By George A. Boyd ©2022
Q: My spiritual practices have gotten me into a state where it seems my life is a dream, and I’ve lost desire for what I formerly wanted. I don’t like this zombie-like state. Can my personal functioning be restored?
A: When the spiritual practices you do ask you to (a) remain in an altered state of awareness continually and/or (b) moving an aspect of consciousness—vehicular seed atom, nucleus of identity, or an ensouling entity—out of alignment with the axis of being, people can experience one or more of the seven “Ds:”
- Deadening or numbing of emotions
- Death of the Ego
How do you deal with these consequences of inappropriate meditation?
Re-association rectifies dissociation: when you bring your attention back to the fully grounded state in the waking state of consciousness, you re-establish your normal state of functioning.
Re-identification resolves disidentification: you stop creating a gap between parts of your nature.
Recognizing the reality of the physical world corrects derealization: you no longer experience the world as unreal or a dream.
Re-owning your identification with your Self (personality) and ego (life) overcomes depersonalization: you no longer feel you are separate from your life experience.
Re-discovering your authentic desires and values repairs de-motivation: you uncover what makes your life meaningful and worthwhile again.
Through re-awakening your native feelings, you transform deadening or numbing of emotions: you begin to feel again.
Reintegration with your authentic life—and rebalancing of aspects of consciousness that have migrated off the axis of being, when this has occurred—counteracts death of the ego: you reanimate your ability to function at the level of your ego and your ability to perform behavior that enacts your goals.
Psychotherapy, hypnosis, and meditation have specific techniques that refocus attention in the Conscious mind, where you can experience the ego; and in the Metaconscious mind, where you can reactivate the functioning of your Self. In contrast, when you keep your attention focused on an essence in the Superconscious mind on a sustained basis, you can trigger one or more of the seven “Ds.”
The first thing you must do to counter the negative consequences of inappropriate meditation practices is to bring your attention and awareness back to the ground state—the waking state of consciousness. This begins to break the trance-like state of identification with a spiritual essence, from which you perceive you are separate from your personality and life.
Many meditators have been given suggestions that make them not want to return to their personality and life. This keeps them locked in an altered state of awareness. These are suggestions like:
- “The ego is sinful or evil.”
- “The world that the senses reveal is illusion.”
- “The personality is a trap that the devil designed to keep you from realizing God.”
To get back to ground, you have to reject these dissociation-producing suggestions. You can counter them with affirmations. To deal with these hypnotic commands, you might use:
- “My ego is the part of my life that enables me to function in the physical world. It is good. It is supposed to be here.”
- “Both the physical world and spiritual worlds are real.”
- “My personality exists so I can share my Soul’s knowledge, wisdom, love, and gifts with others, and participate fully in the interpersonal world of work, family life, friendship, and civic engagement. It is OK to be a human being.”
When awareness returns from its heightened state to the ground state of awareness, many meditators report a lessening of dissociation, derealization, and depersonalization. When they come back to ground, they return to reality.
However, some meditators feel a pressure to return to heightened states of awareness where there is bliss, peace, and no troubles—unlike the world of the ego, where there is stress, difficulties, and struggles. Their challenge is to feel safe again in their life and respond to the issues of their situation without feeling they have to escape.
It helps if meditators can recognize that they need to work at both levels: to cope with the challenges of human life and to develop their spiritual potentials. They start to realize: they don’t have to run away from their life; they can embrace it.
This is analogous to when you go away to the office to work, and then you come home and do chores. You perform work in both locations.
In the same way, you can learn to function effectively in your personal life, while you cultivate your spiritual life. They are not mutually exclusive: you can learn to operate in both areas of your experience.
Negation statements characterize disidentification. Examples of these types of statements are:
- “I am not my body; I am the Atman (Supreme Consciousness).”
- “I am not my ego; I am my spiritual heart.”
- “I am not my human Self; I am God.” [Referring to the God Immanent or Divine Spark that dwells at the core of the Soul.]
To come back from the withdrawal from the personal identification centers that these negation statements produce; you can use what we call re-identification statements. To address the above negation statements, you might use:
- “I am Atman, but I also am my body.”
- “I am my spirit, but I also am my ego.”
- “I am inwardly Divine, but I also am fully human.”
We have said that bringing your attention back to its ground state in the waking state of awareness can help ameliorate dissociation, depersonalization, and derealization. Unfortunately, the deeper layers of de-motivation, emotional deadness, and ego death are not so easily resolved. Sometimes, long-term psychotherapy is required to rehabilitate the sense of normalized identity and function: self-help measures may not be sufficient to return to the state prior to the split between personal and spiritual life that the inappropriate spiritual practices generated.
You can address de-motivation through questions like:
- “What do you want in your life?” [In my book, The Practical Applications of Meditation in Daily Life and Education, I discuss twelve areas where you can identify what you want.]
- “To what are you willing to make a commitment in your personal life?”
- “What do you want your life to be about?”
- “If you were looking back upon your life from your deathbed, what would you want to have accomplished?”
- “In what ways could you make a difference with your unique human life?”
Emotional deadness and numbness may be one of the most tenacious outcomes of this unintended spiritual deconstruction of the personality. This may take some time to resolve. Among the strategies that might be employed include:
- Remember feelings that occurred before the personal/spiritual split occurred.
- Notice your reactions to beautiful art, uplifting music, animals, flowers and trees, and other scenes of Nature.
- Get into touch with the feeling of love and connectedness with other people.
- Feel love and compassion for your broken and wounded parts.
- Kindle emotional reactions through challenge statements that evoke defensive or protective layers of the mind that overlay core emotional wounds—this can trigger breaking of the dam of repression and allow catharsis of the underlying emotions.
- Let someone express unconditional love for you and take it in—don’t reject it or feel unworthy of it, just experience it.
- Have willingness to be reborn and healed emotionally: invite in the Divine Grace and Love to ignite your ability to feel and love again.
Ego death is the most profound state of movement way from your personality and your life. It is commonly results from translocation of one aspect of consciousness—a vehicular seed atom, nucleus of identity, or an ensouling entity—far out of alignment with the axis of bring, which produces a marked split between personal and spiritual identity.
When this split is not too severe, a re-integration modality like dynamic rebalancing can help realign the wayward aspect of consciousness. In this method, the misaligned aspect of consciousness is realigned with the axis of being through the infilling of karmic matter behind the center or centers that have been repositioned to hold it in place.
Those that ingest a powerful dose of a psychedelic drug often a temporary ego death and mystical union with a spiritual essence within them, but when the drug wears off, they return to their ego again. The challenge for those confronting ego death in themselves or in others—for example, if you were a therapist treating someone with this condition—is to catalyze this reassembly of the Self (personality) and the ego (life).
For some people, simply returning to the grounded state of awareness from a protracted altered state of awareness will generate the re-emergence of the functioning of the Self and the ego; in other cases, there is a slow and gradual recovery before the normalized operation of these two personal integration centers is restored.
Some people who are experiencing the unwanted consequences of involvement with a religious cult that has produced one or more of the seven “Ds” in them may find that walking through the steps of our Cult Recovery Coaching Program can help facilitate their personal integration. We recognize that for some of you, overcoming one or more of these negative consequences of inappropriate meditation may be a long process.
Indeed, in my own life, it took me nearly five years—see the article, “My Spiritual Journey” on our website—to return to relatively normal personality functioning again after creating an immense split between my personal and spiritual experience. But having gone through this experience, it gives me hope: if I can recover from this profound imbalance, so can you. This may not happen instantly, but with time, you can also come back.