NDM: What about proclivities,
tendencies, habits of behavior,
conditioning and so on. Did these also
fall away with the "sense of self" or do
they still remain?
Since mental clarity has gotten razor
sharp, sensing dysfunctional situations
around me has gotten more acute. For
example, I can see why connections
between people are not working well, and
it's frustrating sometimes. Things like
that have always frustrated me, and
perhaps they do even more now that
things are so clear. Sometimes anger is
expressed about it which is both new and
different. The difference is the anger
comes from a purer place than it use to
without the story of guilt attached.
Seeking continues. Sometimes it's very
annoying when it does. Sometimes
laughter arises about it, but the other
day there were tears and frustration.
Ultimately, it is no one seeking to be
someone, a most futile venture. Seeking
to be someone currently takes on the
form of desperation for friendships, a
life's purpose, financial well-being,
making people in my life proud of me,
and being noticed by those who are
disinterested. Even participating in
this interview is a form of seeking.
Behind it is desperation to be someone
at long last. This seeking is tiresome,
but unavoidable so long as there is a
Disappearing happens still on occasion.
Strangely, when it does, desperation to
seek completely ceases. The necessity
for any pursuits suddenly drops away.
NDM: So when you say that things that
used to frustrate you, perhaps more now
since you are crystal clear. What or who
is being frustrated exactly?
Dualistic terms like "I" are being used
in this interview, because it is the
clearest way to communicate to the
readership. But it is seen that
frustration is merely arising, and no
one is frustrated. But sometimes that is
forgotten when the individual is being
NDM: So why is this forgotten and
why is the individual in control?
Then why is
this sometimes forgotten "when it
appears that the individual in
I donít know.
NDM: But what is the reason for this
happening? Why does it appear that the
individual is in control?
I donít know.
NDM: Who is identifying with this idea
The only thought that comes to mind is
the old conditioning is still there and
arises. The individual appears to be in
control to no one. The old conditioning
takes over, and it is experienced as if
the sense of self is real. In truth, I
don't know the answers to any of this.
Can you speculate?
According to some ancient non dual
traditions, they say the reason for this
say this is one of the main causes of
bondage. For example in this old
book, The Jivanmukti-viveka; or, The
path to liberation in this life It
states, The whole question of Liberation
is easily solved if we once acquire firm
grasp of the nature of vasanas and
understand the means to destroy it.
.......... Conquer this latent desire
and Jivanmukti is within easy reach.
What are your thoughts on
There is a sense that what is going on
is simply an apparent organic unraveling
of sense of self. There is a trust that
whatever destruction that is necessary
is happening or rather it happened in
October, and the conditioning arising is
merely remnants that will die away. And
whatever conditioning may not die away
will remain. What conditioning will
remain is unknown.
NDM: Can you tell me about the depression that you had? How long
did you have it for? What kind of depression was it? Would you
classify it as being mild, moderate, severe, and so on. Did you
take meds for it? How has this realization affected this?
In 1978 during my 11th grade year I started going to a
very dark place. I dropped my social group and became a loner. It felt
severe to me as I was suicidal. I barely made it through 12th grade.
My husband-to-be introduced me to therapy in 1981. I attended group
therapy, and it helped. Years later I went on Prozac for a time. It
The postpartum depression was pretty dark years and got darker. I
wasn't on Prozac anymore. I was able to function in a limited way. I
could get my daughter to school and then came home and slept. Then I
would pick her up and come home and sleep some more. I barely
managed the house, but I was able to get food on the table somehow.
I cried nearly all the time.
At some point I was playing with alternative medicine to address the
depression. Acupuncture helped quite a bit.
By November, 1998 things had gotten very bad. At some point I just
felt I had reached the end of my rope, and so I saw a psychiatrist
and got put on Zoloft. But Zoloft takes weeks to take effect, and I
did not feel I had weeks, so I had myself hospitalized. I was there
for only a couple of days, but it changed my life. I found a
strength I never knew I had. The act of surrender turned me around.
Although the Zoloft was a great support in helping with the
depression, I feel the hospital experience was pivotal in helping me
to see what I was really made of. And suddenly life began supporting
my healing in astounding ways. And unbeknownst to me, a little over
2 years later the 2001 awakening happened. During that awakening all
remnants of depression vanished, but that didnít last.
