So-called 'Schizophrenia' as Intense Transpersonal or Spiritual Experience: Transformation Process, Spiritual Awakening or 'Spiritual Emergence'

 

Normal human development involves development of the moral or 'spiritual'dimension of the human psyche i.e. 'spiritual emergence'. If the intelligent sensitive individual is hampered in their spiritual development they may undergo a psychospiritual crisis or 'spiritual emergency'.

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"If the human race survives, future men will, I suspect, look back on our enlightened epoch as a veritable Age of Darkness. They will see that what was considered 'schizophrenic' was one of the forms in which, often through quite ordinary people, the light began to break into our all-too-closed minds." (Ronald D. Laing)

  Insights into the nature of human nature are by combining Western scientific research with concepts provided by Eastern psychologies… such as Buddhism… concerning  that dimension of human nature which is beyond the persona or ‘ego' i.e. the transpersonal or ‘spiritual’ dimension. These insights can be applied to the study of so-called 'schizophrenia'. Schizophrenia is not a 'mental illness'. Schizophrenia is in fact a self-organizing or ‘healing’ process and is therefore healthy or ‘normal’. Schizophrenia is an experience of psychic overload which results from intense spiritual growth involving the surfacing of chaotic and uncontrollable subconsious material to the conscious level of awareness. Schizophrenia is therefore a psychospiritual crisis or ‘spiritual emergency’. The apparent 'craziness' of spiritual emergency reveals the person’s passage into a higher consciousness state which is more effective for adaptability because it is centered on affirmation of the real or ‘authentic’ self or ‘Self’. The process should be properly understood, respected and supported because of its potential for positive transformation of the self i.e. spiritual awakening or ‘spiritual emergence’ also known variously as 'individuation', 'self-realisation', 'self-actualisation', 'spiritual renewal' or  'spiritual rebirth’. Schizophrenia as spiritual emergency should be researched on the basis of its involvement with the transpersonal dimension of the human psyche. As such it is not only a normal part of the human but is a concern of so-called 'transpersonal psychology' otherwise known as 'spiritual psychology' or 'depth psychology'.

 SPIRITUAL CRISIS konwn as 'PSYCHOSIS'

Much needless suffering results from ignorance of the  multidimensional nature of the human personality or 'human nature'. Insights into the workings of human nature are providedrevealed  by the healthy process of healing in which the individual experiences the psychic overload of uncontrollable spiritual growth and crisis i.e. spiritual emergency or so-called 'schizophrenia'.

HUMAN NATURE AS A FUNCTION OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH OR 'SPIRITUAL EMERGENCE' Western scientific research combined with Eastern psychologies such as Buddhism provides new concepts which shed light on the nature of the multidimensional human psyche and the human personality i.e ‘human nature’. Human nature is a social nature and the human organism is a social organism with instincts for sociability. The development of human socialisation can be characterised in terms of biologically based motives or 'human needs' which include both 'lower' psychological needs for self-esteem - the 'ego needs' - and 'higher' psychological needs for spiritual development - the spiritual needs or 'metaneeds'. Metaneeds are subconscious needs which must be fulfilled in a process of normal spiritual development or 'moral development'. Moral development is a function of personal evolution from the limited sense of self or 'ego' and its egocentric perspective  to the expanded sense of self or 'Self' and its transpersonal perspective of ego-transcendance... a function of moral consciousness or 'rational conscience'. Rational conscience is a function of consciousness of social values of sociability... moral justice, 'knowledge' as understanding, ‘peace’as social responsibility, 'lovingkindness' as wisdom of compassion and so on i.e. 'human values'. Human values are the universal moral values required for survival of the species as a social species. Awareness of human values results in heightened intuition of social intelligence which is necessary for effective adaptation to the complexities of changing social conditions i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability depends on preservation of the integrated functioning of the personality as a whole... the basis for personal power or 'self-empowerment'. Self-empowerment is a function of the integrity of moral consciousness or 'conscience' (moral values of humanness).   of spiritual growth as development of conscience and involves the attainment of knowledge of one's true nature or 'higher self' 'self-knowledge' as the source of personal power required for adaptability... i.e. transformation or 'enlightenment' of 'spiritual emergence' emergence'. Spiritual emergence is a gradual, dynamic, fluid  naturally ordered and integrated on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness... which results in the expanded sense of consciousness... understanding of the ultimate unity of all things... human divinity... sense of compassion... increased creativity. It takes place over a period of years and depends on conditions of freedom in education. Each person is at a different stage of spiritual emergence depending on the level of their 'moral development'.

   "In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things. Spiritual development is an innate evolutionary capacity of all human beings. It is a movement towards wholeness or 'holotropic state', the discovery of one's true potential."  (Stanislav Grof) 

TRANSFORMATION CRISIS OR 'SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY' If in highly sensitive individuals the processs of spiritual emergence is blocked for any reason they might be warned that their growth is in grave danger and that they rapidly need to make essential adjustments in order to adapt effectively. The transformation process of spiritual emergence can be so dramatic that it becomes uncontrollable and reaches a point of crisis... 'psychospiritual crisis' or 'spiritual emergency'... also known as transpersonal experience, transpersonal crisis, psycho-spiritual transformation, spiritual journey, hero's journey, dark night of the soul, spiritual opening, psychic opening, psychic awakening, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, kundalini awakening, kundalini process, kundalini crisis, shamanic initiation, shamanic crisis, psychotic-visionary episode, ego death, ego loss, alchemical process, positive disintegration, post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features, night sea journey, psychosis, shamanism, mysticism, gnosis, inner apocalypse, and so on. Spiritual emergency is a process of healing and renewal and involves a positive transformation of the self. The process is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences. During the process they learn to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the expectations of others. They learn to grow to a new level of awareness... to higher consciousness states which are characterised by an inner sense of emotional liberation allowing for the discovery of ideas and behaviours of increased social adaptability. This so-called 'individuation'... 'self-realisation'... 'self-actualisation'... 'spiritual renewal' or 'rebirth'... represents the affirmation of a life of total well-being or 'high level wellness'.

Spiritual emergency is a part of the human condition and a concern of so-called 'depth psychology' also known as 'spiritual psychology' or 'transpersonal psychology'. Transpersonal psychology is concerned with the 'beyond ego' or 'transpersonal' dimension of the human psyche or 'human nature'. The transpersonal dimension is the source of motivation for human productiveness and creativity or 'work'.

 

Schizophrenia may be considered a pre-mystical state. Some schizophrenics if guided by therapists who have experienced ASCs and in an appropriate setting, may become mystics - the therapist as guru. The tools of meditation and medication (entheogens) may be used but the ultimate outcome depends on the personality of the therapist. All schizophrenics may not become mystics but by changing the nomenclature, we change the way we see psychosis. Rename 'schizophrenia' as a 'pre-mystical state'. Then some progress towards cause and cure may open up. Mysticism is not regression in service of the ego, but evolution in transcendence of the ego. True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality: through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning. We may conceptualise normality and mysticism as a continuum with schizophrenia/psychosis as a creative regression, before ascending to a higher level in a spiralling evolutionary process, symbolized in many traditions as a serpent ascending the tree of life.

 

   "Mistreatment of so-called ‘schizophrenic’ people must surely be the greatest untold human rights violation on Earth." (John Weir Perry)

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Schizophrenia has been described as a disease by the psychiatric profession. In fact 'schizophrenia' is not a disease or ‘mental illness’ but a natural and temporary self-healing process  involving the removal of illusions and false beliefs which originate in the programming of social conditioning and which inhibit the psychological growth necessary for effective adaptability. The apparent 'craziness' of so-called schizophrenia is the sign of the person's passage into a higher level of consciousness.

    contributors to understanding of so-called 'schizophrenia'...                 

                 Dr. Ronald Laing: radical psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and psychotherapist who profoundly altered our understanding of so-called 'mental illness'...

                 Dr. John Weir Perry: Jungian psychiatrist...  interview on mental breakdown as healing process... 

                 Dr. Stanislaus Grof: pioneer in the exploration of consciousness...      

"Nonordinary states of consciousness make it possible for unconscious material with strong emotional charge to emerge into consciousness. This process is an expression of a powerful spontaneous healing potential and should be supported. Under such circumstances, emotional and psychosomatic symptoms are not problems to be combated but indications of a healing effort by the organism that has to be supported, encouraged and brought to completion." ([Grof and Grof, 1990])

               

      'spiritual emergence' as normal process of spiritual awakening ...  

if the process of spiritual emergence is so chaotic and overwhelming that it is too distressing for the individual to bear then it can become a crisis of transformation or 'spiritual  emergency'...    so-called 'psychotic episode'...   death of incomplete personality as 'ego-death'...

       spiritual emergency involves the peeling away of layers of conditioned behaviour to find the human core...    a personal process...

Spiritual emergency is a state of being in which the conscious mind is overwhelmed by inner psychic events... involves a shift of energy...

            criteria for defining a person in spiritual emergency...    

                                        characteristic features:   metaphorical speech...   problematic behaviour...  hallucinatory voices... 

                  what brings on spiritual emergency?..    there is a wide range of triggers ...   'pre-psychotic personality' is unbalanced...  

                                                                                         responsibility of dysfunctional families: role of parent with 'narcissist personality disorder'...

                                                                                         trauma of psychological injury as cause for spiritual emergency ...   

                                                                                         the body reacts by switching to the biological panic mode or ‘fight or flight’ response to stress...

              Human growth lies in transcending the limited sense of self or 'ego' and so purifying and sharpening moral consciousness or 'conscience'. The result is an even clearer perception of reality and consequently increased effectiveness of adaptability.

                 Spiritual emergency as 'hero's journey' or 'spiritual quest'... the pattern of experience which shapes human growth and human life...

                                       psychotic episodes: aim is to liberate emotions...                

           inspired by confrontation and connection in karmic experiences...         

                                the direction it takes depends on whether or not the person is validated by immediate social surroundings...

                                                                                positive ideas to deal with emergent states come from Buddhist psychology…                         

                                                                                deal with the condition through an active role in a therapeutic setting in which the person is addressed as an equal...              

                                                  therapy must let the process run its course freely...   

                                                                                      transpersonal psychotherapy...   

                                                                                                therapeutic interventions...   

                                                                                                'normalisation' involves education about the crisis as a normal process...  

                                                                                                solution focused brief therapy... 

                                                                                                neurolinguistic programming (NLP)...

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 stages of spiritual emergency:   

                          transformation stage...

 

                                                      status quo stage...  

                                    separation from the known world... 

                                                      chaos stage involving surrender process... crossing the threshold...  

                                                      initiation involving surrender to the process... 

                                                      trials and tribulations...   

                                                      reintegration stage involving process of 'individuation' or 'self-realisation' as a function of kundalini process... renewal or 'spiritual rebirth' 

                                                    transformation as preparation for 'at-one-ment' with the new self i.e. 'atonement'...

                                       

karmic experiences

It is the capacity to integrate spiritual experiences into one's self-concept and functioning in the world  which is the key determinant in the outcome of spiritual emergency.

Kundalini flows to whatever point it can reach in your energetic system without blockage. If there's no resistance it just goes right on through. But if there is resistance at any level due to past fears and conditioning you will experience difficulty unless you release those concerns, address the issues, and/or learn to surrender and trust the process of Kundalini power to do its work.

  Recovery from psychospiritual crisis ... return to the known world of mundane reality AND post episode functioning 

 

 

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synchronicity...

                 dual nature of spiritual emergency: danger/opportunnity... 

                 danger of pathologising spiritual emergency...   mainstream psychiatry...  

 role of visionary states in social and cultural evolution...

       consciousness and the transpersonal perspective...   scientists and thinkers...

personal spiritual growth: implications for the planet... the work of personal transformation is necessary for healing the planet...

references

 quotation references...

              related reading...

              related websites...   Paul Levy www.AwakenInTheDream.com  

If a person in spiritual emergency is coping with unpredictable rushes of energy, their system may be incapable of handling much food.

And what is human nature?  Human nature can be defined in terms of the universal moral values of humanness, the social values required for survival of the species as a social species i.e. ‘human values’. Human values are universal values of moral justice, understanding or 'knowledge', social responsibilityor ‘peace’, wisdom of compassion or 'lovingkindness' and so on. Awareness of human values results in heightened intuition and social intelligence which is necessary for effective adaptation to the complexities of changing social conditions i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability is a function of the social nature of the human organism as a social organism with instincts for social cooperation and social harmony i.e. ‘social instincts’. These must be cultivated in a process of development of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. Rational conscience is a product of moral or 'spiritual’ development which involves the preservation of the integrated functioning of the personality and transformation of the self or 'enlightenment' or 'spiritual emergence'.

"In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things. Spiritual development is an innate evolutionary capacity of all human beings. It is a movement towards wholeness or 'holotropic state', the discovery of one's true potential."  (Stanislav Grof) 

Each person is at a different stage of spiritual emergence depending on the level of their moral or spiritual development.

Spiritual emergence takes place over a period of years and depends on conditions of freedom in education i.e. 'free education' or 'holistic education'. Holistic education is based on the necessary fulfillment of biologically based motives or ‘human needs’ which must be met in a process of normal moral or ‘spiritual’ development. Human needs include both 'lower' psychological needs for security and self-esteem - the 'ego needs' - and 'higher' psychological needs for moral or ‘spiritual’ development - the spiritual needs or ‘metaneeds’… instinctive yearnings for unconditional love, truth, beauty etc. Motivation by the metaneeds… metamotivation’… allows for the discovery of one’s true potential.  

 

      So what is human nature? The combination of Western scientific research and Eastern psychologies such as Buddhism provides new concepts which shed light on the nature of the multidemensional human psyche and the human personality i.e. ‘human nature’. Human survival depends on cooperation and social harmony which in turn  depends on the individual’s sense of compassion for their fellow human beings. The human species is a social species and the human organism is a social organism with instincts for sociability or ‘social instincts’. Hence human nature is a social nature and effective sociability depends on the process of social (moral or ‘spiritual’) development… spiritual growth… spiritual development or ‘spiritual emergence’.

 

     Spiritual emergence involves personal evolution from the egocentric perspective based on limited sense of self or ‘ego’ to the transpersonal perspective based on expanded sense of self beyond ego… the ‘higher self’or 'Self'…  i.e.‘ego-transcendance’. Ego transcendance is a function of  purification and sharpening of the consciousness thus allowing for a clearer perception of reality and more effective adaptation to changing social conditions… a function of development of moral consciousness or 'conscience' involves the attainment of knowledge of one's true nature or 'higher self' as the source of personal power (‘self-empowerment’) required for adaptability and survival ... This is  'self-knowledge'.          


    
Spiritual growth depends on fulfillment of biologically based motives or human needs. These include both 'lower' psychological needs for security and self-esteem - the 'ego needs' - and 'higher' psychological needs for moral or ‘spiritual’ development - the spiritual needs or ‘metaneeds’. Metaneeds are subconscious human needs or social values of humanness namely, moral justice, understanding or 'knowledge', social responsibility or ‘peace’, wisdom of compassion or 'lovingkindness' and so on i.e. universal moral values or human values’.
Awareness of human values is foundational to heightened intuition of social intelligence which is necessary for effective adaptation to the complexities of changing social conditions i.e ‘adaptability’.  

 

     Human adaptability depends on on self-empowerment preservation of the integrated functioning of the personality as a whole… a function of moral or ‘spiritual’ growth involving the attainment of knowledge of one's true nature or 'higher self' the source of personal power...  'self- empowerment' of ‘self-knowledge'. Self-knowledge required for adaptability depends on transformation of the self i.e.spiritual growth transformation  enlightenment or 'spiritual emergence'. Spiritual emergence is a gradual, dynamic, fluid naturally ordered and integrated on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness... and results in the expanded sense of consciousness... characterised by understanding of the ultimate unity of all things, human

divinity, expanded sense of compassion resulting in increased creativity... It is a naturally ordered and integrated process which takes place over a period of years and depends on conditions of freedom in education. Each person is at a different stage of spiritual emergence depending on the level of their moral or ‘spiritual development’.

 

 'Transformation crisis or ‘spiritual emergency’. If in highly sensitive individuals the processs of spiritual emergence is blocked for any reason they might be warned that their growth is in grave danger and that they rapidly need to make essential adjustments in order to adapt effectively. The transformation process of spiritual emergence can be so dramatic as to become uncontrollable and reach a point of crisis... 'psychospiritual crisis' or 'spiritual emergency' also known as transpersonal experience, transpersonal crisis, psycho-spiritual transformation, psycho-spiritual crisis, spiritual journey, hero's journey, dark night of the soul, spiritual opening, psychic opening, psychic awakening, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, kundalini awakening, kundalini process, kundalini crisis, shamanic initiation, shamanic crisis, psychotic-visionary episode, ego death, ego loss, alchemical process, positive disintegration, post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features, night sea journey, psychosis, shamanism, mysticism, gnosis, inner apocalypse, and so on Spiritual emergency is a crisis of transformation… process of healing and renewal and involves a positive transformation of the self. The process is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences.  It is not the nature and content of these experiences but their context that makes them seem pathological. Because these experiences appear to be out of context with everyday reality they can be both frightening and confusing. Hence, many people choose to ignore, discredit or forget these experiences which offer such invaluable opportunities for personal growth..

 

   During the process the person learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the expectations of others. They learn to grow to a new level of awareness... or consciousness state characterised by an inner sense of emotional liberation which allows for the discovery of ideas and behaviours of increased social adaptability. This so-called 'individuation'... 'self-realisation'... 'self-actualisation'... 'spiritual renewal' or 'rebirth'... represents the affirmation of a life of total well-being or 'high level wellness'.  Psychological wellness is a dynamic, on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness required for effective social adaptability.

  Schizophrenia has been described as a nonspecific disease by the psychiatric profession.

This supposedly devastating condition was originally named by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926). Kraepelin believed  that the condition involved an irreversible mental deterioration' and coined the term named 'dementia praecox' - Latin for 'prematurely out of one's mind'. It later became clear that the term was a misnomer and a new term was coined in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) who was noted for his kindness and humanity  Bleuler, teacher of Carl Jung, was professor of psychiatry at the University of Zürich where he headed the famous Burghölzli Clinic. Bleuler coined the term 'schizophrenia' for 'splitting of the mind' since the condition seemed to involve a mental split between thought and emotion. The term is derived from German 'schizophrenie' from Greek 'skhizein' meaning 'to split' and 'phren' of unknown origin meaning 'heart or mind'. According to Greek etymology,‘schizophrenia’actually means 'broken soul' or 'broken heart’.  It has been used as an umbrella term to include a set of socially and culturally unacceptable thinking and behaviour patterns which other people greatly dislike ...sometimes even the so-called 'schizophrenics'... themselves...thus making it a model of unwanted conduct. Although there is still no universally accepted definition of the term, it has been applied to many so-called 'mental illnesses'  including a set of socially and culturally unacceptable thinking and behaviour patterns which other people greatly dislike thus making it a model of ‘unwanted conduct’.  The condition is largely misunderstood as a result of people’s fear of the unknown. The person undergoes a series of varying stages or ‘episodes’ and eventually learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the expectations of others to a higher consciousness state and a new level of awareness i.e. ‘ego-transcendance’. The state of ego-transcendance is characterised by an inner sense of emotional liberation which purifies and sharpens moral consciousness or rational conscience … and therefore results in clarity and an accurate perception of reality… intuitive understanding or 'intuition’. Human intuition allows for increased creativity and the discovery of ideas and behaviours which increase the effectiveness of social adaptability…. the defining characteristic of the human psyche or human personality i.e. ‘human nature’. 

 Schizophrenia is not a disease or ‘mental illness’. It is not a hopeless condition but a brilliant one. In fact the condition is not a hopeless one but a brilliant one. Schizophrenia is a personal 'story' which involves a natural and temporary self-organising transformative process or crisis of transformation, a ‘psychospiritual crisis’now known as 'spiritual emergency' - the term coined by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof. Spiritual emergency is a self-healing process involving the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs  which originate in the programming of social conditioning and which give rise to aberrant thought complexes. prevent the person from making accurate evaluations for effective decision-making and appropriate social adaptation.These prevent the person from making the accurate evaluations of their social environment necessary for effective social adaptation. Since effective sociability depends on transcendance of the limited sense of self or 'ego' the person instinctively surrenders to an organismic process involving the temporary separation of thought and emotion (‘ego-loss’) in order to confront their thoughts without having to deal with the emotional implications.

  In a period of spiritual emergency, the person instinctively surrenders to a spontaneous organismic process involving the temporary separation of thought and emotion (‘ego-loss’) which is necessary for the reassessment of their thoughts without having to deal with the emotional implications.

Ego-transcendance purifies and sharpens consciousness and therefore results in clarity and a true perception of reality.Accurate perception is a function of moral consiousness or 'intuition' of rational conscience and depends on complete moral or 'spiritual development’characteristic of the human psyche or human personality i.e. ‘human nature’.Consequently the apparent 'craziness' of spiritual emergency is an indication of the passage into a higher consciousness state required for effective adaptability. So-called schizophrenia is therfore a part of the human condition and a concern of so-called 'depth psychology' which is concerned with the 'beyond ego' or 'transpersonal' dimension of the human psyche or 'human nature’. The transpersonal dimension of the psyche is the source of motivation for human creativity…human productiveness and creativity or ‘work’. Depth psychology is also known as 'spiritual psychology' or 'transpersonal psychology'.

 

...  a personal 'story' which involves unbearably distressing psychic overload in the form of chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences. It is a self-healing process...  a natural and temporary self-organising transformative process, a crisis of transformation, a psychospiritual crisis, spiritual crisis or 'spiritual emergency'. Spiritual emergency involves the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs which originate in the programming of social conditioning and give rise to pathological thought complexes preventing the person from transcending their limited sense of self or 'ego'  i.e.ego- transcendance of 'spiritual growth'. Ego-transcendance is necessary for effective adaptability because it purifies and sharpens consciousness and therefore results in a clear perception of reality or 'intuition'. Perception is true if it is pure, sharp and therefore accurate. Accurate perception depends on moral consiousness or 'conscience' which is a function of complete moral or 'spiritual development'.

"Schizophrenia is one of the greatest myths of our time." (www.antipsychiatry.org/schizoph.htm ). See also www.PeakStates.com   www.primalspirit.com  www.awakeninthedream.com

“There is in short, no such thing as schizophrenia" (Thomas S. Szasz, M.D 1988, Schizophrenia - The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry  Syracuse University Press,  p.191). 

 

 " ...the schizophrenia model of unwanted conduct lacks credibility... schizophrenia is a myth" (Theodore Sarbin, Ph.D and James Mancuso, Ph.D Schizophrenia - Medical Diagnosis or Moral Verdict? Pergamon Press, 1980, p. 221) 

 

 "There is a heightened awareness of the dangers inherent in labeling somebody with a disease category like 'schizophrenia', and many people are beginning to realize that there is no such entity" (Jeffrey Masson, Ph.D Against Therapy, Atheneum, 1988 p. 2).

"They (biopsychiatrists) search for signs of hyperactivity in the dopamine system of schizophrenics without acknowledging that if they find it, it could be the normal response of a normal brain to the prolonged expression of an intense emotional state." (Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry.)

Successful schizophrenia... First is acceptance of the uniqueness of one's experience as one's own. Second the willingess to accept whatever comes up and then deal with it, not necessarily in graceful fashion. Third is access to the vital support of caring people... love alone is the saving grace. There must be a connecting link with another human being that instills warmth and trust and thus allows for a forward progression of the inner-imagery...  the so-called 'schizophrenic' person is no longer schizophrenic once they feel that they are understood by someone else. Most important is the basic human consideration of kindness. 

 It is not the nature and content of these experiences but their context that makes them seem pathological. Because these experiences appear to be out of context with everyday reality they can be both frightening and confusing. Hence, many people choose to ignore, discredit or forget these experiences which offer such invaluable opportunities for personal growth.

karma and karmic law: Emotionally charged events which emerge into conciousness and manifest in the form of colourful and dramatic experiences of non-ordinary states of consciousness are depictions of what the person feels are personal memories. These so-called 'past life memories' or 'karmic experiences' are important psychological phenomena with great healing and transformative potential because the content of a karmic experience can suddenly explain many otherwise incomprehensible aspects of one's daily life. Sometimes karmic experience emerges into consciousness in the midst of  daily life thus disturbing normal functioning. Sometimes the person identifies people in current life with people from the karmic experience and feels compelled to act out the experience by harassing them in seeking confrontation or connection. Since the events are experienced out of context they are not understood. Other people often interpret them as completely irrational. This can cause unnecessary confusion and social complications with colleagues, neighbours etc. Simple acknowledgement will solve any problems.  

 Complete growth... growth for complete consciousness which is morally pure, intuitively accurate and perceptively 'sharp' i.e.  'conscience' of 'humanness'... intuition... required for effective adaptability. Growth can take place at any time by letting go of the thoughts and fantasies of the waking state, thereby removing distorted perceptions and bringing about the liberation of the mind which is characteristic of the holistic or 'transpersonal perspective'. The word 'transpersonal' means through or beyond the ego or 'existential level' of consciousness. In order to live beyond the ego level of consciousness and on the transpersoal level... the person  must let go of identifications with personality and personal dramas which interfere with the full functioning of the transpersonal dimensions. They must let go of all thoughts... all beliefs and fantasies of the usual waking consciousness state to remove distortions in the perceptions of reality... conditioned attachments to persons, objects, self-images and behaviour patterns... they must also let go of the personal dramas of other people, a detachment which appears to detract from involvement with society and is thus easily misconceived and wrongly understood as selfishness. An understanding of the transpersonal model proves that pursuing self-knowledge beyond the ego level of self-interest, an individual fulfills an instinctive need to live on the 'higher' levels of consciousness and lives by values which preserve the interconnectedness of human beings... the human values of justice, truth, beauty, freedom, generosity,  selflessness, love as 'compassion' etc. As the person is liberated from interests, desires and anxieties of the 'ego' realm of the conscious, then obstacles to growth are removed making it possible for them to attain a 'higher' state of consciousness...  perspective of the transpersonal level... characterised by an awareness of their connectedness with the rest of humanity ('spirituality')... expressed as suprapersonal caring for fellow human beings ... love as 'lovingkindness' and 'compassionate wisdom' as the wisdom of compassion.

Full functioning in mundane society depends on the ability to think and understand in transpersonal, spiritual or  'magical' terms...  to 'think magically'  while retaining the ability to keep a reasonable grip on consensus reality i.e. so-called 'rationality'. A severe departure from mundane reality may be productive for a time but it is preferable to have an experienced guide to assist one’s journey or better still to have a retreat where one can go to and work through changes in the view of reality... and also experience non-ordinary states of consciousness intermittently or at the same time, and with some effort one can be functional to some degree within society and grow and expand one’s consciousness into new realms, and formulate new views of reality.

Transpersonal phenomena cannot be explained by applying the techniques of the behavioural sciences. Scientists and experimenters have to be trained as participant-observers, less interfering and more sensitive to an individual's subjective experiences. The main limiting factor in their intellectual understanding of the transpersonal dimensions of the human personality is their own limited personal growth. They first have to extend their own personal growth beyond the ego level to the transpersonal level. Before they can comprehend any individual's transpersonal experiences, they must themselves have attained a transpersonal perspective and this requires mental liberation. 

There is a revival of interest in the study of the spiritual aspects of human nature and Jungian psychology with its use of dreams, myths and archetypes. According to psychiatrist/author Carl Jung schizophrenia can more accurately be understood as a natural psychological or spiritual healing processs."Schizophrenia is a condition in which the dream takes the place of reality."  Also "When conscious life is characterised by one-sidedness and false attitudes, primordial healing images are activated – one might say instinctively – and come to light in the dreams of individuals and the visions of artists."  Jung's approach was  explored by some of the most influential scientists and thinkers of the twentieth century. Prominent among these...  anthropologist/biological philosopher Gregory Bateson through his research in the way that self-organising biological and social systems govern themselves; comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell made a global survey of cosmologies and eloquently described the deep structure shared by mythologies of different cultures... speaks of 'radical awareness'; anthropologist Terrence McKenna through his ethno-botanical explorations;  four members of Global Vision's international adviser group – medical anthropologist Joan Halifax through her trans-cultural study of shamanism and the human encounter with death; psychiatrists Dr. R.D. Laing (author of The Divided Self), Jungian psychiatrist Dr. John Weir Perry who developed a variety of drug-free, non-repressive approaches to 'schizophrenia' which have helped to bring about a fundamental paradigm-shift in our scientific understanding of the human psyche and therfore of 'human nature'. Perry was and author of many books including The Far Side of Madness, whose deep insight into the nature of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ opens the way for a radically new, more compassionate approach to this condition and psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof (author of Realms of the Human Unconscious) with therapist Christina Grof... researched the field of non-ordinary awareness and personal transformation.... coined the term 'spiritual emergence' to describe the whole range of phenomena associated with spiritual experiences and development from those... the majority of which are not problematic and do not disrupt psychological/social/occupational functioning and do not involve psychotherapy... to crisis situations for which they coined the term 'spiritual emergency'.

"True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality... and through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer." (R.D.Laing)

 The transpersonal approach has been explored by some of the most influential scientists and thinkers of the twentieth century. The concept of spiritual emergency has been around for thousands of years in many, if not most cultures. Shamans, mystics, and spiritual explorers have regularly experienced the same states of awareness as people today undergoing spiritual emergency. Non-ordinary states of consciousness have been understood to serve a healing or transformative function in every tribal society studied by anthropologists. They are particularly evident in the last remaining hunter-gatherer and nomadic indigenous peoples who still survive in the remoter parts of North and South America, the Arctic, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Australia. In such cultures, visionary states are always associated with the healing function of the shaman. In this context, the vision of the shaman forms the quintessential religious experience.

"The shaman, a mystical, priestly and political figure... can be described not only as a specialist in the human soul, but also as a generalist whose sacred and social functions can cover an extraordinarily wide range of activities. Shamans are not only spiritual leaders but also judges and politicians, the repositories of the knowledge of the culture's history, both sacred and popular... Above all however, shamans are technicians of the sacred and masters of ecstasy... The initiatory crisis of the shaman must...be designated as a religious experience, one that has persisted since at least Palaeolithic times, and is probably as old as human consciousness itself, when the first feelings of awe and wonder were awakened in primates. From this perspective, the initiation of the shaman is an historical event, transcending the confines of culture and bringing into focus ontological concerns that have existed within the human mind for aeons... The healing image that the shaman projects is of disease as a manifestation of the transformative impulse in the human organism. The crisis of a powerful illness can also be the central experience of the shaman's initiation. It involves an encounter with forces that decay and destroy. The shaman not only survives the ordeal of a debilitating sickness or an accident, but is healed in the process. Illness then becomes the vehicle to a higher plane of consciousness. The evolution from the state of psychic and physical disintegration to shamanising is effected through the experience of self-cure. The shaman – and only the shaman – is a healer who has healed himself." (Joan Halifax Shamanic Voices)

In modern urban civilisation, non-ordinary states of consciousness are not understood to serve a healing or transformative function. At the onset of the hallucinations of the visionary experience, the person is inflicted with insult, humiliation, suffering and rejection and is inevitably surprised and frightened.

The historical events which led to the taboo against visionary states in Europe... In the fifteenth century, the proto-scientific experiments of medieval alchemists produced the first philosophical seed-stones of scientific thought which dramatically changed the relationship of humankind to the universe. In the hundreds of thousands of pre-urban societies existing since Palaeolithic times, the existence and validity of psycho-spiritual non-ordinary states of consciousness is or was socially recognised and endorsed by cultural ritual.  Until only recently with the industrial civilisation has the unconscious been taboo.... see M. O'Callaghan When The Dream Becomes Real: The Inner Apocalypse in Mythology, Madness, and the Future  www.global-vision.org/dream


 Psychoanalysis and psychedelic research have partially eroded the taboo against the unconscious. A considerable body of scientific data about the inner aspects of the visionary episode have been accumulated by pioneering researchers in the fields of clinical psychology, biophysics, neurophysiology, epistemology, cybernetics, comparative mythology, anthropology and the humanistic and transpersonal approaches to psychology. Irish-American Harvard Professor Timothy Leary re-established the validity of visionary experience with his experiments using the psychedelic drug LSD.

 What is spiritual emergence?  Spiritual emergence is the irreversible process of moving into higher levels of evolutionary development... a natural fluid process of growth and change... a personal awakening into a level of perceiving and functioning which is beyond normal ego functioning i.e. 'spiritual  awakening'.

