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Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?

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The question I have seems quite unique but hopefully it turns out not to be. I will do my best to explain and will if asked fill in any gaps needed, also I will try to be as clear and honest as possible.

First thing is that I feel done, not as a great thing or even a mark of success at all, but done with understanding or needing to get something unknown from the dharma, the wisdom aspect you could say, it was a clear shift and has remained unchanged in its done-ness ever since. I don't mean to convey I am perfect at all, its just this has been my experience for 16 months now and coming from my 9 year intense 'I need to know!', all consuming period it is a clear shift. It could be some form of psychosis, could be anything I guess, you could more or less say that this is the question actually.

I have a few previous posts exploring my practice and my SE experience, since then I journeyed through a direct pointing method created by Satyadhana similar to Liberation Unleashed, but focused on the 7 remaining fetters of the 10 fetter model. The process was essentially get really, really good at staying with the sensations that supposedly created the illusions of, subject/object/perception etc and when there on that supposed point look around for that thing and poof illusion gone. I got the hang of it and sped through the final stages rather quickly and similar to others who did the same thing was left with a simple and yet obvious feeling of done-ness. A bit sad and also proud, I have always been good at weeding out shadow sides, checking, checking and checking for anything unresolved or glossed over but I could find nothing of this sort directed at needing to know anything, 'more'.

I have gone spiritual lone-ranger since, no contact at all with 'practitioners', I got Married to my long suffering and amazing partner in May, I have an ok job, all the food and coffee I need, reasonably good health and overall was ok. I'm also studying for an A-level in Religious Studies which is intresting. The only problem is I am basically depressed now, lack of motivation, low energy, directionless, often think of suicide etc. I'm not even against this, it just seems like the current if not maintained leads towards depression, worldly life seems so crap and with endless chores!

I have been enjoying too many beers and am sure was dangerously close to being an alcoholic but seemed to have swerved this one, still swerving actually. My wife thinks I should see a doctor and maybe get some anti-depressants, I think sometimes she may be right. I have the clarity and understanding but undeniably low moods persist.

I welcome any attempts to disprove my views and to explore unseen pitfuls. It seemed like getting the dharma has had no effect on normal life, it is still unfair, painful and meaningless. Sure I see sunsets and feel good and connected but in the end I can not seem to escape notion of being done in terms of directional development towards wisdom but life is a drag and now I don't even have the amazing dilemma and thirst for freedom! 

The joke is that this sounds like the ravings of a depressed self having seen that there was never actually one to un-see! It is like I have started again from scratch just a centreless depression, it just is.

I have considered a few possibilites.
1. Start the noting meditation, cycling through the nanas, to double check so to speak. Then have a more common language in which to discuss with you all.
2. This is it, get on with it or not.
3. I am badly deluded and have missed the boat by a long stretch, I have burnt all my bridges regarding searching for truth.

Thanks for your help, I feel like this is the only place I can consider turning in this predicament.

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
8/31/18 5:19 AM as a reply to Robbie Downs-Levene.
Hi Robbie, sorry to hear you're dealing with this right now. Personally, I don't think this is an ultimate state of "doneness," there will always be stuff to explore. It sounds like depression to me (though I am not a mental health professional...merely a goofball on the internet). If that's the case, what I've found helpful in such cases is to start from the body and work my way out. So it might be good to investigate the following:
  • How's your diet and overall health?
  • How's your sleep? Are you getting around 7 hours per night at least?
  • Do you make time for exercise and generally moving around every day?
  • Are you consuming too many stimulants and/or depressants? Can you swap those out for more healthy habits?
  • How are your interpersonal relationships? You mention an awesome wife (yay!), but it's good to have many different sources of emotional support.
  • Can you find a local therapist to work with? If not, there are online options out there. There are people who offer different approaches, and it's helpful to have someone to work with to unpack stuff.
  • Is your schedule jam packed? You mention work and school, which can totally rob your life of joy when in combination! Can you make time for other, non-strivey stuff, like meeting up with friends or looking at something beautiful? Even carving out one chunk of time per week might make a difference.
Hope that's helpful! Cheering you on over here!

