I watched your video today on Youtube.
There was a link on the integralinstitute.org website. I am maybe just one more person who has contacted you to say that my experiences that were diagnosed bipolar, were the most profound, enfolding experiences of my life, and I am deeply grateful I went through it too.
In 1994 at the age of 31, I listened to the recording of a spiritual teacher from Australia and my head and life popped open to a new awareness, crazy as it was. Coming from a conservative Christian family and not having a shaman, guide, or supportive context, I made my way through it alone. It was treacherous at times and a pretty unstable place to navigate, but I too finally trusted my gut and my experience, slowly went off the meds, read lots of Ken Wilbur, Joseph Campbell, Robert Bly, Robert A. Johnson, Rupert Sheldrake, Marrianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, Stephen Hawking, Graham Hancock, watched my diet, sleep and exercise and tried to make my way to chop wood carry water.
I expect writing to you now is even a small part of that path.Over the past 13 years, I haven’t spoken about it to others much, because the few times I have I didn’t find it enjoyable, understandable by others or personally validating.
Right now, I just want to add one more voice to your experiential data and say I too know that many people who are being diagnosed and medicated are possibly having a wakeup. You are a brave guy putting yourself out like you are. I have wondered often over the years what to “do” with my experience.
Writing a TV movie of the week didn’t seem the right path for me. I respect and envy your clarity to actively engage the world on this aspect of being human.
It’s great to hear your story!
One thing I’m really struggling with now, is that it seems like the only people to make it through are around 30 years old, like you and I were. When it hits the 19-20 year olds, they are so completely unprepared, as are there families. That’s why I’m on YouTube. I feel like a form of community shamanism needs to grow where those who have passed through, like you and I help give birth to the ones that will not make it on their own, because the culture will not support them.
This morning I watched the other 5 videos you posted, detailing your experience. I identified with much of it, and laughed out-loud a couple of times, because I knew where you were coming from. I have always thought it was interesting to hear a doctor laugh and say that “all bipolar people think they are having a spiritual experience.” Instead of viewing that as possibly a confirmation of what is happening for the individual, it becomes a signifier that whatever the patient is saying or feeling should be dismissed as just delusion or subjective at best.
I compare it to a scientist looking for a signal from space that transmits prime numbers, revealing intelligent life exists, and yet dismisses the prime numbers in the plant life of earth as aberrations of nature.
It’s interesting for me to be writing to you about all this, because today is the day I was released from the hospital 13 years ago. Looking back now, I feel that I had an organic experience of “peaking behind the veil.” A glimpse. And then the next 10 years was actually learning about what I saw and felt, and finding some way to process it, embrace it and choose my life.
Before this time, if I’d tried to read anything from all the authors I mentioned to you in my earlier email, it would have made no sense to me at all. Just blah, blah, blah. I would have dismissed it completely. But the experience happened and much of what I’ve read after that time has been for me, a quiet validation. It put words and concepts to something that I had already seen with my own mind, body and heart. That 10 years also demystified the experience to a point that allowed my ego time to try and catch up.
I still am in that work, and truthfully quite tired of it at times. I occasionally feel that the blah, blah, blahs are here again and the books and seminars have become a lesser part of my process.
For me now, the most profound reflection doesn’t come from a Ken Wilbur book, or a Vipassana. I feel my best when I’m in nature, walking slowly in the woods, feeling the clarity of the cool air, the silence of the space, and the simplicity of just placing one foot after another. Just reading that previous sentence, I realized I’ve sort of returned to the kind melodies of my childhood hero John Denver.
I’m smiling at the moment, because I’m seeing that some of my first jolts of consciousness about the planet and my life came through the songs of the eagles and mountains and love in his music. I’m glad about that.
My hardest struggle has been finding my place in the world now. Being human, and feeling ambition and cultural influences, I spend a conflicted amount of my time and energy in the city trying to figure out what to create or do.
I am trying to be clear with myself about why I even wrote to you. One thing my experience taught me is that the only thing I know is that I don’t know very much. So, I’m sobered and cautious to entertain thoughts of trying to guide or help others. But, then YouTube is built and I click on this guy in Brazil talking about his wakeup and I think well… isn’t that funny.
To share or not to share, that is the question.
I heard a spiritual teacher once say something like, “You can spend your life writing plays and breaking atoms, and get caught up in the ups and downs of what the world thinks is important.
But don’t tell me this has anything to do with LIFE. It has nothing to do with LIFE. These are things you can do while you are here. That’s it. Something to pass the time with. It’s ok. Go ahead do it. You might as well do something while you’re hanging around here.”