"As spiritual emergence unfolds into new areas, it can bring with it elements of surprise about the nature of oneself and one's world. This is true whether someone is actually moving into a higher developmental level or integrating a spiritual experience into a developmental level which has not yet attained mature ego functioning. The disorientation and instability that results from intense spiritual experiences in either case can turn a spiritual experience into a spiritual emergency.  "(Bragdon, 1988, p. 21)

 "In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things. Spiritual development is an innate evolutionary capacity of all human beings. It is a movement towards wholeness or 'holotropic state', the discovery of one's true potential. And it is as common and natural as birth, physical growth, and death - an integral part of our existence. For centuries, entire cultures have treated inner transformation as a necessary and desirable aspect of life. Many societies have developed sophisticated rituals and meditative practices as ways to invite and encourage spiritual growth. Humanity has stored the treasure of emotions, visions and insights involved in the process of awakening in paintings, poetry, novels and music, and in descriptions provided by mystics and prophets. Some of the most beautiful and valued contributions to the world of art and architecture celebrate the mystical realms. For some individuals, however, the transformational journey of spiritual development becomes a  ‘spiritual emergency', in which the changes within are so rapid and the inner states so demanding that, temporarily, these people may find it difficult to operate fully in everyday mundane reality. In our time, these individuals are rarely treated as if they are on the edge of inner growth. Rather they are almost always viewed through the lens of disease and treated with technologies that obscure the potential benefits these experiences can offer. In a supportive environment, and with proper understanding, these difficult states of mind can be extremely beneficial, often leading to physical and emotional healing, profound insights, creative activity and permanent personality changes for the better.  When we coined the term spiritual emergency we sought to emphasize both the danger and opportunity inherent in such states. The phrase is, of course, a play on words, referring to both the crisis, or ‘emergency’, that can accompany transformation, and to the idea of ‘emergence’, from the Latin emergere: 'to rise' or 'to come forth'. This name thus indicates a precarious situation, but also the potential for rising to a higher state of being. The Chinese pictogram for crisis perfectly represents this idea. It is composed of two elementary signs, one of which means 'danger' and the other 'opportunity'.  The potential for spiritual emergence is an innate characteristic of all human beings. The capacity for spiritual growth is as natural as the disposition of our bodies toward physical development, and spiritual rebirth is as normal a part of human life as biological birth. Like birth, spiritual emergence has been seen for centuries by many cultures as an intrinsic part of life, and, like birth, it has become pathologized in modern society. The experiences that occur during this process cover a wide spectrum of depth and intensity, from the very gentle to the overwhelming and disturbing."  (Stanislav and Christina Grof The Stormy Search of the Self 1990)

 Non -lasting spiritual experiences induced by drugs are potentially dangerous... Drug induced spiritual experiences may give a glimpse... brief visit into the higher transpersonal levels, but the person's personality structures may remain unchanged... It is simultaneously a blessing and a curse.

Spiritual experiences can occur at any time and place, although there are specific times and particular circumstances in which they are more likely to emerge. Some categories of circumstances of occurrence: experiences which occur any time, ranging from deja-vu to mystical experience. This category also includes the 'dark night', which refers to the typical mid-life crisis, especially among individuals who have achieved some real level of stability and prosperity in the world. They have met their material goals and still haven't found inner satisfaction. The pursuit of ego gratification is no longer enough and then one encounters an existential meaninglessness, which is very often a yearning for spirit, a greater sense of wholeness, and interconnection with the eternal, universal principle. This dissatisfaction and yearning can also occur at adolescence or anytime. 'Destiny Calls' is another aspect of this first category in which individuals may suddenly feel impelled to advance their lives into transpersonal levels; spiritual practice. The practice of spiritual disciplines, intense prayer, yoga, breathing exercises, chanting, meditation and other purificatory practices from a wide range of religious and spiritual traditions around the world significantly influence a growing number of people today in reaching transpersonal levels of consciousness; physical distress... refers to intense physical workout, disease, injury, near death experiences, surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, and miscarriage; emotional distress caused by intense encounters in a wide variety of life adjustments, transitions, and physical and psychological therapies.also feelings of fragmentation partly brought on by breakdowns in social norms, lack of continuity in rapidly changing culture and society... All these experiences tend to lead the person to question their sense of reality and meaning of life.

The psychic or psychological dynamics of the spiritual growth process of spiritual emergence... the person questions reality... tests reality... makes 'reality checks' by examining values and beliefs and thinking for themselves.

   If the process of 'spiritual emergence' is very rapid and dramatic... if the sensory and psychic experiences become so intense... chaotic and overwhelming... so traumatic that it is too distressing for the individual to bear it becomes unmanageable and the person experiences psychic overload... it becomes 'spiritual emergency' (also known as 'transpersonal experience',  'psycho-spiritual transformation', 'spontaneous psychospiritual crisis', 'spiritual crisis', 'crisis of transformation', 'transpersonal crisis', 'spiritual madness', 'divine madness', 'holy madness' , 'dark night of the soul',  'psychotic visionary episode', 'post-traumatic-stress-disorder with psychotic features', 'night sea journey', 'alchemical process', shamanic initiation process, 'shamanic crisis', 'gnosis', mysticism, 'individuation', 'self-actualization',.spiritual awakening, 'kundalini awakening',  'kundalini process’, ‘kundalini crisis’, 'hero's journey', 'acute schizophrenic break',  'regenerative process', 'renewal', 'resilience', 'positive disintegration' (Dabrowski www.members.shaw.ca./positivedisintegration/)  and so on.

Each of the many names given to such crises illuminates a different facet of the process.

'Schizophrenic break syndrome' refers to the initial spontaneous onset of a non-ordinary state of consciousness involving visual and/or auditory hallucinations.

Spiritual emergency is not a pathological phenomenon but a complex phenomenon characterised by an extremely introverted, psychospiritual mode of relating to the world... i.e. 'perception'. The normative ego-enforced boundaries between self and world break down... the person loses their conscious personality structure or 'ego' thus 'ego-loss' or 'ego-death'. As a result they find themselves identifying with everything within their scope of perception. With fragile personal boundaries the person sees, hears, senses, perceives and understands things which other people do not. In reality the person is in a state of consciousness involving 'extreme empathy' which typically causes the person to feel responsible for the fate of others. Spiritual emergency is a turbulent period of spiritual opening and transformation ... an acute... severe crisis which allows for the elevation of the person to a higher state of consciousness. The crisis is due to intense activation of the psyche...  The person finds they are living in a psychic modality quite different from their surroundings... they are immersed in an inner world of myth and image... 'myth world'. Psychological upheaval can happen as a result of the radical clearing of various old traumatic memories and imprints ... normal event for the gifted mind involved in the realization of a deeper, mythic process which is permeated with deep symbolic meanings... a 'divine drama' (Jung)... inhabits its psyche.. There should be no stigma attached to the experience, since it is a sign that the psyche is functioning properly. The purpose is to activate spiritual energies but often leaves the individual in a highly vulnerable state.  Episodes of unusual experiences involve changes in consciousness which manifest in perceptual, emotional, cognitive and psychosomatic functioning... a  necessary subjective experience involving  growth of the authentic Self... an inner psychological process like a molten state involving an inner free play of imagery through which the alienated psyche spontaneously re-organises itself  in such a way that the conscious ego is brought back into communication with the transpersonal perspective of the subconscious. Attainment of the transpersonal perspective depends on mental liberation in four dimensions: consciousness, conditioning, personality, and identity. Consciousness is awareness of awareness and the central dimension that provides the context for all experience. Conditioning is the dimension of attachment to any objects, persons, particular self-images or behaviour patterns. Conditioned attachments are the source of pain and suffering and keep the mind in bondage. Personality or 'ego-self' is the identification with emotional baggage and personal dramas which hinder optimal growth. Identity is identification with sets of thoughts and beliefs. According to Buddha "We are what we think and with our thoughts we make the world." With emphasis on the transpersonal, the person approaches the transformative process in an internalized way while at the same time retaining their capacity to cooperate with people trying to assist in appropriate working relationships. With the whole systems approach to the condition, most individuals emerge from the ordeal with renewed enthusiasm for life. Extreme sensations of joy and fear are usual. It can happen to anyone at anytime.   Normal life can be interrupted suddenly and unexpectedly by the spontaneous and powerful onset of dramatic visionary experiences of non-ordinary state of consciousness...  The visions can be both beautiful and terrifying...  

There is no sharp division between emergence and emergency although there are distinguishing criteria... an 'emergency' has more depth and intensity... during an 'emergency' it is very difficult to function in everyday life.

"Throughout human history in many cultures, tribal members in spiritual crisis are provided with special care and loving support. This is obviously not the case for Western capitalistic societies.  You cannot find the light of truth or 'Self’unless you enter the darkness. Search for the truth leads to spiritual awakening or ‘enlightenment’ that is difficult to describe in words… involves shift in awareness... a re-connection with the spiritual or 'divine' aspect of human nature... this becomes clearer and feels more natural. Old ways and false beliefs cease to be of  interest. The new way is all that matters. Somewhere along the journey of remembering who we really are, we may find ourselves in a very uncomfortable space… a void in which we realize that we haven't totally let go of our old beliefs and yet we haven’t fully plugged into the new truths that we have discovered. This awkward situation can bring on an internal crisis of uncertainty, instability, confusion, frustration, and a most unspeakable despair… the ‘dark night of the soul’. Along with the rapture of remembering our divine connection, there can be intense feelings of depression, madness, detachment, hopelessness and an extraordinary loneliness that is not only relentless but may last for months or years on end. Then comes the waiting, and the wondering if and when the dark night will ever end. Ultimately, it feels as though we have lost control over our lives but we must not give up. When the madness is over, when one finally ‘lets go’ in an act of surrender, acceptance and trust - without resignation and with gratitude for the experience - the dark night will end. At that point, one’s life is no longer dictated by the ego but by a light bringing with it synchronous events… a new spiritual adventure and purpose in life…(Stanislav Grof, M.D and Christina.Grof The Stormy Search for Self)

 Spiritual emergency is a state of being in which the conscious mind is overwhelmed by inner psychic events and involves a shift of energy. To understand the inner life of the person... The deepest levels of the psyche are activated drawing vast amounts of energy away from the higher levels of psychic functioning. The higher functions are robbed of their energy and motivation to care for the body drops away. In this 'high arousal state' the deepest levels of the psyche are working at such a high pitch that all the other functions are deprived of energy. The person becomes withdrawn in their preoccupations... their attention is absorbed in the spontaneous sequence of mythic images which constitute the natural content of deeper levels of the psyche. The whole field of awareness is flooded with archaic forms... The mythic world is totally out of keeping with consensual reality. The sense of reality shifts from outer to inner... The innate process which ultimately leads to self-determination and self-fulfillment occurs on two levels... first, growth of the personality and second, an elaborate image sequence of the archetypal individuation process which involves a play of opposites eventually uniting in the restoration of harmony (the struggle between hope and utter despair can be frightening to onlookers as well as to the person on the inside of the experience).

A 'psychotic episode' represents an evolutionary crisis... natural evolutionary process... which helps the individual elevate to a higher consciousness level. Episodes of spiritual emergency are unusual experiences that involve changes in consciousness ... and changes in perceptual, emotional, cognitive, psychic and psychosomatic functioning, in which there is a significant transpersonal emphasis in the process. In nonordinary states of consciousness the psyche transcends the dynamics of the conscious and connects with transpersonal domains

Spiritual emergency is non ordinary states of consciousness accompanied by various emotional, perceptual and psychosomatic manifestations... sensory experiences such as  electrical sensations and tremors... spontaneous visions of other times and places... constant pain throughout the body, excruciating headaches behind the eyes, emotional ups and downs...  visual and auditory 'hallucinations' Hallucinatory voices represent a part of the person that have to be left behind in order for them to move on. Threatening voices are overblown reflections of fear... often a re-run of abuse or trauma.

 So-called 'symptoms' such as the ability to 'see' things that others do not see or 'clairvoyance', and the ability to hear voices that others do not hear or 'clairaudience' are considered by many as desirable attributes. Every symptom extends outwards allowing the sufferer to detach emotionally. The person may appear to be lacking in emotion... emotions no longer connect with ordinary things. The new delusional world becomes incredibly frightening because it matches the negative emotions that have been buried for years. If they are not dealt with they turn into negative traits. The buried emotions are expressed in scrambled language that is difficult for others to understand... the person creates words and meanings  in order to avoid any connection to the familiar world so that they can psychologically cope with experiences that they are unwilling and unable to confront.

 Spiritual emergence... .. the person struggles to contain and integrate the experiences... eventually wakes up to the dreamlike nature of reality... . the person needs to be both honored and supported in their process. The person who passes through this process successfully returns bearing incredible gifts and blessings of wisdom and healing for everyone... becomes an accomplished shaman, healer, or teacher.  The temporary unbalance precipitated by such a crisis may resemble a 'nervous breakdown' but  it cannot be dismissed as such.                

A spiritual awakening is almost always precipitated by a severe emotional crisis... and often organically grows out of unresolved abuse issues from childhood. In a fully-flowered spiritual emergence, one discovers how to transmute the symptoms and wounds into blessings.

One might look out the window and see the city more ragged than usual... seems to be on fire.... broken glass and rubble litter the streets... people seem to be dead as they lie on the pavement and in doorways... a rat gnaws on a corpse... these terrifying experiences bring on a sense of panic and one might start screaming and rush to the bathroom to throw up and then see a skeletal reflection of oneself in the mirror... empty eye sockets staring back from a hollow skull... and then one takes the visions literally and imagines that one has died and this could be the end of the world. or 'apocalypse'. But in fact one has only experienced a hallucination of the visionary experience and it is only one's false personality which has died. 

Spiritual emergency is a crisis of moral consciousness or 'conscience'... 'social conscience'... a warning to the organism that spiritual growth is in grave danger and adjustments need to be made which are essential for adaptation and self-preservation.... Spiritual crisis as 'spiritual emergency' is  not illness but a  strange sign of wholeness or 'health' ...  an attempt to heal... a stage in a developmental process which transports the subject beyond sickness or health and into the reconstituted pathway of the Self. Spiritual crisis is activated by healthy motivation... natural self-interest or 'egoism' as opposed to unhealthy motivation by egocentric over-evaluation of one's own importance and activities i.e. stupidity of 'egotism'.  Spiritual emergency is a healthy psychological condition in which the unconscious overwhelms the ego consciousness… the contents of the deepest unconscious take mythic and symbolic form... highly activated mythic images erupt from the psyche's deepest levels in the form of turbulent visionary experience. It is the healing crisis of the whole Being. At the core of the experience the soul/spirit demands recognition, healing and transformation.... there is a  cry for freedom and true expression... to awaken to the truth of one's identity... to shed limiting beliefs and old ways... to strip away the illusions and false images one has of oneself... to know oneself... 'self-knowledge'...

                     Depression can be vehicle of growth and transformative process. The depression often has an ethical content of remorse over past moral failings...

Consciousness transforms when the ego is threatened and the heart is challenged to open.

Due to the ecstasy and exhilaration of the experience, there is a real temptation, like the mythic Icarus, to fly too high, which is only to set one self up for a corresponding fall. During these experiences it is of the utmost importance to be as grounded as possible. Psychiatrist/author Carl Jung understood the importance of this during his own 'confrontation with the unconscious'. He used to keep pictures of his family around, so he could remember that he was, in his words, "an actually existing, ordinary person."  Jung understood very well that one of the greatest dangers that you encounter during this experience is to become inflated, thinking that you are someone special... becoming identified with the archetype instead of relating to it from the standpoint of a conscious human ego.... swallowed up and possessed by the deeper, more powerful transpersonal forces, falling totally into the unconscious. One can become truly insane, thinking, for example, that one is the Christ or Buddha, instead of recognizing that everyone is Christ or Buddha. Jung understood that the thing which swings the balance one way or the other is the capacity of the human ego to confront and relate in a conscious way to these transpersonal forces. This is why creative work which channels and transmutes these deeper, very powerful, archetypal energies,  is of the utmost importance. At a certain point, the entire ordeal reveals itself to be an initiation for actualising and giving expression to one's true genius or 'daimon', which is none other than one's  inner voice, guiding spirit and unfabricated true nature, which has never been lost.  One discovers one's unique calling... true vocation as a Bodhisattva who is here to help other beings. One becomes a master creative multi-dimensional artist whose canvas is life itself

...an aspect of the awakening... part of the journey to the underworld... an initiation into the deeper mystery of infinite and unspeakably magical being.

 There is a difference between the expression and the intention of any problematic behavior... The person confuses realities if they act in the external world while still in the non-ordinary state of consciousness.

 

With the  changes in perception of reality, there  is conflict between he person's super-normal experiences and consensus reality in which the person's thinking is considered to be non-rational and departs from what is considered normal.  The person's strange, incomprehensible behaviour looks totally bizarre and very threatening to people absorbed in the collective mainstream trance of consensus reality.... a very difficult and problematic situation for those unable to understand what the person is going through, as it is so far off their map of reality... saying the person is mentally ill fits into their very limited, comfortable view of the world. The expression is intrusive and melodramatic and so gets the attention of unknowing onlookers so that what the person experiences as a wonderful healing process is misconstrued as a disease process. The constructive intention which is covered over by layers of wild behaviour  is concealed inside the person and must be looked for or it can be missed. Neither the person nor the onlooker understands the perspective of the other. Family issues, spiritual and social interests, desires for healing the world are misunderstood as delusions and obsessions and considered as symptoms of illness... there are grave repercussions when the transformative healing process is mistraken for a pathological one.

The medical model is an impoverished frame of reference which  prevents doctors from thinking about the possibility of  spiritual emergency as being off  their map of reality. Psychiatrists with self-assured, expert manner can be very convincing...  their good intentions can be destructive when they tell the person that they are in denial of their medical disorder by insisting that they are in spiritual crisis. If the person accepts this 'medical model' of their experience they might be consumed by despair... completely demoralised... devastated and then feel suicidal.

Within a shamanistic framework, a schizophrenic break is understood as evidence of a trauma that has fragmented the core self – the seat of the soul

Psychiatrists who understand the concept of spiritual emergency can accept the legitimacy of the nonordinary states of consciousness and compare them to crises that many people pass through successfully. It is crucial for the person to have people outside the medical profession who understand  the metaphorical. The person can emerge from despair if other people interpret the experience positively and look for the  reasons behind the problematic behaviour. The person feels completely sane until onlookers who don't understand what is happening... don't understand their behaviour ... become alarmed and tell the person otherwise. With the right support and understanding, the person comes to realise that they have got to let go of their doubts, believe in themselves, know and visualize what they want and understand that they can do anything they put their mind to.

Creative Visualization and the Power of Thought... Power of creative visualization... From Imagination To Reality - Attracting Success With Mind Power

why visualization brings results Creative visualization is the ability to use the imagination, see images in our minds and make them come true. If we add concentration and feelings, it becomes a great creative power that makes things happen. The thought is the matrix or blueprint; the feelings provide the energy. This is the power that can alter our environment and circumstances, cause events to happen, attract money, possessions, work and love, change habits and improve health. It is a great mind power. It is the power behind every success. Imagine you have a genie at your disposal! By visualizing an event, a situation, or an object we attract it to us. We see in our imagination what we want and it happens. It is like daydreaming. It is the natural process of the power of thought... can be used unconsciously in everyday life... without one being aware. Visualize goals in a positive way and the goals materialize.

Thought is a power and has its effect on the material world. Thoughts, if powerful enough, travel from one mind to another. If we keep thinking the same thought, people in our environment perceive it and act on it, furthering, usually in an unconscious manner, the materialization of our desires. When I have to confront some unpleasant situation, I visualize myself handling the matter easily and comfortably. I see the involved people as cooperative and friendly. As a result, they are pleasant, and they want to help... people are responsive to our thoughts, feelings and behavior and react accordingly. If you are naturally positive, then the way you approach and handle situations is such that it attracts positive results. On the other hand, if you are fearful and expect negative results, and people behave, look, and talk accordingly. We are part of the Universal Power that created the universe and therefore we participate in the creative process. Concentrated thoughts materialize. Thought is energy. Concentrating on thoughts and putting emotional energy into them, they become powerful. These thoughts induce some kind of pressure on the energy fields around us, causing them to move and act. The thoughts change the balance of energy around us, and in a natural way bring changes in the environment in accordance with them.

There is another explanation from the eastern philosophies "Maya" - Illusion, which comes provides the explanation. Indian philosophy "Advaita- Vedanta" which in the West is called "Nonduality", the world is just an illusion and is not real. Thoughts arise which "create" our world. We constantly think and rethink our habitual thoughts, thus creating and recreating the same kind of events or circumstances. This process reinforces our thoughts, which help to preserve the same "world" we believe we live in. By changing the thoughts, and mental pictures we create a different "reality" which in fact is  a different dream... we change the "illusory" world we believe we live in... our "reality". It is not something "material" that we change. It is like dreaming a very realistic dream and then switching to a different dream. We are not awakening, just changing the dream. The opportunity will present itself. The power of thoughts will work for you too.

Overcome limited thinking... Creative visualization can do great things, but for every person there are some areas, which he may find hard to change, at least in the immediate future. This is a great power, but there are some limits to using it. These limits are within us, not in the power. Very often we limit ourselves and cannot look beyond a limited circle. We limit ourselves by our thoughts and beliefs. The wider we can look at the world and ourselves, the greater are our possibilities. Any limits are within our minds, and it is up to us to rise above them. It may take some time until things start to change. Simple, small demonstrations of this power may come fast, but bigger results may need a longer time to happen.The time and effort put forth in this study are really worthwhile. Have faith and patience and results will start appearing.

 

 What brings on spiritual emergency? The process is started by a sense of isolation and alienation… feeling that one is unable to fit into the world... feeling like a stranger.

 the role of trauma...  Trauma is emotional distress which results from experiencing extreme personal injury or witnessing it… Trauma makes a tremendous impact on the psyche and the effects may last for years.

The causes of trauma...  three things in common: external cause... violation... loss of control A spiritual emergency is almost always precipitated by a severe emotional crisis. The person unconsciously creates a set of circumstances that recreated a pattern of a far earlier trauma when unprocessed emotions were frozen. Both remembered and forgotten traumas drive most of people's behavior and emotional life, completely outside of their conscious awareness. Traumatic experiences are stored, and later ‘played back’ when they are triggered by outer circumstances. The playback is an entire bodily experience, as if the younger traumatized self is partially taking over the body. From a biological viewpoint storing our responses to traumatic experiences makes sense, since we survived the experience by responding in those ways.


 discussion on indexing and triggering of trauma, see The Adventure of Self Discovery by Dr. Stanislav Grof and Beyond Psychology by Dr. Frank Gerbode.

The effects of trauma
are surprisingly commonplace... the person is bewildered and confused, unable to understand what is happening or why it happens, has a strong sense of denial, is unable to convince themselves that the experience is real... reinforced by the denial of other people and especially those in authority, sleep problems, nightmares and waking early... they are unable to switch off flashbacks and replays... impaired memory and intermittent forgetfulness especially of day-to-day trivial things, exaggerated startle response, deep sense of betrayal, obsessiveness with the experience which takes over one's life, depression, excessive shame and guilt, undue fear, emotional numbness unable to feel love, hope, joy, physical and mental paralysis at any reminder of the experience.

There is a wide range of triggers or precipitants of powerful spiritual experiences... spiritual emergency. Spontaneous signs such as dreams, threats to one’s life such as serious illness, accidents or operations, extreme physical exertion or prolonged lack of sleep, perinatal events such as childbirth, miscarriage or abortion, powerful sexual experiences or stress of emotional experiences such as loss of close relationship and life failures,  exposure to psychedelic drugs, music and repetitive activities; deep involvement in spiritual practices... meditative practice aim of which is to bring about dissolution of the 'false self'...

 the stress may cause highly activated mythic images to erupt from the psyche's deepest levels in the form of turbulent visionary experience.

As a result the psyche 'reacts' as a whole and forces a transformation in the form of a profound compensating psychic emergency of dramatic proportions and this forces continued development… As a result the individual experiences profound disorientation and instability… an acute episode of ‘ego-collapse’ (also known as ‘schizophrenic break’) which can last several months... during which time the alienated psyche reorganises itself in such a way that the conscious ego is eventually brought back into communication with the unconscious. With this eventual positive transformative outcome the person has a sense of newly gained knowledge or ‘gnosis’. For individuals on the spiritual path the person’s core beliefs open up the way for new ways of thinking. .. long-held attitudes and values are challenged pushing one on to further spiritual growth involving rapid changes... shift... in values and belief systems. As values rapidly change there is a restructuring of old patterns of behaviour.

These experiences... profound religious experiences include voices, visions, telepathy, exaltation, ecstasy, Kundalini energy, channeling, paranormal abilities, near-death experiences, karmic experience and beliefs of possession... their occurrence provides a rapid elevation in consciousness. Fear may become paramount during these unusual experiencesof a spiritual nature... The intense fear producing experiences... as themes of personal death, world destruction . the process may result in a spiral of fear that clouds the larger perspective and has to be put in the proper perspective. As spiritual experiences they have power which enables the person to break down certain mental structures, cultural assumptions, and conditioning... the breakdowns constitute a coming to terms with the roots of awareness.  Breakdown can represent opportunity for breakthrough... see interview with John Perry   The person looks into the process at a deep level in order to cement new found knowledge... The most profound theme is going into the void to experience the 'dark night of the soul'. All images whether they are presented in dreams, meditations or visions are used to bring about a renewal or new birth in the individual's unique spiritual journey...  Many of the spiritual traditions of the world warn against being carried away by positive revelations and mystical mind blowing experiences that the individual may encounter.

The goal is to restore self-esteem and to engender a capacity to love and be loved... depends on connection with another human being who instills warmth and trust thus allowing for a forward progression of the inner imagery… the person benefits from feeling understoodwhat is important is basic human consideration or ‘kindness’

 the person's readiness for inner transformation is by far the most important factor. For some people it can be very intense and frightening, for others it may be a gentle unfolding.

Regular spiritual practices, such as meditation, prayer or yoga, are designed to activate spiritual energies. It may begin as a sense of longing for something more, a longing that leads one to explore the inner depths of one's being... to embark upon a quest for meaning. It can also be triggered by emotional intensity or stress, physical exertion, disease, childbirth, shock or other forms of trauma, artistic or creative practices. These are all powerful experiences that have the potential to open us fully, and open a way to the hidden depths of the psyche.

Spiritual emergencey is intense spiritual experience... the individual enters new realms of spirituality… kind of 'birth pang' which is conducive to healing. Spiritual emergency is by its very nature potentially healing and transformative process... experience of personal growth... a stage of developmental process that transports the person beyond sickness and health and into a positive transformation of the self... a mental syndrome which is in actuality a natural effort of the psyche to mend its imbalances... a state of mind characterised by abstract, non-linear thought patterns which coincide with unpredictable, non-conformist behaviour and attributes of clairvoyance and clairaudience.... To a careful observer the emotions are quite appropriate to the situation at hand.

Spiritual emergency as a healing process: The process is a healing one... the person is naturally rid of any shame which they were made to feel about being a disappointment to parents or whatever... feelings of inferiority fall away and are replaced with feelings of changed meanings for their life experiences or 'past lives'... deep transformation of meaning

 If properly understood and treated as a difficult stage in a natural developmental process, spiritual emergency can result in emotional and psychosomatic healing, deep positive changes of the personality, and the solution of many problems in life.

 

  Spiritual emergency can be likened to peeling an onion to find the true core. As outer layer issues are cleared away deeper psychological issues and concerns involving past family history and present relationships are brought to the forefront for clarification… come forth literally reworking and restructuring the personality. Repressed material…anger…may surface from the subconscious. The higher ‘Self’ continues the journey by presenting unique and unusual powerful psychic or ‘spiritual’ experiences. After a highly charged experience where energies are transmuted from lower to higher consciousness, the person may feel that they have lost their groundedness... they feel vulnerable and exposed.

"A spiritual emergency is a critical and experientially difficult stage of a profound psychological transformation that involves one's entire being.... a crisis point within the transformational process of spiritual emergence. It may take the form of non-ordinary states of consciousness and may involve episodes of unusual thoughts, intense emotions, visions and other sensory changes, as well as various physical manifestations... often revolving around spiritual themes. The term spirituality should be reserved for situations that involve personal experiences of certain dimensions of reality that give one's life, and existence in general, a numinous quality. C.G. Jung used the word numinous to describe an experience that feels sacred, holy, or out of the ordinary" (Grof & Grof, 1991).

Depending on whether the interactions between the individual and the immediate surroundings tend toward affirmation or invalidation, comprehension of these visions can turn the visionary experience into a step in growth or into a disordered mental syndrome which reveals self-organizing process that has self-healing potential... in actuality is natural effort of the psyche to mend its imbalances . . if the upset is received in the spirit of empathy and understanding, and allowed to run its course

  Many people undergo the profound personal transformation which is an intensive process associated with this type of crisis. The crisis situation has the potential for a positive outcome of emotional healing involving a radical shift in values and a profound awareness of the spiritual dimension of their human nature. The person experiencing spiritual emergence and especially spiritual emergency needs acceptance of their situation without judgment, respectful and supportive attitudes, facilitative conditions, love and understanding.  

 

  "The mystic, endowed with native talents and following the instructions of a master, enters the waters and finds he can swim; whereas the so-called 'schizophrenic', unprepared, unguided, and ungifted, has fallen or has intentionally plunged and is drowning."(Joseph Campbell The Hero with a Thousand Faces)

Spiritual emergency in terms of positive and beneficial perspectives rather than stigmatization and pathological categorization. If properly understood and treated as difficult stages in a natural developmental process, spiritual emergency can result in emotional and psychosomatic healing, deep positive changes of the personality, and the solution of many life problems.

Spiritual emergency has positive outcome if the person has the conceptual framework to support, understand and accept  the experience… if they have the physical and emotional structure tolerance for ambiguity… if they have high tolerance for strong emotions, flexibility and so on… if their social network includes 'helpers' who define the experience as positive, potentially healthy, healing, initiatory... if the person has an open but discerning mind... if the person lives in a benign environment which allows the experience to proceed.

The excess energy that accompanies the intense emotional and sensory events needs to be directed and assimilated in a renewal process.

Within the space of altered state of consciousness... characters come into play... gods, devils, a kindly and compassionate mentor, a fierce warrior goddess etc... the real life people one had lost, been with, or been up against, are transformed into larger-than-life characters.

. Source of crisis is the personality before the so-called 'psychotic episode' ... It is the pre-episode psyche that needs help... the true source of so-called 'mental illness' is the incomplete personality... the alienated personality or 'pre-psychotic personality' in which the person's affective potentialities existed only in the dormant state. If the person is forced to live an emotionally impoverished life then the resulting incomplete personality becomes the source of the crisis... When the self-image suffers severe damage it becomes compensatorily aggrandized and exalted in an attempt to bring the conscious and unconscious into better balance. The psyche reacts by forcing a transformation in the form of a ‘compensating’ episode... 'psychotic break'... 'acute schizophrenic break'.  In order to achieve this the psyche withdraws energy from relationships and invests it all in activating the central archetypes of the inner world. The person undergoes a crisis during which psychic energy leaves the higher levels of consciousness and is attracted to the psychic depths in an archetypal process of renewal. The negative self-image is compensated by an overblown archetypal one which manifests in imagery of the hero. There is a sense of participating in some form of ritual or drama in depth which forces the person to undergo certain developmental processes accompanied by rich, emotional imagery of a general, archetypal nature which portrays the person's key issues. The archetypal images... parallel to classical myths and ancient  rituals... are first lived through on this mythic plane and as the process of withdrawal comes to an end they become linked to the person's specific problems of daily life ... to the personal psychological complexes which the person has been projecting onto the outside world. They are reconnected to their natural context. This is a process in which the self is reorganized.... 'hero's journey'...

 The purpose  is to become acquainted with one's human nature and to find the solution to the problem of suffering which happens on a daily, hourly basis in all the minor disappointments, rejections, frustrations, and failures.

The person discovers to their surprise and astonishment that their life has been largely inauthentic in its totality... their entire life strategy has been misdirected and therefore unfulfilling.

"It is justifiable to regard the term 'sickness' as pertaining not to the acute turmoil but to the pre-psychotic personality, standing as it does in need of profound reorganization. In this case, the renewal process occurring in the acute psychotic episode may be considered nature's way of setting things right." (John Weir Perry

 So-called 'psychotic episode'... The person experiencing 'psychotic episode' may feel that their sense of identity is breaking down, that their old values no longer hold true, and that the very ground beneath their personal reality is radically shifting. The person moves on through a temporary state of perceptual uncertainty... In many cases, new realms of mystical and spiritual experience enter their lives suddenly and dramatically, resulting in fear and confusion. They may feel tremendous anxiety, have difficulty coping with their daily lives, jobs, and relationships, and may even fear for their own sanity.... The experiences and realizations can be so mind-blowing, literally, that at certain points the person has trouble 'keeping it together'. The whole personality structure melts and disintegrates. Everything is orchestrated towards some mysterious, unknown destination where everything is clearly being integrated into a higher and more psychoactive center.

