I think meditation has left me emotionally blank
Hi everyone. I wanted to post something and I am hoping at least someone here can relate. Someone who knows what I have been experiening. It is frustrating that I find very few who seem to have this problem. Most signs point towards depression but it doesn't seem to feel like it. More profound emptyness and apathy if anything.
I will try and keep things short. Basically in the last few years I got into self improvement just basic affirmations at first mainly to combat my low self esteem and self image which were poor. I started to notice after a while I really did start feeling great and more alive and I was even finding women flirting with me and hitting on me for no apparent reason which never used to happen previously I became more sociable etc.
However for some reason I started to delve into Spirtuality and meditation at first it was just Hypnosis MP3's on my Ipod which put me into a meditation state. Then I started trying basic meditation while listening to music. I remember feeling very overwelmed with emotion listening to a certain song and I felt a very brief feeling of energy shoot up my back. It felt odd to say the least. I don't really believe in a lot of this New Age stuff but apparently it may of been Kundalini energy I felt. At this time I started to notice I was much clearer in my mind and I felt great at first. However I don't know when I noticed it but it was becoming apparent over time that I had a feeling of emptyness in me emotionally I felt detached from my thinking and thoughts It felt hard to feel much emotion at all. I later heard of Eckhart Tolle and it freaked me out from listening to his material that I may of put myself in a permanent "being" or "now" state of pure prescence. I feel like I am not 100% with it most of the time during the day. Almost like I am walking around in a daze with no thoughts. It's like my thoughts have lost their substance. Even If I do think it's hard to daydream anymore (I honestly can't remember the last time I had a daydream) and when I do have thoughts I just feel blank emotionally. Whether I think something positive or negative this seems to have no real affect on my state emotionally. Why? I don't know but it really concerns me and I doubt I have slowly turned into a Psychopath.
This is becoming a frustrating state to be in and I feel "stuck" like this one theory I have is perhaps I accidentely put myself in a Hypnosis state and my conscious mind slowed down/ feel asleep. I have been considering suicide because I feel so numb, dull and blank emotionally. Trust me this isn't depression I have been in that state before this is something else entirely. I am finding it very difficult to relate to others socially more than before because of being so numb and most of the time I feel at a loss of what to say to people. I seem incapable of feeling the emotions I once could such as anger, joy, excitement (which I miss the most), jeasously, depression etc. The only emotion I seem to really feel theese days is laughter. Okay at times my mind drove me mad and sometimes the negative thoughts made me miserable but now I feel so blank it's scary I barely feel human anymore if this is "Enlightenment" I don't want it I would rather be dead. What is the point of even continuing to live If I can no longer seem to really feel anything?
Has anyone, anyone at all been through this?
I am certainly NO expert, but I 'm guessing that what has happened is that you have somehow put yourself in a state of detachment that is your ego's interpretation of what "now" consciousness is like. (See the What are the biggies? thread and the Eckert Toll one)
In another thread there has been quite a lot of discussion about this "now" consciousness and what it ifeels like, and I was worried about the very things you are describing. I gathered, though, that actually being in this aware state would feel MORE connected and sharply functional, rather than less.
Perhaps you have indeed left yourself in a slightly "hypnotised" state, not really coming all the way out of your meditation.
I would reccomend "throwing out the book", getting back into mundane affairs like TV or reading (fiction, NOT spiritual stuff) , or magazines, or sports to sort of "reground" yourself.
Just drop the whole "self development" thing for awhile, go do something anti-self-development. :P (get drunk with some friends, maybe?) and catch your breath. It CAN"T be good to be even marginally contemplating suicide!! :eek:
First of all, everything is fine as it is. Your thoughts that something should
be different are creating the resistance in you. This is simply a transition
from one state into another. Just like Chameleon wrote, you should check
out the thread where you can find a lot about awareness/consciousness
and by reading through the thread you will become aware of what happened
in your experience. Below is a link:
make sure to go through the whole thread, because you will see how it goes
through a transition also, and this will help you tremendously in realizing that
whatever you are experiencing is what you should be experiencing, because
it IS what you are experiencing !!!
