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Nothing feels the same, ego death?

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  • #84671
    Mermaid
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I wrote on this site last year sometime and have had the desire to write again.

    Last year, in April, a month before my 29th Birthday and after 4 years of suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I decided to stop being a Christian after 15 years of being heavily involved in the church, believing Christian values and living my whole life concerned with what God wanted, never feeling good enough and extreme guilt. When I made the decision to not be a Christian anymore and believe in such an angry God, I felt euphoric and alive and so much better physically, I felt like a completely new person.
    Now over a year on, I feel deeply depressed, anxious and lost. In fact, putting labels to the feelings seems wrong because up until now I’ve never experienced such sensations…not just depressed or anxious, but like nothing feels the same, I’m not the same, I can’t get pleasure from the same things, like summer or sunshine or a walk, there’s the constant feeling that “nothing’s normal”, it’s not even like I’m consciously thinking it, it’s an underlying presence.
    I have begun therapy with a wonderful therapist who specialises in trauma and grief, I feel like I am grieving for all that I have lost. My faith, community and purpose, but again it’s not a conscious thing. However, I get really stuck when I read so many different theories and ideas like for example “feel the feelings” but then I don’t want to become a depressed person, I want to feel alive and grateful and excited about life. I know so much about NLP and reprogramming the brain and neural pathways, I think, is it just a matter of choice and choosing to think positively about things? But then what happens about processing what you’ve been through? Or does that just keep you stuck?
    Surely just being positive is denying how you feel or how your brain feels about something that’s happened. I am willing to feel what I’m feeling, but I don’t know what mindset to get into so that I heal and move forward.

    If anyone gets where I’m coming from and has any advice, that would be amazing. I’m losing hope…

    Thank you. x.

    #84673
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Mermaid,

    You are either clinically depressed, have PTSD and/or are experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul.

    I had the Dark Night of the Soul and it was horrific, terrible, and awful. But believe it or not, one day I woke up and suddenly felt… Fine!! I hadn’t read anything, ate anything, done anything or thought anything to get out of it. Just the way I had done nothing to get into it. It was the Soul working things out on its own level.

    Emotions: We feel what we feel. An indicator that something is right or wrong in our lives, at the end of the day, that’s all it is: a feeling. And I don’t do it all the time, but meditation is better than a kick in the azz. LOL. At some point, why feel bad if you can feel good? As you’ve seen, the bad will always be waiting for you. :/

    Now… If you are missing that element of spiritual community in your life, a Unitarian church or a Buddhist temple might be of interest to you.

    Best,

    Inky

    #84674
    Inky
    Participant

    Add: At 28-30, we go through our Saturn Return. When Saturn comes back to where it was when we were born, we are pushed or pulled up to the next Level in our lives, whether we’re ready or not! (Don’t feel bad ~ I wasn’t ready either! LOL). This is when people have disasters, get married, have kids, change careers, do something great, move, or even have a crisis of faith like you did.

    Again, ride through it. You are actually on cosmic “schedule”.

    #84675
    Mermaid
    Participant

    Thanks, Inky. I found a book online written by a psychotherapist who herself was a strong Christian until her 30s…she has called it Religious Trauma Syndrome. The problem is, I read things online or listen to things by speakers such as Abraham Hicks or Byron Katie and then I begin thinking well all I need to do is choose positive thoughts…then that leads to guilt and even more despair. I got offered anti-depressants a few months back but have resisted taking them.
    I feel like I am holding things together by a thread. I feel such shame, I have so many surface reasons to feel happy, but inside is deep emptiness and anger that I can’t ‘fix things’…

    #84676
    Mermaid
    Participant

    I also think, it would make my life easier if I didn’t believe in ‘cosmic’ things as you put it, or the soul or anything like that and just believed in chemical imbalances, then maybe I would stop overanalysing what has happened or what I am feeling and take tablets and move on.