 According to the new perspective... such crises are transformative breakthroughs that can hold tremendous potential for physical and emotional healing. When understood and treated in a supportive manner, spiritual emergencies can become gateways to higher levels of functioning and new ways of being.

Transformation stage involves a revelation about the person's ability to overcome and succeed in the journey. The person now recognizes the fact that they have the necessary mental, physical and spiritual toughness to complete the journey.,As the person conquers the abyss and overcomes their fears, they become truly different... their transformation becomes complete. Transformation preparation for atonement... begins right about the time the person is about to give up. At the very lowest point of despair the hero reaches inside himself and works through his deepest, darkest fears of failure and death. The introspection, or insight, is the apotheosis which with the person's new confidence gives balance to the hero who is now at one with themselves at the stage of atonement!

.The visionary state involves a dark passage and images of death signifying the dismantling of a psychological structure that is no longer tenable or favorable to life and growth i.e. 'ego-death'... symbolised by imagery of apocalypse... The apocalyse is an internal phenomenon of revelation. The word apocalypse is from Greek for 'uncovering of something that is hidden' or 'revelation'. The vulgar meaning of the word is misconstrued from the final book of the Bible, Revelations, which Saint John the Divine wrote after obtaining a vision when he was imprisoned in a cave on the Greek island of Patmos. John describes an end of time, a resurrection of the souls of the dead, a divine last judgement, followed by a grand entry of the souls of the blessed into Paradise...  there is no indication that the apocalyse is an external phenomenon.

The person who experiences kundalini rising are typically "objective about their condition, communicate and cooperate well, show interest in sharing their experiences with open-minded people, and seldom act out" (Grof, 1986).

  Metaphorical path to personal transformation: spiritual journey or hero's journey as spiritual quest... return to the authentic self or 'Self'... the pattern of human experience, human growth and human life. The journey is a process of self-discovery and self-integration, of maintainance of balance and harmony. As with any process of growth and change, a journey can be confusing and painful, but it brings opportunities to develop confidence, perspective, perceptiveness and develop a sense of the flow of one's experience. One of the central mythic motifs is rebirth... new birth. The spiritual  journey is not for the weak willed...  In a sense, every situation with which one is confronted with something new or which forces us to re-evaluate our thinking, behaviour or perspective is a potential 'hero's journey'. The adventures one faces are challenging and exciting because they can open the doors to knowledge and understanding. An understanding of the journey pattern enables one to face difficulties and gain strength, wisdom and independence required for making intelligent decisions required for effective evaluation of situations... effective adaptation to a changing social environment ... and the resolution of human problems.  

If one is immersed in the patriarchal society of capitalism, the conditioning of society and the need for material survival keep one chained to a life of doing, striving, achieving, accomplishing for material gain and social recognition.... one sells out... takes a job or 'work' as giving one's time in exchange for money... living by the values of money, career, possessions, material accomplishment and so on. For the person who struggles with the feeling that something is missing they might experience a deep repressed cry within to live the authentic life a life true to their own heart and soul... true to their real nature, true to the nature of the human personality or 'human nature'. They can discover their true nature by putting an end to striving... by being quiet and still, by listening and just being. The spiritual journey is a journey through some of the deepest jungles of the psyche or 'soul' or ‘Self’...involves a confrontation with the greatest enemy of spiritual  growth which is the ‘self’or 'ego'... the 'ego-self'. It is a descent into darkness to meet the 'shadow level' of the personality and the eventual emergence into the light, transformed. It takes courage and a strong commitment to do the work necessary to face one's demons and slay one's dragons. One becomes a 'spiritual warrior', equipped with a psychic sword ready to cut away at the barriers that prevent one from living the authentic life. It involves peeling away at the layers of who we are not in order to find who we really are. This is the nature of the human personality or 'human nature'. Once one discovers one's true  nature, one must reintegrate into society as an authentic person. New found hopes and dreams must be reconciled with the necessities of living as artists, writers, counselors, speakers or whatever allows for authentic expression.With the new direction of spiritual transformation one helps the world by focusing not on accomplishment and material gain but on authentic work and selfless service honoring oneself and others as well. One learns to do the work of the spirit within and trust that one will be provided for. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice material gain in order to be true to oneself.  Being true to oneself means sharing one's talents with the world. Failure to do so leads to a inner restlessness which will eventually turn into anger turned inwards i.e. 'depression'.

 When the process of experiential self-exploration reaches the transpersonal level, personality changes deepen and extend even further. What begins as psychological probing of the unconscious psyche automatically becomes a philosophical quest for the meaning of life and a journey of spiritual discovery. People who connect to the transpersonal domain of their psyche tend to develop a new appreciation for existence and reverence for all life. One of the most striking consequences of various forms of transpersonal experiences is spontaneous emergence and development of deep humanitarian and ecological concerns...  based on an almost cellular awareness that the boundaries in the universe are arbitrary...  each of us is identical with the entire web of being... we cannot do anything to nature without simultaneously doing it to ourselves. Differences among people become interesting and enriching rather than threatening.

Hero's journey as adventure story... specific tasks to accomplish... his call to adventure... the hero is reluctant at first... acknowledges the yearning or call to adventure... the desire to proceed wins out. The hero is completely committed to the journey when he leaves the safety of his own home/ land; known as crossing the threshold   The hero encounters many trials and tribulations-both mentally and physically. Each time the hero conquers a monster (trial) he gains self-confidence which is tested throughout the journey.

Stages of the hero's journey: spiritual emergency to transformation and rebirth or 'renewal' Things seem to be going along quite smoothly when unexpectedly the person has a serious life crisis or anguish which becomes so intense that it jump-starts the search for spiritual truth. Each new insight that is discovered brings on the death of an old false belief that has been programmed. The ego is seriously threatened and is followed by a severe test of faith that can last for months or years. During the crisis stage, the person may have any combination of the following symptoms: feelings of depression, despair, loneliness; loss of energy; chronic exhaustion unrelated to the physical state; loss of control over one's personal and/or professional direction in life; unusual sensitivity to light, sound and other environmental factors; anger, frustration, ..; loss of identity, purpose, and meaning to life; withdrawal from  everyday routines; feelings of madness; feelings of inadequacy; lessened feelings of attachment to family and friends; loss of attention span, self-confidence and self-esteem; frequent bouts of spontaneous crying. Spiritual madness is an inner crisis situation during which deep, rich spiritual growth is occurring a painful experience which should not be suppressed with anti-depressants. 

 

The most important test comes at the lowest point of the journey - the unknown world or 'abyss'...symbolically represented as an inmost cave, the depths of the sea, dark forest, belly of the whale etc.. It is at this stage that the hero is on the brink of failure or death. When the person reaches the abyss, the challenge is so great that they relinquish attachment to the world left behind and surrender completely to the sensory events of the adventure... they become one with it... they are 'reborn in the other world...  crosses over into the new realm... this is the  'new beginning' of a new life. However to those left behind they may appear as 'dead' or 'lost'. The person endures the ordeal ... encounters a set of tasks or tests (allies and enemies) through which they move from immature behaviours of dependence (childhood) to mature behaviours of self-reliance (adulthood). Each task prepares them for the ultimate goal (a new ability for selflessness and unconditional love) in a process of personal evolution from personal limitations to unrealized potential... the road of trials leads to an encounter with the 'goddess figure' which represents earth mother as source of life or 'creation'.  

sequence of events: Although the journey is a single process... the individual's adventure towards growth and transformation can be described in terms of several stages which must be successfully completed in the order of their appearance. 1) separation: the person  receives the call to adventure and separates from the known... ordinary world 2)  encouraged by a mentor to cross the first threshold and enter the unknown 3) where they encounter challenges of initiation ... tests, allies, enemies... trials and tribulations 4) they cross a second threshold and enter the inmost cave or 'abyss'  where they endure the ordeal... Reintegration at a higher level of awareness and freedom... and  transformation... attainment of enlightenment 5). They take possession of their reward and are pursued on the road back to the ordinary world. They cross the third threshold, experience a 'resurrection'  and are transformed  by the experience. The person returns to the familiar 'ordinary' world with new found knowledge... elixir of enlightenment... a boon or treasure to benefit the ordinary world... and is treated with respect

 .Separation from the known familiar or 'ordinary' world of drudgery and despair in which the person lives by the rules. The person is restless... ill at ease with their immediate environment and circumstances. .. suddenly made aware of the unreality of their own reality... they are prompted to question the very nature of their existence and they awaken from the 'dream' to pursue a higher calling...

the invitation or 'call to adventure' presents a challenge or quest that must be undertaken... the call can take many forms: the person feels that something has been taken from them... has been lost... the goal is to reclaim it... to find it... there is something lacking in their life and they want to find out what it is... they want to save or restore honour.

The turning point in the journey a symbolic figure somehow profoundly familiar to the unconscious suddenly appears as a guide. This figure is unknown and even frightening to the conscious self. Thereafter, when the hero returns for a while to his familiar occupations, he finds them unfruitful. A continuing series of signs or summons from a higher domain of increasing force appear automatically as if by divine design… become visible and cannot be ignored. They are callers to destiny or 'heralds'. The person is jolted from a subliminal dream state, the immediate horror of his temporal circumstances… a feeling of lonely rootlessness ..distressing emotions are stirred up in the innermost depths of the psyche.. the person feels off-center and leaves the certain social situation, moves into his own loneliness. This departure occurs when the person feels something has been lost and goes to find it. The herald gives reason to rethink and provides some direction... the person may refuse the adventure or deny the ability to move beyond the status quo... ‘refusal of the call’...  the person is reluctant at first and refuses the call... they cannot take up the challenge because of fears and insecurities that have surfaced from the call to adventure.  They may not be willing to make changes, preferring the safe haven of the 'ordinary world'.... This is an essential stage that communicates the risks involved in the journey that lies ahead.

  but  are encouraged by a MENTOR with advice, training or magical gifts helps the hero to gain confidence and insight needed to overcome the initial fears of crossing the first threshold and enter the special world where they will encounter TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES.The mentor may be a physical person, or an object such as a map, a logbook, or other writing.

 They APPROACH THE INMOST CAVE, crossing a second threshold where they endure the ORDEAL. They take possession of their REWARD and are pursued on THE ROAD BACK to the Ordinary World. They cross the third threshold, experience a RESURRECTION, and are transformed  by the experience. They RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR, a boon or treasure to benefit the Ordinary World. 

The Hero must make the preparations needed to approach the Inmost Cave that leads to the Journey's heart, or central Ordeal.  Maps may be reviewed, attacks planned, a reconnaissance launched, and possibly the enemies forces whittled down before the Hero can face his greatest fear, or the supreme danger lurking in the Special World.

...offers an opportunity to face the unknown and gain something of  value. This might be in the form of the awareness of a shift in one's spiritual or emotional ‘center of gravity’ …discovery that one has outgrown the role that one has been playing. The person can willingly choose to undertake the journey...  it can be a gradual process starting with a vague sense of discontent, imbalance or incongruity in one's life... or the person can be dragged into the journey unwillingly by a sudden traumatic change in their life... and undergo a 'transformative crisis’ or spiritual emergency.

 The key to the separation process is detachment... letting go of one’s identity as a way of escaping into a world outside oneself in order to survive.... involves confrontation with buried emotions...… emotion and the visual aspect of the experiences... hallucinations can be disengaged and split into a mirage of half truths which prevent the inner pain from escaping.

"In situations of terror, people spontaneously seek their first source of comfort and protection. When this cry is not answered, the sense of basic trust is shattered. Traumatized people feel utterly abandoned, utterly alone, cast out of the human and divine systems of care and protection that sustain life. Thereafter, a sense of alienation, of disconnection, pervades every relationship, from the most intimate familial bonds to the most abstract affiliations of community". (Judith Herman Trauma and Recovery)

  The Initiation involves surrender to the process. The psychic process is autonomous and the person must just let it happen... surrender to it. The person surrenders their customary frames of reference and chooses to trust the process as a healing process even though they have no control over it... they realise that their 'reality’ has limits… that it is limited by false beliefs.

The purpose of the mystical experiences is to learn and grow in consciousness and then surrender to the heightened intuition that accompanies them.

The initial disordered state contains two distinct elements. First is an experience of dying which symbolizes dissolution of the person's accustomed self... 'ego-death'.  Second is a vision of the death of the world which symbolizes dissolution of the person's world-image or 'world-view.... collapse of the accustomed culture or subculture by which the psyche has organized its experience of the world. The person experiences a basic refurbishing of their culture in terms of the images of society. Reforming of  the self  becomes equivalent to the reforming of the person's worldview. Work of the psychotic process involves a dissolution of the self-image and its renewal in parallel with a destruction of the world image and its ensuing regeneration. The person's world shifts from the outer consensual reality to the inner myth-styled reality.

Once called to the adventure, the person passes over the jumping off point or 'threshold'.

 

 Crossing of the Threshold (Entering the Unknown) into a new lifesignifies that the hero has finally committed to the journey and is prepared to cross the gateway that separates the ordinary world from the special mythical world.

 the transition into the world of adventure is representred by a Crossing of the first portal or 'threshold’ .... dual nature of danger and opportunity. The person's competency for entering the new realm is  tested by a terrifying creature as so-called 'threshold guardian' or 'gatekeeper'. It is a dangerous adventure, since one must move out of the known into the unexplored, unknown sphere and delve into the infinite depths of inner being. The threshold is the interface between the known world and the unknown world filled with challenges and dangers. At the threshold the person encounters their own fears and doubts... their ineffective thought and behaviour patterns. These are represented by people, beings, or situations which block their passage to the unknown and prevent the person from taking the journey unless they are prepared to do so. When the person is ready to meet the challenge the threshold guardian steps aside and points the way. Also at the threshold or later in the journey, the person encounters helpers who provide assistance and direction. The most important of these helpers is the guide or mentor who encourages the person to cross the first threshold ... keeps the person focused on their goal and gives them a stable psychological foundation when the danger is greatest. Although helpers and guides may appear throughout the journey and tend to appear at the most opportune moments in the meaningful coincidences of  ‘synchronicity’ creative energy of the universe flows through .. every moment is creative, magical and totally new...

 Once past the threshold, the person begins the journey inward to a psychological unknown. Whichever direction the voyage takes, the person is put more and more at risk both physically and emotionally. They face a series of challenges or temptations which reflect the person's needs and fears. The early challenges are relatively easy. With the successful confrontation with challenges, one builds maturity, skill and confidence. As the journey progresses, the challenges become more difficult and one is tested to the utmost and forced to change and grow. One of the greatest tests is to differentiate real helpers from 'tempters' who try to distract them away from the right path with their own fears and doubts. They may pretend to be a friend or counselor in an effort to divert the person's energy to their own needs. The person must rely on their sense of purpose and judgment and the advise of their mentor to help them recognize true helpers. Whatever the challenges one faces, the tempters always seem to strike the person's greatest weakness...poorest skill, shakiest knowledge,vulnerable emotions. The person must confront these weaknesses ('shortcomings') directly... acknowledge them and incorporate them...  turning the 'demons' (natural guardians to the other world... the embodiment of the person's weaknesses and faults) into  'gods'. Inability to do this ends the adventure and one must turn back.

  1. Ordeal:  "The Hero engages in the Ordeal, the central life-or-death crisis, during which he faces his greatest fear, confronts his most difficult challenge, and experiences "death".  His Journey teeters on the brink of failure.  The Ordeal is the central magical Stage of any Journey.  Only through "death" can the Hero be reborn, experiencing a resurrection that grants greater power or insight to see the Journey to the end."
  1.  
    1. Reward (Seizing the Sword):  "The Hero has survived death, overcome his greatest fear, slain the dragon, or weathered the crisis of the heart, and now earns the Reward that he has sought.  The Hero's Reward comes in many forms:  a magical sword, an elixir, greater knowledge or insight, reconciliation with a lover.  Whatever the treasure, the Hero has earned the right to celebrate.  The Hero may have earned the Reward outright, or the Hero may have seen no option but to steal it.  The Hero may rationalize this Elixir theft, having paid for it with the tests and ordeals thus far.  But the consequences of the theft must be confronted as the Shadow forces race to reclaim the Elixir that must not see the light of the Ordinary World."

Trials and Tribulations of the Journey The  person experiences inexplicable emotional states as they move to clear out unresolved issues...  old ways of thought and behaviour are altered or destroyed. The joy of the hero's adventure lies in exploring the unknown...  spiritual realisation... psychological state which enables us to see the world and ourselves in perfect balance... psychological stability of enlightenment stand outside the self, mindfulness'... becoming 'mindful' of the way one responds to a sudden noise or change in temperature...  observing, as a detached observer, all our own activities... observing the workings of one's own mind... pleasure in life subjected to the merciless scrutiny of mindfulness...

   often satisfaction means suffering for others. human beings  ceaselessly yearning to become something else, go somewhere else, and acquire something they do not have. Blinded in our desires petty cravings we almost never see things as they are in themselves, but our vision is colored by whether we want them or not, how we can get them, or how they can bring us profit. We are constantly consumed and distracted by the compulsion to become something different from what we are at present.' nature of the world is to change - happy when it is caught up in the process of change, but  love of change contains a measure of fear and insecurity... temporal existence is characterized by constant change we lose touch with the eternal essence of life remains subsumed in the fleeting and passing moment of current time.  essential link in inner being binds the transient to the eternal.  we have attained salvation... shadow self residual forces which still clung to the old ideals ...delusion the ignorance which holds us back from enlightenment  

 crossing a second threshold

They cross the third threshold, experience a resurrection and are transformed by the experience. They return with the elixir a boon or treasure to benefit the ordinary world. When the imbalance   which sent them on the journey has been corrected they continue until the next

  1. Tests, Allies, Enemies:  "Having crossed the threshold, the Hero faces Tests, encounters Allies, confronts Enemies, and learns the rules of this Special World.  The Hero needs to find out who can be trusted.  Allies are earned The Hero must prepare himself for the greater Ordeals yet to come and needs this stage to test his skills and powers, or perhaps seek further training from the Mentor.  This Initiation into this Special World also tests the Hero's commitment to the Journey, and questions whether he can succeed.

The catalyst for the journey... greatest challenge... the greatest fear which the person must face alone... something they dread, have repressed or need to resolve... the ‘dragon in disguise’. The dragon taunts, threatens and dares the person to face them in the abyss.... they must 'slay the dragon'. If the person is unprepared... has a flaw in their character... if they are unable to surrender to the challenge, they can be beaten by it and must retreat... their life becomes a bitter shadow of what it could have been.

spontaneous and autonomous self-organizing and self-healing... spiritual process...  occurs on the deep spiritual level of the psyche.. reorganization and reintegration of the psyche on the deep spiritual level

The person moves on through a temporary state of perceptual uncertainty...

The experiences and realizations can be so mind-blowing, literally, that at certain points the person has trouble 'keeping it together'. The whole personality structure melts and disintegrates. Everything is  orchestrated towards some mysterious, unknown destination where everything is clearly being integrated into a higher and more psychoactive center.

There is an Ariadne's thread which leads through the maze of 'madness' and enables one to find one's way through the disintegration and re-integration of one's personality to health and happiness on the other side. The person must successfully return to ordinary life as a changed and reintegrated being.

 

 

 The pathway to recovery from psychological trauma which is about broken connections.... 'renewal process'...  requires an emotional framework...  The renewal process involves change in components of the individual personality... the psyche's way of dissolving old states of being and of creating  new states… of forming visions of a renewed self and of a new design of life with revivified meanings in one's world.

 

Connection is broken with the body/self, family, friends, community, nature, and spirit, perpetuating the downward spiral of traumatic dislocation. Healing trauma is about restoring these connections... recovery is based on validation of the profound changes which one experiences...

 

  Integration stage involves the integration of changes into the new personality. The intense psychotic experience which moves in a beneficial manner is eventually integrated into the person's whole being. This 'reintegration' involves a redefinition of the self as 'authentic self' or 'higher self' or 'Self' as opposed to 'ego-self'. The Self is the ambivalent archetypal core of the personality. Reintegration is a mythic process... 'archetypal psychotic process'... or 'renewal process'... in which the brain functions associated with thought or 'cognition' -  feeling, sensing, and intuition - are integrated until the psyche reaches a state of undividedness, indivisibility, 'wholeness' or 'individuation'. Feeling totally unselfconscious and free, the person  integrates the knowledge of their experience, completing it emotionally and physically so that they no longer experience disturbing emotions or uncomfortable symptoms.

The core issue of the integration stage is renewal of the self involving a new sense of identity and way of being in the world.   

The hero's journey as adventure story... specific tasks to accomplish... his call to adventure... the hero is reluctant at first... acknowledges the yearning or call to adventure... the desire to proceed wins out. The hero is completely committed to the journey when he leaves the safety of his own home/ land; known as crossing the threshold   The hero encounters many trials and tribulations-both mentally and physically. Each time the hero conquers a monster (trial) he gains self-confidence which is tested throughout the journey. The most important test comes at the lowest point of the journey - the unknown world or 'abyss'...symbolically represented as an inmost cave, labyrinth, the depths of the sea, dark forest, belly of the whale etc. It is at this stage that the hero is on the brink of failure or death. When the person reaches the abyss, the challenge is so great that they relinquish attachment to the world left behind and surrender completely to the sensory events of the adventure... they become one with it... they are 'reborn'  in the other world... mystical mythical world...  crosses over into the new realm... this is the  'new beginning' of a new life. However to those left behind the person may appear as 'dead' or 'lost'. The person endures the ordeal and  encounters a set of tasks or tests (allies and enemies) through which they move from immature behaviours of dependence (childhood) to mature behaviours of self-reliance (adulthood). Each task prepares them for the ultimate goal (a new ability for selflessness and unconditional love) in a process of personal evolution from personal limitations to unrealized potential... the road of trials leads to an encounter with the 'goddess figure' which represents earth mother as source of life or 'creation'.  

The labyrinth is a widespread symbol of initiation... to enter it is to experience a ritual death... to escape from it is to be resurrected.  Ariadne is the goddess of the labyrinth goddess of soul and knowledge... guide of Theseus; her name in Greek means "very holy".

Kundalini energies overwhelm and incapacitate the ego

  Characteristics of reintegration as process of 'individuation'...

1. The individuation process commands the person's full attention...

2. The process is a function of kundalini awakening and the kundalini process... kundalini explodes like a billion watts of electricity flowing through a seventy five watt bulb. It is as if the mind spills out from inside the skull and expresses itself synchronistically through events in the outer environment. What happens in the outer world is magically related to what goes on the inner world. The boundary dissolves between inner and outer worlds, between one's self in here and the other self out there, between dreaming and waking.

3. The process involves a natural unfolding and centering of the personality... an alchemical cycle of separation and synthesis involving the relative abolition of the ego through the gradual distillation of the Self out from a latent condition of unconsciousness into its rightful place at the centre of consciousness. It is a lengthy process of disorganization and utter disintegration on the ego level.The ego remains disintegrated... in the 'disintegration state'... until the reintegration process has been completed. Ego disintegration or 'disorder' is nature's way of dismantling the inadequate ego and allowing for a new start.

4.  The process is nourished by a continuous flow of symbolic insights transmitted from the unconscious Self to the conscious ego in a variety of ways including dreams, insights and flashes of intuition. (Should the person lose touch with the built-in guiding system of the deeper Self... should this inner communication flow get blocked for any reason, should the person no longer be able to use the considerable resources of their innate common sense to adapt effectively to their social environment then they can become increasingly frustrated and eventually alienated. Alienation also happens on a collective level within the family, society and civilisation, in which context the person may have trouble adapting to the social and the ecological environment as well. Whether individual or collective, a chronic blockage of the psyche's inner communications process may lead beyond a mere sense of ennui, and eventually jeopardise the ability to be responsible for one's health and survival.)

5. The process requires intense energy... accounts for fatigue along with a need for time spent alone. The physical body needs to shut down to deal with the intensity of the emotions and adjust to the rapid vibrational change that has taken place on a cellular, tissue and organ level. At times an acute bout of depression functions to shut down the person's energy and focus on the all-absorbing crisis that needs to be worked through.

 6. Part of the process involves the successful handling of the interface with the social environment without talking indiscriminately about the unusual inner experiences and getting into trouble by trying to convince people with a message. The person needs to be aware of what other people can understand and what they can’t understand... needs to know to whom they can talk... to  know which metaphors they can use in communicating.

7. The final step in the process is a moment of death and rebirth or 'resurrection'.... The person goes through an archetypal death-rebirth experience, which is about the death and transcendence of the separate self. ... the fearful part ... the ignorant part of the person dies so that a new part... the courageous part... the enlightened part... can be born. Fear must die to make way for courage. Ignorance must die for the birth of enlightenment. Dependency and irresponsibility must die so that independence and power of responsibility can grow.

The hero faces the resurrection, his most dangerous meeting with death.  This final life-or-death ordeal shows that the hero has maintained and can apply all that he has brought back to the ordinary world.  This ordeal and resurrection represents a cleansing... purification that must occur now that the hero has emerged from the land of the dead.  The hero is reborn or transformed with the attributes of the ordinary self in addition to the lessons and insights from the characters he has met along the road.  The resurrection may be a physical ordeal, or final showdown between the hero and the shadow.  This battle is for much more than the hero's life.  Other lives, or an entire world may be at stake and the hero must now prove that he has achieved heroic status and willingly accept his sacrifice for the benefit of the ordinary world.  Other Allies may come to the last minute rescue to lend assistance, but in the end the hero must rise to the sacrifice at hand...  must deliver the blow that destroys the death star or offer his hand and accept the elixir of love.

Feeling totally unselfconscious and free, the person integrates the knowledge of their experience, completing it emotionally and physically so that they no longer experience disturbing emotions or uncomfortable symptoms.

Characteristics of reintegration as process of 'individuation'...

As the person conquers the abyss and overcomes their fears, they become truly different... their transformation becomes complete.

 

 

Transformation After the person is transformed and they have incorporated the changes brought on by their journey (integration or 'individuation')... they are prepared  for 'at-one-ment' with the new self ... 'authentic self' or 'higher self' i.e. 'atonement'. Atonement represents harmony with life and the world. Transformation begins right about the time the person is about to give up. At the very lowest point of despair the person reaches inside themselves and works through their deepest, darkest fears of failure and death. In a revelation the person recognizes that they have the necessary mental, physical and spiritual toughness to overcome the ordeal and complete the journey.   

Part of the transformation process is a sudden, dramatic change in the way the person thinks and views life... a radical shift of identity ..  

The introspection, or insight, is the apotheosis... The apotheosis and the new confidence give balance to the hero and he is now at one with himself- he is at the stage of atonement! ...

The person's limited conceptualisations about the nature of the universe are shattered.The person recognises that the others are inter-related, inter-connected and inter-dependent parts of themselves... that they are in unity with the whole of creation... that they are co-related with others as well as the universe at-large... the universe as a whole.

one  steps out of a world in which one is alienated... illusory 'separate self'... the illusion of separateness... one wakes up to one's true nature... this enables spiritual opening which involves recognition of one's connectedness with others.

At a certain point, the entire ordeal reveals itself to be an initiation for actualizing and giving expression to one's true genius... one 'remembers' something that's been long forgotten... the person's 'inner voice'... guiding spirit... unfabricated true nature...

The person's limited conceptualisations about the nature of the universe have been shattered.... the universe as a whole... one  steps out of a world in which one is alienated... illusory 'separate self'... the illusion of separateness... one wakes up to one's true nature... this enables spiritual opening which involves recognition of one's connectedness with others. At a certain point, the entire ordeal reveals itself to be an initiation for actualizing and giving expression to one's true genius... one 'remembers' something that's been long forgotten... the person's 'inner voice'... guiding spirit... unfabricated true nature. As a result the person's presence is beneficial to others.

The person discovers their unique calling, their true vocation is to become a master multi-dimensional artist... a 'bodhisattva' who is here to help other beings.

Alignment of the ego with the spiritual path is found in serving others... serving without feeling a personal increase in self importance... feeling superior because one has achieved intense spiritual evolution... is one sign that the ego is in alignment with highest spiritual guidance

As a result the person's presence is beneficial to others. Their ego is in alignment with the spiritual path... with the highest spiritual guidance... is functional in serving others without feeling a personal increase in self importance... without feeling superior because they have achieved intense spiritual evolution.  

(Rapid spiritual growth and development accompanied by an attachment of the ego self results in compensationg 'inflation of the ego'. Such ego involvement can be avoided if  during the process the person plays the role of observer.)

Now a master of the underworld, the hero must return to master the known world... 'self-mastery'.

 The return to the known world... At the end of the quest... after transformation and atonement the person faces the final stage of the journey... their return to everyday life of the familiar world with the the gift... boon... elixir of enlightenment... which they have discovered... the reward with which they can contribute to society... their 'social contribution'. The Return with the Elixir is the final Reward earned on the Hero's Journey. The Hero has been resurrected, purified and has earned the right to be accepted back into the Ordinary World and share the Elixir of the Journey.  The true Hero returns with an Elixir to share with others or heal a wounded land. The Elixir can be a great treasure or magic potion.  It could be love, wisdom, or simply the experience of having survived the 'special world'.  The hero's last task is to communicate their discoveries for all humanity.

The hero must finally recommit to completing the journey and accept the road back to the ordinary world... success in the 'special world' may make it difficult to return.Refusal of the Return So when all has been achieved, the ambrosia has been drunk and we have conversed with the gods why come back to normal life with all its cares and woes?

The hero generally sets off for home to bring the knowledge of his adventure to others. For the hero who accepts the need to return (comeback), there are two principal scenarios – flight and rescue. . Where the hero has won blessings, he is commissioned to return to the world to heal it. In the first case the protector may assist him on a supernatural return journey... the 'magical flight
 hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding. It
can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.... during which he might be pursued on the road back to the ordinary world. If the treasure was obtained through conflict or without consent, this will become a flight of difficult obstacles and pursuit by the angered force. After the magic flight, the hero might require help returning from his supernatural adventure... requires the outside world to pull him back from the adventure - this is the ‘rescue from without'. Just as the hero may need guides and assistants to set out on the quest, often times he or she must have powerful guides and rescuers to bring them back to everyday life, especially if the person has been wounded or weakened by the experience. Or perhaps the person doesn't realize that it is time to return, that they can return, or that others need their boon. The reluctant hero loses all desire to abandon his bliss, may take refuge in the immortal bliss of the other world... free from the burdens of ordinary life... does not want to take on the burdens of the world... refuses to flee the newfound world believing that those in the former world cannot comprehend what the hero has learned. Sometimes the person discovers that their new level of awareness and understanding is far greater than the people around them. They may become disillusioned and frustrated and choose to remain alone... Someone or something may facilitate their miraculous return from apparent death. Like crossing the threshold, the road back needs an event that will push the hero through the return threshold, back into the ordinary world.  The event should re-establish the central dramatic question, pushing the hero to action and heightening the stakes. An overriding reason is necessary to bring the hero back to the world to save it. Regardless of how the return is accomplished the final crisis... crossing the the third threshold or'return threshold'... involves departure from the newly discovered mystical world and return with the gift to the mundane world of everyday existence and the banalities of life.  They return with the elixir...  a boon or treasure to benefit the ordinary world. The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest... that there is a life in the transcendental realm beyond the physical body... the timelessness or eternity of immortality which is experienced in the here and now... bridged by transient time... to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with others.There is a drive for the hero to share the ultimate boon with humankind.. This can be extremely difficult. On return, the hero must reconcile the two worlds – divine and human... the two realms are actually one. The divine is the forgotten spiritual dimension of the human personality or 'human nature'. 

The apparent separation in reality does not exist - one can be master of both worlds. The person encounters many people who are incapable of comprehending beyond their physical world

When the imbalance  which sent them on the journey has been corrected they continue until the next ...

 

  With confidence in their new level of skill and awareness... attainment of blissful state of immeasurable peace or 'spiritual bliss' is not describable in words. This is mental liberation of 'enlightenment'.. .heaven or nirvana. ..  literally means blowing out or snuffing out of  greed, hatred and delusion the negative traits at the root of all suffering  ...

 unencumbered by personal limitations they are fully 'reborn' or experience a resurrection and are transformed by the experience..'transfigured'. Through their transfiguration they have the ability to pass freely between inner and outer worlds. (In myth, this is usually represented by transcendental heroes such as Jesus or Buddha). For a human hero... means achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds... master of the two worlds

.. death has no power over them  freedom from the fear of death is the freedom to live.... and they are free to live a new life with the 'higher self' or 'authentic self'. Through this adventure, the hero has lost his life as ego or 'self' but by grace it is returned as authentic self or 'Self'. Freedom to live is self-mastery... sometimes referred to as living in the moment, neither anticipating the future nor regretting the past.   