Ok this turned into a bit of an essay lol
I think many people approach meditation as being completely harmless harmless. Meditation is now become so main stream and is being preached as the best thing since sliced bread by many people, including scientists who have studied its effect on the brain, brain waves ect ect. This main stream 'happy go lucky, everyone should be doing it, no harm can come' attitude, while being great in drawing people to meditation - it is also both a limited perspective, and potentially dangerous to the practitioner.
It's funny when I read articles that simply state that meditation has great stress boosting effects blah blah blah and stop at that. And many people's knowledge on meditation and its effects do not go that much further than this perspective.
Meditation has a profound effect on a person's being and can literally change what it means to be a human being. Actually being the being! Your past conditioning does not make this a smooth ride. Your ego will fight, kick and scream. Many problems can arise, which can usually be worked through but you need an UNDERSTANDING of the process. It is not to be taken light heartedly, or you can be left with confusion and undesirable effects. You also need to be doing the correct style of meditation to suit YOU (see the book I recommend).
I really can not advise you one way or another on what to do because I do not know your full circumstance. I ask you to make your own judgement based on the points I make and maybe someone else can elaborate more clearly on the correct course of action.
However - I believe one possibility with this is that this is part of the process. The path of meditation can take you to some very dark places. It is the ultimate tool for facing reality and many obstacles exist along the way as your IDENTITY takes on a different centre of gravity, as you become MORE of who you really are. This happens in stages and every time it happens, its like a death an rebirth into something which encapsulates more of the radiance of your being. But it actually feels like DEATH to the ego so it kicks and screams and you feel like ****. The funny thing is, nothing could be further from the truth. You are becoming more ALIVE not DEAD. The ego does not understand this. It is a survival mechanism.
I have certainly had similar effects from meditation to what you have described. It is not unusual. Meditation slowly moves you away from identification with your ego into the witness. This can make you feel 'disassociated.’. It can make you feel ‘flat.’ However, the peace, love and joy is slowly revealed beyond the ‘flatness.’ The flatness is really a result of not being so caught up in the drama any more, which eventually leads to inner peace. I believe it happens in stages though so the transition can feel bad and unnatural as shifts happen.
I’m not saying this is necessarily what YOU are experiencing, however, it MAY be.
Alternatively (and to be honest, I think this could be more likely), this could simply be an undesirable 'side effect' meditation is having and is not the result of an opening. What kind of meditation do you do? If this is the case, cut down or choose a different type of meditation to see if that works better. This is where I want to recommend you a great book, which I think every meditator should read. 'The Dangers of Meditation and Yoga' - by Del Pe. Read it cover to cover. Its a balanced, intelligent way of looking at meditation which essentially shows you how to progress SAFELY and CONSCIOUSLY. For example, I want you to look at the chapter on 'Spacey Meditator Syndrome' and 'Mindlessness Syndrome.' You seem to be having similar symptoms to what is described as well as potentially other things in that chapter. The good thing is, he offers SOLUTIONS, such as grounding techniques like squats, stamping feet ect. Please buy this book, it will give you many answers and I believe it will help you with your problems, it did for me.
I am by no means an 'expert' on meditation, just a dedicated practitioner and enthusiast and these are my views. I hope others can expand on them.
Also like someone else’s idea of sacking off the whole thing and just doing ‘normal’ ‘grounding’ stuff for a while to get back into like and re balanced. Then you can come back stronger and with more experience.
I wish you well. Believe me, I know how hard to can be when your in the hole over stuff like this. Let me know how you get on, and feel free to get in touch any time.
I think it's a common phenomenon, actually. When I first started meditating daily, after a few months I came to a state of not feeling much. It was actually a slightly negative, slightly positive state because on the one hand I was slightly frustrated to not be feeling much, and on the other hand I was slightly glad I wasn't feeling down. It's a temporary state and will pass. Since then I have had many ups and downs. Ups, downs, and in-betweens are all just part of one process. You can choose to interpret them positively, negatively, or something in-between. Of course, if you want to spice up your life, you can always go out and do something crazy, or dare to feel something crazy!
I have been there aswell. Its not permanent. Nothing in life is permanent. Everything always changes, eventually.
