strong sense of needing to figure things out, like I wanted to inquire and study into my experiences -there was a natural inclination to want to take time off and be alone – Though I was not allowed by my family, and they feared the experience I was having, so this amplified my fear and paranoia.
At the most intense peaks:
Several days I would leave home in the morning (maybe at 9am, walk for 4 hours trying to get in contact with my deepest thoughts, and not paying attention to the outside world. I would reach a park, do some ritual-like work (that I seemed not to be in control of) and walk another 4 hours back home to sleep.
Other days -especially when alone- I thought I was about to die. The certanty came that I would simply disintegrate and diminish into little vibrations of energy. at times I felt like these little vibrations of energy got stronger in me (in my root chakra area), and that I said “that’s the end of me”. Because of the paranoia that had amplified, I reacted strongly to this phenomenon and told my mom that Jesus was coming for me.
That’s when I had to get hospitalized.
In the hospital they had a printed sheet (only one) of questions to ask me – some of them:
Them: Are you hearing voices?
Me: Don’t we all hear our own thinking?
Them: Do they command you to do things
Me: No, they are the voices of my thinking, I command myself to do whatever
Who are you, Age, Sex, Birthdate, Etc
Me: “” “” “” (correct answers)
Them: Do you know who you are:
Me: Reflecting that deeply, I truly don’s seem to know, but I wish I did.
Do you think you are God:
I don’t know, maybe?
So with that they determined they were going to keep me in for awhile, they took me up to the psych ward, instantly wanted to give me meds, I asked why?, told them: I’m conscious, I’m not being troublesome, I don’t want to take anything and being a free thinking and conscious individual I have the right to deny the ingestion of drugs-including pharmaceuticals.
They said that they were only to calm me down and to stabilize my emotions…. HAhaha…. they were scaring me, threatening me, and almost imprisoning me if they just let me go to sleep, maybe then I would have calmed down easily.
They scared me a lot telling me they were going to inject me (forcefully) If I denied. (since 5 I have a phobia to needles)
I thought this is hell! And these doctors and nurses are demons! They are punishing me for no reason. Anyways I put up a small argument, but in the end decided that less resistance was the fastest way out.
Anyways I got out of the ward within two weeks and just relaxed at home. The experiences and perceptions gradually declined until they were only memories. Although at the time I didn’t feel like a major breakthrough had occurred, my life began to change step by step, my morals were different; I was siding with more wholesome activities, I didn’t enjoy being angry or argumentative at all, I began hating television and a lot of radio noticing how much brainwashing and suffering they transmit and created within people. I wanted to have purpose in my life, and I wanted and still want today to improve my life and lead it as wholesome and as happily as possible.
It seems like a seed was planted and the more I tend to this young shoot that has arisen from a cracking of my consciousness that occurred not long ago is growing nicely.
I feel that If I were to have a similar experience again I have the knowledge and a process that can get me trough it -a vehicle that will transport me to that better me- . And though I don’t push for another experience to happen soon, I would not reject it either. I feel as though these periods are very necessary and healthy. They are in fact necessary!
What saved me and allowed me to get trough was the support of a friend who had knowledge in the process of “going across the river” as he terms it. He gave me support and listened to my odd-language. I stayed over at his home several days until I calmed and he explained how this process has been occurring to countless people who in the past took it positively and grew from it.
The books and internet resources also helped somewhat.
The most important thing to avoid is paranoia. It can grow exponentially when you doubt yourself.
Its important to trust and have faith, but above all, In my experience, Meditation as in the vipassana tradition is the number one thing we can to to prevent an unpleasant experience of a strong spiritual emergency, and turn it more into a really pleasant spiritual emergence.
I really recommend Shinzen’s work; he talks about all of this in his program “the science of enlightenment” He’s a meditation teacher, a University of California Teacher of mathematics, and he’s awesome!
This is his site
In these free public talks he shares his experience of “going insane during meditation”
Anyways Sean, I think this email is getting rather long!
I hope this helps:
Tell me If I can help ya with more information, I have to get back to class for now.