Meditation as a cure for mental illness

In 1989, when I went inpatient for the first time, I thought there was going to be a line-up of hippy psychologists with beards and geeky glasses and long hair who talked about Jung as easily as Freud. I imagined I would spend hours in therapy with my favorite counselors when I was good and ready to talk. I thought I would get to pick the shrinks that I got good vibes from and that I would basically get a no pressure, stress-free time to decompress from my inner pain. Be left alone.

I soon discovered that being inpatient and receiving psychiatric treatment wasn’t anything like I had fantasized. I hardly ever saw a therapist. It was just being force-marched from one group activity to another, always being made to do what they told me to do under threat of the Quiet Room for acting out or resisting or complaining or questioning why —I— had to go to groups that I wanted no part of.

Eventually, I was forced to take a debilitating overdose of drugs that I never desired or asked for. Drugs that seriously screwed me up and made living with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and my life in general as a teen far, far worse. All the psych nurses told me was, “You are bipolar, these are the drugs that bipolars have to take. Swallow them now, or we’ll pin you to the floor and make you.” No choice at all.

As for my bipolar ‘cred’, I was born to an artist and musician mother who was an abuser and who suffered from suicidal depression and manic episodes all while we were growing up. My own depression started at age six, drawing images of my own death with Crayola crayons.

Like my mother I am naturally something of an artist and musician. The creativity and interest and ability comes spontaneously from within. I am sure you can imagine the results of a mania-fueled inspiration spree where you simply must finish a drawing or sketch that is fixated in your mind.

You tune out everything, forgetting to eat and not needing to sleep, insanely pissed off at anyone who dares to interrupt your muse or distract you, for as long as that image or song in your mind demands that it be realized by your own hands. Only when it is finally the way you want it, does the pressure in your head leave off and you can deal with people and responsibilities again.

Basically, according to manic depressive expert Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, I had the classic ‘artistic temperament’ inherited matrilineally. And the standard treatment for the depression and the recurring manic and psychotic features of that genetic package is: a lifetime sentence to being on lithium and neuroleptics. But I never could accept that I was defective simply by birthright or that creative mania didn’t have its uses. Nor did I believe that I would be doomed forever to uncontrollable manic episodes or depression.

So, I used my constitutional right to refuse medical treatment (psych drugs) for my mental illnesses and decided to see if I could do better than the psychiatrist who had Dxd me bipolar-for-life. In the midst of what could only be called a spiritual emergency, after my last overdose and resulting near death experience, I put the brakes on my life. I stopped trying to slot into the rat race, keep up with the Joneses or cut myself a slice of the American pie.

I had been diagnosed as a child basically, a young teenager, with a lifetime disability. I could have gone on permanent government disability benefits as soon as I turned eighteen and no one would have blamed me. I experienced a lot of, what they call in Buddhism, ‘suffering’.

I had a difficult time coming up with reasons why I should continue to remain, and suffer, on this mortal coil for another day. I used to think long and hard about it all the time. I simply refused to accept that I was doomed from birth to a life of mental illness. Which led me to studying meditation with a couple different people.

I decided that my next big ‘grandiose’ plan would be to see if I could put some of the techniques I learned from them into play. And see if I couldn’t somehow find the DOS window, the access port to my own inner matrix. Really apprehend the code in my being that programmed me with recurring mania and depression cycles—and play with it. See if I couldn’t edit that code just a little and get a noticeable result.

What happened is that, slowly, week by week, month by month, year by year, all the intense, uncontrollable-seeming symptoms just slowly started to go away. As if my mental illness volume had started at zero, become about a level six or a seven as a child and evolved all the way to level eleven as a young adult. Then, as I started meditation, my mental illness seemed to begin to fade to ten, then nine, then eight. The better I got at programming my mental Disk Operating System, the closer I got to my madness.

For awhile, I even went backward. I had some moments when meditating, that the volume of my mental illness suddenly went from an eight, to a twenty-five. That was pretty rough. But I stuck with it and did not give up and the volume went back down again. Eventually, it rarely got higher than a four or five. Then it became a level one or two illness for awhile, barely there. Not really bothering me much. Then the volume simply stopped coming at all.

I have often wondered, how that could be? How did I get a cure, when my mother and sister and others do not? What did I do, that my sister and mother, didn’t do? Well, Ma went with the, “There is nothing wrong with me,” philosophy and so, never got better. My sister went with the, ‘It’s a chemical imbalance,’ idea, took all the right drugs, lithium included, and is, well, mostly disabled and not what anyone would call a happy or motivated person.