 The pathway to recovery from psychological trauma which is about broken connections.... 'renewal process'...  requires an emotional framework...  The renewal process involves change in components of the individual personality... the psyche's way of dissolving old states of being and of creating  new states of forming visions of a renewed self and of a new design of life with revivified meanings in one's world.

 

Connection is broken with the body/self, family, friends, community, nature, and spirit, perpetuating the downward spiral of traumatic dislocation. Healing trauma is about restoring these connections... recovery is based on validation for the profound changes which one experiences...

 

In order  to completely recover one has to confront each experience that presents itself… like peeling off layers of suppressed emotions. .. then one can feel again.

 

        critical factors for recovery....   First is acceptance of the uniqueness of one's experience as one's own. Second the willingess to accept whatever comes up and then deal with it, not necessarily in graceful fashion. Third is access to the vital support of caring people... love alone is the saving grace. There must be a connecting link with another human being that instills warmth and trust and thus allows for a forward progression of the inner-imagery...  the so-called 'schizophrenic' person is no longer schizophrenic once they feel that they are understood by someone else. Most important is the basic human consideration of kindness. 

 with serious and systematic inner quest there is profound emotional and psychosomatic healing... radical personality transformation...

         There are three fundamental stages of recovery... 1. first is the creation and establishment of a place of psychological safety or 'safety zone', 2. second is the reconstruction and verbalisation of the traumatic story, 3. third is the restoration of connections with the community.

Survivors of trauma can begin their recovery when they fully recognize the truth in the conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud as the central dialectic of psychological trauma. In order to reclaim the present and the future one must understand the past. The story of the traumatic event must surface as a verbal narrative. Rediscovery of the past marks the beginning of understanding the significance of psychological trauma as an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming forces. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary symptoms of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning. Certain experiences increase the likelihood of harm… surprise, feelings of being trapped, exhaustion, physical violation and injury. Trauma occurs when action is of no avail... when neither resistance nor escape is possible. The traumatized individual may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event, or may remember everything in detail but without emotion. Traumatic symptoms have a tendency to become disconnected from their source and to take on a life of their own... 'dissociation'

 

 

 

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   American psychologist/psychiatrist Stanislaus Grof, M.D. is a pioneer in the exploration of consciousness... nonordinary states of consciousness....one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology, the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association. On the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary, the Association for Transpersonal Psychology singled out Stanislav Grof, along with Ken Wilber, to receive a special award in recognition of his contributions to the field of transpersonal psychology. Grof was born (1931) and educated in Prague, when Czechoslovakia was a Communist country in which schools adhered to the materialistic Marxist ideology. He grew up as an atheist and was curious about the relationship between culture and the human psyche. When he finished high school he read Sigmund Freud's Introductory Lectures to Psychoanalysis and decided to become a psychoanalyst. He applied to medical school where he studied many scientific disciplines, specialized in psychiatry and trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst. After six years at Prague's Charles University School of Medicine he worked at the Psychiatric Research Institute as principal investigator for a program that explored the potential of psychedelic therapy and was awarded a Ph.D by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. In 1954 Grof  was asked by the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland to analyse a sample of the newly-developed psychedelic substance lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD. As a result of this work he decided to devote his professional life to the exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness. First using psychedelic substances and later using non-drug methods he was able to demonstrate that so-called 'chronic schizophrenics’could often be healed if the spontaneous eruption of unconscious content into awareness was enabled rather than suppressed. For many years, he was able to perform government-sponsored research in which to explore ways to utilize psychedelics in a psychotherapeutic setting. The work resulted in the publication of his book LSD Psychotherapy. In 1967 he was invited to Johns Hopkins University as a clinical and research fellow and to the research unit of Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he continued his psychedelic research. In 1969 he was offered the position of chief of psychiatric research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and of assistant professor of psychiatry at Henry Phipps Clinic. The research team he headed systematically explored the value of psychedelic therapy in neurotics, alcoholics, drug addicts, and terminal cancer patients. In 1973, he became scholar-in-residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California ande since then has focused on exploring the potential of experiential psychotherapy without the use of drugs.With Christina Grof, he developed the nondrug experiential modality known as Holotropic Breathwork™.  In 1980 with Christina Grof he founded the Spiritual Emergency Network (SEN) at the Esalen Institute to assist individuals and make referrals to therapists for people experiencing psychological difficulties associated with spiritual practices and spontaneous spiritual experiences. In 1998 the SEN became part of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco.... www.ciis.edu/SEN.html.

In 1992 Grof coined the term 'holotropic state' to refer to altered states of consciousness of spiritual emergency. Holotropic is a composite word meaning 'oriented or moving towards wholeness' from the Greek 'holos' for whole and 'trepein' for 'moving towards'.His current work focuses on deep psycho-spiritual work in the absence of  psychedilic drugs, specifically special breathing techniques of holotropic breathwork. Grof's techniques of holotrophic breathing... 'hyper-ventilation'... stimulates powerful emotional and psychic experiences that cause repressed material to surface from the subconscious. He gives lectures and conducts training seminars worldwide in addition to his writing. He has published more than one-hundred papers in professional journals and is the author of the books: Realms of the Human Unconscious, The Human Encounter with DeathBeyond the Brain, The Adventure of Self-Discovery, The Holotropic Mind, The Cosmic Game, and The Transpersonal Vision.  He was also editor of the volumes Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science and Human Survival and Consciousness Evolution. Finally, he serves on the Board of Editors of Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology co-authored Christina Grof The Stormy Search for the Self and co-edited Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis.

"Holotropic states of consciousness are characterised by a profound change in perception in some or all sensory areas usually associated with the intrusion of other dimensions. Typically the experience is very intense, even overwhelming and 'real' yet a person usually does not completely lose touch with everyday reality. A holotropic experience is often accompanied by extraordinary changes in day-to-day sensory perception with profound changes in colour, shapes, sounds, smells and tastes as well as profound perceptions that have no counterpart in this realm. With eyes closed a person is often flooded with visions drawn from personal history and the collective subconscious involving various aspects of the cosmos and mythological realms.... The emotions associated with holotropic states cover a broad spectrum that extends far beyond the limits of our everyday experience. They range from feelings of ecstatic rapture, heavenly bliss and peace often associated with a sense of 'connectedness' or 'oneness' with the universe, through to episodes of abysmal terror, overpowering anger, utter despair, consuming guilt and other forms of emotional suffering. Depending on the content of the experience, a person can experience a sense of extraordinary health and well-being, optimal physiological functioning or alternatively extreme discomfort such as excruciating pain, pressure, nausea or suffocation.... Usually in holotropic states the intellect is not impaired but rather operates in a way significantly different from its day-to-day functioning. While we might not be able to rely in these states on our judgement in ordinary practical matters, we can be literally flooded with remarkable new information on a variety of subjects. Thus we can reach profound psychological insights into our personal history, unconscious dynamics, emotional difficulties and interpersonal problems. We can also experience extraordinary revelations concerning various aspects of nature and the cosmos that transcend our educational and intellectual background. By far the most interesting insights gained through holotropic experiences involve philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual issues." (Stanislav Grof. The Cosmic Game)

"There exist spontaneous non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSC) that would in the West be seen and treated as psychosis, treated mostly by suppressive medication. But if we use the observations from the study of non-ordinary states, and also from other spiritual traditions, they should really be treated as crises of transformation, or crises of spiritual opening. Something that should really be supported rather than suppressed. If properly understood and properly supported, they are actually conducive to healing and transformation.

Non-ordinary states of consciousness make it possible for unconscious material with strong emotional charge to emerge into consciousness. This process is an expression of a powerful spontaneous healing potential and should be supported. Under such circumstances, emotional and psychosomatic symptoms are not problems to be combatted but indications of a healing effort by the organism that has to be supported, encouraged and brought to completion." (Stanislaus Grof and Christina Grof Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis 1990)

"All we have learned of psychotherapy suggests that it is at the precise time when the individual feels as if his whole life is crashing down around him, that he is most likely to achieve an inner reorganisation constituting a quantum leap in his growth toward maturity. Our hope, our belief, is that it is precisely when society's future seems so beleaguered – when its problems seem almost staggering in complexity, when so many individuals seem alienated, and so many values seem to have deteriorated – that it is most likely to achieve a metamorphosis in society's growth toward maturity, toward more truly enhancing and fulfilling the human spirit than ever before. Thus we envision the possibility of an evolutionary leap to a trans-industrial society that not only has know-how, but also a deep inner knowledge of what is worth doing."– Willis Harman

...early morning awakening, fasting, and vegetarianism lowers the anxiety level... cultivate one's self-esteem... calming effects of breathing practices for peace of mind  and an expanded view of oneself separate from the personality and false identification with conditioned thought patterns. accelerate feelings of aliveness ... ..  regular exercise, daily spiritual practice, wholesome eating, positive relationships, solid emotional support, inspiring thoughts, connection to the natural world, awareness of body sensations and deep relaxation, building health... create your own world, keep what is positive and stay away from negative-thinking people.think of the body and mind as a country protected by border guards which will not let anything harmful in....  As time goes on, it becomes easier and easier to build this positive world

 

 spiritual emergency is an opportunity for transforming one's life... feelings of inferiority drop away...   the real craziness is to be found in the surrounding world in which one can't be human... can't be real... authentic... one that insists one bears up, remain silent, not love, not care, forego kindness, forego empathy, risk shame, threat, pain, ridicule, exile, and the withdrawal of love and support if one speaks out or takes action in one's own defense and that of others.

 

 Dysfunctional families and the source of psychological abuse or 'trauma'... The person can be badly traumatised and suffer from considerable psychological injury from the impacting forces of the antisocial or narcissistic personality type. This personality type doesn't acknowledge other people’s emotions nor do they acknowledge their own. They are unbalanced… their subconscious emotions seem to control them rather than they being in control of their emotions. It is for this reason that they need to manipulate and control others for their own purposes.

 

 Role of parent with 'narcissist personality disorder'. The narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity characterised by the constant need for admiration and a general lack of empathy for the feelings of others. The narcissist is consumed and driven by feelings of grandiosity. They feel personally responsible for all failures, frustrations, and disappointments even those which are not their own. Their actions and reactions are indiscriminate… directed toward any object, person or group that threatens their sense of domination and grandiosity and their ability to control a situation. They are the perpetrators of psychological abuse and they succeed with intimidation and misinformation.

 

   The narcissistic parent regards their child as an extension of themselves... on an emotional level they cannot perceive of the child as having an identity separate from their own. They lack the capacity for feeling what others are feeling and respond inappopriately to their children's feelings and fail to offer recognition or verification of their feelings... They use their children as a vehicle to express their own needs... not maliciously but subconsciously. The narcissistic parent who has difficulty in recognizing, accepting and managing their own feelings becomes the source of their children's confusion about their own feelings. 

 

Skills for dealing with attempts to intimidate can be divided into two areas, intrapersonal and interpersonal.  To reduce the control of the narcissistic force it is essential not to react.  Communicate rather than react...   leaving the situation to your control alone; challenge you if necessary; you cannot win through intimidation or disinformation.

 

Dealing wih narcissism...  The most critical factor for dealing with emotional forces of narcissism is to have excellent personal emotional boundaries which prevent one from being thrown off balance. Development of an excellent emotional boundary system does not allow the force of other people’s emotions to invade one's own personal space.  The emotional boundaries are also important in preventing one from taking their actions and reactions personally. Fear and impatience and anger are not practical in reducing their control and intimidation. It is practical to communicate with patience and curiosity asking challenging questions which communicate courage and forthrightness. The best of all is to ignore whatever they say or do. Being in charge of one’s emotions enables one to avoid feelings of victimisation. Most people feel victimized because they have felt consistently oppressed, suppressed, or frustrated by narcissistic forces. When one is in a 'victim state', then the narcissist is perceived as the one with the power... the one who oppresses and suppresses... the 'oppressor' is the enemy. The 'victim mode' is dangerous because one can be easily be manipulated into frustration and anger ... emotions which are buried in the subconscious if they are not expressed and allowed to surface. The narcissist utilises this dynamic to intimidate people and incite them into emotional states which can be exploited by turning them into situations from which they can profit… situations which distract people from the core issues of their own lives. With this predatory nature they throw people off balance and distract them from the important issues. All this creates real problems for the sense of centeredness required for self-sustainability which depends on capacity for adaptation to changing conditions i.e. 'adaptability'.

 

 The trauma of oppression and psychological injury causes the body to react by switching to the biological panic mode of the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress. The stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, flow through the body causing the heart to race and the breathing to become shallow. This physical reaction to extreme trauma and stress produces the awful feeling that one is ‘going crazy’.This reaction is normal under the circumstances. Post traumatic symptoms which develop in response to trauma include insomnia, flashbacks, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, dissociation, amnesia, shame, guilt, self-loathing, self-mutilation, and social withdrawal. The body can be switched to a calmer mode through deep breathing with the lungs filling and emptying completely of air.  

 Mystics are discriminating as to whom they tell their experiences...

The genetic factor.... The most susceptible individuals are those with highly sensitive make-up. In childhood they are apt to perceive falseness, defensiveness, hidden emotions... not appreciated in families in denial... dysfunctional families. The gene conveys an inclination to extra sensitivity. The person in state of acute stress from dissolution of ‘false self’ is the aim of spiritual practices  circumstances which assailed their most sensitive vulnerabilities... the psyche is stirred into an imperative need to reorganize istelf.

  Criteria for defining a person in spiritual emergency... identifying characteristics: trauma, personal crisis, elements of mythical and archetypal figures phenomena, a sense of having died or descended into an 'underworld' and/or ascension to an 'otherworld in the sky', a preoccupation with symbols of the center  (mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning 'magic circle'... it consists of concentrically arranged geometric figures such as the circle, the square and the symmetrical arrangement of objects in multiples of four. A mandala is a symbol of the process of producing a new center of personality the 'Self'.  When mandalas appear in dreams and visions they bring psychic peace). 


 mystical experience and psycho
tic episodes are both examples of naturally available, altered states of consciousness.

 episodes of unusual experiences that involve changes in consciousness and in perceptual, emotional, cognitive and psychosomatic functioning, in which there is a significant transpersonal emphasis in the process, such as dramatic death and rebirth sequences, mythological and archetypal  past incarnation memories, out-of-body experiences, incidence of synchronicities or extra-sensory perception, intense energetic states (kundalini awakening), states of mystical union, identification with cosmic consciousness, the ability to see the condition as an inner psychological process and therefore to approach it in an internalized way... forming an adequate working relationship and maintaining the spirit of cooperation with  helpers;

The  individual's preoccupations arise out of the subconscious

 The mystical experience or ‘religious experience’ is a passive one… happens without the person’s will... the information is not actively processed.  the experience is subjective, much like states of feeling experience of unity, intense affective experience, time/space distortion. the experience fades quickly … it is difficult to recall the quality of the experience. Some memory content does remain, and this modifies the person’s inner life. There are two important characteristics of the experience... first, one has a strong sense of significance and knowledge associated with the experience… a sense of holiness or sacredness… this is the ‘noetic quality’. Second the experience defies expression ... this is the 'ineffable quality'. The simple experiences occur as the field of consciousness increases or widens. The more profound experiences occur when consciousness expands to include memories and sensations which are usually filtered, hidden, repressed or just out of reach. As awareness increases to include more external and internal information, the sense of self implying a boundary between self and environment, expands and then seems to dissipate.


  boundaries of self expand to include a wide source of knowledge previously withheld from conscious awareness - information we (our unconscious processes) would "normally" filter from awareness. I
n the receptive mode we are able to see the greater picture, discrimination and categorization are reduced to a minimum. Paradox becomes tolerable and the person can reconcile differences.. be open to creative knowledge. unusual sensations  accompany the mystical experience mode of perception which has changed as for example with  perception of time… a minute can seem fleeting, or appear to drag incessantly though the clock time would be identical in both cases.

 The experience is one of unity with information formerly defined as non-self... an expansion of the self or ‘loss of self’. If the person's sense of self is not strong to begin with a mystical experience can be frightening and confusing.  Mystical states encompass both truth and deception, pleasure and pain. Both positive and negative forces exist in the mystical experience. Accounts of mystical experience are accompanied by strong negative emotions - the 'diabolic mysticism'... assumed to be demons, or the devil... 

 Psychotic episodes: the aim is to liberate emotions. In the normative state images are part of the nature of emotion... image and affect operate together. The image gives meaning to the emotion and the gives the image its dynamic.  In the psychotic episode or 'high arousal state'...  acute psychic upheaval... the psyche is highly activated

This connection falls apart in the high arousal state of the psychotic episode - the 'splitting' which prompted Bleuler to coin the term 'schizophenia' ('splitting of the mind'). As a result, the images which float through the field of awareness are disconnected from the emotions which normally belong to them making it possible for the person to confront the horrific ones without fear. Restoration of normal emotion to mental images occurs with the establishment of authentic communication with another individual who understands and honors the process. So called 'acute' psychotic episodes come on quickly, are precipitated by a stress-inducing event, and last only for a short time. In the first acute episode the first injuries and hurts of childhood are re-experienced and then worked on. High arousal state of episodes... sense of reality  shifts from consensual reality of the outer world to the mythic reality of cosmic beings, sacred events of the inner world.

anger and sexual are the problematic emotions. Anger is essentially the raw root material out of which evolves an assertiveness most needed by a weakened ego. Sexual emotions are the ground out of which evolves a capacity for intimate and caring relatedness with others. For someone in psychosis it is essential to go through differentiation of the Eros principle from archaic love to human warmth.A so-called 'psychotic episode' is likely to have a positive outcome if pre-episode functioning is good... social network of friends, intimate relationships, success in school; there is an acute onset of symptoms during a period of three months or less; there are stressful precipitants to the psychotic episode... a major life change such death in family, divorce, loss of job, financial problems and so on leading  to an identity crisis; recovery depends on explanatory attitude toward the experience....  positive, meaningful, revelatory, and regarded as an opportunity for growth. Research has found that a positive attitude toward the psychotic process facilitates integration of the experience into the person's post psychotic life.

visionary states are extreme altered states of consciousness in which the psyche is activated to such an extent that the field of awareness is flooded by images from the unconscious. The images are of an otherworldy quality - numinous and eerie - which represent the archetypes of the collective unconscous... symbolic images of the most typical emotional life experiences... instinctual and unlearned. When an archetype is activated it manifests as an image combined with intensely charged emotion ('affect-image') which gives rise to a given pattern of behaviour. The emotion involved is autonomous... independent of the ego... it just happens.. .. moves naturally into the reintegrative stage (reconstructive stage). The visionary state is a renewal process (so-called 'psychotic state') composed of several transformative operations.

Imagery is mythic-styled or mystical and religious. The images represent emotions and emotional issues (Jung's archetypes) The emotions mature as the image process proceeds. Mythic images represent core emotional issues. Episodes characterised by the richest outpouring of energy appear to be the most disturbed but can actually be the most favourable for good outcomes.

Archetypal center is the archetypal self-image or 'Self' which governs what the person will become in their self-fulfillment.

absence of an organic brain disorder underlying abnormal functioning... infection, tumor, cardiovascular or degenerative disease of the brain; absence of a physical disease of another organ or system responsible for the mental disorder; reasonably good general somatic and cardiovascular condition, allowing the client to endure safely, physical and emotional stress frequently associated with the experiential work and with the uncovering strategy; absence of a long history of conventional psychiatric treatment and hospitalizations which generally tend to make the application of new approaches much more difficult and in many cases impossible

symptoms include panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, hallucinations, hypervigilance, emotional numbing, avoidance and more… communication is an important key to recovery. The really devastating effect of trauma comes from damage to the ability to relate to a social support system which is critical to the recovery process.


This is an exciting time in which to live for those of us who are in the opening up process of finding their
true identity.

Characteristic features of Spiritual Emergency Changes in physical and psychological states shift the experiencer into an altered state of consciousness characterized by heightened imaging and interference with reasoning... The criteria for spiritual experience include sense of newly gained knowledge, perceptual alterations, so-called 'delusions' expressed as  metaphorical speech with themes related to mythology which may be difficult to understand but is conceptually organized in the context of the person's process...

metaphorical speech characteristic metaphorical speech is an expression of the person's worries and concerns... It is important to attempt to understand what the person is trying to communicate...  communication about the traumatic event facilitates recovery. Individuals who suffer from PTSD often communicate using metaphors in place of literal language to describe their traumatic experiences because it’s difficult to talk about the trauma in literal terms. What is a metaphor? metaphor is a form of expression in which one thing is likened to something else with similar properties. A metaphor is one of many kinds of trope, which is a rhetorical figure of speech that consists of a play on words, i.e. using a word in a way other than what is considered its literal or 'normal form'. “Every new experience is at first understood in terms of what we already know.. Shakespeare's Romeo uses metaphor to describe how he feels about Juliet by likening her to the brightness, warmth and power of the sun... “Juliet is the sun!”. Speaking in metaphor allows a traumatized individual to talk about what happened without being re-traumatized by the memory of the event. Metaphors are less emotionally threatening as terms of expression. Traumatic memory creates a separate world...the trauma world... which is initially irreconcilable with the 'ordinary world' and metaphor helps to create a bridge between the two. Some difficulties may arise when the traumatized person uses metaphorical speech. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the subject communicating with a traumatized individual using the metaphors chosen by that individual can influence their future actions and has the potential to empower them to positive action.  

Ego death and dark night of the soul... These states can arise as a stage in a particular spiritual practice or as a result of life circumstances that challenge one's sense of identity, self-image or status. They centre on the dissolution of the self - inner and outer worlds - and a consequent loss of reference points.

 

Kundalini awakening: This refers to the spiritual energy that arises from the base of the spine. Some symptoms are - tremors of energy rising up the spine; sensations of extreme hot or cold; perception of flashing lights; psychological upheaval.  kundalini symbol is symbol of healing, health and transformation... the 'caduceus' is a rod with two snakes coiled around and two wings at the top;

 

Shamanic crisis typically involves images/sensations/dreams focused on a quest or journey to the underworld where demons or animal spirits are often encountered, culminating in experiences of death, dismemberment and annihilation before a rebirth.;

 

Near-death experiences often involve an unusual and profound shift in the experience of reality. This usually includes an out-of-body experience and can involve profound lessons about life and universal laws;

 

Episodes of unitive consciousness experience of transcending the ordinary distinction between object and subject and experiencing ecstatic union with humanity, nature, the cosmos 

 

Crisis of psychic opening may involve channeling, telepathy, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences and meaningful coincidences;

 

Possession states characterized by an uncanny sense that one's body and psyche have been invaded and are being controlled by an alien energy or entity that has personal characteristics.

 

Psychological renewal through the central archetype usually involves themes of death and rebirth, battles of opposing cosmic forces (e.g. 'good' and 'evil')

 

 Karma and past life experience or 'karmic experiences'... karma is the process by which our thoughts shape our actions.  Indian concept of rebirth... karma... karmic law…law of karma  according to which our existence consists of a long chain of successive incarnations … according to the law of karma we are responsible for our actions throughout our lives. … so our present life is shaped by the merits and debits of preceding actions, and our current actions influence and even determine our future... rememberiing events from previous incarnations on special occasions when these memories emerge into our consciousness... emergence of ‘past life memories’…or ‘karmic experiences’… experiential sequences taking places in other times and places... depicting emotionally charged events... portray protagonist; settings and circumstances with astonishing detail. They represent a fictional way of experiencing a set of beliefs and issues within one’s psyche. The person can behave irrationally if they experience something from the past as part of their current life, The person can be haunted by physical feelings and emotions that are seemingly disconnected from anything in their personal history... The person is convinced that they are personal memories from a previous lifetime. When the content of a karmic experience emerges into consciousness it can suddenly explain many otherwise incomprehensible aspects of one’s daily life as ‘karmic carryovers’... universal in ancient and preindustrial cultures they are important psychological phenomena with great healing and transformative potential.

 

 The same karmic experiences can have an impact on the psyche and cause emotional and physical distress if they are close to consciousness but not close enough to completely surface and manifest themselves If they are experienced out of context they are incomprehensible and seem completely irrational. They are often the source of emotional difficulties and need to be resolved... The person needs to identify, relive and resolve past-life memories which had been source of emotional difficulties.

 

 Sometimes karmic experience emerges into consciousness in the midst of everyday life disturbing normal functioning… Sometimes the person feels compelled to act out the experience by identifying people in current life with people from the karmic experience … harassing them in seeking confrontation or connection... thus causing confusion and embarassment. Such experiences provide inspiration for 'rebirth' as rebirth of the self... the human core of one's true identity.      

           

Emergence of ‘karmic experiences' which has played a key role in religions of many cultures belongs to the most colorful and dramatic manifestations of non-ordinary states of consciousnes.

 The direction which the process takes depends on affirmation or invalidation by immediate social surroundings. The course and outcome of the episode depends on whether attitudes and interactions in the narrow circle of close relatives and friends are nourishing and supportive or fearful, judgmental, and manipulative. Depending on whether the interactions between the individual and the immediate surroundings lean toward affirmation or invalidation, comprehension of these visions can turn the visionary experience into a step in growth (controlled) or into a disorder (uncontrolled).  If the upset is received in the spirit of empathy and understanding, and allowed to run its course, an acute episode can be found to reveal a self-organizing process that has self-healing potential. The person must recognize the potential healing nature of their crisis.. .it is essential that they move away from negative attiudes which associate the episode with sickness, disease and moral depravity.

Everyone has a story and the need for opportunities to tell their stories. Each story is unique...each is different... each has value.  what ever we have gone through, according to the way we see it, is our own story. To people still absorbed in the collective, mainstream trance, without questioning the consensus reality, behavior looks totally bizarre and very threatening. difficult and problematic situation for those unable to understand because of their very limited, comfortable view of the world. It seems curious and confusing that everybody seems to be so caught up in such limited, contracted identity states.

 "Attempts to wake before our time are often punished, especially by those who love us most. Because they, bless them, are asleep. They think anyone who wakes up, or who, still asleep, realizes that what is taken to be real is a 'dream' is going crazy." (R. D. Laing)

 Positive ideas to deal with emergent states come from Buddhist psychology... shamanism, native American medicine, and Chinese energy medicine....

Buddhist psychology does not recognize the existence of  the 'ego self'  and explains the transformation process as an altered mode of functioning of the five 'complex aggregates' or 'systems' of consciousness...  the 'skandhas' - memory, perception, feeling/valuing, form awareness, conscious comprehension. The skandhas together constitute individual identity, 'personality', persona or selfhood. The functions of the skandhas are radically changed in the process of transformation ... behaviour and appearance are affected. Buddhist meditation practices describe  the technique of using the breath to watch the experiences come and let them go.  Alignment of the ego with the spiritual path... highest spiritual guidance is found in serving the other without feeling a personal increase in self esteem.

Examining our personal experiences through the eyes of a different culture can help us expand our vision of what the experience of spiritual emergency is all about. Other cultures and settings have different labels for the same experience... they also have different recovery rates. Whereas in American culture the recovery rates are low India has recovery rates as high as 90%.

 Within the crisis of spiritual emergency lies the promise of spiritual emergence and renewal... Spiritual emergence during spiritual emergency involves an archetypal death/rebirth experience based on the transcendence of the ego-self. There is a radical shift of identity... one realises one's connection to the whole of creation... a revelation rather than solely intellectual realisation. 

 Phases or 'stages' of episodes during the process… Even the most dramatic and difficult episodes of spiritual emergency are natural stages in the process of spiritual opening and can be beneficial if circumstances are favourable. The crisis involves a radical clearing of old traumatic memories and imprints. This process by itself is potentially healing and transformational. However, in spiritual emergency so much psychological material surfaces from the unconscious it can interfere with the person’s everyday functioning. When, by various techniques, we allow this kind of material to emerge into consciousness to be fully experienced and closely examined, it loses the disturbing power that it can otherwise exert in the person's life, and chronic psychological and even physical problems whose origins were previously unknown can be fully healed. For some, reality is shifted rapidly with ‘ego collapse' the old ego is negated and transcended to move on to higher levels of consciousness... A guide or support group helps the person stay balanced during the rapid shifts.   

 The person confuses realities if they act in the external world while still in the non-ordinary state of consciousness.

status quo stage... In the status quo stage, everything remains on an even keel ... all members in the social system function to keep things the same….  As change is always inevitable, a foreign element enters the system. The foreign element can be some external change in the environment which creates a conflict in the person's belief system and throws their  social system into chaos process which provokes, provides and promotes change … can be emotional stress of  pre-crisis situation in which the person was forced to live a life of emotional impoverishment. The person's 'higher power' may draw painful events or experiences to the individual to promote growth.

chaos stage or crisis stage...  The person goes into the void to experience the 'dark night of the soul'.... represents constructive confrontations with the status quo to bring about a shift in perception. The person looks into the process at a deep level in order to cement new found knowledge. .. All images whether they are presented in dreams, meditations or visions are used to bring about a renewal or new birth in the individual and are part of his unique spiritual journey. During this stage the person finds themselves living in a psychic modality quite different from their surroundings...  immersed in a myth world ...  emotions no longer connecting with ordinary things, but concerned with concerns and titanic involvements of an entire inner world of myth and image. The imagery is of a general, archetypal nature (pertaining to all  humanity) and symbolizes the key issues of the person undergoing the crisis. The person lives through the mythic plane during a process of withdrawal and then must reconnect the archetypal affect-images  to specific problems of their daily life... their natural context... their psychological complexes tend to be externally projected. The boundaries between what is real and what is not real can become blurred.

Ken Wilber calls it "remapping the soul to enlarge the territory." He describes the process as a "disintegration of the lower levels of the self which are  negated and transcended to move on to higher levels of consciousness."

 The purpose of the mystical experiences is to learn and grow in consciousness and then surrender without awe or attachment to the sensory events themselves or to the heightened intuition that accompanies them.

 The crisis stage involves a 'surrender process'  ... The movement from the position of fear to love happens when the person goes to a state of mind that surrenders to... lets go to... 'Thy will be done' of the Bible. This is the essence of healing of the mind/ body/ spirit. The ongoing process of focused surrender begins with an issue that the Higher Self ('God') brings forth to resolve. George Leonard, in The Silent Pulse describes how the process of intensively trying to force the issue through great determination brings the person to their knees physically, psychologically and spiritually.. Personal energy becomes depleted. When the point of total exhaustion, resignation and despair is reached, the ego is relinquished. The person says "I give up" and admits helplessness and hopelessness. This surrender point happens when the self is emptied of all roles, images and attachments that it had been holding. The issue, which has been obsessed over in the rational, left brain which operates out of fear, is transferred to the right, gestalt brain which operates out of love and knowledge of oneness.

Old psychological defenses no longer work leaving feelings of rawness... the person must move on through the depths of their process otherwise they are left  in a raw state dealing with pain and chaos.

These experiences bring about rapid shifts in values. Old perceptions, beliefs and patterns of behavior are shattered and fall away to make room for the expanded self.

The individual focuses deeply on the issue trying to find clearance. The deep concentration required throughout the process helps the person focus in a new way to reframe and restructure the issue at a higher level of consciousness. The unusual experiences are understood and integrated ... goals of integration of the new aspects of the self can give the individual a framework to help understand what is going on during the emergence process.  There is a respite period to provide integration... then the surrender process begins anew with another issue.  

The transformation occurs with tears, intense emotion and feelings of relief...

 Aspects of the shadow self are acknowledged and integrated... the person walks through the dark side... old painful memories are cleared… old expectations... old perceptions. The person lets go of old ego defenses and belief systems based in fear consciousness... this allows for a higher state of consciousness or ‘expanded self’...and the accompanying blockage of negative energy are cleared... are no longer tapped to negatively influence current behaviour... the person becomes free from negative influence on their behaviour . They move into the integration stage involving a higher state of consciousness characterized by new values and beliefs. ... old beliefs and patterns of behaviour are shattered and fall away… they adopt new values and beliefs and live by newly formed attitudes and behaviours. This represents a new status quo stage until the next chaos stage comes up in which the surrender process begins anew with another issue.  The change of personality leading to mystic experience is one of increasing integration as opposed to psychotic change of increasing disintegration of psychosis of psychopathy

 Moving through spiritual emergence experiences has been described as an emptying of oneself so that a filling of the Oneness can take place.

