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Nervous Breakdowns: A Door To Spiritual Realization

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Nervous Breakdowns: A Door To Spiritual Realization


This week’s Srila Siddhasvarupananda television program deals with turning inner emptiness into positive spiritual growth.


A nervous breakdown is not necessarily bad. It can in fact be an opportunity to open one’s life towards God. A nervous breakdown occurs when a materialist comes to the realization that he has no shelter and that all material options have fallen through. At such a point he realizes that he can’t find shelter in material relationships, in projects, in money etc…


A typical person, like a businessman, is striving to be number one. This pressure mounts, and he undergoes so much anxiety. This burden is constantly weighing upon his mind. Or a politician, they practically come to a nervous breakdown right before the election results come in. That is unless he has the election fixed [laughter]. But when they lose, they just sit there in a stupor wondering what to do now. Or a housewife who is overwhelmed with taking care of the home. A doctor may prescribe drugs, but that doesn’t solve the problem, it only keeps her drugged out. These tensions and agitations come from the illusion that material goals and ambitions is where you will find happiness.


This lust or passion is what winds people up. No one wants a nervous breakdown. We want materialism with security. A nervous breakdown means that a person cannot cope with the burdens of material existence. When they come to the end of their rope, they have no other shelter. When they can’t take shelter in this world they don’t know where to turn.


Great devotees of God have also had material breakdowns. An intelligent person knows that God exists, that He is the best friend of every living entity, and that even if everything falls apart that he still has someone to turn to. When they come to this point, they fall on their face and cry out to God. All the spiritual masters, and my spiritual master told me this. We call out the names of God for shelter and this pain we experience is a door that pushes us out of this material world. Then we understand that the spiritual world has real meaning, real purpose, and real love.


After taking shelter of God they have no worries. They simply live this life trying to please God. Sometimes, however, a person may fall down from the spiritual path. The Supreme Person being an unconditional lover of all of us, is always there waiting for us to surrender. If you turn to Him, and cry to God “I have foolishly tried to take shelter of the world, and now I am suffering once again. Please forgive me for rejecting you.” He will take you back.


Now a devotee of God may undergo so many pressures but he doesn’t try to hold them up. He simply goes into the secret world of his relationship with God and experiences that he is in fact nothing. If you are nothing then how can there be a burden? I don’t have a problem if I surrender to God’s will. If it is God’s will, then leave it to God. It is His problem. It isn’t mine. And since God is the supreme controller, has no competitor, it is no problem for Him. God does not worry.


So a nervous breakdown is for people who have their own will, and not the will of God. They have their own interests, and their own ambitions. A lover of God is already broken. His arrogance is broken, his materialistic plans are broken. All they have is God.


A nervous breakdown is a semi-death. At death you lose your ambitions and your property. Dictators, musicians, entertainers, it doesn’t matter who, all slowly lose control. Maybe they aren’t as loved as they once were. And in death you lose everything. A nervous breakdown means the ground is pulled out from beneath you. You are surprised and frightened. You lean on your spouse, or your job, or your false identity (“I’m Jack Jones, president of XYZ corporation. I have my title, I have respect.”), or your money. During the Great Depression people were jumping out of buildings because it all fell apart. All of their security was gone. There was a quote in the Bible about not building a house on sand at low tide. The tide of death will take away the house.


A nervous breakdown allows you to experience death before death. If you use it correctly you can understand that God is the only protection. There is an opportunity to take shelter of the eternal and not the temporary. One day you will realize how insecure you are and when that day comes remember its not hopeless. There is real shelter in the love of God. A nervous breakdown is a symptom of the material world. You don’t need to have one, just surrender to God. Seek protection in God because all the false places of security will in time be taken from you.

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<<<A nervous breakdown allows you to experience death before death>>>


Its like a reawakening then, a slap at the back, reminding or bringing us back to reality of this life. Then one can use it as a tool to redirect one's goal. Very inspiring lecture.

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excellent point gauracadra. i think at every point we can know the value of our decision from our internal state. even our thoughts may stump our internal growth. the purpose of consciousness is to love uncondtionally because only conscious beings can love. an increase in love is a sign of internal growth.

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An interesting question is how do we know what is God's will and what is my will. I think many people often start off on the right path, with good intentions, but as the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." What are the checks and balances we can use? This is particularly difficult in atomistic religions like from the east, because what is good and bad is often seen from the perspective not of society, but of a particular guru. Thus if society says it is bad, but your guru says it is good, then it is good. In the Western sense, this is wrong. Soceity determines what is good and bad. Its a tricky proposition.

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