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Spiritual experiences and mental illness

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Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby CloudedMoon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:19 pm

I guess I should write this in hopes of getting some advice.

Although it's now becoming more commonly accepted that we are having spiritual experience all the time, my mind just yells for grounding about this one. By "spiritual experience", I mean an experiences like wind breezes out of nowhere or feeling that you're watched over, although there's no source for that energy to my physical senses - generally it's different from how I feel when focusing on basic life and daily routines, the "normal" life.

Once I used to have huge inferiority complexes about being sensitive and having few diagnoses, although partly that fear is because people can use mental illness to dismiss your opinion to manipulate crowds in their favor, self interest etc. Eventually I got tired of living in fear and opened up about it publicly... I made jokes about my own diagnosed illnesses also, kind of turning the negative into something positive. However, eventually some of what I had been joking about manifested as more real experience. I got into a situation that was apparently stopped by a spirit guide or something, never got too sure by whom actually. I heard, or can't actually say "heard" because it wasn't like hearing with physical senses but more like a thought that was spoken out loud out of nowhere, like telepathy.
Since then I've been preoccupied and even obsessed over finding out about what exactly happened there, was it a hallucination, did the other person involved in what happened put something into my drink, is it all in my head or a real spirit guide. I had another experience like that, but again, I don't know the source. Those weren't bad experiences though, some possibly dangerous situations turned into very positive ones. Before these things even happened, someome did hint something about mediumship, but I thought they were joking like myself.

Now, I've started considering perhaps I should try getting more familiar with communicating spirits and practising that more seriously. But I'm feeling insecure about making this choice due to worry that it'll also trigger my mental illnesses or thwart my ability to think logically, which is one of my ways to reassure during bad times I'm not having a relapse. This would probably be easier if I had few trustworthy friends in local area but usually I've ended up with covert abusive and apparently envious people. Now I want to suffice on my own.

How would you advise me dealing with this? Separating real spirit communication from possible hallucinations (and wishful thinking just in case)?
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby Rain Gnosis » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:09 pm

I can't help but I eagerly await the responses as I also have a mental illness (bipolar disorder in my case).
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby SpiritTalker » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:15 pm

I can only imagine the difficulties you have in sorting out one level of brain and emotional activity from another. Healthy skepticism wars with WTF!? In my own experience with psychic phenomena, I've made an effort to journal, if not daily then frequently, over the years. Then by going back over my records I could group events unemotionally by level of sensation as related to outcome. Eventually I learned what my own baseline gut feel was for experiences that are likely to have a valid outcome. I can pretty much recognize when I down right know something as opposed to doubtful thinking. It's not 100% but not blind guess work anymore either.

People's sensations and energy patterns are personal. You have to identify your own patterns by observation. And journaling helps this.

Surprisingly, practicing witchcraft actually helped me develop a feel for the mental "thumping" and "locked-on" feeling that denote the valid experiences. im describing what it feels like in my head. Practice with casting circle has given me more self control and ability to read my own energies. I can't stress enough how useful grounding and centering is to maintaining stability.

I never quite get used to "Seeing" layers of reality, so to speak. One realm overlays the next, and each has it's own form of truth relevant to that realm. Truth gets pretty flexible in such circumstances. I try not to take what I see/hear/experience to heart because it may be applicable to another realm, and only symbolized in this physical, 3-D one.

As for what's your imagination and what's your guide, I'd first suggest you define just to yourself (not me) what your beliefs are. Then you have a way to spot when beliefs are contributing to your perceptions. What is a guide? Why do you accept their presence/existence? What form does it have? Even if it's a thought-form, the mind can work with it. So ask the guide you accept to give you a specific, agreed upon recognition sign. It really doesn't matter in the long run whether or not a guide is dimethyltryptamine (DMT, or spirit molecule), another entity or some other level of ourselves, as long as it is consistent and gets the goods. When it's the accepted guide, it pays us to listen. So, develop a recognition signal.

When my guide was training me, he used a bell, jokingly like training one of Pavlov's dogs. And in dream-level communication he may be in disguise but I will recognize his eyes. When I receive an incoming bulletin from my higher self, or soul, it will come with a symbol to tell me who it's from.
It took a few years to discover my dreams were already using these specific symbols. I spotted it by recording & reviewing my dreams for 2 years. So there's another use for journaling.

