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Dealing with the Dark Night

Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration

Hi everyone,

About 22 months ago (January 2016) I had an amazing awakening experience after reading Eckhart Tolle (surprise surprise). I had dealt with extreme insomnia from anxiety in the years prior, so you can imagine it was nice to realize I was awareness itself.

However, and this is a BIG however, it lasted for about 2 days. Since then, I've been in a state of deep fatigue and depression. That's right, for the 22 months since, I've been in a state of acceptance and presence, but completely debilitated both mentally and physically. Doctors have diagnosed it as chronic lyme, but I know deep down that it is a fundamental kind of transformation process. 

I've read that awakening begins the process of dissolving ego/pain-body structure. This denser energy is gradually dissolved, but it seems that after 22 straight months of being in this dense energy (you have to be in it to dissolve it, I think) I still have a ways to go. The fatigue is constant, but even more constant is the joylessness. I am not unhappy or dissatisfied with anything, but even my state of acceptance doesn't seem to help with the immense heaviness and depression.

There are many names for this kind of process I think, including dissolution (bhanga), ascension (new-agey term), integration, dark night, incubation, etc.. I am going to post a few articles that I think you may be interested in, but what I'm really curious about is this:

1)Have you all experienced periods of fatigue/depression?
2)Are long periods of fatigue/depression common before or after radical awakenings?
3)Has anyone had experience with Lyme disease and the fatigue it supposedly creates?

Here are the articles:

A sensible one: http://www.spiritualawakeningprocess.com/2012/02/chronic-fatigure-and-spiritual.html

A bit out there:
 http://www.truedivinenature.com/EnergyUpdateJuly2015.htm
https://laurabruno.wordpress.com/…/chronic-fatigue-lightwo…/
http://www.ascension360.net/resources-2/ascension-symptoms/
http://goldenageofgaia.com/…/ascension-symptoms-or-what-is…/

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/21/16 1:41 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
Just a note to answer your questions from my personal experience:

1)Have you all experienced periods of fatigue/depression?

- Yes, previous to SE, a number of year long plus episodes and, in particular, I went through a particularly difficult period around the death of my biological father. It was "surrender" over a number of items in his estate that I had cognitive dissonance over that helped (I think) facilitate SE.


2)Are long periods of fatigue/depression common before or after radical awakenings?

-I don't know if they are common. I haven't had anything like this. As part of my SE I lost my lifelong anxiety problem, and gained (per SE criteria) solid confidence in the path that took away any doubt or concern about proceeding forward. Anecdotally, a friend of mine experienced SE, but without a practice/path and HAS continued to have incidental depression/anxiety, so I believe it DOES happen.


3)Has anyone had experience with Lyme disease and the fatigue it supposedly creates?

-Can't help here.

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/21/16 1:44 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
 Doctors have diagnosed it as chronic lyme, but I know deep down that it is a fundamental kind of transformation process. 

With all due respect, isn't it far more likely your doctors are correct than is the instance that you have fallen into a deep, debillitating depression due to reading Echart Tolle? What makes you believe you had a radical awakening? It would help the res of us for you to post a detailed description of the practices you use to awaken and the experiences you had along the way. Otherwise, your situation is really almost impossible to determine.

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/21/16 2:46 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
Ethan P. Zwirn:

1...
3)Has anyone had experience with Lyme disease and the fatigue it supposedly creates?

-what-is…/

My friend has Chronic Lyme, believes that tests for it are unreliable, the industry is dead set against recognition of lymes disease, that he has it and it caused his almost completely debitating symptomes, that expensive, very lengthly and controversial antibiotic cocktail courses are what has giving him back much of his health.  He's a smart guy and has done lots of research. 

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
1/10/17 8:19 AM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
  

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/21/16 7:39 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
It sounds like you had an A&P type event. Then went back into, or forward into dark night mode. 


Sometimes interest in spiritual models, books, talks etc., can lend itself to some kind of mass spiritualisation of what are just regular problems. If one is not careful, all depression, tension and other suffering can be reframed as some kind of necessary suffering for enlightenment, a clearing of energetic blocks, an ascension of kundalini. Just look up kundalini syndrome and you'll find lists that could include symptoms for every mental health problem in the entire DSM. 


Often the source of this is a harmful mental model/self-concept that needs to believe in the significance of these events, or perhaps to rationalize not dealing with potentially simpler lifestyle factors, or perhaps even to allow you to live with a clinical issue. Your phrasing seems like you have self-diagnosed based on fitting symptoms to information you have read, rather than treating them objectively. e.g.  "deep down that it is a fundamental kind of transformation process. ", "There are many names for this kind of process", etc. Added to this, you mention chronic insomnia and anxiety in the years prior, presumably before Eckhart Tolle and/or serious practise. This does hint at issues existing outside of your practise. It's harmful because it can lead you (a) not to consider or try conventional solutions, and (b) to glamourize what may be stagnancy in practise. 


