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Fear of Existing

Not sure if this is supposed to be here. But after tripping LSD in 2009 I became extremely self-aware and I developed this realization that I exist and somehow I exist while reality isn’t logical. It’s like I woke up from a dream and everything was just socially constructed. However I panicked and developed some serious PTSD and fear. Fast forward 13 years later after having some “reality breaks” that felt like depersonalization/derealization. I am seeing that the fear inside is that I exist in a situation that doesn’t make any sense to me. This scares me and I start to panic and think I’m in a simulation, or panic around the fact that I’m existing without knowing how or having an understanding of reality in absolute terms.

However recently I have been forced to face these fears. I just can’t live in fear constantly. I have practiced meditation and read about Buddhism — how would a Buddhist approach this? Can anybody relate?

Thank you.

FleaMarketJeroenLionduckrocala

Comments

  • FleaMarketFleaMarket Newbie, not Veteran

    Welcome @ravkes, That's all quite relatable. I don't have many answers yet but a good breathing routine is quite powerful.

    https://newbuddhist.com/discussion/27220/mindful-leader-24-hrs-5-days-a-week-zoom-meditation-sessions

    Thanks to @Bunks

    Shoshin1
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited June 27

    I doubt you'll find anyone here who doesn't relate.

    Is life a choice between snoozing or wakefulness?
    How best can this life be lived, is a question,
    where only within this present fleeting nanosecond,
    can its answer be truly met.

    and a fostering of some compassion & love towards your own innate state of fear would be a typical Buddhist approach.

    Welcome to the chaos.

    lobsterpersonmarcitkoShoshin1
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    @ravkes said:
    Not sure if this is supposed to be here. But after tripping LSD in 2009 I became extremely self-aware and I developed this realization that I exist and somehow I exist while reality isn’t logical. It’s like I woke up from a dream and everything was just socially constructed. However I panicked and developed some serious PTSD and fear. Fast forward 13 years later after having some “reality breaks” that felt like depersonalization/derealization. I am seeing that the fear inside is that I exist in a situation that doesn’t make any sense to me. This scares me and I start to panic and think I’m in a simulation, or panic around the fact that I’m existing without knowing how or having an understanding of reality in absolute terms.

    However recently I have been forced to face these fears. I just can’t live in fear constantly. I have practiced meditation and read about Buddhism — how would a Buddhist approach this? Can anybody relate?

    Thank you.

    False Evidence Appearing Real

    I fear and I ought not to fear, but because "I" fear, I fear because I fear...

    Fear feeds the sense of self, and the stronger the fear, the stronger the sense of self becomes and so the cycle of fear continues...

    Form is Emptiness...Emptiness is Form

    Meditate on Anatta

    If you were to go to Africa to photograph the wildlife, you could walk all over the plains looking for the different animals. Or you could sit by the watering hole, where all the animals eventually come. Likewise, practice becomes very simple if we pay attention, carefully and non-reactively, to our suffering, that is, the contractions, restrictions and stresses in our body, mind and heart. For the sake of liberation, what you do and don’t need to know will come to you if you simply watch your suffering and its cessation. You will see the grasping and you will see the possibility of genuine happiness that comes from releasing that grasping. May you know the peace of non-grasping to both self and no-self.

    person
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @ravkes said:
    Not sure if this is supposed to be here. But after tripping LSD in 2009 I became extremely self-aware and I developed this realization that I exist and somehow I exist while reality isn’t logical. It’s like I woke up from a dream and everything was just socially constructed. However I panicked and developed some serious PTSD and fear. Fast forward 13 years later after having some “reality breaks” that felt like depersonalization/derealization. I am seeing that the fear inside is that I exist in a situation that doesn’t make any sense to me. This scares me and I start to panic and think I’m in a simulation, or panic around the fact that I’m existing without knowing how or having an understanding of reality in absolute terms.

    However recently I have been forced to face these fears. I just can’t live in fear constantly. I have practiced meditation and read about Buddhism — how would a Buddhist approach this? Can anybody relate?

    Thank you.

    I would say to these thoughts this is all the mind. It is the mind which is trying to understand, and which is finding reality not logical. If you come back to just experiencing, you will find words and concepts are just very loose indicators for things, and really experience is far more rich than words describe. In reality the experience is only describeable in very general, placeholder terms.

    So it helps to not be too caught up in the mind, which is always busy partitioning, recognising, conceptualising, projecting and speculating. I would just let go a little of the mind, let thoughts come and go and just observe how it plays with language and concepts. There is nothing to fear, experience just is what it is.

    The problem comes when you have a certain conception of how reality should be, an internal model in which you are invested. Then the mind feels threatened when it turns out not to be so. But in the end we are more than just the mind, a buddhist would say we reincarnate, we have life after life to get it right.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 27

    I am seeing that the fear inside is that I exist in a situation that doesn’t make any sense to me.

    … And it has to make sense because … ?

    This scares me and I start to panic and think I’m in a simulation, or panic around the fact that I’m existing without knowing how or having an understanding of reality in absolute terms.

    LOL [my best maniacal laugh]
    Maybe, like me, you are mad, live in a simulation/projection of reality. Pretty certain I don't exist AND understanding reality is beyond me or anyone …

    What is your plan? New tantra-t-shirt?
    https://buddhaweekly.com/overcoming-fear-three-remedies-fear-buddha-say-fearlessness-abhaya-sutta/

    YUM!

    CraigJB
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited July 3

    Well, I mean... We are living on a collection of rocks and water that is whipping around a giant ball of plasma which is in one of many collections of giant balls of plasma with smaller balls whipping around them. Some of which may even have beings like us living there.

