Third, we must look for ourselves. Yes, you are the infinite universe, but you are also this specific human in this specific body. Patience and compassion for your ego and body are essential. Keep an eye on yourself; make sure you eat and sleep, and don't put your health in jeopardy. Even if you think it's all a dream, be nice and pay for stuff. The secret is self-compassion; I rooted for myself even when I felt terribly alone and afraid. No matter how much the instability swept away my neat life-plans, I was on my side.
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Second, the location is critical. It helps if you have supportive friends that love and understand you while you're ‘transitioning.' I couldn't tell what was real when I returned from South America; I could barely follow conversations, and luckily, my friends were there for me and weren't freaked out since they'd experienced similar experiences (Lou is one of my best friends). I adored getting hugs from my pals, petting my brother's dogs and cats, and sitting by his fire I was rooted in love and touch. Getting outside in nature was also really therapeutic for me. I stayed away from folks who didn't understand what I was going through.
Third, it is critical to integrate. I returned to reality after about a week, but I worked on the integration for months and am still working on it. I began visiting a therapist who is receptive to the transpersonal viewpoint. I found a group where I could meditate with other people. There are also support groups such as the Spiritual Crisis Network and the Hearing Voices Network.
Unfortunately, western psychiatry is frequently the worst setting or technique for this type of encounter. Most psychiatry, as Tim explained, is useless because it refuses to consider that these kinds of experiences could have meaning or constitute a stage in a person's development. ‘Medical intervention often serves to cement stasis and hamper growth,' Tim argues. Anna desperately needed help during her crisis, but she was frightened of being locked up and labeled insane. Most secure mental institutions are awful, cruel, loveless, and soulless places, therefore she was probably lucky not to be sectioned. ‘It is one of the great tragedies of psychiatry that our most vulnerable patients are placed in the most unsuitable environments,' argues Tim, who led the Royal London Hospital's Emergency Psychiatry Service.
We don't talk about messy breakdowns, and we regard them as dreadful, humiliating, and frightening, something to keep away, rather as something possibly painful but amazing, like giving birth!
However, just as there is a risk of materialist fundamentalism, there is also a risk of religious or spiritual fundamentalism – Anna describes how she used to crave these euphoric moments, but she eventually realized that it was a means to avoid her sorrow. We can utilize spiritual experiences to avoid dealing with this reality, this body, and this life with all of its complexities. Tim Read describes a case study of spiritual narcissism in which a young guy became so fixated on his spiritual experiences that he lost his ability to navigate the world. To avoid becoming a “complete space-cadet,” as one ayahuasca facilitator described it, we must balance our life in this world with our yearning for the transcendence. We must also be open to ambiguity and uncertainty, as well as the fact that we may not always know where we are on the journey.
None of this is to say that there aren't any psychiatric illnesses that are primarily somatic in nature and aren't transitions to higher selves. I'm also aware that psychiatric medication can be beneficial and even life-saving for some people. Sectioning is sometimes important to safeguard people and society.
Tim and I are now working on a book of people's first-hand descriptions of spiritual experiences, in order to answer the questions of what they're like on the inside and what they found useful. The focus is on the set and setting, which are practical things that aid individuals. More information about how you can help can be found here.
Finally, I'm curious about the implications of these encounters for the nature of reality and God. Evangelical Christians, in my opinion, can have a naive picture of God and the orderliness of religious experiences. When you encounter Jesus, who is completely loving and good for you, both this life and the next are instantaneously improved. Spiritual awakenings can, in fact, seem like death and can completely derail your life. They're closer to the Old Testament God, the God of the Burning Bush and the Book of Job, the God who transformed Nebuchadnezzar into a beast and forced Ezekiel to sleep on his side for 430 days.
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What does it indicate about God, or the Self, that spiritual awakenings can occasionally wreck a life, leading individuals to starve themselves or leap from a building in their quest for transcendence (as two examples in Tim's book demonstrate)?
It seems to me that the collapse of the ego and the opening to the Self might be extremely painful, even lethal at times. It might be a fight with a god who resembles Shiva the cosmic creator and destroyer. It gives me hope that reincarnation is genuine, and that, while the archetypal call of the Self can be detrimental and even fatal to the person at times, we will gradually journey towards the light across many lives. Or perhaps God / the Self / the Tao is more concerned with the waking of the species than with individuals. Or maybe there isn't a God at all. Even if there isn't, as Lou, Anthony, Anna, and I have done, we can still help people traverse these difficult periods of ego-dissolution so that they can move on to more positive and full lives.
Breaking Open: Finding a Way Through Spiritual Emergency, available through Aeon Books here and through online shops like Amazon, contains more on Lou, Anna, and my experiences, as well as 11 more accounts of people's spiritual emergencies.