I guess that's all. Hope it's useful.
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby planewalker » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:52 am

I started in the Arts very young and if not yet an "old geezer", I can see it real good from here. I first "heard" my "voice" when I was 8 years old. The phone rang, mom got up to answer it. It was on the wall{sign of geezerhood} in the kitchen and as she was hanging up I said "Uncle Chet died." mom turned white and d@mn near freaked {Southern Baptist}. I got used to it because it told me things that were beyond my knowledge. By the time I was old enough to appreciate it, I knew it by the "sound" in my head.
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby moonraingirl » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:13 am

I'll share my own experience without claiming it's universal. Everyone is different.

I don't have a mental illness, however I suffer from complex cptsd. What I've found out is that I do have real natural interest in mysticism that has always been a genuine part of my personality. On the other hand, I've developed an unhealthy obsession with spirituality that I understand was created as a coping mechanism or attempt to escape reality. This obsession than worsened my mental state because the inability to find The Truth increased my anxiety and depression. Traditional meditation and Chakra work made my dissociation worse.

That's why I decided to stop all thinking about this and am not trying to work with anything in this area. I come to this forum because I like people here and to see if there's more "secular" topics, but don't practice or think about anything supernatural at the moment, while I'm working on my mental health issues.

What I find very helpful though is grounding and mindfulness exercises which focus on returning me "down to earth" such as observing my environment, picking an object to analyse with all my physical senses, somatic experiencing. Also watching asmr videos on YouTube can provide almost mystical and calming experience without making my issues worse.

Totally agree with ST's suggestion to start Journaling. It's a very useful tool to keep track of your emotions. For me, I often observed mood and even writing style changes during my religious periods. I find that reading your own journal is like looking into mirror that can help you distinguish your patterns.
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby SnowCat » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:58 pm

I can relate to planewalker's experience. Especially the wall phone. I think we were on a party line until I was 5. I don't remember a time when I didn't see and hear things that my family didn't.

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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby firebirdflys » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:40 pm

SnowCat wrote:we were on a party line until I was 5.
ha ha, I was at least 5 also. One time mom let me answer the phone, it wasn't for us, boy that was confusing. :lol:

The grounding methods and journaling to discover patterns sounds like one of the best bets. Along with those observationl exercises moonraingirl was speaking of. (Wish I could be more disciplined in journaling. :x )
Another thing that may be usefull, at least it feels like connecting to spirit in a way, and that's coloring. One of those cool coloring books for adults and a nice set of coloring pencils.
I like Prismacolors. http://prismacolor.com/products/colored-pencils
They can get a bit spendy but it is so worth it. Wait for a 50% off sale at at Aaron bros., Michaels/JoAnns, or some art store.
Happy coloring!
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby moonraingirl » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:31 am

Here are some mindfulness exercises that allow a kind of mystical experience while ensuring you stay safely in reality. Sorry I know this doesn't exactly answer CloudedMoon's original question but I thought it might be useful in the larger context of the title. For other people with mental issues that might be reading the thread.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that individuals and groups can do on a day to day basis, it can enable people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. As a mind-body approach, it can increase our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.

1. Mindful Breathing: This can be done standing or sitting down, all you have to do is focus on your breath for just one minute. Start by breathing in and out slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let go of your thoughts for one minute. Let go of things you have to do later. Simply let yourself be still for one minute. Purposefully watch your breath, focusing your senses on its path as it enters your body and fills you with life, then watch and feel it work its way up and out of your mouth as its energy dissipates.

2. Mindful Observation: Choose a natural object from within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. Simply relax for as long as your concentration allows. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Visually explore every aspect of its formation. Allow yourself to be consumed by its presence. Allow yourself to connect with its energy and its role and purpose in the natural world.