A lot of people seem to either, deny they have mental illness and therefore don’t acknowledge its existence and keep suffering. Or they get on the standard treatments they are told to take for life and get hung up on polypharmacy roulette and all the side effects that come with it.

Even those ‘proper treatments’ don’t work one hundred percent. For example, Dr. Kay Jamison says in her own memoir: ‘Unquiet Mind’, that despite being on lithium, she still has bad times and that it mostly stabilizes her, most of the time. I didn’t think that the side effects of this ‘mostly’ effective treatment which can leave you on the waiting list for kidney replacement surgery and dialysis, are worth it. That’s just me. I didn’t like the emotional blunting of lithium or how it screwed with my intense feelings. The risk-reward trade-off was not worth it in my book.

Thus, I was basically doomed to either self-medicate the worst of the depression and manic symptoms forever, or find another path. Unfortunately, psychologists and psychiatrists don’t know about other paths, generally speaking, and so can’t tell you about them or their effectiveness. So began a quest to learn how to self-heal—which led to meditation.

Meditation, it has been discovered, promotesneuroplasticity in the brain. And it does it, in the very area of the brain that has been fingered by some neuroscientists as being defective or underdeveloped in people with manic depression and schizophrenia. That is, meditation causes intricate connections to grow between your prefrontal cortex, your frontal lobe, amygdala and other basal brain structures, like a spider web that keeps getting denser and denser and more complex the longer you weave it. This has the net effect of growing a circuit in your brain that slowly reduces the wildness and intensity and unpredictability of mood swings, severe cycling, triggers, inner voices, psychosis, rages and all that stuff.

This makes total sense to me because, I did not get a magical cure. I didn’t wish upon a star and it was so a few days or even weeks later. My recovery was very subtle and slow and I didn’t even notice I was getting better until I realized one day like, “Hey, when the heck was the last time I was depressed or manic or assailed by loud internal voices?” And the answer was, “Hmm, let me think about that….wow…awhile. At least a year or two.”

Those two years became four, then six, then ten then fifteen. I am just as much a passionate person, an artist, with my full creativity intact as I ever was. I just don’t get the extremes anymore. It’s like I outgrew it. And the PET and MRI scans of brains of meditators show that, well, you do grow something. Greater connections from your frontal lobes to all your mood associated brain structures.

It takes years to cultivate this neuronal growth and complexity which essentially is like a self-policing DOS program, a defragmentation subroutine. A debugging utility that looms over all incoming and outgoing thought and emotion traffic like a firewall, opening and closing ports and granting or denying access. That Overwatch program is real neuronal hardware, grown in my head. It’s complex and intricate firing would be visible in a PET scan if I had one done. It reliably prevents me from going from one extreme pole to another. No more incredible destabilizing mental and physical energy shifts that used to take over my whole life and leave me exhausted, burned-out, restless and ill-at-ease.

So what did I do that my depressed mother, bipolar sister, and most other people with mental illness, don’t do? I ground my life to a screeching halt, and devoted myself to becoming a full-time, dedicated mental-matrix programmer. And I led a very boring, solitary, quiet life for many years while I did a whole lot of nothing. That is, I did a lot of sitting by the river or on my bed or in a chair, simply scanning and editing my inner software, finding the trojans and logic bombs, disarming them and moving on.

Did I discover a cure for manic depression and schizophrenia? Well, not a genetic or chemical one. What I did was, cure my mental and emotional malfunctions with an ontological device: meditation, which allowed me to directly access my mental and emotional states first-hand in a more intimate and confrontational and intense way than most any therapy that currently exists right now. Nothing counselors can do for you or teach you (that I know of) is as, well, frankly, awesome, as this very ancient method of getting your head and heart under control. CBT and DBT are fairly pedestrian compared to this kind of deep internal diagnostic and editing software.

What I mean is, if you are waiting for once or twice a month CBT sessions with a facilitator, you are missing out on a potentially much, much faster, but also, much riskier and more painful form of self-therapy which can, to be honest, seriously unhinge you in a hurry. Even if you do know what you are doing. However, if you can find inner relentlessness to get through those dark nights of the soul, you come out on the other side—changed. Stronger. Happier. More at peace. Free of your earlier conflicts and pain.