Really weird, intense and difficult stuff happens with meditation practise. But problems in the body and mind can also just be garden variety problems in the body and mind. It's impossible for anyone to give any kind of differential diagnosis here, but from your post, I'd cautiously advise looking at this from a mental health standpoint, then diet and lifestyle/social factors that could be contributing. If there's a clinical issue, it's perfectly reasonable (or even better) to have a spiritual practise while having standard medical/psychiatric treatments, lots of people here are in this situation. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ5B70ac_9M

Good luck, 

Wing

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/22/16 1:50 AM as a reply to Doctor Avocado.
Wing Biddlebaum:
It sounds like you had an A&P type event. Then went back into, or forward into dark night mode.
Here is the reading to understand what what said
Find a lyme expert you can trust.

Good luck,
~D

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/22/16 6:52 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Yes, Lyme disease expert is the first step to take.

And let me just add this:

Physical and mental illnesses are real and need to be dealt with by medical professionals. You can come to this place and others like it and you will find all kinds of people willing to help diagnose your problem as some kind of result or symptom of meditating. Don't be fooled by this. See a doctor when you don't feel well. A spiritual practice is of huge benefit but it cannot diagnose or cure cancer, or Lyme disease. Steve Jobs died because he didn't pay heed to his doctors. Don't follow that path.

JMHO, YMMV

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
11/29/16 8:34 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
Ethan P. Zwirn:
Hi everyone,

About 22 months ago (January 2016) I had an amazing awakening experience after reading Eckhart Tolle (surprise surprise). I had dealt with extreme insomnia from anxiety in the years prior, so you can imagine it was nice to realize I was awareness itself.

However, and this is a BIG however, it lasted for about 2 days. Since then, I've been in a state of deep fatigue and depression. That's right, for the 22 months since, I've been in a state of acceptance and presence, but completely debilitated both mentally and physically. Doctors have diagnosed it as chronic lyme, but I know deep down that it is a fundamental kind of transformation process.

If you've been "in a state of acceptance and presence" without a break for the last 22 months since your experience, it is likely that your opening was outside/beyond the progress of insight stages that other posters described above. People traversing the progress of insight before stream-entry 1) don't enjoy "acceptance and presence" on an ongoing basis and 2) commonly experience mood changes ranging from euphoria to light depression, whereas it sounds like your affect has been predictably flat.

While it's possible that you have a medical illness and it's certainly worth ruling out, I have also experienced intense symptoms caused by meditation-related emotional work that doctors wouldn't have been able to diagnose. Per the articles you posted, these symptoms are relatively common. Because medical science knows next to nothing about the side effects of meditation, however, doctors won't be able to figure out what effect meditation is having on your health, much less prescribe a solution. 

For qualified advice, I recommend contacting the Dharma Ocean organization and asking to speak with a meditation instructor (MI). If your symptoms were caused by your awakening experience, someone there should be able to help you figure out what to do. I wish you luck in healing. 

As an aside, were you ever bitten by a tick and formally tested for Lyme disease? I'm not a doctor, but my limited understanding is that you can't get the chronic post-Lyme syndrome without first contracting Lyme disease from a tick.

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
12/1/16 6:13 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
Hey Ethan. It sounds like your experience is almost identical to mine. I had a sudden awakening event without any prior meditation experience or knowledge of anything spiritual that occurred after reading The Power of Now by Tolle. It was the most profound experience I have ever had and it happened almost 5 years ago for reference. Here is a post I made about it when I first stumbled upon this forum: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4212467

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
12/3/16 4:56 PM as a reply to Jake.
Jake,

Thanks, I do connect with that. I too was very shy all my life and very insecure and superficial in many respects. 

I too feel lost, except, I'm not trying to get anywhere, or even get the feeling back, though it would be nice. I'd be curious if you experience periods of fatigue an mind-fog like I do. And when I say fatigue, it's a kind of weird, uneasy fatigue. Quite hard to explain and completely weird, so I've chalked it up to the physical integration process, not Lyme. Could be Lyme, though, so I'm getting treated. 

Three cheers for Eckhart though, no teacher is clearer and moe direct. Also his use of language is probably the best I've seen. Gangaji has more of an angelic presence, Adyashanti is cooler, Matt Kahn is more feisty, Mooji is more humorous and fuzzy, but Eckhart is the best writer.