    #84680
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mermaid:

    I do not believe in any bible, in a biblical god of any kind. I do not believe in after life, in reincarnation and in astrology. I believe all these are delusions, false beliefs.

    Every time you have a belief, there are neural connections or pathways in the brain that sustain that belief (as you know). Once the pathway is in place and you understand on one level the belief is false, you are starting another pathway sustaining a new belief. Unfortunately, the old pathway does not stop operating and there is conflict.

    For awhile you felt free because your saw the truth and seeing the truth is so very healthy but the old pathway was and is still in operation- this is the discomfort you feel, the distress.

    It takes time and often requires help to endure this discomfort as you change beliefs. First if you truly understand the neural process, you will not be catastrphizing the situation, that is you will understand that the discomfort and distress is part of the change, unavoidable. You will understand that patience and gentleness with yourself during this change are necessary. In fact, extreme gentleness and patience are necessary.

    Over time, over a long time, months, maybe longer, the old pathway will weaken and the new pathway will get stronger and the distress will be less and less. The more gentle you are with yourself, with respect to the difficulty in the process, the better it will be for you.

    There is nothing more difficult than changing core beliefs about who we are and about the world we are in. Please do not go back (even if you could) to the old beliefs, or try to, and please do not adopt a new false belief to replace the old. Stick with the truth, with what you see, what makes sense.

    anita

    #84745
    Mike
    Participant

    As a Christian I have found myself exactly where you are today, and in fact the possibilities for spiritual growth is endless and beautiful. I too, found myself split from Christianity when I was sick of hearing about such a hateful God that hates just about everyone. I have since my teenage years struggled with my sexuality and that had developed in to identity issues, so Christian teachings had always made me feel guilty and I hated myself for my sin. After highschool, I went to a public university to get a liberal arts degree and like most public universities it was very liberal and scientific. During this same period of time my mom became sick with cancer, stage 4 and wasn’t given long to live. She was Christian and did what deeply Christian people do when they get sick, pray to get better and have others pray for them. A semester before I finished school she died after 3 years of fighting, we were lucky and found another doctor which is a story in itself and he extended 6 months to three years and she was able to go to Hawaii on a family trip as well other places, but it was rough. So after that I really questioned faith, I saw it as fake hocus pocus for people to take advantage of others, it seemed the philosophy was if it God’s will I will get better if I don’t and die then that was God’s will, this to me was giving up. Using the “skills” of critical thinking and scientific observation, it was at this point I really noticed the hypocrisy in Christianity. I also became very depressed feeling alone that there was no God out there and nothing after death, that this was it and then we were gone forever.

    After a while of agony I started therapy and that didn’t last long because I suffering from anxiety didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to be judged by bringing up my issues. I started reading self help and psychology books more, I always had since I was looking for ways to get over my anxiety and identity issues. In the mix I added some philosophy books since philosophy had interested me in school. I became obsessed with reading, learning and I started listening to books on audio and listening to them while I did any mindless work. I listened to the bible many times, I listened to the Gita, I listened to Buddhist teachings, I read books by Christian mystics such as Rudolph Steiner and slowly a picture has been forming in my mind. I see that established religion is a control mechanism, Preachers spin the teachings of the bibles to fit their message. After reading Siddhartha I saw Jesus differently. While learning about the Great Mythologies of the World part of the Great Courses, it was obvious that recurring themes occur in pretty much every established myth.

    People often read the Bible literal, but if instead it is read as if it is a piece of great literature you get a fantastic story. In literature everything can be construed to be a metaphor of something else, such as wars of internal struggle. There is a great deal of hidden meaning in every story of the bible. I always go back to Jesus calling himself the Son of Man. He also said, many have lit the path, but I am the path. He spoke in parables always to teach. To me Jesus was calling himself the Sun of us and he was lighting the way to freedom, freedom from the guilt and shame that comes along with our perceived sins. He died in sacrifice to show us that we need to believe so strongly we will be willing to die as he also talked of how those who truly believe must also carry their cross.