 The recognition of the dual nature of spiritual emergency -- danger and opportunity -- has important theoretical and practical consequences. Observation from many disciplines, including clinical and experimental psychiatry, modern consciousness research, experiential psychotherapies, anthropological field studies, parapsychology, thanatology, comparative religions and mythology have contributed to the concept of ‘spiritual emergency’ a term that suggests both a danger and an opportunity for ‘spiritual emergence.’

Ego attachment to the heightened experiences... feelings of superiority lead to separation from the Oneness or 'wholeness'... many of the world's spiritual traditions warn against being carried away by positive revelations and mystical mind blowing experiences that the individual may encounter. Personal myths and archetypes can be analyzed as to the importance that they hold for the individual's transformation. The fear that accompanies rapid personal transition must be confronted and embraced

The Icarus Temptation... Due to the ecstacy and exhilaration of the experience, there is a real temptation, as demonstrated by the mythic Icarus, to fly too high, which is only a setup for a corresponding fall. of the utmost importance to be as grounded as possible during these experiences. The great psychiatrist C. G. Jung understood the importance of this during his "Confrontation with the Unconscious." He used to keep pictures of his family around, so he could remember that he was, in his words, "an actually existing, ordinary person."

one of the greatest dangers you encounter in spiritual emergence is to become inflated, thinking that you are someone special. You become identified with the archetype instead of relating to it from the standpoint of a conscious human ego. You've literally gotten swallowed up and possessed by the deeper, more powerful transpersonal forces falling totally into your unconscious. we all have Christ nature.

 the thing which swings the balance one way or the other is the capacity of the ego to confront and relate in a conscious way to these transpersonal forces. creative work, in which you channel and transmute these deeper, very powerful, archetypal energies, is of the utmost importance. 

 "The Chinese pictogram for crisis perfectly represents the idea of spiritual emergency. It is composed of two basic signs, or radicals: one of them means "danger" and the other "opportunity". Thus, while passage through this kind of condition is often difficult and frightening, these states have tremendous evolutionary and healing potential. If properly understood and treated as difficult stages in a natural developmental process, spiritual emergencies can result in spontaneous healing of various emotional and psychosomatic disorders, favorable personality changes, solutions to important problems in life and evolution toward so-called 'higher consciousness'. (Grof and Grof, 1989, p7)

 Some forms of radical awareness at times precipating life crises, are 'spiritual crises' rather than pathologies.

A spiritual emergence is more likely to turn into a spiritual emergency if the person has no conceptual framework to support the experience and to understand and accept the phenomenon with equanimity; if  they have neither the physical nor the emotional flexibility to integrate the experience into their life; if the person's family and friends perceive it in terms of psychopathological symptoms which are not positive.

It must be emphasized that there is a need for some conceptual context in order to help understand these phenomena, so that we will be more comfortable with our own and more supportive of others' spiritual awakenings.

Spiritual literature and traditions from all over the world have placed a high value on non-ordinary states of consciousness as an important means of learning and identifying with the spiritual dimensions of existence. The systems of yoga, the cultures of India, Tibet and the Hopi Indians of America, to name just a few, have the type of conceptual framework which supports and allows for a natural integration of spiritual experiences into normal life.

The world view created during the industrial and scientific revolution in the West, has dramatically changed this orientation. In the Newtonian/Cartesian mechanistic model of the universe, in which only materialism and rationality are considered real, religion and spirituality are viewed as irrational, immature superstition.

It is possible to undergo a profound crisis involving non-ordinary experiences and to perceive it as pathological or psychiatric when in fact it may be more accurately and beneficially defined as a 'spiritual emergency'.

Mainstream or 'traditional' medicine, psychiatry (biographically oriented psychotherapy)  and psychology still adhere to the now-outdated Newtonian/Cartesian model and generally make no distinction between mysticism and mental illness. They don't recognize that the great spiritual traditions that have been studying human consciousness for thousands of years have anything beneficial to offer. Direct experiences of spiritual realities are diagnosed as psychotic manifestations of mental illness, a controlled and suppressive approach is taken to eliminate these experiences. The improper use of tranquilizing medications on cases of transpersonal crises can lead to the hindrance of personal growth and serious side effects.
  the outdated mechanistic world views of mainstream psychiatry and allopathic medicine – phenomenon as a disease in need of medical intervention and control. Allopathic medicine, which has shown so much enthusiasm for attacking the symptoms of disease, has perfected a complete technological arsenal with which to bring the unfolding of one's visionary voyage to a total standstill.  'anti-psychotic' drugs guaranteed to reduce even the most dazzling visionary states to total darkness. The direct result of such treatment, apart from having one's nervous tissues physically destroyed, permanently short-circuited, or saturated with a mind-bending cocktail of consciousness-reducing chemicals, is the prognosis of chronic or lifelong illness, and the concurrent prescription of continuous and costly medication. This conveniently provides a guaranteed market – and considerable profits – for the pharmaceutical drug companies whose financial largesse also endows many a chair of medicine in our universities, perpetuating the vicious circle of misinformation to a new generations of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses. As for any actual healing of the alienated condition which precipitated the break in the first place, you might as well forget it. At the cultural level a less obvious, but perhaps more serious result in this respect is the social cost a society must pay, which refuses – a priori – to integrate the insights of those experiences which may transmit a transformative vision both of the individual and of the body politic.
 

 psychiatry is used as a tool of state control and oppression rather than of healing; where the aim is to maintain the status quo and silence disturbed and disturbing people, rather than deal with the causes of their distress. To this end the concept of illness is stretched somewhat to include experience or behaviour that is outside the norm, and, in the great tradition of patriarchy...,  modern psychiatric system, the origins of which can be found in the experimentation of the nazi concentration camps. Some of the founder members of the American Institute of Psychiatry after WW2 were formerly Nazi doctors who were given asylum in the American scientific establishment...

Modern consciousness research has shown that the conceptual framework of traditional psychiatry and psychology is superficial, inadequate, and incorrect.

 what we think of as 'reality' is governed by our cultural, political, economic and religious conditioning and varies across the world and over time. Our schooling and the media are used to uphold the present exploitative economic and political system, heavily influence our reality. Ultimately however, we are all responsible for defining our reality. Reality can be divided into two states, the ordinary everyday 'conventional reality' and the transliminal 'transcendent reality'...  

traditional approaches tend to pathologize mystical states...

Behavioural paradigm... Behaviorism became highly popular for a period of 50 years through the theories of John Watson and B. F. Skinner. This theory sought to reduce human behaviour to complex chains of positive and negative reinforcements.

"Under the old reductionistic paradigm, lives are ruined, marriages break down, familes suffer, and governments, health insurance companies, and taxpayers pick up the tab for the untold tens of millions who ingest the mind-numbing drugs every day of their lives. With the new whole systems approach, most individuals emerge from the ordeal with renewed enthusiasm for life. Given this abundant evidence in favour of the latter, the routine mistreatment of so-called ‘schizophrenic’ people must surely be the greatest untold human rights violation on Earth." (John Weir Perry interview with Michael O'Callaghan)


In the l960's, Abraham Maslow  studied healthy people and described love, meaning, purpose and humor of 'good human beings'...

  Sigmund Freud reintroduced the concept of the unconscious into Western culture,...

Modern day consciousness research in the area of clinical and experimental psychiatry, in depth experiential psychotherapies, anthropological field studies, parapsychology, thanatology, psychedelic therapy, Jungian psychoanalysis, and others strongly suggest that spiritual emergencies have a positive potential and should not be considered diseases that require medical treatment. A major revision in the psychological literature seems way overdue in the area of mysticism and psychosis... need for a new model that includes the historical medical elements, the Freudian aspects of the person's biography and  also Jung's 'collective unconscious' and spirituality. Important to take a balanced approach in discriminating between mysticism and psychosis resulting from organic disorders.

 

 Danger of pathologising spiritual emergency...  Spiritual emergencies can be disorienting and frightening. They can preoccupy the individual and lead to the performance of private rituals. All of these can present as symptoms of mental disorder. Hallucinations, delusions, anger, and interpersonal difficulties occur so frequently that they should be considered normal and expectable reactions to the spiritual emergence. Yet such spiritual problems often lead to long-term improvements in overall well-being and functioning. It is not the nature and content of these experiences but their context that makes them seem pathological. Because these experiences appear to be out of context with everyday reality they can be both frightening and confusing. Hence, many people choose to ignore, discredit or forget these experiences which offer such invaluable opportunities for personal growth. The person experiencing genuine spontaneous spiritual emergence is not mentally ill, but simply going through a transformative process that happens quite naturally in the course of human development. With ignorance, individuals experiencing spiritual emergency are pathologized and medicated. This not only terminates the process so that breakthrough cannot occur, it can also drive the patient into permanent decline with mental dysfunction. Such experiences must be supported rather than pathologised. This state of mind can be tragically misunderstood because of people’s fear of the unknown. Most so-called 'normal' people are confused and afraid.

 

Continued development is possible in a benign environment which allows it to proceed. Pathologising the experience can lead to tragically unnecessary hospitalisatons and stunting of the growth potential of such experiences which should be supported and not suppressed.

Spiritual emergencies warrant the DSM-IV diagnosis of Religious or Spiritual Problem (V62.89), even when there may be symptoms of a mental disorder present, including hallucinations and delusions. In this way, Religious or Spiritual Problem is comparable to the category Bereavement for which the DSM-IV notes that even when a person's reaction to a death meets the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Episode, the diagnosis of a mental disorder is not given because the symptoms result from a normal reaction to the death of a loved one.  

 The realisation that one is going through a deep spiritual experience is the key to the preservation of one's sanity

 

 Spiritual crisis is a crisis of moral consciousness.... a natural effort of the psyche to mend its imbalances... is a state of mind characterised by abstract, non-linear thought patterns which coincide with unpredictable, non-conformist behaviour. To a careful observer the emotions are quite appropriate to the situation at hand.

The psychiatric approach can be helpful and sometimes necessary for spiritual emergence with psychotic features, but only with a therapist highly trained in the different types of spiritual emergence.

  A spiritual crisis can be mistakenly characterised as a psychiatric disorder  known by its old name 'schizophrenia'

 

The great psychiatrist Carl Jung was convinced that schizophrenia is not really a disease as such, but that it can more accurately be understood as a natural psychological or spiritual healing processs.

 

 

 Spiritual emergency is the end state of a series of disturbing incidents that have gradually built up over the years. It takes one final blow to the psyche to bring it on … schizophrenia surfaces as the person’s  natural coping mechanism with adversity. The symptoms overlap the cause.. all memories of the cause become hidden deep within the subconscious protecting the person  from ever confronting what is underneath this not so mysterious condition.

It can be a seriously disabling condition for individuals who are experiencing it... 

So-called 'schizophrenia' is a natural and healthy phenomenon... temporary... which has the stigma of disease attached to it.

 Schizophrenia is a very controversial subject, due not only to a fundamental difference of scientific paradigm, but also because of the vast profits that result from the present treatment method. Under the old reductionistic paradigm, the old-fashioned Freudian psychiatric establishment defines it as an incurable disease caused by a bio-chemical imbalance or genetic defect, and requiring lifelong treatment to repress the symptoms with anti-psychotic drugs. This reductionistic view is backed by the huge multinational pharmaceutical companies which sell the medication, through their financial endowment of many university departments of psychiatry and psychology, and their selective funding of pro-drug psychiatric research programmes. As a result, lives are ruined, marriages break down, familes suffer, and governments, health insurance companies, and taxpayers are accountable for the untold tens of millions who ingest the mind-numbing drugs every day of their lives.

 healing process which automatically activates itself in response to underlying blockage of growth...

 The spontaneous onset of the visionary states of consciousness is nature's self-organising way for the alienated psyche to become whole again. When the ego has become cut off from the rest of the psyche to a point of real distress, the 'Self ' comes to the rescue through a temporary, but complete overpowering of the conscious personality by means of a vivid upwelling of hallucinatory voices and visions from the deeper levels of the unconscious. The conscious ego falls apart and comes back together again, renewed. In a fully-flowered spiritual emergency the person discovers how to transmute the symptoms and wounds of psychological injury into blessings. If one understands the essentially life-affirming nature of the visions which occurs during this metamorphosis, appreciates their symbolic relevance to the problems at hand, and integrates their deeper meaning, the result is a healing of the alienated condition which prevailed before the onset of the so-called illness itself – and a rebirth of the personality as a more integrated, invigorated whole.

The person  is not mentally ill... they are going through a process of change... a transformative process that happens quite naturally in the course of human development. The person seems very different. The truth is that they are. The person cannot share the spiritual emergence experience easily with others who have no similar experience in their lives

 see spirituality of forms of so-called 'madness'...  divine madness, holy madness. .

 

Schizophrenia is uncontrolled spiritual emergence... typically involves the spontaneous onset of a non-ordinary state of consciousness characterised by visual and auditory hallucinations.

 

hallucinatory crisis… hallucinatory visionary state... auditive (sensory) hallucinations..'hearing voices'... hallucinatory voices speak in the second person . In the delusional hallucinatory state subjective visions are changed into objective happenings…

the 'genotype of sensitivity'…
 Unitive consciousness: the experience of inner and outer unity or harmony, strong positive emotions, transcendence of time and space, sense of sacredness, paradoxical nature, objectivity and reality of the insights, ineffability, and positive after effects.
 

Ultimately each person has to find their own way. There are many alternatives to psychiatry.   

  Therapy must let the process run its course freely... Therapeutic Approaches... an active role in a therapeutic setting is the only way to deal with the condition... enter the the schizophrenic world… an imaginary world where most people don’t want to go... participate in a relationship... 

 Help the person to have a conceptual framework to  accept, understand and support the experience;  help the person to look beyond their experience and emotions... to explore with you to understand and remember who you truly are and why you are creating your specific life... support the person to have a physical and emotional structure... healthy ego structure for integrating the experience... a tolerance for ambiguity, tolerance for strong emotions, flexibility and so on... facilitate grounding: contact, present-centeredness, boundary-setting, letting go, affirming connections to others and the world, activities, rituals, meditation, metaphysical exploration, processes and interventions... help to restructure response patterns, cognitive restructure, emotional and body work and healing... move the person to define the experience as positive, potentially healthy, healing or initiatory and support long-term growth by offering ongoing work based on internal growth, intention and action... work with the spirit – the higher self - to build and firmly establish a flowing relationship between the two... full consciousness and knowledge - of one's true identity gives you the awareness of how to build a life of passion and depth, of joy and  gratitude.

The person has arrived at a crisis point in personal and spiritual development that is a 'peak experience'. They need love and support and acceptance of the situation without judgement. It is important to just listen with deep respect and honour. The inner process of acute episodes must be given proper valuation and respect. The person needs to express themselves... this requires humane atmosphere... with non-objectifying attitudes... correct open-minded listening... sitting quietly and spending time with ease... responding in a way which expresses recognition of the meaningfulness of the communication... the person becomes coherent and desirous of self-expression... They want to be heard and understood and are highly appreciative when they are. To be listened to with understanding has a magical effect. Wrong attitudes make the person sullenly resistant and filled with rage. Listening with respectful attentiveness and lively responsiveness... a sequence of imagery  unfolds. As the relationship becomes increasingly secure and warm an orderly process emerges from the disorder of fragmented forms... enthusiasm increases and the person talks about concerns of a symbolic nature... inner journey in a mythic space.

It is possible to discern deep meaningfulness in the flow of content of altered states of consciousness... contents of the deep psyche  ('ideation') are expressed in the form of mythic symbols. Therapist respects the images of the deep psyche and trusts its capacity to reintegrate itself in processes involving self-organizing and self-healing operations. Therapist does not have to provide the initiative to move the process forward... just has to encourage the process to move ahead.... express interest with acknowlegement and recognition of its importance...  Authentic communication in a therapeutic relationship allows for restoration of connection between image and emotion. This is so because the function of emotional expression is linked with communication. Therapist must connect to the depth of the process and relate to the person's inner experience with caring acceptance... their thought and behaviour as meaningful and representing a crisis in growth and development. The person's inner concerns and ideation must be given respect, interest and affirmation. The person must feel validated. Therapy must allow for full expression and interest of the person's innermost concerns so that rage and frustration subside. The inner work of personal development must be safeguarded by providing a secure, favorable and private haven.

 The transpersonal model of human nature provides an effective alternative technique of psychotherapy... 'transpersonal psychology'... 'transpersonal psychotherapy'...  In the treatment of non-adaptive behaviour, the transpersonal psychotherapist capitalizes on the self-healing capacities of the individual's own consciousness. Instead of focusing on the ego conflicts which cause the behaviour problems, the transpersonal psychotherapist focuses on the person as a whole and utilises the techniques of the holistic psychologies of Eastern cultures... i.e. 'consciousness diciplines'  The individual learns to extend their identity beyond the existential ego of awareness or 'egocentric level' to the transpersonal level . The transpersonal psychotherapist cooperates with the individual in his efforts to attain awareness on the transpersonal level of consciousness, transcending his own ego conflicts.On the transpersonal level, the ego is viewed in the same way as the 'superego' of traditional psychoanalysis. As the individual can but does not have to identify with his 'superego', so he can but does not have to identify with his ego. This shift in the identification with the ego reduces its power, resulting in the individual's detachment from its demands. Liberated from his identification with his ego, the 'awakened' individual transcends the ego level of consciousness and enters the transpersonal dimensions of his personality, discovering his own true nature, his humanness, his connectedness with his fellow beings and with nature. In the words of a transpersonal psychotherapist, ".. a great deal of the distress which so many people experience may be traced in no small part to our living as exiles from our own homeland, the inner world of subjective experience. Through psychotherapy, we can overcome the social conditioniong which has taught us to be suspicious and guilty about living from the center out, about truly putting internal wholeness at the highest priority, and about making choices in terms of inner sensing of our own unique needs and wants. When we have gained that liberation, the whole experience of being alive can be subtly different. We know our individuality; we find richness within our flow of awareness; we deal with issues and concerns with greater integrity; and we find the possibility of creative and aesthetic participation in life." (James Bugenthal)


    In the major Western traditions of psychology and psychoanalysis, mental health is equated with the absence of pathology. an individual's behaviour is thought to be a reflection of his mental health... and therfore measurable in terms of self-esteem and ego strength. Numerous psychotherapies are available to the individual for the treatment of non-adaptive behaviour problems supposedly originating from so-called 'personality deficiencies'. The most common model of psychotherapy is known as 'behaviour modification.' Highly effective in the treatment of behavioural problems, it utilises techniques based on the Western psychological theory known as 'behavioural science,' so named because it is based on measurement and verification of behaviour change. Techniques of the behavioural sciences have been developed from empirical methods of experimentation. In the diagnosis and treatment of behavioural problems, behavioural scientists and therapists have focused on pathological conditions identified with very clear overt behavioural patterns and characteristics. They have ignored the dimensions of consciousness and even the individual's thoughts and feelings. This lack of recognition for some of the most important aspects of human nature disqualifies the behavioural sciences from making any valid conclusions about an individual's potential for attaining optimal positive health and well-being.

     Presently a shift in emphasis is taking place as scientistsof various psychologies are investigating other influences on behaviour and formulating other models for psychotherapy. The field of 'cognitive behaviour modification' is concerned with the role of cognition in behaviour modification. Humanistic psychotherapy, concerned with growth as well as health and pathology, is based on a holistic psychology with achievement of ego goals and development of personality as the central aims. Existential psychotherapy is concerned with the individual's search for the meaning of life and the purpose of his existence, the individual's confrontation with death and aloneness, the necessity of the individuals' responsibility for his destiny and choice of opportunities, and the individual's instinctive demands for 'authenticity.' It is based on the existential philosophy which focuses on the individual's existence as a continuous struggle with the reconciliation of life and its inevitabilities. It supports the view that we create our own reality by what we believe. We can experience the 'higher' values such as love, freedom etc. if we believe in their 'existence.' When we live our lives in accordance with these values, we experience our connectedness with humanity and underlying unity of all life. Psychotherapies based on Western psychology have placed the emphasis on analytical techniques and measurability. They have excluded the recognition and even acknowledgement of the validity of subjective experience. They do not recognize that the individual has the potential for attaining the level of awareness which is necessary to bring about the self-healing effects of the consciousness.

wisdom cultures... the person who passes through this process successfully becomes an accomplished shaman, healer or teacher of wisdom.

 Fear is powerful and contagious. After any major physical 'insult', it is easy to see oneself as a collection of symptoms and to become the illness rather than see oneself as a total spiritual human being.

  Post Episode Functioning: new parts of the self are activated... the person becomes more creative and more      oriented to service.

 The content of the depths reached in the ultimate ecstasies ... illumination enlarges the understanding... also rapture fills the heart with lovingness.

 Humanistic psychology emerged in the 1960s and has continued as a reaction to scientific or 'positivist' approaches to the human psyche. quantitative or 'conclusive' research methods  in the study of human behaviour is viewed as misguided...  stresses a phenomenological view of human experience... stays close to experience and avoids abstract discussion about truths of human experience.. . seeks to understand human behaviour through qualitative or 'exploratory' research methods . The humanistic approach has its roots in existentialist and phenomenological philosophy which is concerned with the meaning of human experience.

 therapy... work with what the psyche presents....  focus  on verbal and artistic expression of the mythic imagery...  increased connection and affect … People in spiritual emergency need a sanctuary to allow their inner process to unfold.

Therapeutic interventions... For people who are experiencing an alternative state of consciousness related to a spiritual practice or resembling a mystical or visionary process or shamanic crisis, there are a number of relevant therapeutic strategies. Stanislav Grof, MD, and Christina Grof, founders of the Spiritual Emergence Network, describe a spiritually sensitive approach. Qualities required of the therapist in spiritual emergency... the personal presence of the therapist is key. Although some people are able to sail through the process successfully by themselves it is of enormous help to have one or more wise compassionate guides who know the transpersonal territory. Therapy should not be limited to talking and should allow full experience and direct release of emotion. It is absolutely essential to respect the healing wisdom of the transformative process, to support its natural course, and to honour and accept the entire spectrum of human experience. Interventions can include involvement of relatives, friends, support groups as well as psychotherapy. The person must be treated as if they are completely 'normal'... which in fact they are... 'normalisation'... 

In dealing with people in spiritual emergency personal qualities are important ...non-labelling is important... address the person as an equal....

 'Normalisation' ... normalise the process rather than pathollogizing it with labels such as 'psychosis', 'schizophrenia' etc ... provide a normalising framework. Often the lack of understanding, guidance and support that allows religious and spiritual experiences to go out of control..

not an easy process:

    The difficult task becomes the need to shift one's view from seeing the experience as a totally destructive cataclysm to being able to see and appreciate the constructive attempt at self-transcendence, to see that its conscious goal is not a relinquishing of life but an attempt at renewal.

The person's family and friends  need to be educated about the potential for positive transformation and how to support a person in spiritual crisis.play a critical role in implementing and maintaining the spiritual and grounding interventions...

.involves education about spiritual emergency which gives the person a cognitive grasp of the situation, a map of the territory he or she is traversing. Having a sense of the terrain and knowing others have travelled these regions provides considerable relief in itself. Consequently it changes the person's relationship to the experience. How the person views the experience can have an incredible impact on their recovery from that experience. The person's way of relating to the experience changes when the person (and those around them) is able to view the experience as positive, helpful, healing and growthful and permits the person to turn and face the inner flow of experiences, to welcome them rather than turning away and trying to suppress them. When a person's psyche is energized and activated, what he or she needs is contact with a person who empathizes, who actively encourages the process, who provides a loving appreciation of the qualities emerging through the process, and who facilitates the process rather than attempting to halt or interfere with it. The most important task is to give the person in crisis a positive context for their experiences. Provide sufficient information about the process that they are going through. People in the midst of intense spiritual experiences need a framework of understanding that makes sense to them. Lack of understanding, guidance and support allows such experiences to get out of control.  The person's family and friends can play a critical role in implementing and maintaining the spiritual and grounding interventions... they need to be educated about the potential for positive transformation and how to support a person in spiritual crisis. Examining one's personal experience through the eyes of a different culture can help to expand one's vision of what the experience is all about.

 

If the experience is considered in terms of  brain disease or 'mental illness' labelled as 'psychosis' or 'schizophrenia' the chances for recovery are very low. If the experience is considered to be a normal and desirable process as in other cultures in which the same experience has different labels, the chances for recovery are very high. India has recovery rates as high as 90%.
 ....................................................


 Little or no medication ...  Sanctuary rather than a hospital...  Dietary changes

Grounding: Involvement with natural surroundings is the optimum homeostatic environment within which to rebalance our inner nature.  Contact with nature has a grounding effect. A mild routine including regular gentle exercise such as walking in the fresh air or gardening should not be underestimated. Diet is an important factor, with ‘heavy’ foods such as grains (especially whole grains), beans, dairy products, and meat being recommended as opposed to just fruits and salads. Sugar and stimulants like caffeine or alcohol are not advised and fasting should be avoided.

Reduction of environmental and interpersonal stimulation The person undergoing a spiritual emergency, often both hyper-aroused and hyper-sensitive, needs to be shielded from the psychic stimulation of the everyday world, which is usually experienced as painful and interfering with the inner process. The therapist needs to work with the person to determine the specific people and situations that exacerbate the dysfunctional aspects of the spiritual emergency. The sanctuary of a retreat centre is ideal.


Temporary discontinuation of spiritual practices
Meditation has triggered many reported spiritual emergencies. Meditation teachers who hold intensive retreats are familiar with this form, and have developed strategies for managing such occurrences. Yoga, Qi Gong,and other spiritual practices can also be triggers. Usually teachers advise ceasing the practice temporarily. It can be reintroduced as the person becomes more stable. Decrease or discontinue spiritual practice

Creative therapies... art, music, poetry writing, dance The creative arts can help a person express and work through their inner experience. The language of symbol and metaphor can help integrate that which can never be fully verbalized.

Creation of a therapeutic container
encounter... provide psychospiritual framework...  transpersonal psychotherapy ...

 

 Specific bodywork: Exercise / body therapy Bodywork describes a range of therapeutic techniques, usually but not always involving physical touch, focused on relieving blockages and tension within the body, hence assisting the healing process, for example, biodynamic massage, acupuncture or chiropractic. Energetic bodywork includes subtle techniques intended to work on the subtle body and human energy field, concepts from Eastern medicine that also include meridians and chakras. Experience of ASCs will likely involve dissolution of ego structure, and as psychic structures reorganise, the physical body remains the essential vehicle in which to integrate the entire experience. Consideration of the body is central to the healthy reintegration of mind and spirit, and good bodywork can be key in this process. The Soteria Project was designed as a drug free (anti-psychotic drug) treatment environment. breathing work

 

 

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an umbrella term for a variety of exploratory approaches of psychotherapy which are effective because they are  solution-oriented rather than problem-oriented... not concerned with how a problem arose nor with the formal analysis of past causes of distress but with current factors which sustain the distress and prevent change. Therapy involves dialogue in which the ‘problem’ becomes less important than the solution....they focus on specific problems and problem-solving in the sense of finding solutions. direct intervention.... is  a simple highly strategic all-purpose approach …  .. attention is focused on developing a picture of the ‘solution’ and discovering the person’s strengths and resources for achieving it. An important part of the process is finding ways to elicit and describe future goals ...hopes and achievements.... The clearer the person is about their goals the more likely they are to achieve them. The therapist's task to help the person achieve a more satisfying life...  follow-up sessions begin with questions about  improvements and exploring these... what was different, who noticed, how it happened, what strengths and resources the person drew on in order to effect the change... If the situation has deteriorated, the therapist will be interested in how the person coped… how they manage to hang on despite adversity… difficulties and what he or she did to stop the situation deteriorating further. It often turns out that there have been considerable improvements that the person had not noticed, having been too preoccupied with the problem to notice the inroads being made…   In all sessions attention is paid to the overall goal and each session ends with compliments relevant to the achievement of that goal.

which originated as an interest in the inconsistencies of problem behaviour. However serious, fixed or chronic the problem seems to be, the person can find a solution to the problem by exploring the ‘exceptions’ to the problem which contain the seeds of effective problem-solving... effective because it is based on appreciation of the person’s resources. Talking sessions explore current resources and future hopes based on interest in what the person is already doing that might help achieve the solution.  Genuine curiosity and admiration help to highlight strengths without appearing to contradict the person’s view of reality. The person is encouraged to explore their own goals.... through the use of compliments (courage it must take… honesty, continuing interest in fighting the problem, loyalty...)  and questions the therapist attempts to shake the individual's core beliefs thus opening up the way for new ways of thinking.... creative power of the spoken word

  Emphasis is on the person’s motivation to want something different – even if at the starting point they do not think that something different is possible. Focus is on the future. Some of the psychological blocks to thinking about a different future are bypassed by the idea of a ‘miracle’ to achieve one's goalsThe person is helped to envision the future when the problem is no longer there... the 'miracle question'.... Suppose a miracle happens and all the problems are solved just like that how are you going to start discovering that the miracle happened?  different versions of the miracle question depending on the context of the person’s circumstances. The person must develop positive goals and gain the confidence to make improvements for the future and thus increase their chances for a successful outcome. The person should identify strategies which have been effective in the past and then apply those same strategies in the future. The more that the person's daily courage is explored and acknowledged the stronger becomes the person's voice. The person begins to remember other acts of courageas they become aware of the their hidden but persistent courage they learn to put it to greater use and they come to realise that movement in one area can lead to improvements in others. The person acknowledges their own courage and then approaches the problem positively. 

 

The aim of brief therapy is to  to help the person to view their present from a wider context so that they come to functional understandings which enable them to undergo spontaneous and generative change making it possible to construct solutions. Therapy revolves around the central idea... that people get stuck with their problems because they see them to be unsolvable. The therapist makes careful observations and then through dialogue works pro-actively with the person so that they can consider new perspectives and better deal with the constraints of their own circumstances. There is not one ‘correct’ approach… there are many paths which may in combination turn out to be ultimately beneficial.. If the person has the capacity to describe something as a problem then they also have the capacity to describe what means in their everyday life would better solve the problem... If they are able to describe the solution then they also have the resources to make it happen. Often people may see signs of a problem before it becomes an actual problem. If their small successes are brought to their awareness and if they are helped in repeating the successful things they do when the problem is not there or less severe, then they become more confident about themselves and their life becomes better.

 

Some people get stuck in the problem mainly because they do not know the way out. If they can be encouraged to give a detailed description of a preferred future then this becomes a sufficiently clear pathway for them to move forward. Some people don't realise that in fact they have already solved their problem. When they describe their preferred future they see that enough of it is already happening for them to continue. In the process of reviewing their circumstances, measuring their hopes against their knowledge of reality and taking stock of what they already have, some people come to the realisation that their lives are perfectly manageable. Because the central focus is on the future and because there is no framework for ‘understanding’ problems, there is little room for disagreement.

 

Solution-focused brief therapy typically involves only three to five sessions of no more than 45 minutes long. It rarely extends beyond eight sessions and often only one session is sufficient. If possible, the time between sessions is lengthened as progress occurs, so a four-session therapy might extend across several months.
 

History of solution-focused brief therapy is one of many systems therapies that have been developed over the past 50 years or so, first in the USA and is evolving throughout the world. It began in the early 1980s with the work of Steve de Shazer and his wife Insoo Kim Berg and their team at the Brief Therapy Family Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.. was built on the work of a number of innovators… therapists who independently over several decades discovered the concept of brief therapy in their own practices.  Milton Erikson was a master of brief therapy who developed clinical hypnosis as his primary tool Erickson based his technique on the the analogy of a person who wants to change the course of a river. If he opposes the river and tries to block its course, the river merely goes over and around him. But if he accepts the force of the river and tries to divert it in a new direction, then the natural force of the river will cut a new channel. His approach was popularized in the 1950s by Jay Haley in the book Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques of Milton Erickson M.D.. The proponents of brief therapy are pioneers whose various collaborations and writings represent a revolution in attitudes about mental health and well-being and therefore of human social functioning. Proponents included the group of the Mental Research Institute at Palo Alto, California namely Gregory Bateson, Don Jackson, Paul Watzlawick, John Weakland, Virginia Satir and  Richard Bandler co-founder of neurolinguistic programming. Bandler spent many years studying Erickson's therapeutic work . In his book Time for a Change he wrote "It's easier to cure a phobia in ten minutes than in five years... I didn't realize that the speed with which you do things makes them last... I taught people the phobia cure. They'd do part of it one week, part of it the next, and part of it the week after. Then they'd come to me and say ‘It doesn't work!’ If, however, you do it in five minutes, and repeat it till it happens very fast, the brain understands. That's part of how the brain learns... I discovered that the human mind does not learn slowly. It learns quickly. I didn't know that."

