In my book I wrote that getting burned out made me feel completely naked; only now, more than three years later, do I realize the real significance of this.
to be searching
The transition from a carefree childhood to a hormone-controlled puberty was very difficult for me, the transition from adolescence to adulthood, if possible, even more difficult. I can only remember that I have always been very searching. A search that occasionally took on destructive forms.
Several times I ran my head against the wall, to which the “We told you so!” comments from my environment followed. Over time, I completely lost confidence in my own choices, so in myself. So I tried to be like everyone else with the “adult” choices that come with it.
My identity came to coincide with what I did and with what (or rather who) I had in my life. Subconsciously I lived completely from my ego that was never satisfied and that always longed for more, different, better.
The years before my burnout, my identity was built on three pillars:
My work as a psychiatric nurse in addiction care, which empowered me
My passionate hobby and lifestyle as a surfer, which made me part of a – quite hip – subculture
Having many friends, which made me feel loved, despite the absence of a partner relationship (which was a major pain point in my life at the time)
But then came the burnout that, with the force and speed of a tsunami, mowed all these pillars out from under me. It soon became clear that I would not be able to resume my job as a psychiatric nurse; due to the lack of mental energy I couldn’t surf anymore and of those many friends the majority turned out to have absolutely no understanding for burnout.
The fullness of emptiness
So I was left with nothing, or so it seemed. Now I realize that it was just the things my ego identified with that fell away, but not the Self. All having and doing fell away, but not Being. That immediately explains why a deep inner peace and peaceful feeling came over me during my burnout. Something I had never experienced before.
Eckhart Tolle describes this as experiencing a borderline situation. Something that causes everything that you identified with, everything that gave you a sense of self, is taken away from you.
Suddenly and inexplicably the sorrow or intense fear you first felt gives way to a sacred awareness of Presence, a deep peace and tranquility, and you are completely freed from fear. You become aware of your true identity as consciousness itself rather than what consciousness identified with.
Embracing the Now Moment
I didn’t know where the burnout would lead me, so I learned to accept the now moment and even embrace it over time. I felt that everything was fine, exactly as it was. Even though I couldn’t explain it logically in any way, I knew that this period of being was necessary to prepare me for something else.
How the ego works
Being content with the present moment is something the ego absolutely hates. The ego will do anything to distract us from the here-and-now. It does this, among other things, by measuring itself against others, by feeling less or more. By repeating the (painful) stories from the past or worrying about the future.
Raising guilt and shame, judging others and ourselves. By feeling like a victim and holding others accountable. Constantly looking for confirmation from outside. Never consider himself good enough. To believe in scarcity and separation. By singing ‘yes…but’, ‘if…then’ and ‘what if…’ melodies.
Tenacity of the ego
My desire is to live more and more from my true self and my ego is definitely not happy about that. Lately it has been doing its utmost to thwart me in this by raising its head all the time. Although I am usually aware of when my ego kicks in, I still sometimes get carried away by it.
Afterwards I am always very disappointed in myself and that is precisely why I give the ego exactly what it wants. When you screw yourself up, the ego rubs its hands with a chuckle because then its mission, which is to provide separation, has been accomplished.
Be kind to yourself
So when you are in a process of breaking free from the ego , it is all the more important to be kind to yourself. Perhaps we should even try to be a little more lenient with the ego itself because, at least from its standpoint, it tries to protect us (even if it does the exact opposite).
Someone even gave me the tip to enter into a dialogue with your ego, it seems worth a try. In any case, it is better to have a good laugh with yourself when you have acted from your ego again, than to blame yourself.
During a crisis we are usually very attentive to ourselves. The trick is to remain present with ourselves even after the crisis, when daily life goes back to its ‘normal’ course. In order not to coincide again with all our roles that arise from doing and having. In my view, the occurrence of a relapse is closely related to this, with whether or not you remain present with yourself. My relapse came after I refused to implement the lessons I learned during my burnout into my life. It was a clear ‘ stay awake ‘ call.
The deeper sense of reality
The spiritual core of existence is visible through the world of time. But most people never experience this and don’t even know it’s there, until something happens in their life that makes them so sensitive that they begin to experience the sublime ‘. Adyashanti
Identifying yourself with your ego identity is the biggest obstacle to awakening . As Eckhart Tolle writes in his book A New Earth :
“Living according to an image you have of yourself or that other people have of you is false living – another unconscious role of the ego.” A burnout or other crisis releases you from your ego-identity and wakes you up to the deeper meaning of reality.
When you are open to it, a crisis can bring you in touch with your true nature, with the Place of Being within yourself. Living from the Being-place within yourself feels completely different from living from your different ego roles. Your ego lives by the laws of the world, while your true self attaches increasing importance to the universal laws. The universal laws are based on the unity consciousness. And the more people awaken to this unity consciousness, the faster the world becomes a better place.