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/4/18 8:15 PM as a reply to Robbie Downs-Levene.
Among the criteria I consider towards the unhelpful end of the helpful-unhelpful spectrum, the sense of "doneness" is pretty far towards unhelpful, in my view and experience.

It can arise in many, many places along the path, including Dissolution, Equanimity, after any path, and resulting from other things, such as depression, low thyroid, dissociation, and the like.

It is not that awakened people can't feel some depression sometimes, depending on what is going on, but your post doesn't have that ring of deeply transformative freedom and delight from the clarity of mind that can arise from deep levels of awakening. That also is not diagnostic, just suggestive.

I like all of the suggestions in the post above.

Additionally: how is your dharma tech? Jhanas? Able to cycle or control cycles? Fruitions? Mastery of this level of mind? Formless realms? Immediate and automatic comprehension of the Three Characteristics of whatever sensations and thoughts arise? Thoughts integrated into the lumnious immediacy automatically as natural part of the field of experience, or are they contracted into as something separate from it?

Without at least some of those, I am concerned about the possibility that you might have psychologized and intellectualized the dharma rather than directly, non-conceptually understanding it viscerally through all sense modalities and across all mind states, emotions, moods, etc. 

How is the rest of your life? Any other major downsides, traumas, doubts, etc?

As to insight practice and cycling: if your realization is as you say, those shouldn't be able to cause any harm, and will simply be confirmatory, but, if there is more to do, they very likely will reveal that, so likely a good bet, presuming your psychological health is good enough to handle those stages, which it sounds like it might not be.

As mentioned above: samatha skills? Jhanas can be a very nice support to a clear, stable, happy mind, though they are temporary and not a cure-all, by any means, and can tempt some to spiritual bypassing.

As to suicidality: definitely talk with a local mental health professional, preferably one who knows something about meditation and the spiritual path.

Best wishes,

Daniel

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/2/18 3:48 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Firstly thanks Erin and Daniel,
 
Yes some good points in there, I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
I didn't fill in all the gaps with my practice and overall experience so will try to clarify a bit more.
 
Sleep is good, always get around 7 or 8 hours. I cycle a lot, a bit of racing and training so need my sleep, although racing is on the back burner right now.
I cycle everyday and walk my dog once or twice a day, being in nature regularly is nice. 
Yes probably too many stimulants/depressants, kept in check but more regular than I would hope for, on and off over the years, booze and weed only, oh and the very occasional mushroom trip.
 
I understand experientially as well as I can the role of spiritual bypassing but have always found my honesty and intentions are good, by its nature though it is hard to spot I agree. Eventually the shadow sides appear through continued inspection and a need to find something true and real, impossible but a good benchmark.
 
I did spend around a year exploring the Jhanas thoroughly after my SE experience using Ayya Khema's: Who is my self. I had before that day never been able to access them apart from 1st towards the end of retreats and suddenly they were readily available. Even typing now I can access them and go through 1-4 somewhat mildly, it could be developed for sure but interesting to note that access remains even outside of formal practice.

I hoped they would offer something they couldn't, freedom. Come to think of it I did enjoy them, I recall how I would access the 8th Jhana and eventually a rapid strobing would take over, black and white horizontal lines flickering quickly then a fruition of types but was never certain of this and didn't really have anyone to bounce experience off properly.
 
Study is similar to I think most seekers, devouring book after book, although mostly re-read books now. Zen mind, Beginners mind and MCTB (big fan) being two of my most regulars. I also enjoyed the Jed Mckenna trilogy a little too much leading on to Richard Rose.

Regarding Suicidality, this isn't something that gets proliferated on. More an awareness that the thought arises with some regularity, if that makes sense. There is just that thought occasionally, but there has been at times throughout most of my life, no problem. The first dart, second dart scenario has been the major difference regarding the process of the thought over time. This depression logically succeeds the thoughts of Suicide yes, but I consider depression more of a cosmic road sign, saying "look over here!" - something isn't quite fitting... A gift not a curse, albeit a bit of a shitty one. This could be rationalising too.
 
