After quite some time of daily meditation, I feel less like having a real separate, permanent self (specific details see below, but it's a general question), which, in my opinion, could be regarded as a step on the path to enlightenment. However, it also matches the criteria of a depersonalization disorder as defined by psychiatry more or less.
I wonder whether that's an issue and how to approach it. As a distinguishing feature, one could think that it feels good and liberating in the case of enlightenment, but negatively speaking a source of suffering in the case of a disorder. As a non-enlightened being I don't always feel good, so it's not that clear, and I think there can be more serious doubt in moments or phases when one feels bad (e.g. due to unpleasant nyams in meditation). The feature of social functioning also doesn't seem clear to me, since one could argue, for example, that seeking solitude/retreat for meditation is a socially impaired behaviour, especially when I talk to people who are not familiar with Buddhism. I suppose talking about feelings of no-self sounds rather crazy – which isn't a problem in itself, but it might impair my ability to have a positive influence on their lives or in charitable organizations.
So I wonder:
- How would you distinguish between the (partial) feeling of non-self as a step towards enlightenment and a depersonalization disorder (or a similar mental disorder)?
- (How, in which cases) would you speak openly about non-self-experiences with others?
Some details about my personal experience if relevant: Instead of a permanent self, it feels more as if mental events rise and pass without being mine or controlled by "me“. I feel less like having permanent character traits. I don't feel very connected to my past or possible future - "my“ body feels like an arbitrary vessel of consciousness. In deep meditation I feel like an abstract, spacious awareness (which is peaceful, vivid and benevolent).
While I'm not completely free of mental afflictions, I think attachment, desire, aversion, fear, and so on, are significantly weaker than before I started meditation and then in many other people (up to a point that others don't understand some of my behaviour).
Meditation method: shamatha awareness of awareness according to Alan Wallace.