Many who write to me about their process tell me of vast swings between periods of complete happiness, bliss, inner light, and feelings of being completely whole and intensely alive followed by equally intense periods of dysfunctional depression, deep depths of darkness and despair, sometimes with suicidal ideation.
All that I tell them is to be steady on their course, continue to focus on the I Am feeling, and what they are going through now is probably something they have gone through in the past, but over their lifespan, they learned to cover this over or in other ways learned how to modulate these cycles.
I tell them they are going through now what had not been successfully integrated before. I comfort them saying the down periods are inevitably followed by periods of ecstasies, integration, happiness, and increasing awareness of their selves, which becomes awareness of Self over time.
They are now going through hell or heaven but not to take the experiences too seriously. These highs and lows will follow each other for a good period of time so just relax knowing both highs and lows will smooth out over time, but with each episode leaving them more and more open to who they are as well as facing all their guilt over what they have done in the past, as well as hatred directed towards others. All these states and emotions have to be experienced as part of the realizing of Self process which involves deeply feeling everything, especially the intensity of the fully lived life in present, and our buried past.
By experiencing the lows, the depression, the grief over lost love, lost parents or children, death, we are plunged deeply into deeply into our hidden psyche, which, if we relax, accept and love these feelings, absorb them, then they become integrated into our self as a person, allowing us eventually to experience our Self as much more than that, as the Life Force, Shakti, Sentience, the source of all experience, knowing and not knowing; God.
Other people explain they have no movement at all. They feel no bliss, no energies, no deep depression, rage, or despair. Yet they keep practicing, hoping to experience something.
These persons generally have only marginal access to either their personal self or to their emotions, and sometimes even experience of their own bodies. Over the years they have become alienated from themselves, both personal and God.
Their path is actually much harder in terms of Self-Realization which requires complete openness to emotions, self-honesty, and an ability to confront their fears about being feeling deep emotions or even their own bodies.
These persons often take a path of non-emotion, just observing, witnessing, the self-dissolution into unity consciousness which takes many, many forms from Advaita, to neo-Advaita, to Zen, to other forms of Buddhism which emphasize the Void, the Arhat tradition of Nirvana, or going entirely beyond life and death, thereby disidentifying with consciousness as did Nisargadatta during his final years.
There path towards coming alive may often require an external trigger, like falling in love, or some terrible life trauma that briefly plunges them into despair, forcing them to feel emotions deeply for the first time in years.
Others write to me about their addictions and failed attempts to break free. To them I say addictions have nothing to do with Self-Realization. They are not an impediment. The impediment is ALWAYS the inability to feel the emotions and trauma underlying the addictions. Addictions, from alcoholism to heavy drug use, will only retard Self-Realization if one is chronically in a drugged state. If between use of drugs, one can access the feeling of I Am, listen to sacred Hindu chants, love and serve others as well as love that I Am sense and all else that arises as a result of spiritual practice, then Self-Realization is a clear possibility.
I just say do not worry about the variations of mind states, emotions, mood swings, depression-elation, self-doubt, doubting the teachings, whatever. Just find and abide in the feeling of I Am; accept everything that arises as a result of practice, love the feelings, love the I Am, and allow everything to pass through your heart or gut centers. Bring your center of awareness downwards from your head into your heart or gut. You will feel a much greater sense of expansiveness and completion after leaving the vision-oriented head and descending into feeling your physical body, your energetic body, and your emotions. This is a process or owning lost or rejected elements of self. Eventually you will discover your Self as the Life Force, Sentience itself, Shakti, Emptiness, and God.