Most of the year following my so called 'done' experience (I appreciate the term is very unhelpful) life was great, very spacious, connected, effortless, yet certain things did remain such as desires and patterns of behaviour. I have been in effect testing my insight to see if it stood up in normal life, but as you can tell it hasn't played out that well. I used to have a good ethical practice and regular meditation was part of this but I wondered what would become of letting everything slip, could I remain contented and equanimous to experience, would it all hold up!
 
Sensations and emotions definitely have the 3 marks at all times, the world is fascinating in that respect. I would say coming at it the other way round, that what makes up experience has been unable to be viewed as permanent, real or with the potential to satisfy. I don't say this to bolster my potential claim only to try and give a clearer idea of my experience. The clearest aspect would be Anicca, the transient quality of all things, it sometimes brings me to tears quite literally.
This could be the point of the post really, the sensations and thoughts that make up depression are present and yet they are seen with clarity, its not that I am getting whisked away but they are undeniably my experience.
I sometimes wonder if this process of stopping, is continued practice and leaving unhelpful Skandhas in the limelight, there is mindfulness throughout the ups and downs.
 
Generally speaking  it appear best to leave behind my theories of letting it slide and having got anywhere, but it must be said that given the context of my practice it seemed like a switch was thrown, rather than a state or intellectualized idea taking over. It could be what's needed is basic integration, and a life of basic Buddhist ethics will help facilitate this.
 
Thanks,
 
Robbie

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/2/18 7:23 AM as a reply to Robbie Downs-Levene.
One possible approach, offered by someone who is totally unqualified to give such advice: Dive into heart-centered teachings by the likes of Thich Nhat Hanh and commit to a couple of years of 50/50 practice--50 percent loving-kindness and 50 percent noting. For your daily sits, you could literally do half an hour of metta (thus building samatha), followed by half an hour of noting. How much metta can you do walking around on the street? 

The suggestion comes to mind because, at least as a first impression based on what you've written here, your path and practice seem quite above-the-neck. I don't get any sense of joy, appreciation, loving-kindness, etc., from the post. 

Also, if you're drinking one or two beers at a pub and hanging out with friends and, with respect to weed, are only occasionally taking a puff now and again, that's cool. However, if you're like I used to be, then you're getting hammered and really stoned on a regular basis.

That's likely an indication of a need to do explicitly psychological work to figure out what you're escaping from. Metta will help you prepare for that. You could have some morality trip stuff to clean up. 

It sounds like you have a great life and a lot to be thankful for. Shit can, at any moment, get way, way worse. It would be great if you could figure out a way to maximize your enjoyment of this life in a way that isn't dependent upon favorable conditions but that also doesn't involve inadequate appreciation of those favorable conditions while they're in place, if that makes any sense.  

Sorry if any of this is unwelcome/off base. Just what comes to mind in this moment. Best of luck!


 

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/2/18 11:58 AM as a reply to Robbie Downs-Levene.
Hi Robbie,

I agree that there might have been a "psychologizing" of the dharma, and all these feelings you are having can be noted, etc. Though I don't have any bigotry towards psychology and feel that psychology has a place to deal with emotional problems, and it can help your meditation practice. If you feel depression and suicidal thoughts you should go to a good therapist that is supportive of meditation practice, or at least do some of your own reading on topics related to what might be causing your down moods.

One thing I noticed related to drinking, or food, or any process addictions, is that there's some emotional pain that's there, a dislike of the present moment, and if you're mindful, even when drunk, you can see how the pain temporarily disappears with a swig of beer or whatever. That emotional pain needs healing. I'm not sure what that might be, though you did talk about a world of chores, (external motivation can drain and can cause burn-out), but if that's not the case, there's no problem with continuing your practice AND seeing a therapist to deal with that. Definitely, concentration practices have helped with easy-to-do chores that are boring normally.