    We can live in fear, I mean, it is an option but looking at the same scenario from a perspective of wonder and even awe is way more fun.

    As humans, we (generally speaking) have a habit of fearing what we do not understand but it isn't a rule or anything.

    FleaMarket
  • ravkesravkes Veteran

    Thanks very much for the beautiful responses everyone. 🙏

    lobsterShoshin1Bunks
  • marcitkomarcitko Explorer

    Hi @ravkes,

    Welcome to the boards! I am no expert on Buddhism, nor on mental health, but having gone through similar experiences to yours here are my thoughts/suggestions.

    If you have read or will read some Buddhist sutras, you will notice that the Buddha always uses negation around all possible positions around big intellectual ideas such as "is reality a simulation?".

    I don't know if he addressed that very question, "simulation" was not a concept they had at the time, but I imagine his answer would be something like "reality is not a simulation, nor is it not a simulation, nor is it both a simulation and not a simulation, nor is it neither a simulation or a simulation".

    This sounds like heady stuff difficult to understand, but to my mind it just means: such thinking (any of the positions), especially if it is rampant, will only make you fearfull, anxious, confused, not at ease.

    I am sure that at times you feel at ease, in the moment, natural, spontaneous, just OK. I am likewise sure that at such times you are not thinking whether reality is a simulation or not, which is your hint that such thoughts, as the Buddha would say, are trouble.

    Hence, to my mind, the Buddhist approach to this issue would be to aim to put down such thinking and just live a simple, moral, active, compassionate, joyfull life to the best of your abilities. Simulation or not, we still go on with our normal ordinary daily activities. I am sure you have some activities that ground you, bring you calm, lessen the "monkey-mind" and the resulting turmoil - these are your remedies, your medicine.

    There is actually a zen-story that illustrates this point (paraphrased). A man comes to the monastery seeking relief from a heavy dose of monkey mind and agitation. The teacher in residence tells him: "I am going to town, in the meantime, please sweep the whole monastery." The man is perplexed, since he thought he would be taught meditation, but does as the teacher says. While he is sweeping, a grounding simple activity that bypasses the troubling thoughts that brought him to the monastery, his mind calms down, and when the teacher returns, he teaches him about meditation.

    I am a big proponent, both in my life and in advising others at times when their minds get out of hand, not to underestimate the power of a healthy, balanced, grounded lifestyle. Such a lifestyle brings positive results, a better mind, a better life. Troubling thoughts become less, and finally just fall away completely. It's always a work in progress, something to be worked at, kept going. I do not know your circumstances, but if you know which habits and behaviors do not help you be well, stable, at ease aim to lessen or remove them completely, slowly, step by step. Can't do it overnight. This is a powerful remedy and brings much better results than we might conceive of at the beggining.

    Regarding meditation, I read good advice from Adyashanti recently: "practice what works for you, not what does not". So, do not feel pressured to practice the exact technique you think you "should" practice, try a few, and practice the one(s) that you find that bring you results and feel in line with your intensions and psychological makeup.

    Wishing you well and keep us posted on how things are getting along.

    lobsterKotishka
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @ravkes said:
    after tripping LSD in 2009 I became extremely self-aware and I developed this realization that I exist and somehow I exist while reality isn’t logical. It’s like I woke up from a dream and everything was just socially constructed.

    I was reading Adyashanti the other day, and he said very similar things — that thoughts can’t be truthful because they are all just abstractions of things in reality. Most of these things have been pointed out to you by other people, and so that’s inherently suspect because people imagine and lie.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Just Existing is something to be feared. However, to live takes courage; to live takes action. To exist is to be like a small stick floating, carried by the river, just passively going where the river and it's currents send it. To live is to be in a canoe paddling upon the river to travel where you want to go.
    Summery: Life is the river
    the stick is merely existing
    Paddling the canoe is living

    Peace to all

    FleaMarket
  • ShanYin37ShanYin37 Ontario, Canada Explorer

    @ravkes said:
    Not sure if this is supposed to be here. But after tripping LSD in 2009 I became extremely self-aware and I developed this realization that I exist and somehow I exist while reality isn’t logical. It’s like I woke up from a dream and everything was just socially constructed. However I panicked and developed some serious PTSD and fear. Fast forward 13 years later after having some “reality breaks” that felt like depersonalization/derealization. I am seeing that the fear inside is that I exist in a situation that doesn’t make any sense to me. This scares me and I start to panic and think I’m in a simulation, or panic around the fact that I’m existing without knowing how or having an understanding of reality in absolute terms.

    However recently I have been forced to face these fears. I just can’t live in fear constantly. I have practiced meditation and read about Buddhism — how would a Buddhist approach this? Can anybody relate?

    Thank you.

    You say realized you exist AND that reality isn't logical. I don't mean to be rude and I am trying to understand and learn from you too. Were YOU part of that reality? Are you logical? Someone help me out.

  • ShanYin37ShanYin37 Ontario, Canada Explorer

    I am not a psychologist nor can give mental health advice.

    I have tried alot of drugs including magic mushrooms but not LSD. Anyway... sometimes I feel like my psychological state fearful and that I am not thinking as ... I'll use the word 'clear' as I used to.

    Lately it feels like I am not aware of my body. Thich Nat Hanh said in one of his videos that if we use a computer for 2 hours we lose awareness (might not be his exact words) of our body. I use the computer alot and I think I may be slightly addicted to the internet.

    Get some rest.

  • NugaiNugai Ireland New

    False Evidence Appearing Real

    That really resonated! I'm gonna save that for later. Thank you!

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