Only you can know if you can arrange your life to make that kind of training an obsession. And only you can find out if you have what it takes to work through the quintessence of madness and lunacy as you get closer and closer to your real mind. This is no joke. You can find yourself in dark water quite quickly, lost in your mental illusions, voices, self-doubts and uncontrollable imagery, even derealization or depersonalization, the deeper into the mind that you go.

A lot of people seem to endure an alarming array of awful physical and mental dysfunction on psychiatric medications in the hopes that the drugs will help. Meditation has its own dues to pay and unlike meds, there is no predicting: “Yeah, just tough it out for a few weeks, you’ll get better.”

You may come face to face with hell as you realize that you do not need to die to go there. That life itself—is hell. And meditation can potentially open the doors to that hell by sensitizing you to your own demons and head games and making them seem suddenly much louder, much more real and overpowering.

But it’s just your mind getting closer and closer to, and sensing more accurately, the noise that is going on inside you all the time. If you do persist, you can clear a portion of your inner sky. When you do that you achieve the eye of the storm inside your mind, you gain a little of what is called simply, stillness. You can rest and regroup there and recover. You will see that suffering is something your own mind manufactures for you, usually without your conscious awareness of it. When you do realize that, you can achieve a measure of control over it.

If you can somehow arrange your life so that you have no obligations, no responsibilities, no worries, and you can create a safe environment where you can be psychotic and ride it out without having a live-in relative instantly call 911 and get you picked up by the men in white coats and delivered with haste to the ‘proper’ experts on the mind. If you can arrange that kind of self safety-net and can overcome fear of actually being (even more) insane, then you may just have what it takes to face the whirlwind and come out on the other side using meditation.

Your chances of succeeding are higher if you are armed with the technical know-how and experiences that you can learn from different meditation instructors. In essence, you get the training and become your own guru, therapist and support group and you fix yourself by riding the lightning deliberately, so you can get the access codes that control the lightning.

The thing is this: People these days, unless they work out of a home office or operate a family vineyard or have some kind of slow-paced down-to-earth job, move so fast now, that they never witness changes to their own mindscape. Mood swings, erratic energy shifts and racing thoughts or suicidal ideas come out of nowhere, somewhere between attending a board meeting and picking up the kids from the soccer game. But if you spend hours and I mean hours, of your life in meditation, you can see these mood shifts coming like a cloud on the horizon.

You can determine for yourself how your own reactions to stress and triggers bring that cloud bearing down on you. Then you have a chance to reverse the mental and emotional firing, the stress hormones, the high speed chaos and inner turmoil and quite literally, reverse a manic or depressive episode before it even happens. But to gain that ability, to become Network Admin and Head Coder in your mental IT department you may have to radically change your life in ways most people would find unthinkable.

I can not guarantee that you would automatically get the same results from my practice as I did, anymore than a doctor can guarantee which drug side effects you will or will not come down with. What I can say with some degree of certainty, is that you have nothing to lose by trying. Even if you can’t do or don’t want to do what I did, which was, essentially give up on a career, a family, school, romance and dating, in order to devote every fiber of my being to understanding myself (not even knowing if it could work or how many years it would take before it did), you can start the process and give it a shot.

What do you have to lose except more years of life enslaved to your own suffering? Maybe you have a lot to lose Maybe you have a corporate job and three kids, two dogs, live-in in laws, sick, dependent or dying family members, a disabled spouse. If you have those kinds of commitments than curing yourself like I did, using that kind of lifestyle is for all intents and purposes, impossible. For you. For the time being at least.

Why this lifestyle worked so well for me, was that I didn’t have any of those things as a young adult. I didn’t have parents calling me to wish me luck on my finals for my grad school classes, pushing me to get into the rat race asap with a shiny new degree and then start making babies so my parents would shut up about wanting to be grandparents.

I had none of those pressures. I had a unique situation where I had no life. Nothing worth doing. It was either, kill myself just to stop the pointless suffering of my existence, or evolve into someone and something stronger and better using the only resource and interest that I had, which was spirituality and occult training.

Either way, I decided long ago that A: meds were a poisonous and dead end. And B: no one could help me, or hold me or walk with me through this process of self-healing. I had to accept it and know and understand, that I was responsible for everything inside my inner world. Every thought and feeling was mine and I owned them.

