Survive or Thrive? Now is the time for Nondual Healing #nonduality


We live in a confusion of time, in which ‘reality’ increasingly makes nonsense of the rational mind. According to the American Psychological Association, stress levels are rising dramatically with each generation. On a scale of 1-10, the generation born at the turn of the millennium are reporting an average of 6 in the levels of stress experienced daily. More than ever, relaxation into the space inside and around ourselves has become a prerogative of survival. As the spiritual teacher, Russel Williams said with exquisite clarity: “If you’re getting tense, relax. The whole world is full of tension. That’s why it’s in trouble.”

In the breakage of spiritual emergency – nervous breakdown, burn-out, PTSD, depression, existential angst – cracks can be perceived in the consensual shield of reality. The light of pure existence shines through, from the inside-out and the outside-in. Often an alienation will be felt from the body, the name, the family and the whole network of identity where the psyche has been caught. This can be fearful – to be nobody, nowhere, doing nothing.

Worse, when the experience is described by a person in crisis, the survival of the personality is often seen by surrounding professionals as paramount, which reinforces the field of fear around the one that has ‘broken down’. In today’s climate, the realization that this ‘person’ is not absolute and not separate from the whole universe is likely to be labelled as a disorder. Tragically, medication can be employed to help pacify the senses and slow down the processing, aiming to restore the personality into (any) kind of identifiable form.

Yet such emergencies in our lives are at core, deep healing opportunities. They can be understood as invitations into greater freedom and relaxation in the space beyond the individual ‘me’ that strives to survive. A deepening of professional training in spiritual emergency could open the possibility from today’s conceptual lock-down in labels such as ‘depersonalization disorder’.

While it could be a short-term mercy, psychiatric medication tends to board up windows that need to burst open. Rather than giving more space for the wind to pass through freely, it ultimately creates more pressure and leads to more separation between the individual and the whole. It can take away the opportunity to release the trauma-formed beliefs that are no longer relevant. It can bar the sensitivity to the contraction of feelings and emotions in which the life-force of the personality is trapped. Beyond this, medication sometimes creates more problems than the historic one it purposes to solve, with a devastating lack of information on withdrawal, cessation and therapeutic alternatives.

When we believe in the monsters outside of ourselves, blinding the eyes and numbing the senses doesn’t take the monsters away. The deadening of perception of what is real and/or not real can cement the belief in external danger. It can make the sense of threat greater, while immobilizing the body from fight or flight.

Clear as day, as a backdrop to all confusion, the perennial presence of our own true nature remains, unchallenged and unchanging. When we first get a glimpse that we exist as ourselves, beyond ourselves, the nervous system can explode with energy. This is partly because the sudden freedom of perception can release a voltage that has been blocked for generations. Add to this that the breakage of personality that led to the experience of greater existence is often a traumatic one, in traumatic conditions, then it becomes clear that the need for a nondual therapeutic escort to prevent the psychosis is fundamental.

In the adrenaline rush of the awakened nervous system, untrained and unsupported, there is a possibility that the background pain of the conflict that broke the personality will still compel a new identification with wider, perhaps more unreal structures. Mental hospitals are full of messiahs. When my brother was sectioned during a spiritual emergency, he met at least three. Yet when a therapist is consolidated in nondual wisdom, this can help minimalize this risk of grasping towards structures of form from outside the innate personality.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.”

Maya Angelou