3. Mindful Awareness: This exercise is designed to cultivate an awareness and appreciation of simple daily tasks and the results they achieve. Think of something that happens everyday more then once, something you take for granted, like opening a door for example. At that very moment you touch the doorknob to open the door, stop for a moment and be mindful of where you are, how you feel in that moment and where the door will lead you. Similarly, the moment you open your computer and start work, take a moment to appreciate the hands that enable this process and the brain that facilitates your understanding of how to use the computer. These touch points cues don’t have to be physical ones. For example: each time you think a negative thought you might choose to take a moment to stop, label the thought as unhelpful and release the negativity. Or, perhaps each time you smell food, you take a moment to stop and appreciate how lucky you are to have good food to eat and share with family and friends. Choose a touch point that resonates with you today. Instead of going through your daily motions on autopilot, take occasional moments to stop and cultivate purposeful awareness of what you are doing and the blessings it brings your life.

4. Mindful Listening: This exercise is designed to open your ears to sound in a non-judgmental way. So much of what we see and hear on a daily basis is influenced by our past experiences, but when we listen mindfully, we achieve a neutral, present awareness that lets us hear sound without preconception. Select a piece of music you have never heard before. Close our eyes and put on headphones. Try not to get drawn into judging the music by its genre, title or artist name before it has begun playing. Instead, ignore any labels and neutrally allow yourself to get lost in the journey of sound for the duration of the song. Allow yourself to explore every aspect of the track. Even if the music isn’t to your liking at first, let go of your dislike and give awareness full permission to climb inside the track and listen to the sound waves.

5. Mindful Immersion: The intention of this exercise is to cultivate concentration in the moment and escape the persistent striving we find ourselves caught up in on a daily basis. Rather than anxiously wanting to finish an everyday routine task in order to get on with doing something else, take that regular routine and fully experience it like never before. For example: If you are cleaning your house, pay attention to every detail of the activity. Rather than treat this as a regular chore, create an entirely new experience by noticing every aspect of your actions: Feel and become the motion when sweeping the floor, sense the muscles you use when washing the dishes, develop a more efficient way of wiping windows clean. The idea is to get creative and discover new experiences within a familiar routine task. Instead of labouring through and constantly thinking about finishing the task, become aware of every step and fully immerse yourself in the progress. Take the activity beyond a routine by aligning yourself with it physically, mentally and spiritually. Who knows, you might even enjoy the cleaning for once!

6. Mindful Appreciation: In this last exercise, all you have to do is notice 5 things in your day that usually go unappreciated. These things can be objects or people, it’s up to you. Use a notepad to check off 5 by the end of the day. The point of this exercises is to simply give thanks and appreciate the seemingly insignificant things in life. The things that support our existence but rarely get a second thought amidst our desire for bigger and better things. For example: electricity powers our kettle, the postman delivers our mail, your clothes provide you warmth, your nose lets you smell flowers, you ears let you hear the birds but……….Do you know how these things/processes came to exist, or how they really work?…….Have you ever properly acknowledged how these things benefit your life and the lives of others?……Have you ever thought about what life might be like without them?…..Have you ever stopped to notice their finer, more intricate details?…….Have you ever sat down and thought the relationship between these things and how together they play an interconnected role in the functioning of the earth?…..Once you have identified your 5 things, make it your duty to find out everything you can about their creation and purpose to truly appreciate the way in which they support your life.

7. In Summary: The cultivation of moment by moment awareness of our surrounding environment is a practice that helps us better cope with difficult thoughts and feelings that cause us stress and anxiety in everyday life. With regular practice of mindfulness exercise, rather then being led on autopilot by emotions influenced by negative past experiences and fears of future occurrences, we harness the ability to root the mind in the present moment and deal with life’s challenges in a clear, calm, assertive way. In turn, we develop a fully conscious mind-set that frees us from the imprisonment of unhelpful, self-limiting thought patterns and enables us to be fully present to focus on positive emotions that increase compassion and understanding in ourselves and others.
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby barker » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:02 am

With spiritual experiences and mental illness - I do both - be spiritual with the spiritual stuff and physical with the real world. And understand that the real world wins, it just doesn't have fun readily. If you don't break the rules there, you can do whatever you want... with your beliefs, superstitions and special abilities. Wisdom, is what keeps the two worlds (Heaven and Earth) together.

Practice makes perfect.
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Re: Spiritual experiences and mental illness

Postby planewalker » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:37 am

I've got to say put the time and energy into what moonraingirl set out for you. She speaks from experience and she's very smart.
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