Not, well my MBTI score says I’m such and such a person and that’s that. Not, my planets and stars were aligned at birth in such a way as to be screwed from this life to the next. Not, it’s my genes’ fault, they made the chemical imbalances which made me be manic. Once I was able to own my suffering and everything inside me and call it me and not ‘bipolarity,’ I was able to start actually taking control over my supposedly uncontrollable thoughts and moods.

You don’t have to take that lifestyle to the extreme pole like I did. If you do something even slightly similar, eg, make more you-time, where you turn off the cell phone and log out of your instant-messenger and stop tweeting and blackberrying in order to try a little relaxation breathing, some mindfulness or something similar, your mind will become stronger and more capable of perceiving its own malfunctions and exerting will over them.

It’s not like the idea of being cured of mental illness was all that out-of-this-world once upon a time. In fact, if you read the book ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’ by award-winning medical journalist Robert Whitaker, what you will find is that, long before New Era biological psychiatrists armed with anti-this and anti-that meds showed up and told us these conditions were incurable diseases, people did recover. They really got cured or went into remission for long periods, while some outright seem to outgrow the disorder. Almost as if their prefrontal cortex had finally fully matured and starteddoing its job.

There is much at stake in the race to win the info war on what people do or don’t believe about their own mental illnesses.  Some people will come out and say, “Recovered, not cured,” to draw attention to the fact they’re getting by, but they are still bipolar no matter what.

In my case, I get to have all the the culturally stereotyped, cool ‘bipolarity’ traits. Like being an artist, being inspired and having creative phases. But I don’t write emo poetry about my awful moods and my gloomy, passionate, but doomed life. I don’t draw pictures anymore that use up all my black paint. I don’t self-medicate with everything in sight to turn off the voices. I don’t talk about ‘being bipolar’ because I am not. Even though some of my other family members still ‘are’ by stress or temperament or diagnosis.

To be clear, I have not discovered a magic bullet, an easy short cut, a quick fix or a take-it-and-forget-it herbal or vitamin supplement that can clear you up in six weeks. What I discovered was that I was able to cure myself by pursuing a mind-body discipline which works directly with your thoughts and feelings in a profound and transformational way.

Years went by before I was cured. It was slow, gradual but also, inexorable cure, as I stuck with my crazy-sounding life of solitude–without a care in the world or a diaper to change or a mouth to feed other than my own. It was not an ‘easy’ cure. You can’t give this cure to someone. You have to teach it to them, then they have to make it happen and start changing their own brain. They may not succeed.

So, no miracle cure or alternative supplement. Not like some of the other theories and modalities you hear about to cure mental and physical illnesses. No detoxing and chelating or colonics or gluten free diets. No vitamin overdosing and omega three fatty acids. No distance healing or eating unprocessed honey. But I did try some of those things.

For example, I did the raw food diet, crystal healing and somatic therapies because I had little to lose at that point in my life. But most of those treatments really didn’t do a damn thing for me. Or, if I felt different initially, it was because I really believed that it would help, or the person that sold it to me had faith in it and pitched it to me very enthusiastically. In short, the placebo effect–which never lasted long before I was symptomatic again.

My cure was a lot of often painfully boring, seeming time-wasting, self-indulgence spent meditating by myself. Like some 90s era wannabe Neohippy drop-out who decided one day after a revelation, to tune in to a higher spiritual calling than slotting into the rat race just to keep up with the Joneses and hopefully die with the most and coolest toys.

In terms of what meditation is and really means to me, allow me to quote a dead guy named Chuang Tze, “Most people would find what I love, to be very uncomfortable or uninteresting.”

Meditation is the ultimate journey into inner and outer space. Can you think of a better more productive way to try to unravel yourself, and the meaning of life, at the same time? I don’t say that to sound patronizing. I simply mean that, if you had suicidal depression since you were a young child like I did, you too, probably spent a huge, ungodly, obsessive amount of time dwelling on the meaning of life and what is or isn’t worth pursuing, like social status, material wealth and ‘things’.

What value is there in stuff, if stuff just becomes something else to worry about? Why do you buy ‘stuff’? Beyond the necessities of life I mean. To distract you? To occupy time? I buy stuff now and read books and watch dvds and have ‘stuff’ delivered to my door for my amusement. But before I got to that point as an adult, I spent an enormous amount of time essentially dirt-poor.

During that time I learned how to amuse my mind and do something useful with myself after a day at the factory. I didn’t have to come home from work to feed the kids, pick up the cat from the vet, get my husband’s dry cleaning, attend a PTA meeting and all the million things people keep themselves busy with.