Peace,
  Ethan

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
12/5/16 3:21 AM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
Ethan P. Zwirn:
Jake,

Thanks, I do connect with that. I too was very shy all my life and very insecure and superficial in many respects. 

I too feel lost, except, I'm not trying to get anywhere, or even get the feeling back, though it would be nice. I'd be curious if you experience periods of fatigue an mind-fog like I do. And when I say fatigue, it's a kind of weird, uneasy fatigue. Quite hard to explain and completely weird, so I've chalked it up to the physical integration process, not Lyme. Could be Lyme, though, so I'm getting treated. 

Three cheers for Eckhart though, no teacher is clearer and moe direct. Also his use of language is probably the best I've seen. Gangaji has more of an angelic presence, Adyashanti is cooler, Matt Kahn is more feisty, Mooji is more humorous and fuzzy, but Eckhart is the best writer.

Peace,
  Ethan


The part about trying to "get back" to that feeling doesnt really apply anymore because I have a much better understanding of what happened. It was also a long time ago. The fatigue that you mention on the other hand... I think I know what you mean. Not the kind of fatigue that results from being tired due lack of sleep to lack of sleep but a fatigue that makes accomplishing things throughout the day really difficult. Im not sure how much you could relate to this next bit but day to day my reality feels unsettling, like something isnt quite right, like I cant fully and completely relax, there is this sense of unease that is always lingering in the background. Nothing really flows well either like physical actions or conversations, there is an added layer of tension that makes everything I do seem taxing and difficult. Not to mention the brain fog - thinking and planning is a burden and takes much more effort than it really should. My memory and recollection is terrible most of the time. 

Fortunately the more time I spend meditating at home, the more time I spend in nature, exercising, eating clean whole foods, and getting enough sleep, the better and better I feel. Unfortunatly I havent been doing these things a whole lot lately emoticon

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
12/5/16 9:18 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
From Ethan's first post: "I am not unhappy or dissatisfied with anything, but even my state of acceptance doesn't seem to help with the immense heaviness and depression."

Ethan, the first part of the sentence states that you aren't unhappy, but at the end you say that you're depressed, which typically involves negative thinking. Do you notice any negative thoughts, or are your emotions totally neutral? Did patterns of thinking about self or the life story change or disappear after your experience? 

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
10/20/17 7:27 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
I know exactly what you mean.

Please email me......basharatali1@hotmail.co.uk

I would like to continue the discussion..........if one has not had this experience it will be difficult if not impossible to understand.

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
10/21/17 12:12 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
Ethan P. Zwirn:
Hi everyone,

About 22 months ago (January 2016) I had an amazing awakening experience after reading Eckhart Tolle (surprise surprise). I had dealt with extreme insomnia from anxiety in the years prior, so you can imagine it was nice to realize I was awareness itself.

However, and this is a BIG however, it lasted for about 2 days. Since then, I've been in a state of deep fatigue and depression. That's right, for the 22 months since, I've been in a state of acceptance and presence, but completely debilitated both mentally and physically. Doctors have diagnosed it as chronic lyme, but I know deep down that it is a fundamental kind of transformation process.



Hi Ethan,

There are different stages of awakening. You didn't really describe what your realization was in details, but I think you had the "I AM realization" -- Stage 1. Your problem should resolve itself after Thusness Stage 4 or 5 level of awakening, if it was purely triggered by your spiritual path. See http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.sg/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

You might also want to read Suzanne Segal's experience with the dark nights after an awakening. It's also interesting to note that her dark nights and fears resolved themselves after non-dual realisation which she described - "as a finger drawing in the sand, where the substance of vastness is the finger, the drawing and the sand." then her joyless/fearful experience of impersonality and dissociation from a formless state of presence turned into incredible bliss. - http://www.nonduality.com/suzanne.htm

Thusness, Jan 2007:

"If someone draws a line in the thin air and is able to plant a seed into a lay person’s inmost consciousness that “he can’t go beyond this line”,  that lay person will feel that the so called ‘imaginary’ boundary is as solid as a physical wall. The way we are ‘bonded’ to dualistic view of a ‘Self’ is similar. A strong sense of Witnessing Presence without going beyond that "invisible line" is not the experience of “no-self” in  buddhism and therefore I would not call her experience an “insight” into no-self. The negative experiences she had seem more like very strong  ‘self/Self’ propensities, it is a form of split, a separation.

Staying in no-self is to be fully authenticated by all things and as all things. Fear arises because of this lack of authentication. She sank too deeply into the 'content'. This is the case of "dark nights" where propensities rushed into manifestations. Her attempt to reason herself  out will not work. Logical reasoning cannot break that 'bond' and she just couldn't help reacting to it. One way out is to practice and develop the mental habit of "dissolving" every moment before "content" arise. The mental habit of dissolving will become a strength of it own to counter this problem.

