Winter Blues, Existential Unhappiness / Depression, Enlightenment and Awakening
There’s a secret, esoteric, deeply private, metaphysical, magic skill I use in order to transcend the winter blues. I am going to reveal it to you right now. Are you ready?: I book a flight to Costa Rica or the Bahamas and stay there with my family for at least a week. Yes, it took me years to acquire this skill. Awakening to one’s true nature or transcending egoic separation is child’s play compared to this great avataric talent.
With this talent- I have discovered great enlightenment (the sun is hotter and brighter at those latitudes), wondrous joy (exotic mixed drinks) and endless bliss (long stretches of pristine unpopulated beaches). So may you too attain this awesome power of light and reap the rewards it bestows. The winter blues suck, but alas, I believe they are just a natural part of life. Embrace and deal with them as best you can: movies, fireplace, hot-tub, indoor hobbies, bundled up nature walks, good cookin’, and if you must, outdoor naked snowball fights. In the meantime, let’s talk about something a little deeper than the winter blues … something, as spiritual seekers, we should all be familiar with: existential unhappiness.
I talk a lot about existential unhappiness in my book and on this blog. It’s a very important element, if not the most important element in the awakening / enlightenment process. I’m going to jump right to the punch line and tell you a few secrets about it: Existential unhappiness and enlightenment are two sides of the same coin. Existential unhappiness is the doorway to enlightenment.
Existential unhappiness is the natural healing expression of transcending egoic mind-based pain, suffering, and separation.
Existential unhappiness is the natural medicine required to wake up. Okay, so what exactly is it?
I imagine, if you’ve got an ounce of spiritual seeking curiosity in you, then you are at least vaguely familiar with this condition. On a surface level it motivates one to ask the big questions: Why am I here? Is there more to life than this? Who am I? Why am I so damn _____. (fill in the blank- sad, unhappy, unsatisfied, lonely, lost, broken, angry, asleep, etc.) On a deeper level (where it really becomes effective in the awakening process) existential unhappiness motivates one to become a seeker in search of answers to these questions.
Existential unhappiness is also known as existential depression or angst, dark night of the soul, zen sickness, or soul rot. The Buddha just called it suffering. Bottom line is, nothing does it for you. Normal egoic life takes on a very grey, nihilistic and why-bother quality. You become obscured by shadows. But- there is good news: Contained within the unhappiness is one very big and very important bright spot: You are aware of it and with great courage and wisdom you accept it as a means to an end. You accept that existential unhappiness is in service of transcendance.
Here are some finer points. Fifty percent of the process of attaining awakening / enlightenment is actually about sensitizing the heart. It is the heart that recognizes and feels this existential unhappiness. Simply put no saint, avatar, or normal awakened person ever attained anything resembling enlightenment without the fertile ground of a raw, sensitive, open, and humble heart. Most of us are ignorant, endlessly distracted and unaware of the heart’s truest sensitivity. In the awakening process discovering this sensitivity is an absolute requirement. Once discovered and nurtured, this fertile ground of the heart is what recognizes enlightenment and where the seeds of enlightenment take root.
In the real world what action does this advice translate to?: Humble yourself, cry, get angry, let go of control, bow to, admit and embrace the pain of life- preferably in the company of an already awakened peer, group, teacher, or healer. I doubt you can do it alone. I didn’t. I couldn’t. If you follow this advice then the other fifty percent of the awakening / enlightenment process will take care of itself naturally and automatically: Like a moth attracted to light, a sensitive, aware heart will zero in on the energy of the group, teacher, or healer and over time transform existential unhappiness into awakening / enlightenment (existential happiness) . You just gotta be in the room, raise your hand, and be willing to open up. (Yes, more than once.)
It’s not as hard as it seems. I know I have built this up to seem like some epic quest or impossible journey, but this is not the case. All sorts of people like you and me are waking up all over the world right now. You do not need to be special, or ordained, or qualified in any way. You just have to want it, need it, and feel it in your bones. You have to be brutally honest and stick to your integrity like a pitbull. This is what I did. It’s what my teachers did. I wish the same for you.
Please leave a comment or email me with any questions ! – J.
If humor, wisdom and a nuts & bolts approach to spiritual awakening appeal to you email email@example.com to schedule a FREE consultation and let’s see if we can get you to where you really want to be by getting you to embrace all the places you’ve been avoiding, fearing or running from.
Through self-inquiry exercises, nondoing relaxation methods, visualization techniques, eye contact & deep heart listening J. Stewart Dixon offers spiritual awakening facilitation, resonance & coaching services to guide you to glimpses of the awakened state & ultimately to your own awakening. J. Stewart studied for two decades & awakened under the guidance of numerous nondual, advaita & zen teachers.