What is meant by spiritual emergency?
Spiritual crisis (also known as “spiritual emergency”) is a type of identity crisis in which an individual's meaning system (i.e., their distinctive objectives, goals, values, attitude and beliefs, identity, and emphasis) undergoes severe changes, usually as a result of a spontaneous spiritual encounter. Psychological, social, and occupational functioning may all be disrupted as a result of a spiritual crisis. Psychiatric complications related to existential crisis, mystical experience, near-death experiences, Kundalini syndrome, paranormal experiences, religious ecstasy, or other spiritual practices are among the spiritual experiences thought to lead to episodes of spiritual crisis or spiritual emergency.
What to do if you are having a spiritual awakening?
When you desire something, Abraham claims, your inner self expands and becomes it.
This indicates that the thing you want occupies the majority of your being. Your inner existence is already wealthy, healthy, and devoted to everything and everyone.
“My inner being is strong and vibrant, which implies the physical part of me will catch up soon, so I don't have to worry about this,” I tell myself whenever my health anxiety returns.
“Something bigger and better is being set up for us, this happened for our betterment,” I told my husband and myself every day after he lost his job.
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Recognizing the nature of reality is accepting that everything begins as energy and then becomes matter. Matter is a relic of the past; it has previously existed. You're living in the past if you're focused on what you perceive with your physical senses.
The new is created with thought and feeling.
You might believe that your prior place of employment is the only source of income for you, but you'd be wrong.
You might believe that a relationship can't be raised to a higher frequency, but you'd be wrong!
It is possible to achieve anything. Spiritually awake souls come to understand the nature of reality in this way. Trust and open your heart.
Let go of whatever it is you're going through. In every moment, remind yourself that you already are that desire, and it's only a matter of time before it manifests in your actual reality. It emerges from thinking first, then from physical reality.
What does a spiritual awakening feel like?
Psychological research on spiritual and kundalini awakenings is still in its early stages, and it has tended to ignore events that occur suddenly and unexpectedly. Studies on the impact of mystical experiences, such as spiritual and kundalini awakenings, on well-being have identified the predominantly positive, healing effects of these experiences, as well as some of the more challenging aspects brought on both by their disruptive nature and by their typically biased clinical interpretations. Despite a greater number of research addressing the powerful physical aspect of kundalini awakenings compared to spiritual awakenings, the subtle phenomenological variations between spiritual and kundalini awakenings have rarely been studied. The interchangeable use of these terminology could make it difficult to comprehend these experiences and their effects, especially as stronger bodily feelings may imply more difficult outcomes. Some of the phenomenological and neurobiological bases of drug and non-drug induced ASCs, as well as the links between the spiritual features of ASCs and the symptoms of TLE and trait absorption, have been investigated by neuroscientific and psychological study. However, SSA/SKAs have yet to be mapped within the ASC framework, and the common predictors used to research ASCs (TLL and absorption) have not been tested as efficient predictors of SSA/SKAs.
This paper will explore the general properties of SSA/SKAs, their consequences on well-being, how they compare to other measurable ASCs, their links with TLL and absorption, and the potential phenomenological variations between them in order to fill certain gaps in the data. The authors hypothesize that Spontaneous Kundalini Awakenings (SKAs) are not only more physical than Spontaneous Spiritual Awakenings (SSAs), but also more likely to produce negative experiences, based on the prevalence of anecdotal accounts of physical and energetic experiences preceding challenging kundalini experiences. After that, the phenomenological distribution of spontaneous Spiritual and Kundalini Awakenings will be mapped within the ASC framework by comparing their phenomenological distribution to that of non-drug and drug-induced ASCs. Following a similar approach to the investigation of induced ASCs, analysis will be undertaken to evaluate the hypothesis that TLL and trait absorption predict the severity of the SSA/SKA ASC. More research will be done to see how the SSA/SKA sample's population distribution compares to the distribution of previously reported “normal” TLL and absorption samples. The short- and long-term effects of these events on one's well-being will be investigated.
What is a spiritual breakdown?
The Spiritual Journey's Three Stages “A breakdown is when the floor gives way under you, when things go sideways, when things don't go the way you want them to,” he explains. “There are a variety of ways that these can manifest themselves, but for the most part, breakdowns revolve on loss.”
How do you recognize a spiritual person?
The first evidence of a spiritual person is their lack of fear. When you have a fear or a chronic worry, that fear takes over your life and you are unable to be in the present moment. Fear of public speaking, fear of heights, and fear of bugs are the three most common fears among Americans. Many people, however, are terrified of death, rejection, loneliness, failure, illness, or making poor judgments. Spiritual people understand how to yield to forces beyond their control. In this way, they are similar to children in that they know how to ignore their minds and live fearlessly.