    I read a book called The Power of Awareness, by Neville Goddard and it opened my eyes to how in the bible God has spoken to people. Also in Wishes fulfilled by Dr. Wayne Dyer he uses a lot of Goddard’s teachings. In it he explains how God called himself I AM and how we can use the power of I AM. Jesus at one point was almost stoned to death for claiming to be God, he exclaimed [Does your book not say that we are all Gods?] Jesus before he is put to death says that he is the son of the high God, but if you read teachings before all that he tells people that their belief is lacking, belief in what? Could it not be that Jesus was really a sage with a teaching that with in us all is God and if we believe in God then we can use the power of God to do great things? He spoke of Heaven being with in us all so could not Heaven he spoke of have been like enlightenment that is used in the Eastern religions. He said that a camel has better chance at getting through the eye of a needle that a rich man to enter heaven, a man who is rich can rarely become enlightened as he has to many worldly attachments. Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and nights, what did he do there? How did he survive? Could he not have been practicing a type of meditation, maybe he became so adept at meditating that he was able to feign death on the cross and rise again in 3 days, like the yogis that do like wise feats. Our unconscious is pretty powerful and it could be in touch with God, that could be why people usually receive revelation while dreaming in sleep or in deep meditation, the times while the consciousness is out of the picture.

    The bible isn’t exactly the word of God, at least not anymore, it has been translated many times from latin to greek to english and different books were chosen. If you read the books of the New Testament you will see different accounts of Jesus, it is interesting how Rudolph Steiner explains the story of Jesus in The Fifth Gospel. Also how come new books aren’t ever added? Someone has a monopoly on recieving instruction from God? Has God stopped giving revelation? Can only certain people receive word from God?

    From a psychological standpoint some psychologists believe we contain three levels of consciousness. The subconscious that we are unaware of, but some believes it is the subconscious that are dreams come from and when we are all of sudden hit with and idea or an answer to a problem that it arose from the subconscious. Then there is the ego, is all about ME, the ego needs to be fed in order to feel good and it is the part of us that becomes obsessed with pleasurable things. Then the conscious the part of us we know we act from this and are awareness is present in the conscious. In away religion seems to be a way to explain these things before psychology was a science, the conscious being ourselves, the ego being satan whispering in our ears that we can and should have and do what ever we want, and the subconscious being God with us guiding us through life even if do not acknowledge it. If you have learned of any great person that was doing something that seemed beyond human capabilities and they answer the question, “How do you do it?” Often they give an answer like “I do not know it is like God is speaking through me,” or in someway they give an answer that something seems to take them over and they don’t know where it comes from. So in a way religion may have served the purpose of explaining certain drives before psychology was understood, in that way religion is pretty heavy.

    So as you can see there is wide scope of interpretations on religious writings, enough to keep you busy for along time. I myself have chosen to be spiritual rather than religious, I believe that there has been a reason for every book I have read and when I find them, whether it be my subconscious directing me or a “God”. I believe “God” is always speaking through my higher self, just not the literal God the Bible describes. I think that when you perform right action and believe that miraculous things can happen, but also when you act from the ego negative things happen, but that is just how things work and sometimes they are broken because I am still struggling. I believe somewhat in karma and reincarnation, sometimes believing that I will be born again once I am dead and sometimes believing that each day is the opportunity if taken to be born again. I thank “God” or the universe because in one manner they are the same for taking care of me by providing with the means to live.