The feeling of emptiness is just a metamorphosis stage. There is no reason why you cant feel joy, your just choosing not to at the moment. I dont mean a conscious you, i mean a more unconscious part of you.
The only Advice i can give is ride it out.
Love Seth ;)
Sounds like you have gotten ‘detachment’ via meditation, this is good. All that unnecessary and not really you turmoil of emotion is gone. If you are use to the world of drama and trauma, this will feel weird for a while.
The next step is to work on being present (in the now) without losing detachment. It may seem that these are mutually exclusive but they aren’t. A balance of being present and detachment will allow you to experience the world fully without getting caught in the external turmoil.
Try and practice not resisting the process. This is KEY. Allow it to all happen and welcome it no matter how bad it feels. Don't take the thoughts too seriously. It's only your mind after all, a pattern forming machine. Just witness the thoughts like 'I feel like ****,' blah blah blah and SMILE :-) It has much more chance of shifting quickly this way if it is just part of the ride, which it may well be and is what the people above believe. Resisting it will REALLY put you in a hole. In fact, I'm going to say that its not the process that hurts, it's the fact that you hate it and your resistance to it. THAT is what makes you feel like death, not the thing itself. Think about that carefully. It's the key with this stuff.
When we are young children we are the most "ourselves" we have ever been. Unable to really comprehend what the future might hold, and too fascinated by what is happening around us to reminisce about the past, we are in the moment, truly and purely ourselves.
As we start to grow up, we begin to think more, and to analyze just about everything, especially what actions we may or may not want to take.
Over time, we start to mistake this "inner world" of thinking, analyzing, and philosophizing, as our "real selves". We think our personality is that never-ending monkey chattering voice we hear in our heads, forgetting that the real, genuine, confident and loving person that we truly are is buried under years of second-guessing and confusion.
In my experience, when you meditate you start to quiet down that critical inner voice, and your true, buried self starts to re-emerge. The interesting thing is, since you've kept it hidden so long, you might not recognize it when it begins coming out of its slumber. Perhaps what you may feel is a bit of separation anxiety from the critical inner voice that you mistakenly took for your true self, your actual personality.
You become someone who is between two worlds: the familiar every day you that you think of as "me" (the voice who is always bringing you down) and the memory of who you used to be when you were younger--but it's been so long that that person might feel like "not me".
You lose your reference point, basically. You're kind of dealing with the weakest parts of yourself. Your genuine, true self has been hidden for so long that it's not strong enough (yet) to face the world on its own, and your mistaken identity (critical inner voice) has run your life for so long that to be away from it for any extended period of time feels scary and can cause anxiety.
Essentially, it turns you into a zombie. For awhile. You don't really know who you are any more, or what you like, or dislike, what your values are, what your preferences should be, etc. The reason it feels this way is your frame of reference (your inner world you are learning to quiet down) has been removed--and with it the reasons for all the things you do and believe.
But-- just hang on. Ride it out. Because what will start to replace this "liminal space" you are in is the emergence of a regular feeling of joy... a clear signal you have made consistent contact with that submerged, genuine self. The more you meditate, and quiet down that inner critical voice, the more your genuine nature comes to the surface, and the better you will feel.
But it's a process, it's not over night, and there will be a bit of back and forth. You may feel tempted to just say "screw it", and return to your previous way of life--where everything made sense and you had very clear cut reasons for doing things. That sense of the familiar will sound very good to you.
So that's all the advice I would give--ride it out, and whatever you choose to do with your meditation practice, stay consistent--even if yucky stuff comes up and you'd rather not deal with it. It's like an inner cleanse and if you want the good stuff, you just have to get rid of the gunk first. Price for admission is a period of time where you really don't know if you're coming or going, or why you're doing anything, or if you should even care.
If I had to guess, I would say that you may have initially begun to meditate to escape from negative thoughts and emotions. As such, whether consciously or not, you may have continued to meditate with the goal of becoming numb to these thoughts and feelings. You may have developed a coping mechanism by which you are now numb to your feelings. I would suggest that you embrace situations of true emotion. Re-examine your belief system and engage in activities that are very grounding.
all these posts are beyond awesome. you guys rock! i've enjoyed reading here.
