15 Signs You’re Experiencing a Spiritual Emergency


From lonerwolf: “The spiritual emergency is a severe crisis an individual may experience after going through a spiritual awakening. Essentially, a spiritual emergency occurs when the spiritual awakening process speeds up so much that it becomes terrifying and destabilizing to the body and mind. 

‘Spiritual emergency’ as a word was first coined by Czech psychiatrists Stanislav and Christina Grof and was expanded in the 1989 book Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis. Since then it has increased in popularity, although it is still relatively unheard of within mainstream spiritual communities. (I want to change that.)

Spiritual emergencies can happen to anyone at any point in life. Those who are not particularly ‘spiritual’ can experience it just as often as those who are actively engaged on the spiritual path. The common uniting factor is usually that a person undergoes a shock (in the form of illness, family death, major life change, etc.) that triggers the spiritual crisis.

The spiritual emergency can last anywhere from a few days to a number of years. The process is very much dependant on what kind of environment you live in and how supportive vs. unsupportive it is.

. . . As [Catherine G.] Lucas writes in her book [In Case of Spiritual Emergency: Moving Successfully Through Your Awakening], the process of being tossed through the medical system can be severely traumatizing and actually prevent us from fulfilling the natural cycle of the spiritual emergency – and reaping its rewards:

Overall, perhaps the greatest danger of ending up in a hospital, and certainly the saddest aspect, is that the opportunity for healing and growth, for living a fuller, richer, more awakened life, can be irretrievably lost. The natural process of renewal, as the psychiatrist John Weir Perry called it, can be totally thwarted. Both the trauma of hospitalisation and the over-use of medication can have this effect. And once the process has been stopped in its tracks it can be difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve.

Furthermore, having our mystical experiences dismissed as being purely ‘psychotic,’ ‘borderline,’ or ‘schizophrenic’ not only denies the spiritual validity of what we’re going through but also adds an unnecessary element of fear and terror to the experience. This fear and terror can be profoundly crippling and can make the whole experience much more difficult than it really needs to be.

. . . As Lucas writes, ‘… I am not interested in trying to distinguish between so-called psychosis and spiritual emergency. I take the view that it is all the psyche’s attempt to heal and move towards wholeness, that each experience is potentially spiritually transformative.’

What you’re going through is valid and you need to seek out those who help you see your spiritual emergency through a positive lens, not a negative one.

There are two main types of spiritual emergency. They can be classified as:

  1. Mystical Psychosis (hallucinations, mania, etc.)
  2. The Dark Night of the Soul (depression)”

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  1. Not sure I want to term “it” anything other than experiences and growth.
    I’ve seen so much growth interupted, so much experiences are misinterpreted
    by psychotherapists, therapists, shrinks and even family.
    The narratives people have about you, are not reality.
    Much of the narrative painted onto people is far fetched story telling.
    It often paints hopelessness or that people are or were damaged.

    What a cruel thing.

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    • Yes, those who have delusions of grandeur it’s their right, to write other people’s stories, are cruel. And I must admit, this is largely – albeit not only – a problem with the so called “mental health” workers. But all those censoring the internet today, thus taking away people’s right to tell their story and/or share their truthful research findings, are also cruel, and criminal if they’re in the USA.

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  2. “having our mystical experiences dismissed as being purely ‘psychotic,’ ‘borderline,’ or ‘schizophrenic’ not only denies the spiritual validity of what we’re going through but also adds an unnecessary element of fear and terror to the experience. This fear and terror can be profoundly crippling and can make the whole experience much more difficult than it really needs to be.”

    Definitely. Thus, I’d recommend staying as far away as possible from anyone who utilizes the DSM “bible,” or works with the DSM believers, like many of the mainstream religions.

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  3. They seem to always be talking about unitary minds, so what happens is mystical and spiritual. But we are a mass of parts all working in parallel to cope with life, we couldn’t do it otherwise. It’s the separation of the parts that creates the mystery, they come and go and combine and blend. It’s a noisy, confusing, boiling pot of stuff. But it’s effective. We have taken over the planet and just about ruined it. We should be a little more understanding and kind to each other and respect the complexity of people’s minds.

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  4. I am writing this as an individual who has psychosis and who, for 2 years, was in a full-blown state of delusion; believing I was having a spiritual awakening. I am sure to be in the minority here but I find this kind of line blurring very scary – and irresponsible. It prevents people from accessing early identification of their illness. There is no such thing as mystical psychosis, there is only psychosis.

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