Neurolinguistic Programming is concerned with the structure of subjective experience and perception of realityas a function of consciousness.  The word 'neuro linguistic programming' broken down: 'neuro' refers to the brain and its neural networks... Nerve cells or 'neurons' are the working units of the nervous system for sending, receiving and storing  signals that constitute 'information' which must be processsed; 'linguistic' refers to both verbal and non-verbal content that moves through the neural pathways; 'programming' refers to the way the content or signal is manipulated for conversion into useful information. The brain has the capacity of processing a signal according to feelings connected with previous experience and then converting the information into thinking patterns and behaviors which determine one's pattern of life. Feelings associated with experiences (biases, opinions, value systems etc.) affect the way in which one reacts to new experience. 

Effective adaptability depends on accurate perception of 'reality'  To create possibilities for change and to resolve problems the person must recognise the nature of their perceptions. Information of the environment is acquired through the five senses... experience is processed by the sensory systems... the information is largely processed at the unconscious level. This 'sensory input' is interpreted in different ways depending on the person's subconscious emotions or 'affective subconscious' and their subconscious thought patterns or 'cognitive unconscious'. Incorrect thought patterns lead to restrictive thinking and the inability to effect change and resolve problems. Once we understand our own perception of the world...  our own internal map of the world... programmed 'map of reality' then we can step out of it and make changes in our lives. Each person creates a map of reality which forms the basis for their thinking, decision making and behaviour. The more realistic the map, the more effective the thinking and behaviour in adapting to environmental conditions. Impoverished - and unrealistic - maps can restrict choices and create problems

  Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is a personal development system developed in the early 1970s  around 1973. University of California at Santa Cruz.by Richard Bandler and scientist and  linguist John Grinder under the tutelage of anthropologist Gregory Bateson.  Bandler built formal models of linguistic and behavioural patterns and applied the models to allow for prediction and calculation. Patterns could be calculated from the formal representations he had created. Grinder wanted to know the secrets of effective people... to model human excellence... observed that people with similar education, training, background, and years of experience were achieving widely varying results ranging from wonderful to mediocre. They were especially interested in the possibility of being able to duplicate the behaviour, and therefore the competence, of these highly effective individuals. They  zeroed in on the communication aspect and studied how successful people communicate.  Bandler defines NLP as "an attitude and a methodology which leaves behind a trail of techniques"..John Grinder and Richard Bandler modelled their behavior  make out patterns of thinking that assisted in the subject's success... theorized that the brain learns the healthy patterns and behaviors with positive physical and emotional results.  What emerged from their work came to be known as neuro-linguistic programming. . Grinder defines NLP as "the study of excellence and how to reproduce it". Labouchere states that "NLP has a very pragmatic, applied focus on what is helpful, what works and how to replicate it (Bandler & Grinder, 1990). While it draws on and shares common ground with ‘mainstream’ cognitive psychology, from its inception in the 1970s it has continued to develop, refine, and apply its own unique range of concepts, models and techniques."

The basic premise of NLP is that the words we use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of our problems. If these words and perceptions are inaccurate, as long as we continue to use them and to think of them, the underlying problem will persist. In other words, our attitudes are, in a sense, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

...core idea is that an individual's thoughts, gestures and words interact to create one's perception of the world. By changing one's outlook a person can improve his attitudes and actions. How you feel depends on how you think and communicate with yourself and others. When you feel good you think positive and uplifting thoughts. When you feel bad thoughts are negative and drag you down... learning how to communicate with yourself and others is key to your joy and happiness in life... stay present with what is rather than be dragged down by what is not.

Bandler, R., Grinder, J. (1979). Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming. Moab, UT: Real People Press.

Bandler, Richard & John Grinder (1975). The Structure of Magic I: A Book About Language and Therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books

During the 1960s and 1970s jointly by Richard Bandler and UCSC assistant professor of linguistics John Grinder co-founded and developed NLP (see Esalen Institute) was influenced by Alfred Korzybski  They had an interest in the exceptional communications skills of three successful therapists influenced by the human potential movement:... family therapist Virginia Satir, gestalt therapist Fritz Perls and founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, Milton H. Erickson.hypnotherapy) Satir, Perls and Erickson had amazing results with their clients.

Communication is both verbal and non-verbal; each person has  resources for success within themselves. behind every behavior is a positive intention. There is no such thing as failure a person can develop successful habits by amplifying helpful behaviors and diminishing negative ones.

In the 1980s, shortly after publishing Neuro-linguistic Programming Volume 1 Grinder and Bandler fell out amidst acrimony and intellectual property lawsuits, and NLP continued to be developed haphazardly by many individuals.

It uses a toolbox of strategies, axioms and beliefs about human perception and subjective experience. The  core idea is that an individual's thoughts, gestures and words interact to create one's perception of the world.

 Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is based on the idea that with the senses one perceives a small part of reality.One's view of the reality is filtered by experience, beliefs, values, assumptions and so on. Feelings and behaviour are based on one's perception of reality the 'map' rather than reality itself the 'territory' And "the map is not the territory"(Korzybski). Thinking and behaviour (whether functional or dysfunctional) is highly structured, and  this structure can be 'modeled' or copied into a reproducible form. The person can 'model' the more successful parts of their own behaviour in order to reproduce it in areas where they are less successful.  Important aspect of modeling is understanding the patterns of one's own behaviors in order to 'model' the more successful parts of oneself.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming allows one to do magic by creating new ways of understanding how verbal and non-verbal communication affect the human brain. The therapist as neuro linguistic programmer helps the person recognize unhelpful or destructive thought patterns based on impoverished maps of the world and then modify or replace them with helpful ones... teaches for constant generation of new techniques... sees the underlying patterns of learning so that new material is easily accessible.. analyzes words, facial expressions and body movements with a view to understanding the root causes of perception problems... helps the person remodel their thought patterns and mental associations in order rid them of preconceived notions which keep them from functioning effectively... help them get rid of unhealthy habits and replace them with positive thought patterns which  promote wellness.... to effect change and promote healing... make the person aware of their unique abilities, helps them to see things differently and perceive possibilities... to exploit their own natural powers for healing.The therapist asks questions in the form of language patterns designed to clarify the person's underlying thought patterns... to challenge and expand the limits of a person's model or 'map' of the world  When a person speaks about a problem or situation their choice of words can distort, generalize or delete portions of their experience. The therapist listens and responds to the language patterns with a view to helping the person recover the information behind their words... to discover the limiting beliefs which lead to their restrictive thinking... to achieve better communication: ambiguity and non-verbal communication distracts the conscious mind in order to communicate with the unconscious;  to allow for interpretation: Indirect communication... vague and metaphoric language ('metaphor'... simple figures of speech, allegories and stories.... used in communicating with the unconscious... to access the unconscious... in order to find and challenge basic assumptions... to allow for personal interpretation. techniques rely on interruption of  maladaptive patterns and replacement with positive and creative thought patterns which will in turn lead to creative behaviour... technique of hypnotherapy based on the language patterns... for hypnotic communication of hypnotherapist derived by Milton Erickson to contact the hidden resources of the personality...  three aspects:

Imprecise language patterns are used to help guide the person without interfering with their experience. Sensory acuity... ability to infer what a person is feeling and thinking from body language... 

 tuning into the other person's world or 'rapport'  When people are processing information they see images and hear sounds and voices and process this with internally created feelings. When involved in any task their representational systems, consisting of images, sounds, feeling activated at the same time. representational systems  impact on behavior

Submodalities  are the fine details of representational systems. In the late 1970s the developers of NLP started playing around with the submodalities of representational systems involving the enhancement of visualisation techniques  Submodalities involve the relative size, location, brightness of internal images, the volume and direction of internal voices and sounds, and the location, texture, and movement of internally created sensations. Submodalities and hypnosis became the focus of Richard Bandler's later work. A typical change process may involve manipulating the submodalities of internal representations. For example, someone may see their future as 'dark and cloudy' with associated emotions, but would seek through NLP to perceive, and feel it, as 'light and clear'. Other training exercises develop a person's ability to move around internal images, change the quality of sounds and find out how these affect the intensity of internal feelings or other submodalities

Anchoring...  we constantly make anchors (associations) between what we see, hear and feel and our emotional states. While in an emotional state if a person is exposed to a unique stimulus (sight, sound or touch) then a connection is made between the emotion and the unique stimulus. If the unique stimulus occurs again, the emotional state will then be triggered. anchors  can be deliberately created and triggered to help people access 'resourceful' or other target states.The swish pattern is a process that is designed to disrupt a pattern of thought from one that used to lead to an unwanted behavior to one that leads to a desired behavior. This involves visualizing a 'cue' which leads into the unwanted behavior, such as a smokers hand moving towards the face with a cigarette in it, and reprogramming the mind to 'switch' to a visualization of the desired outcome

reframing functions through changing the way you perceive an event and so changing the meaning. When the meaning changes, responses and behaviours will also change. Reframing with language allows you to see the world in a different way and this changes the meaning. Reframing is the basis of jokes, myths, legends, fairy tales and most creative ways of thinking... examples in children's literature: Pollyanna would play the 'glad game' whenever she felt down about life, to remind herself of the things that she could do, and not worry about the things she couldn't. Hans Christian Andersen's story of the ugly duckling... he realizes that that he too is a swan when the swans welcome him he sees his reflection in the water.

In the six-step reframe one learns to distinguish between an underlying intention and the consequent behaviors for the purpose of achieving the intention by different and more successful behaviors. It is based on the notion that there is a positive intention behind all behaviors, but that the behaviors themselves may be unwanted or counterproductive in other ways. This staged process of identifying the intention and create alternative choices to satisfy that intention.In NLP this is one of a number of 'frames' wherein the desired state is considered as to its achievability and effect if achieved. A positive outcome must be defined by the client, be within the clients power to achieve, retain the positive products of the unwanted behaviours and produce an outcome that is appropriate for all circumstances.

Ecology is a frame within which the desired outcome is checked against the consequences in the clients life and relationships from all angles.

 Different aspects of ourselves are in conflict due to different perceptions and beliefs. The disparate aspects of the self can be integrated by identifying and then negotiating with the separate parts in order to  resolve internal conflict.

  eliminate bad feelings associated with past events by re-running  an associated memory in a dissociated state.

Role of visionary states in social and cultural evolution (based on interview with John Weir Perry)... The process of psychological individuation required to achieve the feeling of loving relationship is what social evolution is all about.

       The process of re-connection to the unconscious... is made up of the same stuff as seers, visionaries, cultural reformers and prophets go through.

They also experience much of the same content... specifically concerned, first and foremost, with the culture itself. Any kind of personal subjective ideation is made to serve and clarify that end... similarities in the rituals of almost every society.

There are striking parallels in the visionary states of reformers and prophets and messiahs. Almost any culture that's going through a profound upheaval of rapid turbulent change, produces seers and visionaries who glimpse the new myth-form and express its guidelines - the basic ideas and paradigms that give the people a new sense of direction. This is particularly true at the tribal level. The shamanic visions ... the ideation of death and rebirth... symbols of world destruction and regeneration.... psycho-symbolic images, feelings and ideas which emerge into consciousness during the process carry basic symbolic relevance - at the level of the collective unconscious - to the alienation of humankind as a whole. One thing that is quite significant in this respect is that each decade shows a marked difference in the typical content of the ideation. During the fifties in America there was a lot of ideation about democracy and communism.. .the coincidence of opposites was symbolically expressed in terms of America versus Russia and the forces of liberty vs. oppression. In the Sixties it was moral values and the issues of war and peace. In the Seventies it was global concerns of  preserving the planet and respecting nature.

dreams tend to reflect cultural issues, and as soon as one gets into any kind of

therapy deals with the psyche at this deeper level of the collective unconscious...one comes to the realisaion not going along just in a realm of interpersonal relationships.

 Humankind is alienated...  the psyche of the whole people. The political spokesmen are only giving voice to what is going on in all the individuals... big problems facing society are perceived in symbolic, mythic expression, and for this reason their resolution takes place on the symbolic, mythic level as well. If there's work going on in a culture to reorganise itself, then it's a process that must occur on both levels simultaneously: individuals will go through their personal visions, and collective spokesmen will express collective visions, which get worked out and implemented on a cultural level... examples of this in anthropological studies of societies going through periods of cultural crisis. When a culture deteriorates there are individuals in deep distress.

cultural dimension of the visionary experience... historical evolution of culture recapitulates the same process that happens within the individual.Cultural historian Anthony Wallace did a study of periods of turmoil in various cultures, and formulated a ground-plan for the process of sudden culture-change.  With new conditions old answers and old values don't apply, old methods no longer hold, old ways no longer prevail. Resulting demoralisation soon results in psychosomatic distress and substance abuse. Some sort of restitution may emerge through the activation of visionary states within certain people in the society. The gifted ones are those whose visions reach beyond the personal sphere, into the realm of the collective unconscious, out of which the new myth comes forth. The crucial point is whether that myth is then received. If the visonary or 'prophet' is valued and their vision happens to coincide with what people need to hear, they will eventually be held in great reverence and their message will be received and he may deliver an acceptable new myth for another phase of the cultural evolution... leads to a whole cultural renewal or 'revitalisation movement'.  

 It begins in fear of death, lust for power and supremacy, but soon leads over into this concern with relationship and Eros, intimacy, caring. In history, the myth original that parallels this process is one that was first conceived during the urban revolution: that's about 3000 BCE in Egypt and Mesopotamia, 2000 BCE in China, and about 1000 BCE in Israel. With this first growth of cities, a vast psychological transformation took place in society, and new myths emerged which served a guiding function for the motivations within. Now these first urban societies were preoccupied with power. Power and dominance were held in high esteem and sacralised. Some centuries went by, and you had prophetic movements, philosophical movements that arose in opposition to that. These later myths redefined the cohesive power in society. They asserted that the thing that binds the people together into a working whole is not power and dominance but caring, brotherhood and love. If you check out the ancient literature, you will find that this idea of the overarching importance of love or 'compassion' is simply not mentioned in any urban texts up to a certain point.... The function of social leadership was first projected exclusively onto the persona of the Pharaoh or King. All the people had to do was to follow orders and do what they were told. The mythologies of the early urban phase were all in the power idiom at first: the King is the embodiment of the whole people. Only he can care for them. He is the one who is compassionate. He is the one who is loving, as a father is toward his children. So what took place over the following centuries was a complete transformation of that type of myth. The first time in recorded literature that there is any mention of the Kingship belonging not only to the elected king, but also to the people, was around the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, in China. They affirmed that every individual has within himself the potentiality to be sage-king or sacral king. It was specifically expressed in these terms: "Every man shall become a sage-king!" Confucius expressed it first was a great promoter of the idea of the inner kingship, democracy, self-rule, and social caring... golden rule - returning good for evil and responding to violence with non-violence - clearly expressed long before Christianity. The same thing happened in India, with the Buddha. In Israel, it didn't arrive until much later on. The Old Testament prophets, projecting their image of God as the vengeful Yahveh, did not talk of this kind of brotherhood or compassion; you don't find that really until the Christian era. The point is that the central importance of love and social caring was just not mentioned in any of these cultures before their initial perception - in visionary states - by sensitive individuals.

    Psychospiritual nature of the current global crisis...  Some of the insights of people experiencing non-ordinary states of consciousness are directly related to the current global crisis and its relationship with consciousness evolution... evolving psychology of planetary consciousness... humanity is at a critical crossroads, facing either collective annihilation or an evolutionary jump in consciousness of unprecedented proportions.  The global crisis reflects the level of consciousness evolution of the human species... environmental crisis is an outer reflection of inner mental crisis. A significant factor in the development of the global crisis has been the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm that has dominated Western science for four hundred years. According to Newtonian mechanics (Newton)  the universe is perceived as a fully deterministic giant, supermachine governed by mechanical laws... involves a sharp dichotomy between mind and nature (Descartes). Along with our technological and scientific lust to dominate external nature, came a corresponding attempt to achieve control over the mysterious motions of the Self within.  In order to effectively deal with the present planetary crisis we must awaken to a new level of consciousness... we must learn to become lucid in our  waking state. Resolution of the crises of our time depends on collective lucid waking consciousness... we have a vast array of previously unrecognized creative options at our disposal that we can use right now to make positive change in the world.

Work of personal transformation - healing ourselves-  is necessary for healing the planet... The interests of the person and the planet are now the same... As we participate in our own healing, we contribute to the overall positive changes that are helping heal our planet. Individuals who are on a spiritual path are a microcosm of that much larger process that is happening on a planet level. As the vibrational changes stream into our planet, individuals are being quickened in spiritual growth. We are experiencing what has been called Earth Plane Anxiety! If we continue to act out the problematic destructive and self-destructive tendencies originating in the depths of the unconscious, we will undoubtedly destroy ourselves and the life on this planet.... if we succeed in internalizing this process on a large enough scale, it might result in an evolutionary progress that can take us as far beyond our present condition.  

   the evolutionary transformation of society and of humanity must take place first in the individual... the transformation of the individual requires a turning inward, toward self... self-confrontation, not narcissistic self-absorption.

 

It must be possible for people to create symbols that can transcend the obsolete divisions between people... sustainability... creation of a sustainable future... is our common goal. The prerequisite is widespread agreement on the nature of the goal... or 'global vision' - a realistic and positive image of the humankind/biosphere connection that is meaningful for all peoples of the world and that would enable us... empower us...to discover what we can do to make a difference. We must adapt to a global reality. Each culture should expand its local vision to planetary proportions. We need an integrated global worldview which incorporates the rich diversity of all nations of the world... a belief system that is shared by citizens of the planet as a whole.

 

 contemporary world views of  the various cultural groups - personal values, political premises, economic assumptions, religious beliefs and so on -are  too fragmented to reveal a common understanding.  We need to focus on the humanity that we have in common  information blockage must be dissolved. The information environment can inspire people to see for themselves how they can participate in the real work of personal transformation.

 

"A disaster can easily be prevented before it happens" (Lao Tsu)

"When people share a common goal their natural tendency is to cooperate in realising it". (Confucius)

 learn from that experience... digest and assimilate the experience. the  story of one's 'death' becomes the new ground for forging a new life... One upon a time I became insane with grief, terror, loss, and failure and put myself back together again – with a little help I am fortunate.I know the cost of being fully, achingly human. I am real.

no external interventions have a chance to create a better world, unless they are associated with a profound transformation of human consciousness.  

individual common sense has become the largest untapped resource on the planet.... what is required... a radical deep emotional and spiritual inner transformation of humanity

Ronald. D. Laing radical Scottish psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and psychotherapist  who worked in the tradition of Carl Jung profoundly altered our understanding of so-called 'mental illness'... and the treatment of the so-called 'mentally ill'. In the 1960's he shook up the psychiatric establishment when he showed that the person who gets labelled ‘schizophrenic’ is usually the ‘identified patient’ in a larger network of family and societal relations which are themselves dysfunctional, and whose members share responsibility for the outcome.... This was his line of thought in a series of books published in the course of the 1960s ... The Divided Self (1960), Self and Others (1961), Sanity, Madness and the Family (1964) and The Politics of Experience (1967)...  in which he set forth what he called ‘an existential-phenomenological foundation for a science of persons’... a description of the  experience of those labelled 'schizophrenic'.... He argued that such people suffered from ontological insecurity, a lack of faith in their own and others' reality which led them to create false self systems to fend off psychological and emotional catastrophe. So-called 'schizophrenia' until then had been described as an 'intra-psychic phenomenon'....  of course, another great danger is to wind up in the clutches of ... and be diagnosed and medicated by the medical, psychiatric community, who typically have no understanding of phenomena such as spiritual emergencies.  "Anyone in this transitional state is likely to be confused. To indicate that this confusion is a sign of illness, is a quick way to create psychosis.... A psychiatrist who professes to be a healer of souls, but who keeps people asleep, treats them for waking up and drugs them asleep again.... helps to drive them crazy." (Laing)

   Laing was born in Glasgow in 1927... studied medicine at the University of Glasgow and went on to become a psychiatrist. At Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital he and his colleagues performed the first experiment in changing the way people designated the mentally ill and radically altered the treatment regime in a long-term women's ward.  Laing moved to London to work at the Tavistock Clinic and trained as a psychoanalyst at the Institute of Psychoanalysis. He had for many years been engaged with continental philosophy and in order to put theory into practice with others (including Scottish psychiatrist Aaron Esterson) he founded the Philadelphia Association in 1965. They took over the large empty property of Kingsley Hall in London's East End and created a community, a place of genuine asylum where the 'mentally ill' could live their lives free from unwanted and unwarranted interference. Only nine out of sixty-five people were subsequently re-admitted to hospitals. Kingsley Hall was to be the first of over 20 therapeutic communities run by the PA to this day. The positive results of Laing's famous Kingsley Hall experiment in London though chaotic organisation in a bleak East End London slum...  were corroborated by Dr. John Weir Perry.  In 1981 Laing stepped down as Chair of the PA and continued to be a source of inspiration to the organisation through his writings and his remarkable ability to communicate with the most disturbed and distressed people. He died in August 1989 from a heart attack while playing tennis in the south of France and was buried in Glasgow. After his death a book of interviews, Mad to Be Normal was published... also several biographies and critical studies. Laing's best work remains a challenge to traditional psychiatry and psychology based on the belief in the biological basis of so-called 'mental illness'... that effective treatment is chemical in nature. Laing insisted on the 'meaning in madness' and convincingly made the process comprehensible...  showed that its characterisitic discourse had a sense of its own when listened to in the right spirit.

Dr. John Weir Perry was a Jungian psychiatrist of humble, compassionate, wise, soft-spoken and melodius character. As a young medical student in Switzerland Perry had been intrigued by Jung's assertion that schizophrenia is not a disease which should be controlled but a natural healing process which should be facilitated by subtle psychotherapy. When later he was a conscientious objector in World War II and served for two years as a medic in the U.S. army attending to war victims in China he was impressed by the wisdom of the people. One day as he was walking along the famous Burma Road, he met a leading scholar of the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao. It was then that he made a connection between the Taoist view of the universe as a self-organising system and Jung's perception of schizophrenia as a spontaneous healing process which should be supported through a kind of psychological shiatsu. . He returned to San Francisco, California and practised psychiatry from 1949 until his death in 1998. He wanted to put Jung's theory to the test and in 1974 he founded an experimental residential facility and treatment centre - Diabasis - which was designed as a comfortable home for young adults experiencing the initial days of the first visionary psychotic state of the so-called ‘acute schizophrenic break’. They lived in a supportive atmosphere and were empowered to go through the experience without medication, electroshock or locked doors and the results were amazing. Full-blown ‘schizophrenics’ were able to go through what turned out to be a complete falling apart and coming-back-together-again of their personality, and emerge ‘on the far side of madness’ ‘weller than well''. Instead of being sent to the mental hospital and/or being condemned to suffer the debilitating effects of anti-psychotic drugs for the rest of their lives, they would live at the facility for three months, then move to a half-way house, and finally resume their normal life with more energy and enthusiasm than before the onset of the problem. Perry showed that if first-time ‘schizophrenics’ were given the space to go through the visionary experience in a safe environment, the non-ordinary state of consciousness tends to end spontaneously after about 40 days, with few relapses. He demonstrated that the spontaneous visionary episode is a great opportunity for personal transformation.

He viewed so-called schizophrenia as a spiritual journey... potentially purposive and telic in nature. He describes the goals–and the terrible dangers–that are typically encountered and developed a variety of drug-free, non-repressive approaches which have helped to bring about a fundamental paradigm-shift in the scientific understanding of the human psyche. He observed in his work in traditional psychiatric settings that people experiencing an acute psychotic episode are rarely listened to or met on the level of their visionary state of consciousness. Instead attempts are made to silence them, to ignore and to disapprove of their non-rational language and experience thereby increasing their sense of isolation and alienation which can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of their so-called 'madness'. Many people seek the kind of residential facility he created... cost-efffectiveness less expensive in economic and human terms for society to support someone for three months in a properly staffed home and three months in a half-way house, than to pay for the costs of a lifetime on stupefying drugs.

Perry was the author of many books  His first book1952 The Self in Psychotic Process  featured an introduction by Jung. His deep insight into the nature of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ in the classic The Far Side of Madness (1974)(about the organised approach of Diabasis on sunny San Francisco Bay) opened the way for a radically new, more compassionate approach to this condition.  The Heart of History, a trans-cultural study of psychological and mythological evolution... of particular interest to those who wonder about where humankind may be headed, since the process of psychological growth – known as ‘individuation’ – is normally thought of in the context of a given mythology or world view. Perry explores the individuation process not in the context of a given world view, but within the larger macro-historical evolution of the world views themselves. He tracks the individuation of the deepest dimensions of the Self, as reflected in the symbolism of the metamorphosis of the world's great mythologies from the power-preoccupied cosmologies of the first city-states to the more compassionate world views which seem always to follow. In the 1980s he was invited to teach psychiatry at the University of Wuhan, in China – where official dogma had it that the unconscious does not exist! His last book is Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process. Visionary Experience in Myth and Ritual

"The terror of psychosis–and the terrifying treatments to which the 'mental patient' is subjected - remains a source of bafflement to the outsider and a source of frustration to many practitioners in the mental health field. Although the literature is fraught with descriptions of symptoms, diagnoses, theories, and methods of treatment, few researchers address the patient as an equal. Rare, indeed, is the practitioner who has come to view psychosis as a strange sign of health: as an attempt to heal or as a stage in a developmental process that transports the subject beyond sickness or health and into a positive transformation of the self."(Perry)

"The initial disordered state that I am describing contains two distinct elements. The first is an experience of dying or of having already died, which symbolizes a dissolution of the accustomed self. The second element, closely related to the first, is a vision of the death of the world. In an acute psychosis individuals undergo a profound reorganization of the self, effected by a thoroughgoing reintegration through utter disintegration. Life cannot be repaired, it can only be re-created by returning to the sources. And the 'source of sources' is the prodigious outpouring of energy, life and the fecundity that occured at the Creation of the World. Since the acute episode of visionary turmoil can have, along with its tormenting aspect, some ecstatic features, I will enlarge on the basic Dionysian principle that the exuberance of vital aliveness is born out of the realm of death. This is the miraculous revelation at the heart of the famous Dionysian rites, the Eleusinian mysteries. Now this disturbing information is, in our culture, very unwelcome news. Here ecstasy is desirable as long as it is easy to attain. Yet, in truth, to have access to this state the price of admission is to take full account of the role of death. This is a difficult point, for we seem to find ourselves firmly biased against suffering and death as the ultimate enemy, dark and sinister, to whom we give no quarter and show no tolerance. You might say suffering and death are on an equal footing with madness in this respect. We have seen that the growth process of the psyche, on the other hand, sees all this quite differently. According to the psyche's purposes, in order to break out of the security of solid consensus and convention, one must encounter the experience of the death process in psychic depth, and also at the same time the dissolution of the familiar, accustomed worldview. Though all this demand might seem at first glance overly drastic, it consists actually of the death of the familiar self-image and the destruction of the world image to make room for the self regeneration of each. These two images move together in the process, each an aspect of the other, and both assume the form of the mandala images". (Excerpt from Trials of the Visionary Mind - John Weir Perry)
 

  Interview with Dr. John Weir Perry: Mental breakdown as healing process (excerpted from When The Dream Becomes Real: The Inner Apocalypse in Mythology, Madness, and the Future by Michael O'Callaghan Dublin, Ireland  )

Michael O'Callaghan : How does one define so-called 'schizophrenia'?

John Weir Perry: Jung defined it most succinctly. He said "Schizophrenia is a condition in which the dream takes the place of reality." This means that the unconscious overwhelms the ego-consciousness, overwhelms the field of awareness with contents from the deepest unconscious, which take mythic, symbolic form. And the emotions, unless they're hidden, are quite mythic too. To a careful observer, they're quite appropriate to the situation at hand. The way ‘schizophrenia’ unfolds is that, in a situation of personal crisis, all the psyche's energy is sucked back out of the personal, conscious area, into what we call the archetypal area. Mythic contents thus emerge from the deepest level of the psyche, in order to re-organise the Self. In so doing, the person feels himself withdrawing from the ordinary surroundings, and becomes quite isolated in this dream state.

O'Callaghan: Did Jung really see this as a healing process?

Perry: He did indeed! He believed that ‘schizophrenia’ is a self-healing process - one in which, specifically, the pathological complexes dissolve themselves. The whole schizophrenic turmoil is really a self-organising, healing experience. It's like a molten state. Everything seems to be made of free energy, an inner free play of imagery through which the alienated psyche spontaneously re-organises itself  in such a way that the conscious ego is brought back into communication with the unconscious again.

O'Callaghan: How long does the experience normally last?

Perry: The acute hallucinatory phase, during which these contents go through the re-ordering process, usually lasts about six weeks. This, by the way, corresponds to the classical description of visionary experiences in various religious texts, such as the proverbial 'forty days in the wilderness' often referred to in the Bible. Anyway, six weeks is roughly it..

O'Callaghan: So are you saying that the reason we have so-called ‘chronic schizophrenia’ in our society - where a person is medicated, distressed or hospitalised for decades - is really cultural? A society which refuses to understand the healing nature of the phenomenon?

Perry: Yes, it seems so. Of course, there are some unusual cases where the individual simply can't handle the impact of all this unconscious content, or doesn't know what to do with it, and freaks out. But from my experience at Diabasis, I've seen so many people go the other way that I really do feel 'chronic schizophrenia' is created by society's negative response to what is actually a perfectly natural and healthy process. I hate to think of what happens to people who go into the mental hospital...

O'Callaghan: Who experiences a ‘schizophrenic break’?

Perry: Well, there's a lot of controversy about this! There is a constitutional element, which is often interpreted as a 'genotype of pathology', but this depends on how you see it. I see it as a 'genotype of sensitivity'! Among adolescent siblings in a family, for example, its usually the most sensitive one who's going to catch it.

O'Callaghan: How many people are 'schizophrenic'?

Perry: Approximately two percent - that's over one hundred and sixteen million people! It's about one in five of all the hospital beds [in the developed countries - ed.].

O'Callaghan: What does it feel like to go through a ‘schizophrenic break’?

Perry: The overall experience is described as falling into a kind of abyss of isolation. This comes about because there is such a discrepancy between the subjective inner world that one has be swept into, and the mundane everyday world outside. There seems to be a total gulf between these two. Of course, this is exactly what happens in our society: the individuals around such a person are bewildered and frightened. They have absolutely no trust in what is going on! So everything is set up negatively, and this gives rise to fear - on both sides.

O'Callaghan: So it starts with a feeling of isolation...

Perry: Yes. Now the symbolic expression of this is falling into a death - not only a death state, but also a death space - the 'afterlife', the 'realm of the ancestors' 'and of the dead', the 'spirit world'. The common experience here is for the person to look about and think that half the people around him are dead too. While in this condition, it's very hard for one to tell if one is really alive or not. I've been told, by people looking back on the experience, that one thing that stands out most of all, beyond the feeling of isolation, is the perception that everything that comes up is divided into opposites: Good and Bad, God and the Devil, Us and Them, or whatever. It's confusing, it's bewildering, it causes tremendous indecision and a total arrest in motivation in which everything is cancelled by its opposite. So both these things are very distressing: the fear that you have died and dropped away from the world of the living, and the fear of conflicting powers, conflicting values and thoughts. It's a very aggravating feeling. This experience of opposites very quickly takes on a rather paranoid form. I think this is really what the paranoid content is based on. It takes the form of experiencing the world as caught in the grip of opposing forces, whether they be political, spiritual, cultural, ideological, or even racial. In recent years I've noticed it's "those who might destroy the planet" versus "those who are ecologically minded." The prevailing idiom of the decade seems to shape the particular form in which these opposites arise. The main thing here is a great clash of forces; and this clash is usually of rather cosmic proportions, not just a local affair at all. Right away at the beginning, the death experience is accompanied by the feeling that you've gone back to the beginning of time. This involves a regression, a return to the state of infancy in one's personal life history. But hand in hand with this is the feeling of slipping back into the world of the primordial parents, into a Garden of Eden. For example, it's a very common experience to feel one is the child of Adam and Eve, say, at the beginning of time. This is very symbolic, obviously. It's pretty much a representation of the psyche at the start of one's individual career after birth. So these are the outstanding features. All kinds of imagery comes tumbling across the field of awareness. It's like the mythological image in a perfect stained-glass window being smashed, and all the bits and pieces being scattered. The effect is very colourful, but it's very hard to discern how the pieces belong to each other. Any attempt to make sense of it is an exercise in abstraction from the actual experience. The important thing is to find the process running through it all. The thing that I'm particularly interested in here is the clash of opposites. The individual usually has a feeling of intense fear, as he contemplates what seem to him to be the forces of disruption, of chaos, of the Antichrist, of the Communists - whatever the ideology happens to portray as 'evil'. In any case, these forces are seen as tending to destroy the world, and the 'good guys' are those who would try to preserve it. This is the element I try in particular to explore, because it connects to all kinds of other general cultural and political phenomena that we could talk about! What makes this visionary state appear so very psychotic, is that an individual with a paranoid ideology or ideation tends to identify with everything that comes up from below, and one is very apt to get confused. A woman who identifies with the Virgin Mary, for example, may then believe she's about to give birth to a redeemer. Actually, there's many a pregnancy test that we do in these emergency situations, you know, because you can never be sure! And the men are very apt to feel they're specially elected to be the second coming of the Messiah; or, if they're very paranoid, a great political of military leader such as Napoleon or Hitler. The delusions of grandeur become very evident, for as soon as one's identity gets hung up on such archetypal identifications, there immediately arises the "enemy out there" who is trying to undo what the supreme power has brought about. There is a deeply-felt fear of being toppled, a feeling of immense danger. This again has many cultural connotations...