What are the stages of spiritual awakening?
The hero's journey, an evolutionary process of growth and transformation woven into all great myths and stories, was outlined by renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell: “A genuinely heroic shift of awareness occurs when we stop worrying about ourselves and our own self-preservation.”
The primary pushing off point for any hero's quest is known as the call to adventure. The call to adventure is a break from regular life, a signal that comes from deep inside, grabs your attention, and drives you in a new direction. The spark that sets off a spiritual awakening is a call to adventure. Every life has a moment that, if grasped, will change it forever. The call to adventure is a reawakening experience, a shift in perspective that forces you to reconsider your perspective on life. A travel to a strange location, the loss of innocence, an illness, a challenge, the death of a close friend, a near-death experience, or the loss of a job are all examples of spiritual experiences. Regardless of the specifics, the experience alters your perspective and causes you to see the world through fresh eyes. You've been given the task of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
At this critical juncture, Joseph Campbell advises that you must choose whether or not to accept the call to adventure. In truth, though, ignoring the call isn't an option because your soul is inviting you to change on a deeper level. If you ignore the call, the opportunity will recycle itself like a skip on a record, patiently waiting for you to embrace the call to a new existence, thanks to your unique karmic influences. Furthermore, there is no going back once a transforming and deeply waking incident has occurred. Your eyes have been opened, and no matter how much you try to reject it, you can't turn away from the image of a greater reality calling to you.
You enter a broader universe once you've answered the call to adventure. You take an active role in your spiritual development and advancement. As you begin to manage your life toward chances that enhance your knowledge, responsibility becomes the operative word. Everything feels the same and weirdly different at the same time, thanks to a tiny alteration in perspective.
How do I know if I have a spiritual gift?
Accepting that intuition is a part of your personality is the first step in realizing it. The more you trust that you have this fundamental capacity, the more powerful your intuition gets. The stronger the messages get, and the easier your life will ebb and flow, the more you enjoy the fact that you are already receiving direction.
Consider whether you've experienced any of the following experiences and what you can do to help your life journey by encouraging them in a more powerful, positive, and meaningful way.
Have you ever heard the saying that everything happens in threes? It's critical to pay notice when there are trends in your life.
Six months after arriving in Los Angeles, I received a call from a friend who said he would be in town in three weeks and wanted to hook up with me. When I was thinking about him two weeks later in preparation for our plans, I didn't reach out since I assumed he would contact me like he had the previous time. I had several thoughts about him and even had a dream about him. After the dream, I awoke with the realization that I needed to call him that day. Instead, when I got on social media that morning and saw countless posts in response to his death, I was taken aback.
I've learnt my lesson; now, if I think of someone three times (or even fewer), I pay attention and pick up the phone to call them. The individual on the other end of the line is usually happy to hear from me.
Because sleep is our most creative and vulnerable condition, dreams and visions are most easily manifested.
My mother once had a dream that my father was about to die, and she awoke at 2 a.m. She instantly said a few prayers and attempted to sleep again after this nightmare. As it turns out, my father was climbing Mt. Hood in Oregon at the time, and he stepped into a crevice, causing an avalanche that nearly killed him. We don't always understand why we have dreams, but if you have them frequently, it's crucial to pay attention to them.
This might be a vision you see when talking to someone, a foreshadowing like the ones stated above in dreams, or just a random image that comes to mind.
Let's assume you're pulling out of the driveway and suddenly feel uneasy, and you have a mental vision of an accident in your head. You can then decide whether to wait till you feel comfortable or take a different route to work. Premonitions are frequently a type of communication intended to safeguard you from harm.
You thought you were getting up at 5 a.m. every morning to go pee, but it could be something else. Waking awake between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m. on a regular basis is a strong indication that spirits are trying to speak with you. This period is known as the “spiritual” or “connecting hour.” Sit up and allow yourself to receive messages if you consistently wake up at the same time every morning. They are warmly welcomed.
Children are the most conscious of the spirit realm, and they frequently refer to imaginary pals or villains in their nightmares. We reach a state of rest while we sleep “Delta and Theta” states are comparable to those we experienced as children. If there are spirits out there attempting to reach you, they may try to gently wake you up at first, but if that doesn't work, they may resort to nightmares.
I used to have nightmares every night when I initially came to Venice Beach. Worse, the lights were flickering and I was hearing strange noises. To say the least, I felt exceedingly uneasy. I ended up completing a spirit clearing with one of my paintings and, to my surprise, discovered who the spirit was in the process. My neighbor's mother, it turned out, had died when she was just 17 years old, looked exactly like me, and was also an artist. EEEEEk! I was terrified by everything. Looking back on this time in my intuitive journey, I would have most likely attempted to connect with her to figure out why she was in my area. But I was too uncomfortable at the time and wanted her to leave.