I had nothing, or, very little, that needed to be done. So I had no stresses that would interfere with my training goals. I didn’t worry about my GPA because I didn’t have one. I didn’t worry about my stock portfolio and investments for the same reason. I just had a, well, boring, private, antisocial and empty-seeming life that I filled up by doing spiritual practices and mind-body disciplines.

What else was I going to do? Being mentally ill for life didn’t sound like something I could accept nor something I wanted to brag about to others. It was embarrassing and futile-seeming. So, I got to work trying to fix the biggest problem in my life at the time. Me.

Meditation was my path to healing. Although I first received meditation training when I was thirteen, I learned it for the wrong reasons. To make myself more powerful and intense and well, strange. Because I wanted a spooky, intangible, psychic edge over other people out of deep insecurity and unresolved post traumatic stress. How much of my psychic experiences were really psychotic ones, is something I still think about and consider many years later.

By my very early twenties I had had several different kinds of meditation training and where had it got me? I was still trying to off myself about once or twice a year. And I was not a happy or pleasant person to be around unless I was stoned out of my mind. What was I doing wrong?

That is what led me to study with a man by the name of Bruce Frantzis who was advertising his Taoist meditation and dissolving training as something that could smooth out emotions, overcome inner obstacles and find yourself, in the midst of great internal disconnection and confusion. His was a method I hadn’t conceived of or heard about previously. Surrendering into your Being–by letting go and allowing transformation to happen. Instead of either forcing it to occur or trying to resist it kicking and screaming.

Dissolving is something that you do with your combined intent and awareness. You use this technique to scan and process your inner world. In Taoism, inner world can be a lot things, most beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, everything from your physical sensations to your emotions can be dissolved with your intent.  I used a specific format I learned from Mr Frantzis and his students. One that involves scanning and dissolving myself according to an idea about our ontological makeup called: ‘The Eight Bodies of Being’.

Using the dissolving process, I ransacked every corner of my heart and mind. I simply started from the top of my head and drained down to the floor of my pelvis with this technique. I released and let go of, everything that I was hung up on that prevented me from taking life and myself a little less seriously. The net result was that I became a little bit happier, bit by bit. year after year.

I started this meditation and dissolving method in my early twenties. At a time when frankly, a lot of people first come into contact with a big-time bipolar disorder or depression breakdown on the heels of stressful finals or a new high-pressure job or they start having kids or something. They start hearing voices ‘out of nowhere’. Some tipping point occurs to set them off on the downward spiral that they will later be told is an incurable, hereditary, genetic chemical imbalance.

My training and experiences did not make me enlightened with a capital E. I do not have a halo nor do I even consider myself to be a good role model. I can still be irritated and annoyed. I am not perfect and without flaws. I did absolutely cure myself of several supposedly incurable diseases: PTSD, manic depression and schizophrenia–so that must count for something.  I haven’t tried to hurt myself in over fifteen years. I’ve been depression and psychosis free for well over a decade. I am fairly well-adjusted these days, despite my disadvantages growing up.

I healed my inner world with a technique I learned called ‘inner dissolving.’ Which is Bruce Frantzis’ meditation method: The Water Course Way of Lao Tze. In my experience, it is a path to real healing. It’s a road less traveled. And it can take you every place you ever wanted to go inside.

 

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13 Responses to Meditation as a cure for mental illness

  1. Meditation is a form of trance, which also can be achieved by hypnosis, which is a century old therapy.

    It`s safe, because the subconscious mind, does not accept anything, that was not there in the first place. This is why it actually doesn`t work with schizophrenia. If you have solid belief of being abducted by martians, you are going to resist any attempt of change.

    Most of the psychotic people choose their “path”, just to get away from the harsh reality. If a woman finds out she can`t have children, here career gets affected by this so-called “crysis”, his husband dies and other really unpleasant things happen to her, she might cope with this, by becoming “crazy”, hallucinating herself to be a princess on cloud nr.9, who gives birth every day.

    • Jane says:

      I understand where you are coming from with the ‘just to get away from harsh reality’ part and going crazy. I am going to have to disagree with you about your definitions though. Meditation is not trance. And it is not hypnosis. Hypnosis does not create meditation stillness. Meditation is zoning in, not zoning out. It’s being present, not being absent or /afk mentally. Thanks for visiting. I wish you well.