In true no-self experience, the first aspect is the cognitive mind loses its charm and is replaced with intuitive and direct experience. Only the  qualities of our nature are experience (clarity, radiance, presence and vitality), nothing about symbols, labels and content. Second, the  illusionary view of a "Self' on top of manifestation is dissolved; There is complete rest in appearance. Nothing needs be done and therefore  there can only be the experience of liberation as that boundary, that separation disappeared. Nothing is obstructing anything in the experience of no-self."

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
10/21/17 6:49 AM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
First of all, there is no such disease as "chronic Lyme disease". No serious doctor who respects the evidence based medicine can diagnose this nonsense. But there are quack doctors associated mainly with pseudoscientific activist organisation "The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society" which promotes many bogus claims like that it is necessary to abuse combination of various antibiotics chronically for several months to several years to eradicate imagined bacteria. 

The correct scientific view on this tick born disease is presented by "The Infectious Diseases Society of America".

The problem is that there are many patients suffering from extremely serious, harrowing and debilitating diseases that current medicine can't even diagnose so far. Let alone treat them.

These patients are mocked by doctors because psychosomatic medicine is unfortunatelly still recognized as a part of medicine. And even in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV-TR there are still bogus diagnoses like "somatoform disorder", "conversion disorder", "neurastenia" and other non sequitur diagnoses that are not based on evidence but on the absence of evidence.

These patients suffering from unrecognized serious, chronic and heart-breaking diseases are desperate and so they opt for seemingly more rational solution: Eradicate "pathogens" by taking large amounts of antibiotics. After all for them it makes more sense than to think that they have been for years or decades so profoundly debilitated because of some arcane "suppressed childhood emotional traumas", because of "stress", some "wrong mental patterns", "false beliefs and deconditiong", "psychogenic causes" and all the other intellectual garbage produced and invented by the psychosomatic experts.

In fact these patients can indeed notice some real improvement since many antibiotics have antiinflamatory effects, inhibit glial activation, some block serotonin or dopamine transporter etc. 

And now to your main question: Fatigue is probably the single most common symptom of all diseases, be they known ones or so far unknown ones. The next most often symptom is probably pain. There is even a diagnosis with an extremely ridiculous name "chronic fatigue syndrome". Now it turns out that a better name for this disease is "myalgic encephalomyelitis" and during the last three years some first serious research of this incapacitating and life long disease has been conducted at last. The scientific community slowly begins to realize that chronic fatigue syndrome probably represents the single most important mystery or problem in biomedical research and institutions like NIH gives substantial grant money and establishes research institutions to solve this disease(s).

Be it asi it may, I think that meditation can help you a lot. Be strong, brave and patient! emoticon  

RE: Post-Awakening Fatigue/Depression from Integration
Answer
10/21/17 12:22 PM as a reply to Ethan P. Zwirn.
I don't know why your doctors said it was Lyme Disease if there was no evidence. I would look into what evidence they have. Personally the noting practice got me through depression, but that was because I consistently got to equanimity and I can enjoy jhanas 1 to 4. Enjoyment being an important part of healing if your practice was too dry.

Also the brain feels good when it has something to look forward to, so I would learn to develop intuition practices where imagery and thoughts are allowed.

For Intuition Introversion I would meditate on a near future image of 3 steps ahead that are healthy goals, and keep it in mind. Then try to make it happen. The brain needs progress (even small progress is good) to feel better/energized, and then do this throughout the day.

When there is an obstacle then include the obstacle in the next 3 steps. Quit the things that are too hard and do the things that bring the most relief when they are put behind you.

Make this a spiritual practice and use any other daily practice meditations (Sensing Introversion to verify and check the accuracy of your work "Is this correct, etc?" and Sensing Extraversion to enjoy Flow states that happen when your skills match the challenges, or to say it another way, when you "have a handle on it").

It's easy to get into analysis paralysis with a diagnosis but you still have to get things done. The gold standard is that you are completing your tasks. This is what is considered "functional" for the medical community. If you have lyme disease and you still are able to accomplish tasks that are important to you then you are doing fine under the circumstances. Do what the doctors say but really enjoy your meditation so that you feel good because you'll get more done with each incremental relief you can create for yourself. When stress is reduced after a good meditation, then put your hand on your heart-centre, heart-chakra and use those feelings as a guide on what is important for you to proceed on.

I'm currently working on a video with a book review and web review related to chronic pain so I'll post that next week in my YouTube channel. It will be a more of a guided meditation than a review and it's all about meditation practices to deal with pain.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKjqfUCABDEd6i8uQZ0BqTA