Mania, Mental Health, Well-being

I am Still Afraid.

So!  The new About page is up.

Even though most of you know who I am, this blog still doesn’t have my name on it. There are a few reasons for this: I want to share this site with my family first, since they have an interest in my health and well-being.

Secondly, I haven’t gone back through all the posts I wrote while I was really-highly-very-manic.  I won’t put my name next to something I can’t stand by, and the odds of me standing by something I wrote when I was unstable are very very slim. Usually the message is there, but the sentences come out disjointed and too-serious.  There’s a sweet spot in consciousness that leads to creation, and mania lies well beyond it.

As soon as I’ve some rereading, clarifying, and editing, I’ll be like “Here I am; these are my new thinkies since I lost my mind.” Except my thinkies are not new.  Everything I’ve come to know has been articulated in various spiritual disciplines over the course of millennia, and/or expressed in cultures that were crushed during colonization.  At least some of this is related to the study of consciousness and yogic sciences once refined in ancient India.

To be honest, I haven’t taken a yoga class since I was a teenager, and for a long time I was disdainful towards the word itself.  Just like with the term “spirituality,” it annoyed me how yoga was co-opted and capitalized on: “But we’ll be so in peace as we march towards extinction and exploit all life on Earth…”

But I’m learning that yoga is something much more complex than seems to be treated in the West (all Lululemon-and-privilege, as I saw it): The yogic process can be much more mentally arduous than it is physical. Yoga psychology posits that one can be guided through vast amounts of unconscious material to ultimately emerge as a transformed individual. This person operates from a new level of consciousness; they fundamentally exist in a way that is very different from before.

I don’t claim to be so advanced in this regard. I’ve experienced heights and expansions in ways that defy words, but the exploration is not fully in my control yet.  I meditate for 15 minutes every morning (and sometimes in the evening) and do with my body what feels right with regards to stretching. This seems to be working out pretty well so far, not that I’m opposed to challenges.

In addition to the yogic sciences, there are also words of wisdom from various faiths that speak to me—things that are just perfectly clear on every level. It’s become painfully obvious how the thread of Truth weaves through all religions, and I’ve only recently moved through the frustration that comes with watching the Truth be so misunderstood that humans create war and closure and everything-else-that-is-bad-in-this-world.

Humans are slow to learn, and for this, we suffer.

In my post Awakening Chooses You, I wrote that none of what I know could be verified scientifically. As long as we look for truth in the outside world and limit the process of “science” in such a way, this will be true.  But I’ve come to learn something new: There are definitely ways to study consciousness; they simply involve direct experience. At present, scientists are searching outward to try and determine reality, which is weird, because I thought we understood some time ago that reality is dependent upon its observer.  If this is true (and it is), it makes a whole lot more sense to study the observer that reality depends on.

I’m not talking about anthropology or even psychology, as fascinating as these fields of study can be. Those are still ways of looking at humans from the outside, albeit in a deeper context. I’m talking about studying ourselves beyond the mind.

Consider that your whole experience of life necessarily comes through you; that there is no way to perceive this thing except through yourself. If we want to know how it’s all working, the answer, then, becomes very simple: Study your consciousness. It is incredible what you can know when your mind is no longer running the show, racing to intellectualize everything.

As far as I can tell, few people can even fully grasp the notion that things can be known through a vehicle other than the mind. We’ve come to treat this awesome tool as the only tool for getting things done, and that’s harmful. Our reliance on the thinking mind has become so total that for many people, it must be consulted on what to eat, when/how much to sleep, what to say, and what to do with our bodies. Quite a bit of scientific research has been conducted in order to tell us that we’re supposed to eat real food, guys.  It’s nuts. These are things that—for a balanced individual—require no thought at all.

The very-busy mind is revered in the West, even though our very-busy minds drive us insane. The belief that thought is our highest tool is so ingrained that we even romanticize being miserable due to thought. A lot of people hold the idea that they’re just too smart to be happy (I thought this myself for awhile), and this notion is carried with a dark, smug kind of pride: “I’d rather see life as it is than be ignorant and happy,” they think. Except that they’re not seeing life as it is: They’re seeing it through a haze of preconceptions, conditioned beliefs, and old pain.  

Joy and smartness have nothing to do with one another. Until we gain at least a little control over our minds and learn how to be pleasant within ourselves, human intelligence indeed goes to waste.

Anyway, consciousness can be studied by way of becoming conscious. Generally, it takes time. It is subtle. (When it doesn’t take time and it isn’t subtle, you’re probably going to end up in the hospital.)  But ultimately the same ends are achieved as with normal science: People who have studied their consciousnesses agree on aspects of it because they’ve had similar experiences.

If you’ve never had a deep experience of oneness, an ego death, a sense of universal energy pulsing through you, or the deep knowing that you really are a god and a prophet, of course you will deny the reality of such experiences.  And if you’ve been conditioned in the Western way, you’re likely to chalk the whole thing up to someone’s brains going haywire with certain neurotransmitters.  This explanation achieves very little, and simply allows the neurotypical majority to carry on without looking too deep.  Everyone’s minds are constantly playing tricks in order to maintain a stable reality.

Yes, all this is kinda mystical. But in the end, the mystical is practical and this whole thing—consciousness—is what saves us from ourselves individually and collectively. Period.

The time is ripe for ancient knowledge to reflourish, and it is, as evidenced by the resurgence of interest in nonreligious spirituality in the West.  In keeping with my honesty streak, a lot of that stuff still feels pretty ego-based to me.  It’s extremely unfortunate that people try to leverage the Universe to push an agenda, or for personal (and generally material) gain—I’m looking at you, The Secret.

The thing is, all that Law of Attraction stuff can actually work, but without transforming one’s way of being, no amount of gain will bring lasting joy. Furthermore, material wealth has no real value, even when paired with a bunch of universe-manifestation rhetoric.  Learning how to manifest is little more than the simple act of pointing your thoughts in one direction rather than allowing them to flit about chaotically.  This is just a blip on the journey into higher consciousness, generally before one accepts that in reality, there is no personal self to inflate with accomplishments and objects.

Whew.  Looks like I have some feelings charged up in all that, so I’ll need to come back to it.

I started writing this post to highlight something very obvious about not putting my name on the site yet: I am still totally afraid of putting myself out there.  I admit this freely; I know how common it is to be afraid of baring ourselves.  And isn’t that the weirdest thing?  I’m aware that we all harbor similar fears about being loved through our worst stuff and weirdest ideas, that there’s no absolutely difference between my fears and your fears.

And yet still I stall.  Still I wait for the “right time,” knowing full well that this imagined “right time” rarely, if ever, exists.  This is in part because time itself is just a product of our minds, but now I’m getting off track.

Barring any unforeseen returns to extreme insecurity, the “right time” will probably be next week.