O'Callaghan: So if the person experiences himself as God, might he then also feel the Devil is out to get him?

Perry: Yes, that's pretty much adequate. If one is Christ, the Anti-Christ is around somewhere at work; and if one is in a supreme position of political rule, then there is sure to be a disruptive revolutionary political party on the other side of the planet which is trying to topple you! It's rather scary, when you consider that the collective unconscious projects such huge shadows upon whole nations or superpowers...

O'Callaghan: What about the death / rebirth aspect?

Perry: Well you see, the state of being in a realm of death in the beginning is pretty soon accompanied by the idea of either being born, or giving birth. This is really the fundamental ground of the whole experience. So there are two or three transformative elements that run through the phenomenon in a sort of overall direction. First, the feeling of death and rebirth, which is really symbolic of the process of disorganisation and reorganisation; second, the fact that this happens both on the world level as well as on the personal level - the world is also going through a disruption and a regeneration; and finally, the initial inflated notion that one is a supreme power (a great spiritual force, a supreme being, a supreme intelligence from outer space or whatever), gradually yields to a deeper overall preoccupation with the issues of relationship. The feelings and motivations tend toward love and affection in general. The sexual element is stirred up quite a bit, but mostly it's on a symbolic level. The process of psychological individuation required to achieve this feeling of loving relationship is also what social evolution is all about. In this regard, the concerns of the regression to infancy are no more personal than one would expect. They are mostly concerned with the interpersonal field, with the parents and siblings, and with the problems of childhood and adolescence. The great surprise, during these weeks of turmoil, is that even more of the concern is about cultural and societal issues. I was totally unprepared for this: in the Freudian setting of medical school, there was no mention of it at all. At first, when Jung told me about it in Switzerland, I found it very hard to believe. I had to see for myself if he was right. This then became one of my motives for going my alternative way with these people.Our new understanding shows that ...

O'Callaghan: In your book The Far Side of Madness, you describe how at Diabasis - the home for 'schizophrenic' individuals which you set up in Berkeley in the 1960's - they could comfortably get into their visionary process in a totally supportive atmosphere. What are the necessary conditions to enable a person to go through the experience of madness and be renewed by it when they come through, as you put it, on the far side?

Perry: That's a question with many facets! The first one, which we touched on briefly toward the beginning of this conversation, was about the conditions that are set up around such an individual. What we did at Diabasis was specifically to set up what we hoped would be the most ideal, least toxic (smile), least damaging environment for a person in the visionary state. First off, this means a home. You need a place with friendly, sympathetic individuals who live there. These people have to be companions, have to be willing to listen and not be frightened and not be judgmental about it, and not try to do anything to anybody. One has to let the visionary process unfold itself spontaneously. Under such conditions, to our surprise, we found that our clients got into a clear space very quickly! We had started out with the notion that we would surely be in for a lot of bedlam with all this "madness" going on, but actually the opposite was true! People would come in just as crazy as could be on the first day or two, but they'd settle down very soon into a state of coherency and clarity. Often, when I would come in for a consultation at the end of the week, I would see someone who had been admitted in a completely freaked-out state just a few days before, sitting at the dinner-table indistinguishable from anybody else; sometimes I couldn't tell if this was a new member of the staff, or one of our clients. The calming effect of a supportive environment is truly amazing! It's a well-known fact that people can and do clear up in a benign setting. Actually, they can come down very quickly. But if some of our cases had gone to the mental hospital, they would have been given a very dire message: "You've had a mental breakdown. You're sick. You're into this for decades, maybe for the rest of your life!" and told "You need this medication to keep it all together." I am quite certain that if some of our clients had been sent to the mental hospital, they would have had a long, long fight with it. The outcome of their stay at Diabasis, however, was that their life after the episode was substantially more satisfying and fulfilling to them than it had been before!

O'Callaghan: Would the determining factor then be the person's realisation that she is in a non-ordinary state of consciousness - i.e. a state which, although very different from that of the
people around her, is in fact completely natural and good - and that the hallucinatory imagery carries a symbolic meaning, which pertains primarily to the inner reality, rather than to the outside world?


Perry: You said it! The tendency, as you suggest, is to concretise all the symbolic stuff and believe there are enemies out there, and that the walls are wired, that there are people with guns at the window, and subversive political parties trying to do things, or that one is being watched because one is the head of some organisation and everybody knows it. All of that is a mistaken, "concretistic" tendency to take too literally things whose correct meaning is actually symbolic. So yes, the therapeutic goal is to achieve that attitude which perceives the symbolic nature of the ideation which belongs to the inner reality. Now the inner reality is real! It's very important to grant it that reality, but not to get the two realities mixed up. That's the trick! Actually, for most people it's surprisingly easy. Certainly, the more paranoid a person is the more difficult. There is a certain paranoid makeup, a style of personality which tends to focus on the objective world around. It's what we call an attention style. It is difficult for such people to see the inner meaning of their visions. On the other hand, the average person tends to go along with the inner journey and to realise - well, they do need to be reminded - but once they're reminded, they tend to quickly perceive that it is a spiritual test, or a symbolic test, and not the actual end of the actual world. The second condition needed for a successful outcome of the ‘schizophrenic episode’ is not just a benign surroundings, but also some people who can relate to the visionary process in a sympathetic way. I believe very strongly that it's not enough just to have a benign community around such a person: the thing that really makes the process move and reach its conclusion, is an intense relationship with one or two people. Sometimes with a man and a woman, who may play a symbolic role like two parents, or like the opposites, which can be taken care of in this way. Bringing the whole supercharged process into a relationship seems to make it bearable, containable, manageable. Of course, some people go through it alone. They tell me this is highly painful, very frightening. But if one has a therapist or counsellor to whom one can relate the experience, one need not suffer a whole lot once the process gets underway. There will always be some tough moments, nightmarish times, bewilderment. One wonders what the dangers are, whether there are evil forces out there. But through these weeks, somehow, the prevailing mood is actually one of buoyancy. At Diabasis, there was a general atmosphere of jocularity. People would be joking around, having fun, playing music and dancing and humming tunes and painting...

O'Callaghan Yes, in fact wasn't that part of the design? You had all sorts of ways for people to communicate their experience and externalise in through various forms of art?

Perry: The whole environment was organised into various "spaces." One of these - a very important one - was called the rage room. This was sound-proofed and padded, for the individual's own protection, and we put things in there that they could whack to pieces like old cottons and mattresses. But the door was not locked, it was not like the padded cell in the mental hospital, where the person is isolated against his will... We set it up so that if a client was having strong feelings of rage, he or she could share it with a staff member, particularly the counsellor or primary therapist, and thus deliver it. This was found meaningful. The anger is a very important part of the growth of the ego, you see. We also had the opposite: a room for quietness and meditation. This was equally important, for integrative purposes. We had an art room, but I must say, people didn't seem to spend much time there (chuckle). These so-called "sensitive personalities" were all hanging around the dining room table, doing water-colours or modelling in clay, and giving creative expression to some of the imagery inside their head. We also had a sand tray and figurines for sandplay therapy. It works like a dream: you set up a dramatic scene, move the figurines, tell a story. This avenue of expression is easier than painting. It's very dreamlike, so it hits the visionary state very well. We also had poetry... Another thing we provided was a variety of body movement sessions, dance and martial arts, with skilled facilitators. And finally, we had interviews at least three of four times a week, for an hour and a half to two hours each, with the primary counsellor/therapist. But really all of these creative outlets put together became part of the interview itself - verbal expression combined with image expression in these various media. Now throughout all this there was nothing scheduled, nothing mandatory. It was all informal. We'd just respond to things as they came up. Our only house rule really was "No violence to property or persons!" The clients could dash out nude into the street if they had to; we didn't like it, but they did! You see, we wanted them to be in this house of their own free will. They had to realise their own desire to belong in the house, and they did. So this whole approach is essentially one of releasing, rather than suppression. We allowed everything and encouraged its expression - not toward chaos, but toward communication! Communication tends to order. This is a most important point in psychiatry, but the common opinion is that it is very dangerous... When you actually do it, however, you find exactly the opposite is true: people get over their preoccupations very quickly. The whole point here is to deliver the visionary content to somebody and to be able to appreciate its symbolic relevance to the inner process of personal and social renewal. Once it's delivered, the process keeps moving by itself. It's really unfortunate there is so much misunderstanding about it all. The truth is really very simple.

O'Callaghan: Here's a broader question which I've been thinking about for years. If nature's self-organising way of healing an alienated individual is for one's psyche to go through a world view transformation process involving a spontaneous temporary non-ordinary state of consciousness, do you think it possible that an entire society, or perhaps even the whole of Humankind - which is undoubtedly alienated and obviously having a hard time adapting to its new global environment - could conceivably have to pass through some kind of collective non-ordinary state, on the way to greater wisdom? And if so, would not such a process also take the form of either a horrible mass psychosis, if suppressed, or a creative breakthrough, if we were culturally prepared to understand its inner meaning?


Perry: Yes indeed! You know, there are many examples of this in anthropological studies of societies going through periods of cultural crisis. What you're referring to is right around the corner! You don't have to look very far to see a culture deteriorate, to see individuals in deep distress. The cultural historian Anthony Wallace is very lucid about this. He did a study of periods of turmoil in various cultures, and formulated a ground-plan for the process of sudden culture-change. It goes like this: first, under the new conditions, the old answers don't work, the old methods no longer hold, the old ways prevail no more, and the old values are no longer held in esteem. This leads to a demoralisation, which results very quickly in psychosomatic distress, and the abuse of alcohol or other drugs. From out of all this, some sort of restitution may then emerge through the activation of visionary states within certain people in the society. The gifted ones are those whose visions reach beyond the personal sphere, into the realm of the collective unconscious, out of which the new myth comes forth. Now the crucial point here is whether that myth is then received. You see, in a psychosis, part of the problem, as we were saying, is that the vision is not received. When the individual, and his family and friends and society regard the vision as unacceptable and they reject it, that is the experience of going crazy! On the other hand, a prophet is given a lot of esteem. If his vision happens to coincide with what the people need to hear, he will eventually be held in great reverence and his message will be received. If his myth-making capacity is working well, he may deliver the new myth that is going to be accepted for the next phase of that culture's evolution. That then leads to a whole cultural renewal, which Wallace calls a revitalisation movement. So what's particularly interesting about this collective, cultural dimension of the visionary experience, is that the historical evolution of culture recapitulates the same process that happens within the individual. It begins in fear of death, lust for power and supremacy, but soon leads over into this concern with relationship and Eros, intimacy, caring. In history, the myth original that parallels this process is one that was first conceived during the urban revolution: that's about 3000 BCE in Egypt and Mesopotamia, 2000 BCE in China, and about 1000 BCE in Israel. With this first growth of cities, a vast psychological transformation took place in society, and new myths emerged which served a guiding function for the motivations within. Now these first urban societies were preoccupied with power. Power and dominance were held in high esteem and sacralised. Some centuries went by, and you had prophetic movements, philosophical movements that arose in opposition to that. These later myths redefined the cohesive power in society. They asserted that the thing that binds the people together into a working whole is not power and dominance but caring, brotherhood and love. If you check out the ancient literature, you will find that this idea of the overarching importance of love or compassion is simply not mentioned in any urban texts up to a certain point.... The function of social leadership was first projected exclusively onto the persona of the Pharaoh or King. All the people had to do was to follow orders and do what they were told. The mythologies of the early urban phase were all in the power idiom at first: the King is the embodiment of the whole people. Only he can care for them. He is the one who is compassionate. He is the one who is loving, as a father is toward his children. So what took place over the following centuries was a complete transformation of that type of myth. The first time in recorded literature that there is any mention of the Kingship belonging not only to the elected king, but also to the people, was around the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, in China. They affirmed that every individual has within himself the potentiality to be sage-king or sacral king. It was specifically expressed in these terms: "Every man shall become a sage-king!".

O'Callaghan: Very interesting! Who said it?

Perry: Interestingly enough, it was Confucius who expressed it first - you wouldn't expect it really! He was a great promoter of the idea of the inner kingship, democracy, self-rule, and social caring. He had the Golden Rule - the idea of returning good for evil and responding to violence with non-violence - quite clearly expressed long before Christianity. The same thing happened in India, with the Buddha. In Israel, it didn't arrive until much later on. The Old Testament prophets, projecting their image of God as the vengeful Yahveh, did not talk of this kind of brotherhood or compassion; you don't find that really until the Christian era. The point is that the central importance of love and social caring was just not mentioned in any of these cultures before their initial perception - in visionary states - by sensitive individuals.


Now regarding the second part of your question, regarding the current cultural upheaval in the world today, I think we must be prepared, as you were mentioning earlier, for a change in world outlook, that is, a new world view or mandalaThe original mandalas were conceived and designed as world-images, meaning that they are condensed compact versions, in symbol form, of a way of perceiving the world. Simply put, the new world view will become explicit when its symbol moves into consciousness.

RECOVERY FROM PSYCHOSPIRITUAL CRISIS   How do people recover from so-called 'schizophrenia'? critical factors for recovery....In order to completely recover one has to confront each experience that presents itself… like peeling off layers of suppressed emotions ... then one can feel again. 

 with serious and systematic inner quest there is profound emotional and psychosomatic healing... radical personality transformation...

 Now a master of the underworld, the hero must return to master the known world... 'self-mastery'.

 The return to the known world...  The hero's last task is to communicate their discoveries for all humanity. At the end of the quest... after transformation and atonement the person faces the final stage of the journey... their return to everyday life of the familiar world with the the gift which they have discovered... the reward with which they can contribute to society... their 'social contribution'. The hero generally sets off for home to bring the knowledge of his adventure to others. For the hero who accepts the need to return (comeback), there are two principal scenarios – flight or rescue. Where the hero has won blessings, he is commissioned to return to the world to heal it. The protector may assist him on a supernatural return journey... the 'magical flight.’ pursued on the road back to the ordinary world... If the treasure was obtained through conflict or without consent, this will become a flight of difficult obstacles and pursuit by the angered force. In the second case, the hero requires the outside world to pull him back from the adventure - this is the ‘rescue from without'. The reluctant hero loses all desire to abandon his bliss, may take refuge in the immortal bliss of the other world... free from the burdens of ordinary life... does not want to take on the burdens of the world... refuses to flee the newfound world believing that those in the former world cannot comprehend what they have learned.... Sometimes the person discovers that their new level of awareness and understanding is far greater than the people around them. They may become disillusioned or frustrated and choose to remain alone...  Someone or thing may facilitate their miraculous return from apparent death. An overriding reason is necessary to bring the hero back to the world to save it. Regardless of how the return is accomplished the final crisis... ‘crossing the return threshold'... involves departure from the newly discovered mystical world and return with the gift to the mundane world of everyday existence and the banalities of life.

         There are three fundamental stages of recovery... 1. first is the creation and establishment of a place of psychological safety or 'safety zone', 2. second is the reconstruction and verbalisation of the traumatic story, 3. third is the restoration of connections with the community.

 

After the person is transformed and they have incor porated the changes brought on by their journey. (integration... individuation)... unencumbered by personal limitations they are fully 'reborn' or 'transfigured'. Through their transfiguration they have the ability to pass freely between inner and outer worlds... they are free to live and death has no power over them. They are prepared for 'at-one-ment' or 'atonement'...with the new self ... 'authentic self' or 'higher self'.  Atonement represents harmony with life and the world. The person recognises that the others are inter-related, inter-connected and inter-dependent parts of oneself... a realisation of one's unity with the whole of creation... that one is co-related with others as well as the universe at-large... ‘unity-consciousness’…

 

 

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Survivors of trauma can begin their recovery when they fully recognize the truth in the conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud as the central dialectic of psychological trauma. In order to reclaim the present and the future one must understand the past. The story of the traumatic event must surface as a verbal narrative. Rediscovery of the past marks the beginning of understanding the significance of psychological trauma as an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming forces. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary symptoms of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning. Certain experiences increase the likelihood of harm… surprise, feelings of being trapped, exhaustion, physical violation and injury. Trauma occurs when action is of no avail... when neither resistance nor escape is possible. The traumatized individual may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event, or may remember everything in detail but without emotion. Traumatic symptoms have a tendency to become disconnected from their source and to take on a life of their own... 'dissociation' 


 On recovery, one's life is permanently changed and there is no going back no matter how hard one tries.

Through this adventure, the hero has lost his life as 'self' or 'ego' but by grace it is returned.On return, the hero must reconcile the two worlds – divine and human... the two realms are actually one. The divine is the forgotten spiritual dimension of the human personality or 'human nature'.  The apparent separation in reality does not exist - one can be master of both worlds. The person encounters many people who are incapable of comprehending beyond their physical world. There is a drive for the hero to share the ultimate boon with humankind...  The hero realises that there is a life in the transcendental realm beyond the physical body... the timelessness of immortality which is experienced in the here and now... bridged together transient time and eternity. With confidence in their new level of skill and awareness... attainment of blissful state of immeasurable peace ("peace that passeth all understanding") or 'spiritual bliss' is not describable in words. This is the mental liberation of 'enlightenment'...heaven or nirvana. ..  literally means 'blowing out or snuffing out of greed, hatred and delusion - the negative traits at the root of all suffering  ...  

..................................................................................

Dr. Harry Stack Sullivan Dr. Bertram Karon Dr. William Anthony

Empowerment Principles of Recovery ( www.spiritualrecoveries.com ) Empowerment Model of Recovery

Trust Oneself and Others The element of trust is the glue of human relationships ... the fundamental first step in any major developmental step in life basic trust ... the need for establishing it at the deepest level. During periods of severe emotional distress withdraw emotionally from those around them, and also from themselves. This withdrawal is probably part of a primitive survival mechanism called conservation-withdrawal, such as when fright causes an animal to go into a state of paralysis. In humans, this kind of withdrawal poisons relationships and can evolve into paranoia if left unchecked. Trust can be reestablished by interaction with consistent, caring, empathetic persons over time. Face-to-face interactions are vital to build trust because emotions are communicated more effectively through nonverbal than verbal communication. Valuing Self-Determination Self-determination is vital to recovery. The self-determined person manages their  own life rather than relying on others to manage it for them.

.... the centrality of the person's own initiative in recovery when he said that if the reorganization of a person's psyche leads the person to the belief that they can circumvent or rise above environmental obstacles ...  if this belief is the presenting feature of a comprehensive mental integration, then  recovery proceeds. Unfortunately, when people make bad decisions, the mental health system becomes responsible in society's eyes for their decisions, interfering with the development of self-confidence. Furthermore, the lack of an understanding of one's own feelings makes it difficult to make decisions in line with one's true self. Believing You'll Recover and Having Hope Emotional crises sever one's sense of existing through a durable past, present, and future. Instead, durability is replaced with a series of fleeting moments that could easily be blown away. It is essential that people in distress be able to temporarily borrow a sense of more permanent existence from the people around them. This relationship also allows one to borrow the hope of having a future... it is particularly sad that many well-meaning mental health workers paint a bleak future, when exactly the opposite is what is sorely needed. Believing in the Person's Full Potential  Importance to have someone who 'believes  in me'... belief in the person. One subject said he could detect "belief signals" from the people who understood him. "These were people who believed in my capacity to get a life, to take responsibility, and to change."
importance of hope... connected to the natural self-healing capacities. Connecting at a Human, Deeply Emotional Level Connect with mental health professionals at an emotional level rather than seeing them as authority figures... described the therapist in human terms...  fallible and open to correction. Importance of humor. peer support reduces symptoms, enlarges social networks, and enhances quality of life... Appreciating That People Are Always Making Meaning "making meaning" example frequent bowing as 'balancing'." What are you balancing?"  "Emotions." "What emotions?"  "Fear and loneliness." When he was lonely he wanted to get close, so he leaned forward. But then the leaning forward got him too close to people and he pulled back by straightening up... Having a Voice of One's Own people must have a voice and a sense of self... Validating All Feelings and Thoughts  support in a validating fashion... spend time without judging... acknowledge that the person is a  good friend so it is important to be with them. show trust. Following Meaningful Dreams  pursuing the dream of helping other people can make the difference .  reason to get up in the morning and a purpose in her life.setting goals that reflect the person's own dreams is a core value in psychiatric rehabilitation. Relating With Dignity and Respect being treated with dignity and respect, having a mentor, using peer support, and knowing people who really understand and who have been there.
 

 

Given the right mix of relationships, attitudes, and resources, people with mental illness can fully recover by (re)gaining control of the central decisions of their lives, learning to live with intense emotions, and developing the skills and relationships they need to establish a major social role. This model consists of 3 different experiences that can occur in response to distress: healing, transformation, and recovery.

  • Healing From Emotional Distress: According to this model, most people begin life balanced and whole. However, we all suffer trauma and loss, which lead to emotional distress and feelings of fragmentation and of not being whole. Through coping strategies and social supports, most people are able to heal emotionally and indeed develop a stronger sense of self.Transformation From Severe Emotional Distress: Sometimes a major trauma or loss, can lead to severe emotional distress. At that point it is crucial that sufficient noninstitutional supports and coping strategies are available to allow the person to heal. During this period, it is also vital that people retain their connections with their community and maintain as much control over their lives as possible. The presence of these elements enables the person to undergo a transformation that may involve a reorganization of his or her sense of self at a deep level. This transformation can allow the person to be more resilient during future stress and trauma. In her book, On Our Own Judi Chamberlin described such a transformation at a crisis respite center run by people who had themselves gone through similar experiences. Recovery  In the absence of supports, including supportive people, adequate and appropriate housing and finances, and coping strategies, the person's life goes out of control. Without sufficient alternatives, control of a person's life is taken over by institutional mental health systems and programs and the person is labeled "severely mentally ill." When a person is labeled mentally ill, he or she must recover not only from the severe emotional distress that led to that state, but also from the role and identity of a person with mental illness. The label not only relegates people to a low status and diminished rights, but it also eats away at a person's confidence and initiative to pursue dreams and to lead a full life of their own choosing. People can and do recover from even the most severe forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, the time and resources involved are much more extensive than for those who have received supports sufficient to help them go through transformation. Survivors have united around the goal of genuine recovery as outlined in this Empowerment Model. Conclusion
    The concept of recovery is quite different from that of remission or rehabilitation. Remission and rehabilitation are not the major goals of consumers today. Remission means the absence of symptoms while the person remains mentally ill. As the New Freedom Commission report stated, people should recover a full life, not simply achieve symptom reduction. Similarly, rehabilitation, although a useful component of recovery, is only a portion of recovering a life. Rehabilitation means that an individual can learn to function in society and still remain mentally ill, in the same fashion as a person with a spinal cord injury can. However, mental illness is reversible.
    NEC and other groups are diligently working to implement the transformation to a recovery-based system recommended by the New Freedom Commission. Toward that end, NEC has developed an educational program called PACE (Personal Assistance in Community Existence) to help shift the culture of mental health from institutional thinking to recovery thinking.

    Source: Recovery From Schizophrenia: From Seclusion to Empowerment NATIONAL EMPOWERMENT CENTER (USA) www.power2u.org
  • ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................;;
     

    Everyone has good and bad days... normal mood fluctuation is a part of life. For a person recovering from psychospiritual crisis a normal mood change can be misinterpreted as RELAPSE .

    Recovery is more likely with acceptance of mood changes.

    Three aspects of recovery: Medical recovery... healing from medical symptoms

                                                Social recovery... acceptance by society  

                                                Psychological recovery... build up of self-esteem and self-confidence

    Help the person find an accepted place in the community

    Further research Rufus May psychologist, Ron Coleman Keepwell organisation... www.stuartsorenson.com

    www.spiritualrecoveries.blogspot.com

    References: RELATED READING

    Further information can be obtained by reading the works of Stanislav Grof, William James, Abraham Maslow, Ken Wilber, Jackie Small and Roberto Assagioli as well as the scriptures from the ancient religions of the world such as the Bible, Unpanishads and the Tao.  

    Books


    Gregory Bateson. Steps To An Ecology of Mind. Ballantine Books, New York, 1972. Perceval's Narrative: A Patient's Account of his Psychosis. Stanford University Press, 1961, Stanford.

                               The Double-Bind Theory of Schizophrenia. Re-published in Steps to an Ecology of Mind, opus cit.

             Jesse Watkins. A Ten Day Voyage. A first-hand account of a "schizophrenic" experience
        in R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience, Ballantine Books, New York, 1968.

    R. D. Laing. The Divided Self. Pantheon, New York, 1962.

                   The Politics of Experience. Ballantine Books, New York, 1968.
                   The Politics of the Family and other essays. New York, 1969.

    .       ... with H.Phillipson.Sanity, Madness and the Family Tavistock Publications, London, 1966.

                    Interpersonal Perception: A Theory and a Method of Research

    Joan Halifax. Shamanic Voices : A Survey of Visionary Narratives. E.P. Dutton, New York.Re-issued (Rei Edition), Arkana, 1994

                            Shaman : The Wounded Healer Crossroad Publishing Co, 1983,

                           Shaman (Art and Imagination) Reprint Edition, Thames & Hudson, 1988,

    Teilhard de Chardin , PierreThe Phenomenon of Man   Harper and Row, New York, 1959 Originally published as Le Phénomaine Humain, Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1955.

    Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces. first published in 1949, and later by Bollingen University Press, New York, 1968.

    Images of Man.By Joseph Campbell, Duane Elgin, Willis Harman, Arthur Hastings, O. W. Markley, Floyd Matson, Brendan O'Regan, and Leslie Schneider. Policy Research Report no. 4, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, 1974.

    The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. Doubleday, New York, 1988;  also an excellent television series of the same name, available as a six-part boxed set of videotapes from Mystic Fire Video at PO Box 422, New York, NY 10012-0005, USA. www.mysticfire.com

    Carl Gustav Jung On Rebirth (Über Wiedergeburt).By , Eranos Jarhbuch 1939, Zürich, 1940.

                       Wotan Carl Jung's description of the rumblings in the collective unconscious of the German people before the outbreak of World War II, published in the Neue Schweitzer Rundschau, March 1936. Later republished in Essays on Contemporary Events 1947, and in the Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Civlisation in Transition, Vol. 10.

    After the Catastrophe
    . Carl Jung's account of Nazism as a collective psychosis. Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Civilisation in Transition, Vol. 10, 1945.

                             Memories, Dreams, Reflections. recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffé, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1963.


    Terrence McKenna
    History Ends in Green, Gaia, psychedelics, and the archaic revival.. A boxed set of audiotapes recorded at the Esalen Institute Mystic Fire Audio, New York, 1992.

    Theodore Roszak
    Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind.  Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner.Sierra Club Books, 1995

    Saint John the Evangelist The Book Of Revelations New Testament of the Bible.

    W.Y. Evans-Wentz The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries. with introduction by Terrence McKenna. Library of the Mystic Arts, Citadel Press, published by Carol Publishing Group,1990.
    (Originally published in Oxford, 1911).

    The Embodied Mind : Cognitive Science and Human Experience by Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, Evan; and Eleanor Rosch.Reprint Edition Mit Press, Cambridge, 1993


     Lao Tsu Tao Te Ching. 6th. century B.C.E. Translated from the Mandarin by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.Wildwood House Ltd., London, 1972.

    St. John of the Cross. Dark Night of the Soul  

    Caroline Myss. Spiritual Madness, Anatomy of the Spirit, (Energy Anatomy tapes to be obtained from Sounds True Audio, 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO 80302... (800) 333-9185 For information on workshops and seminars with Caroline Myss, contact: Holos Institute of Health, Conference Office, Rte. 1, Box 216, Fair Grove, MO 65648.).

    Roger Walsh and Frances Vaughan (eds) Beyond Ego: Transpersonal Dimensions in Psychology

    Grof Stanislav M.D.and Christina Grof (ed) Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation  Becomes a Crisis.  Penguin Putnam Inc.1989
    with contributions from R.D.Laing, Roberto Assagioli, John Weir Perry, Ram Dass, Lee Senella, Jack Kornfield, Paul Rebilot, Holger Kalwert, Anne Armstrong, Keith Thompson and others; Jeremy Tarcher Inc., Los Angeles, 1989.

                    Christina and Stanislav Grof The Stormy Search for Self  in-depth overview of the spiritual emergency.

    One can also contact the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 250 Oak Grove Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025...or call (415) 327-2776. This institute an international organization was founded by Christina Grof... provides references and educational materials related to the spiritual emergency.


                        Realms Of The Human Unconscious : Observations From LSD Research E.P.Dutton, New York, 1976.

                        Beyond The Brain : Birth, Death And Transcendence In Psychotherapy State University of New York Press, Albany, 1985.

                        The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988.

     Dr. John Perry Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process State University of New York Press, Albany, 1999.
                              
                            The Heart of History: Individuality in Evolution State University of New York Press, Albany, 1987.


                           The Far Side of Madness. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1974.    

                           The Self In Psychotic Process: Its Symbolization in Schizophrenia with an introduction by C.G.Jung. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1953.

     Bragdon1987 Sourcebook for Helping People in Spiritual Emergency available from Spiritual Emergency Network 5SEN) 250 Oak Grove Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

    Yvonne Kason M.D. A Farther Shore 

    Bonnie Greenwell PhD Energies of Transformation

    Gopi Krishna Living with Kundalini  (www.gopikrishna.net)

     Shared Transformation Newsletters, Scandinavian Kundalini Network

    For books:   www.transpersonalpsychology.co.uk

    Journal of Humanistic Psychology

     related websites:

    The Global Oneness Committment: Co-Creating a Happy World  www.experiencefestival.com

    http://www.spiritualcompetency.com 

    http://www.virtualcs.com/se/ (self help resource for persons integrating a spiritual emergency)

     Internet Guided Learning - Online CE Courses on Mental Health and Spirituality. It is run by David L

    Center for Transpersonal Psychology http://www.transpersonalcenter.co.uk

     'transpersonal psychology' www.naropa.edu

    Kundalini... Hindu Science of Awakening www.hinduismtoday.com

     www.spiritualemergency.blogspot.com

    European Transpersonal Psychology Association EUROTAS http://www.eurotas.org

    For cultural and historical context of spiritual emergence see Michael O'Callaghan  When The Dream Becomes Real: The Inner Apocalypse in Mythology, Madness, and the Future  

     

     Includes the John Weir Perry interview, a brief history of the repression and decline of the shamanic tradition in Europe, and a first-hand account of a visionary experience by the author during an astroarcheological field trip to a 6,000 year-old artwork in Ireland. With extensive footnotes and a bibliography. Published on the Global Vision web site www.global-vision.org/dream... for paper about the connection between 'schizophrenia' and the growing phenomenon of religious fundamentalism in the context of history, colonialism and globalisation see www.global-vision.org/sacred/fundamentalism.html

    On Fundamentalism By Michael O'Callaghan. Religious fundamentalists share many assumptions... polarisation of humankind into good and evil groups... expectation of imminent apocalypse. In the transpersonal context of history, colonialism and globalisation, they can be seen as the "identified patient" in a larger planetary network of dysfunctional social and commercial relations in which transnational corporations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the WTO and the citizens of the wealthy countries all participate in driving them "crazy."

    The Global Vision feature film By Michael O'Callaghan is A Collective Self-Portrait Of Humankind And The Biosphere -  It's an artistic attempt to create a description of human identity at the dawn of the global age  metaphor about the connection between the world situation and our own way of seeing. www.global-vision.org/movie 

      Catherine G. Lucas (founder of ... network)   author... In Case of Spiritual Emergency: Moving Successfully Through Your Awakening  http://www.in-case-of-spiritual-emergency.blogspot.be/

     Grof,S.(2000) Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research. Albany NY:State University of New York Press .

    Grof,S.(1975) Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research. New York:Viking Press.