  2. Marian says:

    @black hole of genf: You’re confusing “hallucinations” and “delusions” here. Anyhow, “delusions” as an attempt to escape harsh reality is a little too simplistic for my taste (and experience – with “delusions”). More often than not, a “delusion” is a metaphorical representation of harsh reality where for instance having been denied one’s own self translates into being abducted by martians, having been controlled by overprotecting parents translates into the CIA bugging your apartment, people reading your thoughts, putting thoughts into your head, and so on, and so on, and where having been made the black sheep, the scapegoat, of the family translates into being Jesus – carrying the cross (= the symptoms of family dysfunctionality), and being chosen to redeem humanity (= your family) by sacrificing yourself.

    Neither “delusions” nor “hallucinations” for that sake are nice fantasies made up to escape a harsh reality you’re (genetically) too weak to cope with. Rather they are the only possible way to speak the truth and save one’s self left in a situation where it is not possible to speak the truth and save one’s self other than metaphorically. Which turns them into a strength, a survival mechanism, rather than into a weakness. And this is why they usually are impossible to change in as far as changing them implies declaring them incorrect, untrue. Change them, declare them invalid, and you give up on the truth and your self/yourself (= spiritual death). Usually, it takes a certain amount of Zyprexa to make someone subscribe to the wrong “insight”, and thereby commit spiritual suicide. While it doesn’t take any to make people have true insight, and change their way of giving expression to the truth from metaphorically (“crazy”) to directly (“normally”).

  3. Brett says:

    Hello,

    this is Brett, he of the recent e-mail, and I just wanted to say that I really digged this post. There is so much that resonated with me here that is intimidating to figure out how to express it. I will definitely read up on Bruce Frantzis and his approaches.

    @black hole of genf: your opinion on meditation and schizophrenia seems so black-and-white and strongly stated that it is hard to take too seriously. There are people far more informed than you or I on these matters who couldn’t make in good faith a conclusion as assertive as yours.

    • Jane says:

      Hi there Brett, I am glad you liked the post. Bruce’s stuff really changed my life around and I wish you the best of luck with it. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nick says:

    Jane,

    Your story is inspiring. I’ve been trying to do what you did, using the meditation I currently know (Vipassana and anapana), starting much later in life (with all of the responsibilities you cite), with much less available time, but starting with the “advantage” of a significantly milder case (maybe cyclothymia). I’ve made some progress, and I will look seriously at Frantzis’ teachings.

    I really want your honest opinion on one point from the perspective of someone who has been there. Do you think meds make it impossible to progress on the meditative path to fixing one’s mental illness? Are the two approaches (medicative and meditative) completely incompatible? Don’t worry, I’m not on anything, and won’t stop anything or not take something on the basis of your answer, though it would provide additional useful information. decision

    • Jane says:

      Hello Nick,

      The answer to your question has a lot to do with what you want and expect from meditation. If you just want to be more relaxed, a little happier and have a little more insight, then the answer: no. You can in fact, combine certain strategies like relaxation breathing and centering, while under the influence of psychotropic substances, and you can make some progress with that.

      If you are really and truly serious about transforming yourself and taking meditation as far as it can go. If you are looking to get every insight you can into yourself and reality. If you are looking to strengthen your concentration like nobody’s business, as well as your mind’s ability to pierce through internally generated delusions, illusions and the like, then the answer is yes. You can not combine medicative and meditative approaches. Meds will make it impossible to finish what you started.

      If you keep pushing the envelope, you will eventually get to a place where, in order to progress further, your mind must be able to listen accurately to the slightest micro-change in consciousness. Your mind has to keep like, a digital map of every thought/emotion generated action and reaction inside you. You put tracers on your thoughts to see where they came from and where they are going and you will bump up against an omnidirectional glass ceiling, which will be the effects of substances on your mind. You will be stuck there forever, bumping up against it over and over until you stop putting substances insides you which impose that (colored) glass ceiling.

      It’s like an experiment. It really is. A serious one, the outcomes of which can effect and affect your entire Being for the rest of your life. You have to control every variable that you can, and you have to have a baseline. Your baseline of the real moment-to-moment you will never be accurate as long as you are on psychotropic drugs. Never.

