When I first discovered the teachings of the Buddha and nonduality, I hoped that all my painful emotion and difficult inner experience would disappear.
I really wanted to feel better. I was sick of how I was feeling. I was extremely tired of feeling depressed, anxious and lost all the time. I was totally hooked on the teachings of nonduality and enlightenment.
Awakening into nondual awareness and experiencing universal oneness became the ultimate goal for me. I wanted to become just like the Buddha and truly understand how the universe worked. I wanted to be free of all suffering.
Over a ten year period, I tried to eradicate my ego and my emotional experience. Although I became pretty clear on what nondual awareness was, I could not understand why I was still feeling so crap all the time.
Depression and anxiety were still a persistent visitor. I also passed through stages of feeling suicidal. I felt like something was wrong with me. Meditation was not making it better.
Despite all my meditation practice and reading about nonduality, why was I still feeling so shit all the time?
Gradually I realised that I needed to stop trying to change my experience. No amount of fixing or attempting to make things better was going to work. I eventually came to see that trying to get rid of my thoughts and ego was an incorrect interpretation of Buddhist and nondual teachings.
I am extremely grateful to my nondual teacher Gary Tzu who shared with me the wisdom of 'no escape' and 'no technique'. I gradually came to see that trying to control, change or improve my inner experience actually made it worse. I had to face what was arising.
It came as a huge shock to me to realise that awakening into nondual awareness actually amplified my inner experience. Things actually felt worse before they started to feel better. This is because I had been holding onto a large amount of inner wounding from childhood.
I was flooded with flashbacks to childhood and a deepening of my depression and anxiety. I became far more sensitive to my inner experience, almost like shining a light in the darkness for the first time.
I started to see what I had been avoiding. Like flood gates opening, I finally gave up the fight with my inner experience and let it flow through me.
This was not easy and even to this day, I need to constantly let go of controlling my inner experience. Time and time again, I gently relax and fall back into the infinite space around me, that is referred to as universal consciousness, nondual awareness or the Buddha-mind.
It is said that true peace can be found in the heart of the Buddha. Letting go and falling into the space around me has become a wonderful refuge.
I wanted to share this article as sometimes when you go through an awakening, things start to feel worse. You may feel like you are missing the point and that something is wrong with you. You may feel 'triggered' and 'emotional' all the time.
Throughout our lifetime, we accumulate a massive amount of memory and emotion. We may not process these inner experiences because they are too painful at the time. We don't know how to work with them.
When we awaken, unprocessed inner material will come flooding to the surface. This is because the energy of these emotions and memories wants to pass through your body. It is seeking a way to pass back into openness.
This is why it is so important to open the heart and allow your mind to relax, as any attempt to think your way out of the situation does not work. Let go of your mind and fall into your heart and gut.
Relax and breath into your inner experience to give it free passage.
I found working with a nondual therapist (with training in Western psychology & Eastern contemplative traditions) extremely helpful. The support to sit with and allow my experience to pass was extremely transformative.
Being able to ask questions about nonduality and clear up my confusion was extremely beneficial.
So please take heart if you are feeling really bad right now. It is actually a good sign. It's an indication that you are working through difficult emotions and feelings from your past. I call spiritual awakening the 'ultimate cleansing out', as so much shit comes to the surface.
If you would like support along your awakening journey, please feel free to book a nondual therapy session with me today. I work with clients who have an interest in nonduality, transpersonal psychology or Buddhism globally on Skype and face to face in Melbourne CBD.
Daniel Solodky is a nondual, transpersonal and Buddhist Psychotherapist providing online therapy over secure video. Book Daniel at: https://calendly.com/danielsolodky