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 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.




4 Responses to Winter Blues, Existential Unhappiness / Depression, Enlightenment and Awakening

  • Right on! I have to agree – waking up was nothing more and nothing less than the disappearance of the existential “ISSUE.” Thank GOD that hell hole finished itself off. I love your writing, approach – thanks for keeping it real and bringing the laughs. Saw your interview on BATGAP and had a good time. Keep on fishin’.

  • hey, just read your book, and watched an interview “buddha at the gas pump”. Bytheway, found you through Rose Rosetrees enlightenment list. You are added there. I usually check people and teachers there to see if they “qualify” for her enlightnemt life list, but its fun surfing on that list!

    oh oh.. I feel so honoured to write to you…! and your so damn charming dude!! Cant help but admire and like you (im not gay!)

    ok, I have a question (wich I feel you already answered on your blog, but must admitt, would like to get a personal answer from you, sorry if im wasting your time 🙂

    And many many thanks if you take your time and bother to read it.

    Many years ago I had an experience where it felt like my heart “exploded”, chills all over my body, and tears of joy and happiness came. The experience was that I realized that I existed. Something that simple. And that night I went out (to “check out” this state with other people if this state is real, or was I just fooling myself in delution), talked to people, and felt I had superpowers. I could see peoples vulnerability, sufferings ect no matter how much of a mask or “protection” they had put on. And talking to people was “piece of cake”, considering my usual insecurities and social fears. And I could comfirm to myself that I found something magical. This was way cool, I could even talk to pretty girls!! This state wore of completely after a couple of months. But it was most intens the first weeks or so. Did I waste it, or did I screw it up? Its such a hell “being back here again”. Nervous talking to people, very sensitive to getting rejected by girls, cant speak to girls… cant get myself laid, feeling lonely and depressed, dont know what to do with my life… ect…

    After the that million dollars experience, i just want to get back there! And after so many years Ive been seeking it. And I feel pretty lost and confused about this whole thing. Where is it? When will it return? I want to get there already!!

    Do you have some tips?

    These last months, just at times, ive been feeling like being my own director creating my own manuscript, and feeling like I am the main character in this world, and the world is mine to explore. I feel awake, at peace and connected and enjoying life like a good movie. But this comes and goes, and i guess I have been there more lately. But either i am there (it feels very normal, not a super blissed state), or im not. How was it for you, did you gradualy start to feel better overral. Or did you feel “better” at times, and “back” again. Do you think Im getting closer?

    Sheez… Im sorry if It didnt make sense. And if I made sens it is great, if not, thats ok to.

    Anyhow, thanks alot. Keep those blog posts coming! very helpfull!

    Best wishes
    from norway!

    PS: If your in Norway sometimes, there are great fishing spots here, and you could do a satsang for us here:)

    and sorry sorry for the long post.

    • Hey Ben,
      Not wasting my time at all. Happy to help if I can. 1st off- thanks for the gushing email. I’ll be signing autographs back stage after the show. The three hot chicks in the front row- you get a free backstage pass also. Ben- you get one just for the ego stroke. EGO?! Ack!- say all the neo-advaita nondualists!? Yeah ego. Deal with it.
      Ben- great questions. I feel your pain. Yes, I went through what you described many times. I spent about 5 years in the non-abiding awakening state with many months of long satori experiences like what you describe here in between states of depression/deep unhappiness/separation. And yes, coming down-SUCKS.
      Here’s what happened in my own case, which may or may not happen to you: I eventually wore thin the veil of maya and stepped through the doorway of awakening. Today, The openings and closings (of bliss energy) still occur, but I no longer drop WAAAAY back down- into existential unhappiness. If you could graph my state of well-being before awakening it would consist of most moments spent below 50% (in the 30 to 40% range) and some moments (during the bliss states) up to 80%. After awakening I now never dip below 55% and I have a LOT of 90% moments. My current 55% moments are composed of laziness, lack of enthusiasm, and general tiredness (I’m a normal guy with a job and family) But ( I repeat) I am no longer existentially unhappy- no longer separate. No longer is ego in control.
      Here’s my recommendation Ben:
      Keep on seeking; sitting with teachers, going to video satsang, reading, interacting with fools like me, etc- allow the energy transference of those experiences to ware the ego down and break the bonds of the unhappy illisionist queen Maya. And eventually- you will return to an- awakened – energy state that is best described as a permanent sense of well-being punctuated with heightened states of unity enlightenment.
      Now- about that party back stage- shall we?…
      (I’m just kidding. I live in the suburbs, been married 10 years, and have NO chance of getting anywhere near a back stage right now)
      Thanks for the invite to Norway.
      Eventually I will fulfill my dream of holding satsangs in foreign countries- as an excuse to go fly-fishing.
      World peace through fly-fishing? Yes, I think so.
      Peace Ben,

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