Someone started by saying that they are not an expert. Well I am an expert. How does someone become an expert-- by learning. Meditation is a broad term just like exercise. One thing in common is isolation. They researched isolation many years ago and found some interesting things.
They found the reactions to it vary greatly. It came sown to this. Somebody like Eckhart Tolle who is happy and has plenty of self-love can have lots of isolation with no problem. But at the other end people who have lots of problems with the above can have terrible things happen with a little bit of isolation.
Now if you were doing something like TM, you would have experts watching over you and instructing you, even though the leader died 2 years ago. Also since you pay money to learn it, you could sue them if something negative happens for $10 million dollars.
You apparently could have had many problems before this. Maybe this webpage about psychology and meditation has something to help you.
These periods of isolation were many, many hours not anywhere near the 20 minutes that they do in TM. Also if someone is not sure if they are psychotic (sociopath), then that is absolute proof that they are not. A sociopath cannot entertain such an idea. Someone with no emotion cannot be afraid that maybe they do not have any emotions. Please note that I never have done TM. I used them as an example of having expert guidance. However I did read some books about TM including Mahesh Yogi's 500 page book about it. Note that they have a university (college) now.
It is the only meditation where they teach you how to fly without any aid (advanced course). :D
First of all I want to thank everyone for the advice given here. I read the following thread:
To be honest after reading it I feel worse.
I honestly wonder if anyone here is in a constant state of prescence I mean truly? I believe I am in a constant state of "now" and I think it has a lot of downsides which causes me problems.
Okay where to start? I have no thoughts anymore at least automatic thoughts. Believe it or not I can and have gone through most of day without a single thought coming up in my mind. I feel detached from my thinking I can't FEEL my thoughts which results in me feeling pretty much nothing all the time. Numb. I feel emotionally dead 24/7 of course I act normally and interact but again I feel nothing inside. How can this state of mind be good? I can't feel normal emotions that make us human I can't daydream I can't feel anger, joy, sadness even boredom anymore.
Let's start with work I have stared to notice I make a lot of mistakes doing simple tasks. I seem to only be able to focus on one thing successfully at a time so I forget to do basic things to be honest I often feel I need to be told what to do like I can't think for myself at times. Some may call this lacking "common sense". To be honest I always had some specific learning difficulties on the milder end of the spectrum but it seems my memory especially short term/working memory is worse than ever I forget things instantly I can't multi task well at all. Another thing is the days can REALLY drag because I have no concept of time seriously just a 6 hour shift can feel like a whole day.
Socially well okay I have always found making friends and relating to peers somewhat hard but something seems off when interacting with others. I try and get to know others, get them to talk about themselves etc. They rarely ask me about me which gives me the impression they don't really like me.
Straight up I feel braindead and I worry I may fall into Dementia in the future I suppose I always was a slightly less able than others because I was diagnosed when I was younger with special needs. You probably wouldn't know it though because I look pretty normal but others over time pick up I am different.
What concerns me is I will forever be stuck like this, in the "now" with no concept of time no real feelings or opinions on anything, just excisting for the rest of my life emotionless and dull.
I wonder if all the questioning of myself, reality the world etc overwelmed my mind and it "cracked" or shutdown under the realizations I had. I do wish I could go back to old state but I have already been "stuck" like this in a partial daze/trance awareness state for almost a year.
I seriously question if those who say they are in a state of "prescence" all the time truly are because I would of thought overtime the emotional dullness and lack of feeling anything at all during any sitation would disturb the person and get to them eventually psycholigically. I have considered suicide even though I know it's a cowards way out but when I can't feel anything, nothing at all like before not because I try not to feel but because I litterally can't feel period. Then what is really the point in living? I mean my Grandad recently passed away and again I felt absolutely nothing at all when I first heard the news and even during the actual funeral itself.
I can't think of anything worse than being able to feel nothing all the time, all day.
Much love to you.
It is almost as though I have lost my soul.
I noticed myself meditation certainly can make you feel less strongly about old "preferences".