    So if you don’t get anything I have said or don’t agree with it, then here is my real advice because really I was just trying to show just how personal spirituality is. NO ONE can tell you what to believe or how to believe, I don’t care they hit into your head. If showing your gratification to God for life is jumping out of airplanes then that is how you feel God. Spirituality is an inner experience, religion is the outer, spirituality is very personal. So by me releasing some of my spiritual learnings and beliefs I have really released a piece of myself in the hopes that it can be of service to you, I have opened myself up to criticisms beyond belief and at one time people would be killed through some awful manner, maybe crucified or hung for having different beliefs and called a heretic, but my belief is that when Jesus came and was crucified he allowed himself to be crucified, why? He could have easily gone back on all of his teachings, he could have said, “Of course I am not the son of God.” He could have saved himself, so why didn’t he? He wanted to teach people to be faithful to their beliefs, because he had said just believe and he performed miraculous things so if he would have changed his tune then what belief does that show? He allowed himself to be crucified but rose again in three days, whether take literally, maybe he was able to go into a deathlike state, or maybe after three days of grieving and forgetting all that he taught his disciples reawoke to what he taught and saw Jesus in everyone they met. No one knows, by people claiming they know it should take away their power to influence others, but it doesn’t and bad things have happened in the name of Jesus. People need to learn for themselves and never stop learning and never stop believing that is possible to change your life by right action and acting on belief, read and learn for yourself, use other peoples interpretations to help develop your own beliefs. Try reading other spiritual texts such Buddhist or Hindu, learn native spirituality or any of the other hundreds that have been prevalent in history, they all have their place.

    These have all been my readings and interpretations and by no means are meant to say this is what you have to believe or that what I say is the way it is. A whole book could be written on subjects revolving around this. I don’t want to get into arguments with anyone or be told how wrong I am, because its all personal and I will respect your beliefs, so respect mine. Hope I could help you,
    Mike

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by Mike.
    #84747
    Mike
    Participant

    It took me two days to write that so once posted i read the other responses. I love how the members of this site seem to always have so many different views and all of them are enriching. I must say I have been diagnosed with major depression, and have had bouts of mania, not sure if it is full blown bipolar, but I am medicated and that helps somewhat alleviate that emptiness and aloneness in the universe. Religion seems to be a coping mechanism for coming to terms with that it will all end at some point. Through meditation I have learned to be okay with the fact that I will someday end. It might be painful, I hope it isn’t, but hopefully someday I learn the meditation techniques to even be okay with pain. And in death that pain will end and so will everything, and that is a good reason to live life when you have the health to do it instead of getting bogged down with all of the other stuff.

    #84759
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear Mike: very impressive intellectual going on activity in your capable brain! I would like to read from you here, if you will, in summary, perhaps, what is causing you that great depression you experience, the core of it???

    anita

    #84762
    Lori
    Participant

    Mike,

    What an fantastic post. Thank you. Wow, you describe so many of my sentiments. Each of us needs to do the research and decide for ourself what makes the most sense. I was raised Catholic and it wasn’t until I went off to college that I had a chance to really think things through on my own. The camel/eye of a needle analogy, I have thought through that one many times over the years and I came to the same conclusion you did. And what you said about heaven being in us all, and what may have actually happened during the resurrection, yes, yes. Of course we can’t know for sure, but it’s how I’m personally able to process these teachings. For me, this makes the most sense.

    I look forward to reading some of the books you mentioned. Are there any more you would recommend?

    Lori

    #84790
    jock
    Participant

    I find the responsibility of the spiritual journey/search onerous. And sometimes confusing. I just wish I could stick to one truth, one way of looking at things. the Dalai Lama said “it’s better to stick to what you know, what you were raised on.” So he was not trying to recruit more Buddhists.
    My parents were catholics all their lives and stayed true to the church. it made sense for them to do that in their generation. Our generations have a much tougher assignment with so much on the menu, its hard to choose.

    #84796
    anita
    Participant

    Dear People:

    It is not necessary nor is it possible for me to connect the dots and form a picture of life after death and resolve injustice with a picture of how everything makes sense at the end, after death of course. I am all for seeing what is there in front of me, the dots, that is, for what they are, without the efforts to connect. The Dalai Llama, with all due respect, is a nice man and a politician. He has a message of peace and non violence and he will try to access Christians and people of any religion with his (wonderful) message. He will try to access ALL by … somehow validating their beliefs so that ALL will be open to his message.

    anita

    #84807
    Mermaid
    Participant

    I appreciate everyone’s posts, but With all due respect, my post wasn’t to invite religious debate, I’ve experienced enough of that in my life.
    Anita, your words were most helpful to me, reminding myself to be kind to myself as I transition through this massive change, which makes me feel like I’m going mad.