    Transpersonal experiences involve an expansion of consciousness beyond the conventional boundaries of the organism and correspondingly, a larger sense of identity. This mode of consciousness often transcends logical reasoning and intellectual analysis, approaching the direct mystical experience of reality. The language of mythology, which is much less restricted by logic and common sense, is often more appropriate to describe transpersonal phenomena than factual language.

    The only way to overcome the existential dilemma of the human condition, ultimately, is to transcend it by experiencing one's existence within a broader cosmic context (cosmic consciousness). Creative experience, religious conversion, and other peak experiences may involve much of the form of inner experience, which can accompany an acute psychotic reaction.If an individual (psychotic) does 'return' and fairly completely, he is usually much better adjusted- he feels more capable, more open to the world and less defensive.The 'successful' schizophrenic episode (where one returns 'healed') seems to be a precise example of true regression in service of the Self, in the Vedantic sense. It is a creative type of psychic readjustment and growth, a type of death and rebirth experience.

    Schizophrenia may be considered a pre-mystical state. Some schizophrenics if guided by therapists who have experienced ASCs and in an appropriate setting, may become mystics - the therapist as guru. The tools of meditation and medication (entheogens) may be used but the ultimate outcome depends on the personality of the therapist. All schizophrenics may not become mystics but by changing the nomenclature, we change the way we see psychosis. Rename 'schizophrenia' as a 'pre-mystical state'. Then some progress towards cause and cure may open up. Mysticism is not regression in service of the ego, but evolution in transcendence of the ego. True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality: through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning. We may conceptualise normality and mysticism as a continuum with schizophrenia/psychosis as a creative regression, before ascending to a higher level in a spiralling evolutionary process, symbolized in many traditions as a serpent ascending the tree of life.

     

    How Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Violates Basic Human Rights by Richard Gosden. See www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~monitors/1.1/gosden/onedocgosden.html

    Complete Recovery from Schizophrenia Without the Aid of Drugs by Tracey May. See www.schizophrenia-recovery.com


        The Adventure of Self Discovery by Dr. Stanislav Grof

     Beyond Psychology by Dr. Frank Gerbode.

    People with PTSD feel as if they have lost their minds.People with Complex PTSD feel as if they have lost themselves.
    emotionally physically painful

     ...each of those characters were fragments of something within me. One character held my goodness; another, my fiercely loving and protective aspects; another contained my darkest terrors; while another element represented the shattering of self that had occurred. By responding to each character or event as if they were separate from me I entered into a relationship with them. It was via that relationship I began to weave the fragmented parts of my self back together. In the process of that weaving, I also began to withdraw those projections from the real life people and events that had held them and re-integrate them into myself.


     perception of the outer world reflects back the  inner psyche
     wounded.... grieving... healing. bring fears down to manageable size.  take responsibility for those I had unintentionally hurt. give up responsibility for those things one is not  responsible for.  re-attach to Life.
     

     quotation references

    "The Truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." -  Talmud 

    "Starting with the Road Less Traveled, perhaps the most radical thing that I said in that book that deviated from traditional psychiatry is that I located the source of psychiatric ills in the conscious mind, rather than the unconscious. And that the previous view, the Freudian sort of view, had been that the unconscious was filled with all these bad feelings, and angry thoughts, sexy thoughts, and what not. And that was where psychiatric, psychological illness originated. When in fact, the real question is why those things, which were obvious, were in the unconscious, rather than the conscious mind. The answer was that it was a conscious mind that didn’t want to face certain truths, and pushed this stuff into the unconscious. But the problem is with a rejecting consciousness in which we simply don’t like to think about things….Over the years I came to believe, and again I’m leaving out the biological aspects, but that psychological disorders are all disorders of thinking. So narcissists, for instance, cannot or will not think of other people….What we used to call passive-dependent people don’t think for themselves. Obsessive-compulsives tend to have great difficulty thinking in the big picture. And I would say that if you have a patient or a client who has some real difficulty, psychological difficulty, look for the problem in their thinking. There is some area where they are not thinking correctly." (Scott  Peck) 

    "To be mad as the world judges, is to trapped in a narrow and lonely reality, to be sane, as the world judges, is to be trapped in a reality no less narrow, but heavily populated."( Theodore Roszak Where the Wasteland Ends )

     theoretical basis of therapeutic approach to schizophrenia is love. lovingkindness or 'compassion'

    "Our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness, provided the madness is given us by divine gift."- Plato (Phaedrus)

    "The time will come when Humankind will have to make a choice between suicide and adoration."- Teilard de Chardin

    "The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological kind, but are psychic events. We are threatened in a fearful way by wars and revolutions that are nothing else than psychic epidemics. At any moment a few million people may be seized by a madness, and then our leaders may precipitate us into a blood bath of war and radioactivity... Instead of being exposed to wild beasts, tumbling rocks, and inundating waters, man is exposed today to the elemental forces of his own psyche. Psychic life is a world power that exceeds by many times all the powers of the Earth... If one voluntarily takes the burden of completeness upon oneself, one can avoid all the unhappy consequences of repressed individuation - one need not find it 'happening' to one against one's will in a negative form. This is as much as to say that anyone who is destined to descend into a deep pit had better set about it with all the necessary precautions, rather than risk falling into the hole backwards."(Carl Jung)

     Healing is not the same as curing in the sense of going back to the way things were before, but rather allowing 'what is now'... acceptance of reality.

    they will find a new identity...

    The stress of panic and fear causes chemical imbalances in the brain.

    The truth of the matter is no one really cares enough to work with schizophrenics… to involve themselves in a relationship with them… telling families that they are not worthy of help… are abandoned.

    The so-called 'schizophrenic' can contribute to people’s lives and help them to grow as human beings...

    The negative opinions of others prevent schizophrenics from recovering. told they are hopeless. It is important to beat the odds with determination and not  allow anyone to say who one is and what one cannot do... travel the  road alone... see beyond the hopelessness. Don't give up one's personal power and allow others to shape one's future.

    People actually believe that shizophrenics don’t want to change. This is not true.

    paranoia... everyone was the enemy.

     The change that should take place is slow to come... suffering beyond belief.... meet the needs of the sufferer.

    you think so little of a person's potential because you cannot see beyond your own limitations.

     The human mind is a fascinating place to explore.  one is afraid of exploring unknown territory… of discovering the truth…. a part of me could not be touched… the healthy core of one’s nature… the human spirit... place of inner beauty… the ‘who I am’…. become one's whole identity. intuition is the guide to carry one through... feel the freedom of being alive

     Therapist must reach the intuitive... It takes commitment, compassion, understanding and a willingness to involve oneself in the recovery process.  give your life a purpose ...study one's own behaviour… anyone can overcome this condition with the right kind of therapy

      Religious Aspects of Peak-Experiences
    (1970), Abraham Maslow… coined the term ’peak-experiences’ to encompass the spectrum of mystical states of consciousnes. .. describes the experience as unifying, noetic, ego-transcending  depends on  non-duality dual perception division the self as ‘ego’ from the othrer… results in a mode of consciousness often referred to as ‘the One’.

     

    giving the person a sense of purpose…. personal ideology.
     

    Accompanied by  extreme joy, or exultation.feeling so wonderful the experience can be so emotionally overwhelming that it completely alters the person’s lifestyle.  
     mystics tend to follow a very structured, common process, culminating with the mystical experience. mystic moves from "an awakening of self"  to the purgation of attachments to the social world and the self, resulting in an experience of "a state of pure consciousness, in which the individual experiences nothing";
    Most mystics happily and successfully reintegrate into the world of social attachments. Trained mystics renounce attachment to the social, not the social world itself.

    The experience occurs spontaneously, in seemingly any situation, peak-experience
    a a feeling of intense unity with the universe and of one's place within that unity" (Maslow) experience of cognition rather  than of feeling… the person comes to know something previously unknown.
     the experience is more common when the individual is in good mental health

     


     mystical experience as a universal
    ly occurring natural phenomenon. ... not necessarily religious...  experience of consciousness. All individuals have access to knowledge beyond the intellectual sort, knowledge that is often ignored in western culture. Creative wisdom and insight from dreams, body temperature patterns, chemical reactions on a cellular level,  there are many forms of information we are as yet oblivious to.. .realms of rationality and intuition.   two polar facets of consciousness, the rational and intuitive modes of operation.: the most effective mode of operation appears to be one that synthesizes the two ways of engaging the world.

     

     The mystical experience can be seen as a transcendence of normal consciousness and reintegration; the knowledge gained from the experience offers beneficial growth-potential.  you cannot possibly understand the inner mind of an individual if you do not know his or her background.
     


     

     'reality'  and what is considered 'normal' consciousness.  normal reality is a consciousness which can be shown to be a constructed reality; in order to create a stable, manageable environment, a sensory-filtering system develops from childhood and continually shaped by subsequent situations. What is experienced as reality is actually only a representation. If "normal" consciousness is created, then this consciousness may be altered simply by changing the manner of its construction.


     
     Natural
    healing processes of the mind impair cognitive functioning and lower perceptual systems. With the loss of integrative capacity, the ability to make inferences about size, distance, depth, and other relational cues break down. Perceptual sensations become distorted as the performance of the lower order functions becomes impaired. Epstein "when there is a partial breakdown of cortical control, the individual tends to experience current situations with a sharpened intensity"an ecstatic affective change which imbues perception with an increased intensity . Such heightened intensity of perceptions can be explained by the lack of organizational capacity.
    release from inhibition of repressed memories and impulses, confronts the individual with the raw data of new experiences and with unassimilated old experiences that can no longer be ignored, and that can now be experienced uninfluenced by the biasing lenses of the old conceptual system [ego]. The weakened inhibitory control may also foster abreaction. The overall process provides an unusual opportunity for new learning and the assimilation of old learning to occur"

    "The appearance of a powerful sense of noesis, heightening of perception, feelings of 'communion' with the 'divine' and exultation The disruption of thought seen in acute psychosis is not a component of the accounts of mystical experien
      visual hallucinations in the mystical experiencece
     

    .

    Greeley, Andrew M. Ecstasy A Way of Knowing. A Spectrum Book: Englewood Cliffs, 1974

    James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1985.

    Maslow, Abraham. "Religious Aspects of peak-experiences." Personality and Religion. Harper & Row: New York, 1970.

    Ornstein, Robert E. The Psychology of Consciousness. Harcourt Brace Joavonovich, Inc.: New Yo
    rk

     

    Harner The Way of the Shaman.

     

     

    According to Western bias originating in the philosophy of John Locke... the human individual comes into the world with a mind that is blank... a blank slate or 'tabula rasa'... and experience writes on it... there is no inner spiritual life with a purpose of its own. This view does not allow for the existence of spontaneous and autonomous inner processes of depth psychology especially those of a self-healing nature.

    With growth into self-fulfillment the person becomes increasingly idiosyncratic.

     transpersonal extension to Papez-MacLean triune brain model of the psyche explains some of the common spiritual emergencies


        prefrontal lobes of the cerebral cortex... the 'Buddha’ brain...
     In the 1960’s Dr. Paul MacLean at the National Institute for Mental Health expanded on the work of James Papez and described the human brain in terms of three  concentric layers. The outermost layer is the neomammilian brain or  neocortex the seat of thought and most voluntary movement. The middle layer is the paleomamalian brain made up of the limbic system the seat of emotions and autonomic nervous system. The inner layer... the reptilian brain... is composed of the the brain stem, midbrain, basal ganglia and other structures. Each brain serves different functions with some overlap. According to McClean, the
    re is inadequate coordination between the brains and this constitutes a problem for the species. The triune structure of the brain applies to inner experience. Each brain has different biological functions and is independently self aware. Since each brain is so different each tends to be in denial about the existence of the others.The brains often come into conflict, even to the point of unconsciously attempting to manipulate and control each other .

      For almost everyone, remembered or forgotten traumas drive most of human emotion and behaviour outside of conscious awareness. Traumatic experiences are stored, and later ‘played back’ as outer circumstances trigger them The playback is an entire bodily experience... the  traumatized self partially takes over the body. From a biological viewpoint storing responses to traumatic experiences makes sense.

          frantic and disoriented. A simple temporary solution is to have the person  stretch their arm out in front of them, and then move it in an infinity symbol (a figure eight on it’s side), while holding the head facing forward without moving. By following their upright thumb with their eyes, so that the thumb is seen first by one eye, then the other in a smooth motion causes the anxiety to lift in seconds.

     

          choose a very painful memory from your past, one with a sharp image associated with it. Take a moment and look closely at the image... see the image from the out of body perspective... traumatic images guide much of daily behaviour... external circumstances stimulate their recall and we almost instantly react to avoid them.


      ... overwhelming emotions such as anxiety or fear...
    hope for the future allows the person to move through many difficult emotions and speeds up healing... 
     



          The whole personality is affected. "fear of going crazy".

     Kundalini Awakening: Powerful psychological and physical experiences especially involving physical sensations such as variations in body temperature, experiences of energy streaming up the spine, tremors, shaking, spasms, complex twisting movements, visions of lights, involuntary vocalizations, crying, acoustic phenomena, as well as emotional and psychological upheaval.

     

    When, by various techniques, we allow this kind of material to emerge into consciousness to be fully experienced and closely examined, it loses the disturbing power that it can otherwise exert in our lives, and chronic psychological and even physical problems whose origins were previously unknown can be fully healed.

    The recognition of the dual nature of Spiritual Emergency - danger and opportunity - has important theoretical and practical consequences. The capacity to integrate spiritual experiences into one's self-concept and functioning in the world is the key determinant in the outcome of spiritual crises. If properly understood and treated as difficult stages in a natural developmental process, Spiritual Emergency can result in emotional and psychosomatic healing, deep positive changes of the personality, and the solution of many problems of life.

     

     Even the most dramatic and difficult episodes of Spiritual Emergency are natural stages in the process of spiritual opening and can be beneficial if circumstances are favourable. The crisis involves a radical clearing of old traumatic memories and imprints. This process by itself is potentially healing and transformational. However, in Spiritual Emergency so much psychological

     

    When material surfaces from the unconscious it can interfere with the person's everyday functioning..

     


    2. Shamanic Crisis: Dramatic episode of a non-ordinary state of consciousness often concurrent with a life threatening illness or trauma. There is an emphasis on physical suffering and encounter with death followed by rebirth and elements of ascent.
    3. Psychological Renewal through Activation of the Central Archetype: Episode of psychological upheaval usually with strong psychotic processes. An inner experience of perceiving oneself as being in the middle of a world process (ie. fighting for the survival of the human race). Emphasis on themes of death, afterlife, return to the beginnings of creation, cataclysmic clashes of opposites or polarities such as good/evil, male/female, and Christ/Devil.
    Experiences may include telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, out-of-body travel, visions, synchronicities. In acute episodes the individual is flooded with psychic information which overwhelms the ego.

    manifestations of higher psychic content occur spontaneously and cause mental distress and/or physical pain and disrupt functioning... spiritual emergency. The emergency may be

     If rapid spiritual growth and development is accompanied by compensating 'inflation of the ego'... an attachment of the ego self. Ego involvement can be avoided if during the process one plays the role of observer.

    ……………………………………………;

    The monomyth (often referred to as "the hero's journey") is a description of a basic pattern found in many narratives from around the world. This universal pattern was described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).[1] A noted scholar of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Campbell's insight was that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years, all share a fundamental structure. This fundamental structure contains a number of stages, which include: A call to adventure, which the hero has to accept or decline A road of trials, regarding which the hero succeeds or fails Achieving the goal or "boon", which often results in important self-knowledge A return to the ordinary world, again as to which the hero can succeed or fail Applying the boon, in which what the hero has gained can be used to improve the world In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell wrote: A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

     

     

    The classic examples of the monomyth relied upon by Campbell and other scholars include the Buddha, Moses, and Christ stories, although Campbell cites many other classic myths from many cultures which rely upon this basic structure. In the monomyth, the hero starts in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unusual world of strange powers and events. If the hero accepts the call to enter this strange world, the hero must face tasks and trials, and may have to face these trials alone, or may have assistance. At its most intense, the hero must survive a severe challenge, often with help earned along the journey. If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift or "boon." The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this boon. If the hero does decide to return, the hero often faces challenges on the return journey. If the hero is successful in returning, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world. The stories of Osiris, Prometheus, Moses, Buddha, and Christ, for example, follow this structure very closely.[2]

    Campbell describes some seventeen stages or steps along this journey. Very few myths contain all seventeen stages — some myths contain many of the stages, while others contain only a few; some myths may have as a focus only one of the stages, while other myths may deal with the stages in a somewhat different order. These seventeen stages may be organized in a number of ways, including division into three sections: Departure (sometimes called Separation), Initiation and Return. "Departure" deals with the hero venturing forth on the quest; "Initiation" deals with the hero's various adventures along the way; and "Return" deals with the hero's return home with knowledge and powers acquired on the journey.

    The monomyth structure can be found in many popular books and films, such as the Star Wars and The Matrix movie series, and the Harry Potter series of novels.

    The Seventeen Stages of the Monomyth Departure (or Separation)

     The Call to Adventure The adventure begins with the hero receiving a call to action, such as a threat to the peace of the community, or the hero simply falls into or blunders into it. The call is often announced to the hero by another character who acts as a "herald". The herald, often represented as dark or terrifying and judged evil by the world, may call the character to adventure simply by the crisis of his appearance. Classic examples: Sometimes the call to adventure happens of the character's own volition. In the story of the Minotaur, Theseus learns the tale of the beast and the terrible sacrifice to appease it, which sets him on a quest to destroy it. In Herman Hesse's book Siddhartha the main character, Siddhartha, becomes weary of his way of life and decides he must venture away from his accustomed life in order to attain spiritual enlightenment. Most Buddhist myths describe the Buddha as becoming bored with his royal life and venturing into the world. Other times, the hero is plunged into adventure by unforeseen events. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus is caught in the terrible winds of the angered god Poseidon and sent off to distant lands.  Refusal of the Call In some stories, the hero initially refuses the call to adventure. When this happens, the hero may suffer somehow, and may eventually choose to answer, or may continue to decline the call. Supernatural Aid After the hero has accepted the call, he encounters a protective figure (often elderly) who provides special tools and advice for the adventure ahead, such as an amulet or a weapon.[Classic example: In Greek mythology, Ariadne gives Theseus a ball of string and a sword before he enters the labyrinth to confront the minotaur. The Crossing of the First Threshold The hero must cross the threshold between the world he is familiar with and that which he is not. Often this involves facing a "threshold guardian", an entity that works to keep all within the protective confines of the world but must be encountered in order to enter the new zone of experience.[6] Rebirth The hero, rather than passing a threshold, passes into the new zone by means of rebirth. Appearing to have died by being swallowed or having their flesh scattered, the hero is transformed and becomes ready for the adventure ahead. Initiation; The Road of Trials Once past the threshold, the hero encounters a dream landscape of ambiguous and fluid forms. The hero is challenged to survive a succession of obstacles and, in so doing, amplifies his consciousness. The hero is helped covertly by the supernatural helper or may discover a benign power supporting him in his passage.   Marriage The ultimate trial is often represented as a marriage between the hero and a queenlike, or mother-like figure. This represents the hero's mastery of life (represented by the feminine) as well as the totality of what can be known. When the hero is female, this becomes a male figure. [9]Woman as Temptress His awareness expanded, the hero may fixate on the disunity between truth and his subjective outlook, inherently tainted by the flesh. This is often represented with revulsion or rejection of a female figure.  Atonement with the FatherThe hero reconciles the tyrant and merciful aspects of the father-like authority figure to understand himself as well as this figure.[11]Apotheosis The hero's ego is disintegrated in a breakthrough expansion of consciousness. Quite frequently the hero's idea of reality is changed; the hero may find an ability to do new things or to see a larger point of view, allowing the hero to sacrifice himself.] The Ultimate Boon The hero is now ready to obtain that which he has set out, an item or new awareness that, once he returns, will benefit the society that he has left.

    ACT I DEPARTURE, SEPARATION 1. Ordinary World 2. Call to Adventure  3. Refusal of the Call  4. Meeting with the Mentor 5. Crossing First Threshold

    ACT II DESCENT, INITIATION, PENETRATION 6. Tests, Allies & Enemies 7. Approach to Inmost Cave 8. The Ordeal 9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)

    ACT III RETURN 10. Road Back 11. Resurrection 12. Return with Elixir

    a parade of seemingly unrelated eruptions of consciousness that extend over a period of years.

     

     

    SUMMARY

    So-called ‘Schizophrenia’ as a Process of Uncontrolled Spiritual Emergence or ‘Spiritual Emergency’     

        The psychiatric profession has created one of the greatest myths of our time by describing so-called 'schizophrenia' as a nonspecific disease or ‘mental illness’. It was German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) who originally coined the Latin name 'dementia praecox' meaning 'prematurely out of one's mind' because he believed that this supposedly devastating condition resulted from irreversible mental deterioration.  Later it became clear that the term was a misnomer and in 1910 a new term was provided by the kind and humane Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939), teacher of Carl Jung and professor of psychiatry at the University of Zürich where he headed the famous Burghölzli Clinic. Bleuler coined the term 'schizophrenia' for 'splitting of the mind' since  the condition seemed to involve a mental separation between thought and emotion.The  term is derived from German 'schizophrenie' from Greek 'skhizein' meaning 'to split' and 'phren' of unknown origin meaning 'heart or mind' so that ‘schizophrenia’ actually means 'broken soul' or 'broken heart’. Although there is still no universally accepted definition of the term, it has been applied to various conditions including a set of socially and culturally unacceptable thinking and behaviour patterns thus making it a model of ‘unwanted conduct’.

         In fact so-called ‘schizophrenia’ is not a disease nor is it a hopeless condition. It is  a brilliant condition which is the concern of the psychology of the transpersonal or spiritual dimension of human nature i.e. 'transpersonal psychology'. In this light schizophrenia is a personal 'story' of a natural and temporary self-healing and self-organising process involving the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs which originate from social conditioning. In this sense schizophrenia is a transformative process, a crisis of transformation or ‘psychospiritual crisis’. Furthermore it can be understood as a part of the human condition and as a process which reveals information about the nature of the human psyche or ‘human nature’.

         Much needless suffering results from ignorance of the multidimensional nature of the human psyche, human personality or 'human nature'. Insights into the workings of human nature are revealed by combining Western scientific research with concepts provided by Eastern psychologies concerned with the dimension of human nature beyond the persona or ‘ego'. The transpersonal or ‘spiritual’ dimension is defined in terms of the divinity of humanness and universal moral values. Human values are the social values of social intelligence.… ‘beauty’ as truth, ‘truth’as knowledge, 'knowledge' as understanding, ‘understanding’ as love, ‘love’ as unconditional lovingkindness or ‘compassion’, ‘justice’ as morality, ‘morality’ as freedom of conscience or peace, ‘peace’as social responsibility, ‘wisdom’ as intelligence, ‘intelligence’ as creativity and productivity or ‘creative intelligence’. Awareness of human values results in spiritual awareness, spiritual insight or ‘intuition’. Intuition allows for accurate evaluation of the complexities of changing social conditions and is therefore necessary for effective adaptation to the social environment or ‘social adaptability' and human survival.          

      The human species is a social species, the human organism is a social organism and human nature is a moral, spiritual or ‘social’ nature with instincts for social cooperation and social harmony i.e. ‘social instincts’. Social instincts must be cultivated in a process of development of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. The function of the conscience is to preserve the integrity or ‘wholeness’of the personality. Rational conscience is the product of moral, spiritual and social development resulting in transformation of the self and the knowledge of one’s human nature or ‘self-knowledge’. Self-knowledge is prerequisite to social or spiritual intelligence required for effective social adaptability. The process of moral or spiritual development is also known variously as 'individuation', 'self-realisation', 'self-actualisation', 'spiritual renewal', 'spiritual awakening', 'spiritual rebirth’, 'enlightenment' or 'spiritual emergence'. Spiritual emergence is a gradual and controlled transformation process which results in the understanding of the ultimate connectedness or ‘unity’of all things.

    "In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things. Spiritual development is an innate evolutionary capacity of all human beings. It is a movement towards wholeness or 'holotropic state', the discovery of one's true potential." (Stanislav Grof)

         Spiritual emergence is a gradual dynamic, fluid, naturally ordered and integrated on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness. The process involves personal evolution from the limited sense of self … the false self or 'ego' and its egocentric perspective to the expanded sense of self beyond ego, the ‘higher self’, the ‘authentic self’ or 'Self' and its transpersonal perspective. Transcendance of the ego or ‘ego-transcendance’ allows for expansion of consciousness and heightened awareness resulting in an inner sense of emotional liberation. Intuition is purified and sharpened thus allowing for a clearer more accurate perception of reality and the discovery of ideas and behaviours which are effective for social adaptability.  Spiritual emergence is the source of personal power because it allows for the attainment of knowledge of one's true nature (‘self-knowledge’) as the source of motivation for personal productiveness and creativity or ‘work’ (‘self-empowerment’).

      The transpersonal perspective allows for the attainment of knowledge of one's true nature… or human nature… as the source of motivation for personal productiveness and creativity or ‘work’ i.e. 'self-knowledge'. As a result of transcendance of the 'ego or ‘ego-transcendance’, the consciousness is expanded, purified and sharpened to allow for a clearer perception of reality. The result is a sense of the wisdom of compassion an understanding of the ultimate connectedness or ‘unity’ of all things and an appreciation for the divinity of humanness. This spiritual awareness allows for more accurate evaluation of changing social conditions and more effective adaptability. Self-knowledge is the source of personal power and creativity i.e 'self-empowerment’.

        Complete spiritual development takes place over a period of years and depends on conditions of freedom and an education which allows for the complete development of the person as a whole i.e. 'holistic education'. Holistic education is based on respect for the biologically based motives for learning and behaviour i.e. ‘human needs’. Human needs include both 'lower' psychological needs for security and self-esteem - the 'ego needs' - and 'higher' psychological needs for moral development, the instinctive yearnings for human values, the spiritual needs or ‘metaneeds’. Motivation by the metaneeds ('metamotivation') allows for the discovery of one’s true potential. Each person is at a different stage of spiritual emergence depending on the level of their moral or spiritual development.   

          If in highly sensitive individuals the process of spiritual emergence is blocked for any reason then the person might be warned that their growth is in grave danger and that they rapidly need to make adjustments which are for essential for effective adaptation... they might undergo a period of crisis or ‘emergency’ involving the rapid formation of essential adjustments for effective adaptation. The transformation process of spiritual emergence can be so dramatic as to become uncontrollable and reach a point of crisis or emergency... ‘spiritual emergency’, also known as  transpersonal experience, transpersonal crisis, psycho-spiritual transformation, psychospiritual crisis, spiritual journey, hero's journey, dark night of the soul, spiritual opening, psychic opening, psychic awakening, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, kundalini awakening, kundalini process, kundalini crisis, shamanic initiation, shamanic crisis, psychotic-visionary episode, ego death, ego loss, alchemical process, positive disintegration, post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features, night sea journey, psychosis, shamanism, mysticism, gnosis, inner apocalypse, and so on. Spiritual emergency is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences which in fact offer invaluable opportunities for personal growth and positive transformation. 

       Spiritual emergency is a process of healing and renewal which involves the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs originating in the programming of social conditioning. The conditioning leads to the formulation of aberrant thought complexes and these prevent the person from making accurate evaluations of their social environment. Inaccurate evaluations lead to inappropriate decision-making and non-adaptive behaviour patterns. In a period of crisis, the person instinctively surrenders to the organismic process which involves the temporary separation of thought and emotion (‘ego-loss’) which is necessary for the reassessment of their thoughts without having to deal with the emotional implications. The apparently bizarre speech and behaviour patterns reveal the passage from lower to higher consciousness states in which the person experiences a series of varying stages or ‘episodes’. These can be frightening and confusing to onlookers because they appear to be out of context with everyday reality and as a result they are often misunderstood. They are mistakenly believed and discredited to represent ‘symptoms’ of disease or ‘mental illness'. Perceived as pathological they are considered to be medically ‘treatable’. In fact the apparent 'symptoms' are manifestations of a spontaneous healing effort by the organism as a whole. The person eventually learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the ‘conditioned self’, beyond the expectations of others and towards the new transpersonal, moral or ‘spiritual’ dimension of awareness which allows for development of personal potential and effective social adaptability.

    ...is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences which in fact offer invaluable opportunities for personal growth. The experiences can be frightening and confusing because they appear to be out of context with everyday reality. As a result they are often misunderstood and discredited as being pathological and hence the medical model of so-called ‘schizophrenia’. For the reasons outlined above,  so-called ‘schizophrenia’ is a concern for psychology of the spiritual dimension of human nature i.e. ‘transpersonal psychology’. 

    The successful outcome of spiritual emergency depends on the correct understanding, respect, encouragement and support which allow it to reach full completion.

         Spiritual emergency' and the human psyche or ‘human nature’ : Implications for Society

        ‘Spiritual emergency' in the context of the human personality or ‘human nature’

        The combination of Western scientific research with Eastern psychologies such as Buddhism has resulted in new concepts which shed light on the nature of the human personality or 'psyche' i.e.‘human nature’.  The human brain is a social brain.  Human nature is a social nature... and  The human organism is a social organism which can be characterised in terms of the biological needs for growth. Human growth i s a function of socialisation and therefore a function of the development of moral consciousness or 'conscience'. Complete development of human conscience depends on fulfillment of motives for natural human behaviour i.e. 'human needs'. As well as the obvious physiological needs, human needs include so-called 'lower' psychological needs for security and self-esteem - the 'ego needs' - and the so-called 'higher' psychological needs for development of the transpersonal or ‘spiritual’’ dimension of the human psyche i.e. the spiritual needs or 'metaneeds'.   The metaneeds are the subconscious needs for awareness of human values for living i.e. 'social values' or 'human values'. Human values are the moral values or universal spiritual values required for survival of the species as a social species… moral justice, compassionate wisdom, universal love, knowledge as understanding, social responsibility or ‘peace’…      Awareness of human values results in heightened intuition and increased awareness of creative intelligence which is necessary for effective as adaptation to changing social conditions or i.e. 'adaptability'. ‘socialisation’.Human adaptability depends on spiritual growth involving the person's evolution from the egocentric perspective of emotional immaturity to the transpersonal perspective of emotional maturity. Spiritual growth is usually gradual and fluid and results in knowledge of one’s human nature i.e.‘self-knowledge’… 'spiritual awakening'…  'enlightenment’… ‘spiritual emergence’…  Spiritual emergence overcomes the division between the subjective self and the objective world - a division which results in the person’s sense of alienation from their social and natural environment. During normal growth and development the individual brings the concept of himself to expression in his outer existence (importance of self-expression).  

        If spiritual growth is blocked for any reason, the individual as a social organism is warned that their growth is in grave danger and that adjustments need to be made which are essential for adaptation and self-preservation. Consequently the transformation process becomes so rapid and dramatic that it is uncontrollable and reaches a point of crisis. The sensory experiences become so intense, chaotic and overwhelming that it is too distressing for the person to bear and they experience psychic overload.  In this way spiritual emergence becomes a transformation crisis, ‘spiritual crisis' or 'spiritual emergency' - also known by numerous other terms such as  transpersonal experience,transpersonal crisis,  psycho-spiritual transformation, transpersonal crisis, psycho-spiritual crisis, the spiritual journey, hero's journey, dark night of the soul, spiritual opening, psychic opening, psychic awakening, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, kundalini awakening, kundalini process, kundalini crisis, shamanic crisis, mysticism, gnosis, the psychotic-visionary episode, dark night of the soul, ego death, the alchemical process, positive disintegration, post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features and so on.  Spiritual emergency is a process of healing which is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' and involves the positive transformation of the self. The person learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness of cultural conditioning and the expectations of others. They evolve to a new level of awareness or 'higher consciousness state' of spiritual renewal and ‘spiritual rebirth’characterised by an inner sense of emotional liberation which allows for the discovery of ideas and behaviours in the affirmation of life of total well-being or 'high level wellness'. As a sign of health, spiritual emergency is a part of the human condition and a concern of so-called 'depth psychology' or 'transpersonal psychology'.

    Implications for society and education: As a social nature, human nature is the source of morality and therefore a moral nature. The word 'human' in the true sense is defined in terms of moral freedom. The human being as a ‘human’ being is morally free. The truly free individual is human in the true sense because they act morally because they have moral ideas. This has important implications for human society. Since a society is a necessary consequence of the life of the individuals who make it up, if those individuals are inwardly free and have moral ideas as part of their nature then the result is a moral society moral social order which in turn reacts favorably on the individual. In a moral society, education involves respect for the right of each individual to engage in the inner struggle for personality development and intellectual growth.