About Jack Kornfield:
Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher, advises us not to enter into a meditative practice with what he calls "credentials." Basically, don't look at meditation as a cure-all, with hopes of being liberated. The way he (and I) approach it is to use it as a tool to cut through ego, when ego is doing its chatter monkey thing.
I'm not sure what to tell you, AdoptedOne. What makes most sense to me is Chameleon's advice upthread. Get into a good book, go for a walk, do some grounding activities. This too shall pass. You have a lot of life ahead of you... I understand getting sort of neurotic about certain stuff and being unable to shake certain feelings. There's no "right way" to go about changing your state, but I do know that the more you want something and are caught up in that desire, the less likely you are to get it. You're too caught up in your wanting of it. Just relax and do something you like doing.
However, the suicide thing is pretty worrisome. I'd seek professional help for that-- none of us are really qualified to help you if it's that serious. :(
I honestly don't think what you have is presence as Eckhart Tolle talks about it. It's something, but I don't think it's the same. Perhaps it's more like detachment?
Good luck, anyway. I hope you find what you seek.
It sounds like you're trapped inside your mind still, not fully inhabiting the physical body. Grounding is a great idea. I think this is why it's a good idea to have a teacher when you get into this kind of thing. Not even necessarily one great guru, although that would be fantastic, but you know - seeking guidance outside of your own process can be a very good thing.
People who have been down this road before are probably already experienced with what you are experiencing.
I had this great big massive gigantic message from the universe today that indicated that enjoying the ride is the best option. Just relax. This is not a permanent state of being. Let go of whatever ideas you are still holding on to inside of your mind that define your state of being in a negative light. Understand that old habitually patterns of low self esteem and negative self talk are still being dismantled - clearly, if you are judging yourself and your process so strongly, there is some impurity that is burning out of you.
Be at peace. Go look at the full moon.
I see that you are in real suffering over this and I'm sorry. However, it will pass, trust that. Have faith in the fact that many people in this thread have had similar experiences and it is not an unusual thing in meditation. You are not alone in this.
Lift weights at least 3 times a week to ground.
You ordered that book yet? You need it.
May I ask what style of meditation you have been done, how long you have been meditating for and how long sitting per day?
I disagree here, grounding is for excess or 'bad' energy or in some cases for stability. In my experience releasing energy will not increase 'feeling'.
You are stuck
I think you are stuck in the place of no place.
Better get a grip and wake up.
Feeling of now is not like that.
Being in present or now make you feel more sharper focused and alert with full of energy to execute the process of matters in now.
Wake up my friend:).
I personally find that moving meditation, especially yin, iyengar, or hatha yoga, is the best way to ground the experiential self and allow the energy of self to inhabit the entire body. This leads naturally to being physically adept and fit, because every cell in the body, from the soles of the feet to the visual receptors located inside of the pineal gland, are experienced in the sensation of being.
These physical bodies are beautiful gifts, and I am never so filled with bliss as when I use this gift that I was given for its intended purposes, and stretch and strengthen those capabilities.
Hi AdoptedOne. I am writing to collaborate your experience. I too have felt a detached, dissociated feeling that has been triggered directly by meditation practices and attempting to be in the "now." I have been through this scenario several times now. The first time was when began practicing TM (through certified teachers) - the repeating of a mantra to guide oneself into a "trance" state. After a few days of twice daily meditations, I felt very spaced out and dissociated from my surroundings; clumsy and "robot" like. I was able to shake the state about 1 week after suspending meditation and working out regularly.
The second time happened when I purchased some hypnosis mp3s; which put me in a similar state. I felt a wonderful freedom at first; but then a familiar fog and detachment an hour or so after completing the tape.
Most recently this happened to me while listening to "A New Earth." It is a beautiful text, and I really love the ideas Tolle sets forth. One of the lines about recognizing the pain body, and realizing that the ego *enjoys* the pain really resonated with me. I immediately was able to quiet my inner chatter; I no longer wanted to hurt myself with egoic thoughts. I felt an immediate release; then unfortunately slipped into the familiar fog.
Part of me is thinking..."this too shall pass." A wonderful parable. But I cannot afford to be "spaced out" for extended periods. I, like others, am looking for increased clarity and less mental "static" - but unfortunately seem to be tipping the scale in the wrong direction into a mindless fog.