With the October 2010 awakening the depression vanished too, but the
quality of the awakening is different. With the 2001 awakening there
was no grounding, and so falling was inevitable. But this time
around there has been a sense of grounding from the start. Even now
on occasion when groundlessness does occur, returning back to the
ground is gentle. There is a sense of being conscious with very
NDM: Can you tell me more about this act of surrender? What
do you mean by surrender exactly? What did you surrender to?
Nancy Dolin: The
individual wants to be in control. This act of surrender was
relinquishing control to the whims of life. I had never been
to a psychiatric ward. I did not know what would happen. It
was a terrifying move. It's quite spectacular what may occur
when surrendering happens.
On closer inspection it is now seen no one surrendered, but
that surrendering to life happened.
NDM: Can tell me about this
psychiatric ward. What was it like exactly?
Did you have any kind of insights while you were in there?
It was a county facility, very bare bones. Patients were
dehumanized by incompetent staff, but, ironically, it was
there that my humanity was found. Though I was in bad shape
when I arrived, I found the strength to counsel other
patients and support them. Also, there was a pay phone for
which patients received phone calls. The phone was ringing
off the hook with friends and family concerned about me. I
was moved. When you are depressed, you think no one loves
you, and here I was proven totally wrong. Like the
experience with the yearbook, life was showing me that my
beliefs simply did not match up to reality. That experience
revealed to me that there was strength in me I never knew I
had, and I left feeling that maybe I might be all right.
One of the most important things that arose during that stay
was gratitude. I do not think prior to that experience I had
felt gratitude before. I was so grateful I had somewhere to
go. I was grateful to have a bed to sleep in, a roof over my
head, and even the crappy food they gave us. I was grateful
for the many phone calls I received. I was grateful for the
patients who shared their stories with me. I was grateful to
the one staff member, a student intern, who offered warmth
and support to me. I was even grateful to the cruel staff
for helping me to see what I was made of by testing my
was it terrifying? What was the fear of surrendering to this
Nancy Dolin: I
had never been to a psychiatric ward. I was terrified to be
among severely crazy people. Images of One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest came to mind. I thought I might find
myself abused either by patients and/or staff or maybe I
wouldn't be let out. I was there on my own without anyone to
protect me. I was not allowed visitors. Anything could have
happened to me. Also it was a county facility where the
lowest of the low go. It was not a fancy asylum where the
well-to-do rest. It was a loony bin. The other thing is that
by entering this place, I had to let go of what was going on
at home. Our finances were a mess. It was terrifying to
think perhaps we might lose everything, because I was not
there to take control.
Finally, it was terrifying to think how this would affect my
Going to the hospital was facing the great unknown, facing
it in the worst mental state possible. That is truly
terrifying. That is surrendering.
How has this realization changed you, the realization that
you mentioned earlier on about not having a sense of a
separate person being there?
How has this changed the illusory me? The question itself
does not compute. There is no ďmeĒ to change. But let's
pretend for a moment there really is a "me" that can change,
because that is the story we illusory individuals desire to
Life now is a strange paradoxical puzzle for the individual.
There is the conditioned way of approaching life as if the
individual is real and then the inspection of how that
approach no longer computes. Sometimes it's confusing.
Sometimes it's amusing. Sometimes it's heartbreaking.
There have been moments since October in which the
individual disappears again. It's as if the sense of the
whole body is gone, and what is left is just the sensation
of the bottoms of the feet touching the ground. In those
moments there is absolutely no desperation to seek and that
all is whole, complete, and fine just as it is. But when the
individual appears to return, there is a stark contrast to
that, and it is shocking. And so some of the heartbreak
comes in seeing how within the equation of individuality,
desperation will always arise. The individual may have
moments of peace and wholeness, but desperation will
return--desperation to be someone, to be filled up, to not
be empty space.
Sometimes this realization is dealt with lightly, but other
times when the desperation intensifies, the pain of it is
hard to take. There is a longing for the disappearance to be
permanent so that this desperation will cease at last. And
perhaps that will happen.
And so the apparent change happening to no one appearing
through me is a new kind of confusion. It's not the
confusion of the past where there was lack of mental
clarity. In fact it is more a confusion arising because
there is so much mental clarity, of seeing the illusion and
yet identifying with it too. There are still beliefs the
individual holds about what she thinks will make her happy,
and at the same time, there is a knowing these beliefs are
total bullshit for there is no one that can be made happy.
That is what makes things confusing.
It appears right now that much is continually being
integrated, and so confusion will arise in the midst of it.
That's the way it is.
Also listen to Nancy's
interview with Jerry Katz