      I will at some point make a big giant article about the all the ins and outs of why that is, in critical detail and post it here. I could lecture about it all day. I’ve done a boatload of drugs in my life, and after awhile, it became clear that each of those things imposed chemical distortions on the waters of my consciousness, and that I wasted mental power and meditation time trying to figure out what all those distortions were. Once the distortions were gone, it was like breaking free of gravity, while at the same time it seemed that my inner scanners had never been more accurate or sensitive.

      Bottomline: Drugs and meditation can be combined at the beginning stages of meditation. By time you start making the transition into more advanced states of mind, it should become obvious during your practice that drugs act like a ball and chain which in turn acts like a governor on your mind, as to how far out and in it can go and still be scanning accurately and remain focused.

      Best wishes to you in your ongoing practice, Nick. And thanks for stopping by and reading my stuff!

  5. will get there says:

    hi jane, you seem to me to be somthing of a marvel, i have low moods that dictate my
    lifes happiness, motivation, drive, and desires, ive never been able to progress in life.
    how do you define mental illness if you say its not hereditary or a genetic chemical
    imbalance which is always what i beleived it to be, caused by trauma as a child from phisical or psychological experienceses as this and other things surely contribute to a phisical and emotional imbalance that stores records of negative energy that gets released from your subconcious weather you like it or not, at any given moment
    usually between late teens and early adulthood, some times a lot younger.
    Ive been interested in meditation for a long time, have you heard of a technology
    called a binaural beat, if so what are your veiws, and do you think a person can still
    reach mental clarrity. What meditation did you use or still use. Hope i recieve a responce as im a bit sceptical as ive never sent a document like this before. Thanks

    • Jane says:

      Hello WGT, Thanks for being patient with my reply.

      First let me say, Yikes! Lot of questions you asked. Each question worthy of an article in an of themselves. I’ll try to be brief.

      The chemical imbalance idea of mental illness is a Big Pharma sales pitch. During the 60s and 70s there were two competing schools of thought about the mental illness as a manifestation of the state of the brain. There was a ‘war’ of sorts between Soups and Sparks. Soups was for chemical imbalances, sparks was the neuronal firing in brain structures. The soups school won, and much research was done in an attempt to place the blame for mental illness on ‘imbalanced’ levels of dopamine and serotonin.

      These experiments did not bear out fruit and by the 80s, the chemical imbalance idea had been disproved. However, in the 90s Big Pharma capitalized on this bunk because it was convenient. In order to sell someone a pill you have to give them a reason for wanting it. Claiming that your drug ‘balances’ alleged imbalances is a marketing ploy with no science to back it up, pure and simple.

      Mental illness as ‘hereditary’. Often you hear, “mental illness has a genetic component’”, but what does that really mean on paper? Bearing in mind that both the human genome and that of fruit flies has been decoded. They can change proteins on an RNA strand and cause a fruit fly to be born with extra wings or legs. They can do this because they know exactly how genes cause limbs to be formed in fruit flies and where in their genome that code lies.

      Now compare what know of the human genome. Not a single gene has been unambiguously found to be connected with any mental illness in any way shape or form. If you dig up every gene study about bipolar, depression, ADHD, OCD and schizophrenia, you will notice that without fail, each of those reports is replete with weasel words. Words that do not confirm or affirm anything at all. Typically, you see these studies worded something like: “Gene X1 may be linked, could be related to, is perhaps involved with and maybe part of and could possibly give clues too, etc etc”. Weasel word salad. Nothing committal.

      At this point dozens of genes have been identified in groups of people who share symptom profiles,yet we are no closer to inducing or curing mental illness through genetic manipulation now, than we were a hundred years ago. So, as the nature of a ‘genetic component’ to mental illness, is just scientific hubris. These folks need to publish to feel like they are doing something with their grant money and so they publish this non-newsworthy crap. In reality the truth is, underneath all the hubris is silence. Because there is no proof that genes ’cause’ mental illness in any way shape or form and that’s the reality right now.

      But just because Western ‘evidence based’ science hasn’t proved what mental illness really is, does not mean that are no other worthwhile theories or frames of reference. The Buddhists have, for millennium, been quite comfortable with their assessment of suffering as being the human condition and partly a result of our own inner perceptions of ourselves and our world, in short, the ego. The ego can only take so much stress and as the ego latches on to concepts of wanting and not having, of competition, of failure, of obsessions and wants and the pain of not having what you want, all these things can lead to suffering and mental illness. So the idea then, is to work with that sense of self and try to unravel like the layers of an onion, your conscious and subconscious attachments and to get past them.

