Psychosis and the Scale of Consciousness
I often refer to the scale of consciousness discovered by Dr. David Hawkins (google this!). I find when I’m experiencing psychosis, I am all the way at the bottom, in shame and guilt. I then get bombarded with all the associations in my brain that I should or could be ashamed about all mixed in together. It’s like a crash course in self hatred. No wonder at this point I must be kept safe from myself as I might end my life thinking this state will never end. Luckily, it’s only transitory. Usually when I leave the psych ward, I am dazed and confused, though I have the courage to go on.
Curiously, just before I have an episode of psychosis, I am usually in a flow state of Joy and I feel close to Enlightenment, which is the highest point of the scale. I wonder why I can be nearly enlightened, and then plummet down to shame so quickly. Could it be that I can reach the “state” of enlightenment but I have not yet earned it as a “stage” (Ken Wilber says states are temporary and stages are earned). For example, I could take a drug that would make me feel one with everything, but it’s not embedded in my daily life. I can reach a peak state but it’s not a successive stage in spiritual developement. So what is the difference between a state and earning a stage? Why do I lose the state of Joy? Why does it crash into terror, shame, guilt and confusion?
I’ve been thinking about this lately. If I can take a chemical that will change myself chemically to feel “enlightened”, can I change myself chemically to be that way all the time? To me, when I get to the state of Joy, it is part of the process of earning that as a stage. Just because I fall out of it, doesn’t mean I fail. I don’t take substance to reach that state as my experience of Bipolar Disorder has been what is called “organic”. Organic psychosis and I would also say organic mania. It’s almost like the Universe gives me an invisible placebo to make me move towards enlightenment. And poof, when it wears off, I’m back at the very bottom. The interesting thing is, it feels like exercise. Like each time it happens, I can get back to joy and enlightenment in a new way. And each time I do this, it is being reinforced in my physiology and neurobiology.
Just because I fall, and I don’t control when I fall, and it’s excruciating when I fall, doesn’t mean I will be afraid of falling each time I build life back up. It feels like progressive training. There is more talk now about how setbacks are to be expected. I now expect setbacks or relapse, not as a sign of mental illness, but as part of earning these higher states that so many people try so many means to get to be in. I get to be in them naturally, but not all the time. By doing this sort of “Bipolar strength training”, perhaps eventually I will have more access to my higher states more often, and be less often squished like a bug by the lower states of consciousness.