Another thing you should know, though you may know this already, is that the brain always goes into a mild depression when it finishes goals, and it's only when you take on new interesting goals that the brain starts feeling better. Taking baby-steps on important goals helps a lot, and if you need meds, that's okay too. Keep exploring and trying things out, and keep your meditation practice. Even Arhats still meditate.

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/2/18 3:17 PM as a reply to Robbie Downs-Levene.
Robbie Downs-Levene:


First thing is that I feel done,
nope, your not done, thats bullshit, you have no idea how rare the attainment is that stops the problemness, sigh
 It could be some form of psychosis, could be anything I guess, you could more or less say that this is the question actually.
Great, narrow it down to the real stuff!
I have a few previous posts exploring my practice and my SE experience, since then I journeyed through a direct pointing method created by Satyadhana similar to Liberation Unleashed, but focused on the 7 remaining fetters of the 10 fetter model. The process was essentially get really, really good at staying with the sensations that supposedly created the illusions of, subject/object/perception etc and when there on that supposed point look around for that thing and poof illusion gone. I got the hang of it and sped through the final stages rather quickly and similar to others who did the same thing was left with a simple and yet obvious feeling of done-ness. A bit sad and also proud, I have always been good at weeding out shadow sides, checking, checking and checking for anything unresolved or glossed over but I could find nothing of this sort directed at needing to know anything, 'more'.
ah, there you have it, you did some shit, got some results, kinda makes you have no problem and major problems

I have gone spiritual lone-ranger since, no contact at all with 'practitioners', I got Married to my long suffering and amazing partner in May, I have an ok job, all the food and coffee I need, reasonably good health and overall was ok. I'm also studying for an A-level in Religious Studies which is intresting. The only problem is I am basically depressed now, lack of motivation, low energy, directionless, often think of suicide etc. I'm not even against this, it just seems like the current if not maintained leads towards depression, worldly life seems so crap and with endless chores!
ya, your describing me to a tee! hahahah.
I have been enjoying too many beers and am sure was dangerously close to being an alcoholic but seemed to have swerved this one, still swerving actually. My wife thinks I should see a doctor and maybe get some anti-depressants, I think sometimes she may be right. I have the clarity and understanding but undeniably low moods persist.

I welcome any attempts to disprove my views and to explore unseen pitfuls. It seemed like getting the dharma has had no effect on normal life, it is still unfair, painful and meaningless. Sure I see sunsets and feel good and connected but in the end I can not seem to escape notion of being done in terms of directional development towards wisdom but life is a drag and now I don't even have the amazing dilemma and thirst for freedom! 

The joke is that this sounds like the ravings of a depressed self having seen that there was never actually one to un-see! It is like I have started again from scratch just a centreless depression, it just is.
well, shit buckets! thats about right.
You Jumped to emptyness of center before doing the preliminary stuff. First path and or second path shit is running and arguing that it is NOT empty yet.
I have considered a few possibilites.
1. Start the noting meditation, cycling through the nanas, to double check so to speak. Then have a more common language in which to discuss with you all.
2. This is it, get on with it or not.
3. I am badly deluded and have missed the boat by a long stretch, I have burnt all my bridges regarding searching for truth.

Thanks for your help, I feel like this is the only place I can consider turning in this predicament.
If you want to kill yourself in a serious way; dont fuck around. Get drugs and chatting to give time to this problem. Then get back on that shit and continue in a wise way.
Good Luck
~D
PS: In case you didn't get it, emptiness of just a center ain't the shit, there are many processes running that makes up "YOU". So you got one good\cool one done, but the others still running will argue, and fucks things up, I recommend that you investigate all sensations that may not be empty yet, look to what sensations make up a self, what sensations are permenent, and what sensations satisfy.

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/4/18 5:21 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to reply, some great points in there covering all bases, thanks.

The points raised have echoed my views around this whole thing and although humiliating and painful are really what I wanted to hear. Funny, sad and perfect.

Best, Robbie

RE: Done or Deluded, Depressed or Just Existence?
Answer
9/4/18 6:06 PM as a reply to Robbie Downs-Levene.
Please keep us posted on how things progress for you!