This is a highly frequent tendency among many people who are generally unaware of it. Frequently, we are experiencing experiences that are not ours, but rather those of someone we know. It could even be unrelated aches and pains or illnesses.
That used to happen to me on a regular basis. I was just driving from Los Angeles to Portland and began to feel tremendously afraid every time I passed a semi truck, as if they were trying to shoot me as I went past. I kept questioning it since it was the most unsettling experience I'd ever had. Isn't it true that I wasn't supposed to go to Portland? Later that evening, I learned that my girlfriend's parents had been kidnapped in Brazil and that gangs had erupted over the city. I had apparently been experiencing her family's concerns and emotions, and as soon as I realized what was going on, I felt at ease. When this happens, though, take a deep breath and exhale, clearing your mind of all unwanted emotions.
When I'm talking to someone and asking them a question, I frequently have an answer in my head before I even hear their response.
Voices are heard by certain persons. Some people get a thought in their head, while others get a response in their heart. It makes no difference how the signals reach you; what matters is that you are aware of them. When you identify this gift, it can be extremely beneficial in all aspects of your life.
Recognize when you're in a good mood and when you're in a bad mood. Let's assume you envision yourself laughing hysterically with your friends… What sensations do you have in your body as you recall this event? Then imagine yourself having the worst day of your life, whatever that means to you, and pay attention to what your body is telling you. The good and bad feelings will become more obvious as you ask your being questions on a regular basis. Then you'll be able to be yourself “Oracle” and stay in touch at all times. Instead of feeling nice and comforting, it could feel like pressure or even frigid. It's up to you to make sense of the situation.
I get a tingling sense a lot when somebody share something fantastic. When working with clients, I may have the similar sensation when releasing imprisoned emotions, beliefs, and other issues. Tingling and tickling sensations usually cause your body to move, even if it's just a momentary dance. The jumping sensation is usually automatic, and you react to it. Even when I'm writing something good, I'll occasionally be tingling the entire time. Tingling is magical to me; it's when everything is on point and spectacular. The sensation is the body's way of expressing itself “Yes!” says the universe.
You may start to feel a pressure between your brows before you realize you have an intuitive skill. This is your 3rd Eye, and it's a place where you can get messages and instruction. This experience will be strongest in those who are clairvoyant and can hear messages. Then it's a matter of checking in and sharing or “Consider how you're preparing to receive the visions. Some people can see the colors of other people's chakras through their third eye.
If you want to improve your intuition, consciously invite in the experiences listed above. You can express thanks for the experience as you grow more aware of the varied scenarios. It's almost as though you're becoming aware of your subconscious. It's a delicate line, to be sure, but it grows stronger with practice, just like any other muscle. You may also enhance the rate at which guidance and messages arrive to you.
Because it demonstrates your faith and believe in the guidance process, acknowledgment and thankfulness are the quickest ways to improve your intuitive talents.
Finally, it's critical to understand where the advice is coming from. It's critical to make requests that only the highest beings and light provide you messages and guidance. Another choice is to seek the highest level of insight and truth. You'll be better protected this way, especially against nightmares and voices. You don't want advice from those who don't have your best interests at heart.
Where should I start my spiritual journey?
Suddenly, what I was seeing wasn't enough. I was hankering for more. Beyond the veil of my reality, I knew there were things to be disclosed. I really didn't know where to start untangling the web I'd become entangled in.
For a long time, I wanted I could be like Alice in Wonderland and drink a magical potion that would transform my perspective and answer all of my spiritual problems.
Instead, I began the arduous task of charting my own course. But I made a critical error. I imagined that if I found the correct thing, I'd be able to wave a wand and everything would become crystal obvious.
The problem is that when you're considering about starting a spiritual practice or need help coping with ordinary life, just knowing where to look and where to start can be daunting.
What I finally discovered is that there are various pathways to take in reality. What matters is that we simply begin walking.
Here is some guidance to get you started on your own spiritual quest for a more fulfilling life.
Don't be too concerned about adopting new belief systems or practices that seem vague and perplexing. Look for things that speak to you and are relevant to your particular way of living.
Simply sit in solitude for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day and focus on your breath. It doesn't have to be more difficult than that. Simply take a break from the normal sources of stimulation, such as your phone, Facebook, and television, and instead focus on yourself.
Make a commitment to your practice, whatever it may be. Make a small amount of self-discipline. Do it every day, without fail, whether it's 10 minutes in quiet, a solo stroll, a run, or a yoga class.