Thursday, June 5, 2008

Misty perception (Question)

I haven't been drunk before. So I wouldn't know the feeling first hand. However, it is said that when one is drunk, one's perception is hazy. The person can't even keep his balance. This person who asked the question below is experiencing this dizziness: (unedited)

I've been studying the philosophy of Advaita, Buddhism and Taoism as well as trying to find a cognitive shift in my perception so that I can experience the world as non-dual. One night I read something regarding the question of truth. What is true and what isn't? Should we proceed from the standpoint of everything being false? An illusion? Something clicked in my mind and the next day I was experiencing extreme panic attacks and have been ever since (that was a week ago).
Now when I look at my fiancee I doubt her existence and feel a flooding of panic that is overwhelming. I also feel this with everyone else as well as objects, time and existence itself. I know that this is an odd question, however, I was wondering if you have any insight into how I should proceed. Thank you for your time and expertise. ]
You like to think about it? See you to-morrow with my comment.


Tim said...

From here, this is a normal thing to happen when one is taking oneself to be transient, unreal, born to die and the world as real, permanent, and external.

What I'd say to do now is to realize that your Being is what's real, and the world exists only due to your presence in it. Now that you've "unrealized" the world, "Real-ize" yourself. Note that you are always 'here', no matter where you go, that it's always 'now' no matter what the clock says. You are timeless and spaceless awareness, the Foundation of all that is. I'm telling you a truth from my own experience - don't be afraid of the world going away. It is *you*, your own presence, and that's what you cannot lose. Good luck...

J said...

Cease trying to find a cognitive shift in perception so that you may experience the world as non-dual.

Instead, just experience the world with awareness. Right now. In this moment. Oh, and in this moment, and in this moment.....



...and THIS moment is truth.

Alfredo said...

If he/she is able just to witness the panic attack is great, at the end is just an experience that pop-up in the awareness and this can be use to confirm that he/she is just the witness of this and not the ideas that he/she has.
Point that during the panic attack there is a part of her/him that he/she is sure about the panic attack and not under panic so free from it.
But if instead if he/she is not able to sustain this and swept away by the panic attack just stop reading, find a quite place in the nature , lovely friends around and enjoy what it seems real but is not.
Then I suggest reading also some book about Perennial Philosophy or some Ken Wilber books ( i,e Integral Psychology)
With the reading that she/he is doing you can be exposed to the presentation or idea of higher state of awareness, towards Soul and Spirit, but you can also activate lower problem in the Mind, some people look for the Void because they have already some “hole” in their psyche
Note : all of this are relative terms and not absolute by ” I “strongly believe in an “false” hierarchy of awareness and understanding need to climb the ladder before jump into the Void or the Suchness.
If there is problem in the mind :as example part of the Ego (voice) that is afraid to “die” or never been able to be exposed and now has been activated and taking control producing this e behaviour, I suggest a meeting a transpersonal analyst for a good check up.
Meanwhile Since you are Buddhist try to see if you can have access to Big Mind /Big Heart DVD of Genpo Roshi and do the exercise with her/him, this could help clarify some hints about “hidden” voice and help her/him to be be more aware about what is inside .
Last things go to a doctor and ask for general check up to verify that the body/brain is not out of some balance.
Hope that help
Last but not least give a big human hug to her/him.


Anonymous said...

Of course you are in a state of panic. Temporary that is. You have just peeked at the true nature of reality and it is very different from the ego-illusion sleepwalk you have been walking around in all these years. The ego will not go without a fight,however, even if it means causing the body/brain extreme discomfort in its struggle to maintain control. Trust me, you will emerge from this temporary period of struggle refreshed and if not fully enlightened, then at least with a perspective much closer to your true nature than you were before this experience.

GreenSkink said...

It looks from here like experience already *is* non-dual. There's never stuff "out there" without awareness "in here", and there's never awareness "in here" without stuff "out there". Have you noticed? It's like two ends of a stick -- I can't pick up one without also getting the other. I can divide the stick into two ends conceptually, but not in reality. If I try, by breaking the stick in two, I just get two sticks, each with two ends. :)

However much you doubt the existence of your fiancee, or objects, or time, or existence itself, do they disappear? The experience here is that reality is stable. For the most part, it continues doing what I have come to expect of it. Apparent people continue responding in the ways they always have. Apparent objects continue behaving according to the "laws" of physics. Life goes on. Whether I doubt or believe, the show continues.

Sometimes panic arises in awareness, sometimes it doesn't. Whatever happens, awareness is there watching. One way of looking at it is that "You" and "I" are just more thoughts appearing in awareness. Another way of looking at it is that you and I are the awareness itself in which the thoughts, the objects, the ideas of time and existence all appear.

Which is more comfortable? Which makes more sense? In the final analysis, what else is there except to find the point of view (the story) that helps you survive, and find a little comfort and pleasure along the way?

Christine said...

Don't know if what I have to offer will help at all, but I have experienced the same thing. With each new awareness/opening of the Real "i" would experience intense anxiety and panic attacks. Try to learn to embrace what you feel, sit with it, observe it and don't cause yourself more suffering by trying to figure it out in your mind, or panicking over your panic. It is only your conditioned thoughts that are reacting to your experience - ie: it is not the experience itself that is causing you this emotional pain, but what you are *thinking* about what you are experiencing.

What I also found extremely helpful was a book called The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness, by Richard Moss ( It was only after I started reading his book that my intense experience of anxiety (which I have experienced for nearly 6 years by the way) subsided. Richard's book is about being in the NOW (the present moment) with *everything*. At times when we fall back into egoic consciousness with fear and panic I discovered that it is helpful to have some practical ways of dealing with it - while you are attempting to embrace it. Richard's book offers those practical ways. Check it out, it just might be what you need at this moment.

Also, you might want to check out a guy by the name of Leo Hartong. He also takes questions through his website and his answers have been quite enlightening through his newsletters. His web address is:

One other comment :) It is easy to get entangled in the esoteric as well. Don't try to "force" anything. Let it all unfold naturally. And don't focus your attention so much on what is illusion and what isn't, what's real and what isn't. Don't make those distinctions, because then you get caught in the duality again and just keep running in circles like a hamster on a wheel.

Hang in there! :)

Anonymous said...

I would recommend you to read some of Jed McKennas books. He talks honestly about this difficult part of the journey especially in his second book "Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment".
Other than that I would say that the scary part is where you take you own ego to be real but think of everything else as illusory. Seeing through the illusions is not a pleasant experience for the ego, but it is liberating for You.

tomale said...

Your case reminds me of what happened to Hume the philosopher when he realized--or at least thought he had--that everything is unreal. He got scared too.So he got the hell out of his study and went down to the billiard room and started shooting some balls.This calmed him down considerably.
Also--don't take yourself so seriously.People get on this path, have a little insight and right away start in with the painic attacks--it reminds me of the phenomenon of hysterical pregnancy.Calm down boy, you got a ways to go yet before you have to get shook up about losing anything.

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