      To me, mental illness (in a general sense) is not a mystery in the slightest. If you are in conflict with your own heart or mind or the world around you, you suffer. You have depression and anger and self hate and anxiety and fear and all the other things that plague the human condition. For my money, each and every one of those things can be overcome without any resort to psych meds or years of therapy. That’s the story that I wrote here in this article. There is a point where I said something like, “what you will discover is that your own mind manufactures suffering for you, usually without your conscious awareness of it, but once you apprehend that cause and effect relationship, you can achieve some control over it.”

      Regarding this:

      “caused by trauma as a child from physical or psychological experiences as this and other things surely contribute to a physical and emotional imbalance that stores records of negative energy that gets released from your subconscious whether you like it or not, at any given moment usually between late teens and early adulthood, some times a lot younger.”

      Let me say, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I went through exactly that. But! There is no cosmic law which prevents you from using meditation and going into yourself to find and release all that negative energy from both the conscious and subconscious mind, in a very accelerated and permanent way. That is what I am talking about in this article when I talk about dissolving from my head to my bowels. You use your intent to dissolve the energy out of you. If you do it right, you will know it because you won’t suffer any longer from what you were working on.

      Re: binaural beats. I have heard of it but have never tried it because the theory of it does not make sense to me. There is almost no scientific studies that have compared brainwave entrainment states to the wave states of Buddhist, Taoist or Tibetan monks or yogis. Meditation is inherently hard work. It requires focusing of the consciousness.

      Proponents of BB suggest that that pinging your brain with certain frequencies of sound can induce meditation, but I do not see how that is possible. And in fact, I’d be willing to bet money that you listening to binaural beats would not remotely put your mind in the same state as my mind if I were doing a session of dissolving.

      But let’s pretend for the sake of argument, that binaural beats actually worked like that. What do you have? Your meditation wouldn’t be your meditation. You are using a crutch. Take away the binaural beats and you have no meditation skill underneath it. No cortical development from having attained a skill and grown a neurological circuit for it. It’s an empty accomplishment to achieve meditation with entrainment. You have gained no ability and learned nothing and have not initiated a spiritual evolution. So, in my opinion, which I have no doubt is not shared by people who endorse BB or BE, is to stay far away from it and grow your own meditation legs the ‘olde school’ way, like the meditate greats, Gautama, Da Mo, Dogen Zenji, and others, by doing the hard work of stilling your mind on your own.

      My current practice and the one that healed me from depression and my other issues like child abuse and PTSD triggers, was the Inner Dissolving practice of Water Method Taoism.

      Hope all that helps, WGT, and thanks so much for visiting.

  6. Max Spencer says:

    I’m sorry, I haven’t gotten a copy of your book yet. I am researching methods on stories of cure and healing and methods in the respect, I don’t use the word recovery, because that is Big Pharma’s word for their drug plus ideational indoctrination program, though others use the world indiscriminately.

    Did you study with Bruce personally? Is your meditation accompanied by a strong physical routine? Do you practice Tai chi, Is that part of it? (I’m looking for those two Frantzis books).

    Thanks for all your informations.

    • Jane says:

      I personally like the concept of reflecting and redefining the language that Big Pharma and biopsychiatrists have appropriated, back at them.

      With regards to training with Bruce. I was never taken on as his one-on-one padawan learner and disciple, if that is what you are asking. I just took publicly available classes, seminars and a couple retreats when I could afford to.

      Meditation is a state. Although my favorite method is probably sitting, I also do standing training, qi gong as meditation, tai chi as meditation, ba gua as meditation. Even mountain biking as meditation. So yes, I have a strong physical routine in addition to just sitting.

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  8. harry says:

    hey. i am a twenty years old guy. in the last four months i have not been able to experience any emotions even the most basic and necessary ones. This is because recently some very traumatic things happened and i just woke up one day and since then have had no ability to feel. i have meditated since i was 14 but now whenever i direct awareness into my body its either a total numb feeling of characterless like deadness or intense fear in the abdominal followed by tremors and lots of sweating haha!the last time i went into that fear i fainted.. is it possible that energy can be released to quickly cause the body to loose conscience?also do you recommend the dissolving method to in some way cleanse myself from any energy blocking my emotional faculties or do you think its only suitable for mental obstacles? i Dont have any mental illness ,just a lot of emotional pain throughout my whole life and i was wondering how do you apply the dissolving method into the heart aspect of the body?zuowei?

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