    #84809
    jock
    Participant

    With all due respect, …..sorry I forgot what I was going to say….

    #84813
    Mike
    Participant

    Sorry Mermaid I didn’t mean to come off as debateful I was simply trying to convey the personalness of spiritual journey. Either way something is happening within your psyche. Call it the spirit, God, or the subconscious something is probably trying to tell you something. Religion becomes a part of identity, so you may be in the midst of an identity crisis. A lot of times people turn to religion out of guilt and they may be unaware of this fact. It is possible to have buried something deep into our psyche, yet that still affects us and we use something such as religion to keep us unconscious to it. My advice is to start listen to your subconscious, it is hard because the ego is so loud and if as you said you are experiencing ego death then it becomes even louder. Not to mention the ego becomes attached to religion, otherwise religious people wouldn’t fight so hard against perceived harmless attacks. Sometimes therapy helps resolve these issues for people. I have found that if you go to bed with question or idea in your head, such as “Why do I feel this way?” you may be given answers by your subconscious. That is because during sleep is the only time when your subconscious can fully speak to us, albeit in dreams it is usually symbols. Sometimes though in the middle of the night people wake up to what they thought was a voice and they have the answer to their problem, usually not though. When you wake up after sleeping write down your dreams and meditate on them, maybe there is an underlying theme that keeps recurring. These are personal to you, no dream interpreter can tell you what they mean. Sometimes the dreams are nothing, but sometimes you will see something and after thinking about it it will be an ah ha moment. For me I often have dreams where I am guilty of something, but I swear up and down that I didn’t do it, such as stealing something and then later on in the dream low and behold I had the stolen item the whole time and I Didn’t even know it. Or I am found to be guilty and the punishment far outweighs the crime. Also for some reason people think that their religion makes them who they are, or they let them become who they are. Unfortunately that is because organized religion is a mind control device, you must believe what everyone else believes to fit in with the congregation. So if you stop following a specific religion then all of a sudden you don’t know who you are. So try meditating on “Who am I?” ask yourself “Who am I?” as well as “Why do I feel this?” or “What is bothering ME?” Sometimes you need an epiphany and you’ll realize that through religion you were compensating for a perceived guilt and now that you are aware of that you can begin to heal. Hope this answers your questions better and I didn’t get off track as I did before.

    As to Anita’s question,
    My depression stems from feeling guilty for who I truly am. Of living a lie and my dishonesty to myself and others. My guilt turned from perceived guilt of being wrong, learning from religion and society to real guilt for hurting others and the chain reactions that my struggles caused and remain in effect. This is why I changed by my beliefs, I believe in God but not one that hates me for who I am and maybe the God is really just the inner force that guides me and I have ignored for so long. I also developed bad anxiety fearing that others will find out who I am, or I will slip up and make it obvious.

    To Lori,
    Thank you really I think what books you figure to read is part of your personal journey. Sometimes books click sometimes they don’t. Here are some books as well as authors I have either read or listened to that have impacted me Napolean Hill In His Own Words, Ram Dass “Love Service and Devotion” (on audio), Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodren, Ajahn Brahm “Opening the Door of Your Heart” the Bhagavad Gita, Dr. Wayne Dyer, “Character and Neurosis” by Claudio Naranjo (psychological book on the enneagram), “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer “A guide to the Good Life” by William B Irvine. I have almost 100 audio books and over 100 books both physically and on kindle. I usually go through the various recommended books on my kindle and audible accounts and read the summaries and review to see what seems to trigger my curiosity. Also you can find a lot of those authors on Youtube. Hope this helps in personal journey towards the attainment of knowledge.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by Mike.
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