The trouble is that I see so much good come from these practices...It makes sense to quiet self defeating mental chatter; and meditation seems like a logical step - to slow down, breath, and not to identify or be owned so strongly by fleeting thoughts and emotions.
I will try some of the suggestions for grounding meditation; and hopefully one day will find a meditation practice the works for me.
I would love to hear continued thoughts from other members; perhaps those who have cleared this hurdle/challenge and reached a better place?
Hang in there AdoptedOne - I agree with the others that this is likely a temporary setback. Stop meditating, exercise vigorously, and talk to a doctor if the suicidal thoughts keep coming.
Thank you for raising your voice about this; and thanks to this amazing community for your help.
There are different types of endorphins. When meditating you are releasing endorphins. Maybe you need to release a different type of endorphin. Do you exercise? If you don't, start. If you do, maybe you need a different type of exercise. Run, play soccer, play racquet ball, lift weights, anything.
As far as the thoughts of suicide, two things. Seek professional help and remember that this too shall pass.
Hi there it is good to know I am not the only one going through this. I do wonder though If I will be in this state permanently. I have been like this already for almost a year. I haven't done any sort of meditation since nearly a year ago. It feels like I have gone through somesort of change in my mind and I don't think I can go back to how I was. It's just strange how I can go all day even working with a blank mind, both emotionally and in terms of thoughts and thinking even when I have thoughts they seem detached from me like they lack substance. My thoughts no longer seem to have any hold on me whether good or bad anymore. I never seem to daydream anymore or think deeply. Any emotion I feel now is short lived and to be honest I have to fake most of my reactions and emotional responses because I am nearly always emotionally numb inside.
Some other things I have noticed is a lot of self consciousness is gone, I am not phazed by others or their reactions as much if at all. My state is mostly solid and it doesn't get affected by others in a way I feel fearless because I am constantly emotionally numb inside. It's really weird too that I often get repsect from people and women checking me out even if I look like crap and not dressed very smart why? Well my thoughts are because I am so clear and blank in my mind I perhaps appear confident or don't give off negative vibes. Having said that I think I am slightly socially inept in a way, basic conversation can be hard it's difficult to connect with others when I feel numb and nothing really comes to mind to say or talk about with people. Conversations seem a lot more strained than before even with my immediate family.
This this is a very strange state to be in and it's difficult to explain unless you are experiencing it.
Maybe it's time for you to research into limiting beliefs. You may have done it before but you sound like you are creating your own. Some limiting beliefs serve us while others hinder us. The trick is to rid yourself of the ones that do harm and keep the ones that assist. As long as you believe that you will stay numb, you will. Your subconscious is picking up on that belief and until you convince it otherwise, you will continue to feel that way.
So, my suggestion is to read up on limiting beliefs and the subconscious mind and see where that leads you.
i am not an authority
I stumbled across this thread and site by chance or fortune in an attempt to see if anyone else has experienced 'emotional blankness.' I have never practiced meditation, but had arrived at this blank state through years of self analysis... and maybe that is what meditation is, I'm not sure. Either way, I spent quite a while in your shoes. I even declared to myself id rather die than feel nothing. It was probably the lowest point in my life. What I arrived at (for me) is that I had embarked on a journey of self discovery that most people never do.. and was still holding myself to 'normal people standards' .. as in comparing this new (lack of feeling) to people around me who seemed to be happier.. andthat was largely due to the uncharted territory I had entered with nothing to compare it to. I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture, arriving at thebroader question 'why' instead of 'why is this lack of feeling bad'. Somewhere in doing so, I found an understanding of myself again on a deeper level. None of this may make any sense to you, so my cliffnote version is.. where you're at isn't the only place that you're going to be.. its only where you are right now! Take a step back and figure out why you're there and why you think its bad to be there. I can't convey the transformation in any coherent way, but literally everything you said (apathy, suicide, social skills diminishing) I can relate to and it makes me smile to know when you come to the next place this ones gonna feel like the final frustrating days in a coccoon(sp?). I hope this helps.sorry I've typed it all on a phone and not a computer. R.
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