Imagine & Create

Are You Having a Spiritual Emergence?

By June 6, 2016

More and more individuals living in the modern world are showing up in doctors’ and counselors’ offices describing a cluster of symptoms that sound a lot like anxiety, bi-polar disorder, or even psychosis. However, a closer look may reveal something else is going on: a spiritual emergence.

Are you or is someone you know experiencing one of these?

Shamanic crisis
Awakening of Kundalini
Episodes of unitive consciousness
Crisis of psychic opening
Past-life experiences
Communication with spirit guides and “channeling”
Near-death experiences (NDEs)
Alcoholism and drug addiction

black-elixirsWomen contact me weekly wanting to figure out how to have more experiences of awe and wonder in their lives. To connect with a larger sense of themselves beyond who they have been told to be or what their culture expects. A woman’s spirit often lives like a refugee, invisible to her and the world, longing to run away into the landscape of her untamed and magical nature. A place where time and space bend, encounters with the uncanny and unexplainable occur, where the big mystery is afoot.

As Jean Houston writes, “we all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released.”

The term spiritual emergence refers to the normal, life-enhancing aspect of human development that seeks meaning and connection beyond our small personal identity. This leads to a greater capacity for wisdom, compassion, and respect for all life as well as a deeper sense of personal security and inner peace. This growth can be challenging, even tumultuous at times, turning into a crisis known as a spiritual emergency.

Stanislov Grof and his wife Christina coined the termed in the late 1970s as part of the Transpersonal Psychology movement, a sub-field or “school” of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology.

The transpersonal is defined as experiences in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche, or the cosmos.

Issues considered in transpersonal psychology include spiritual self-development, self beyond the ego, peak experiences, mystical experiences, systemic trance, spiritual crises, spiritual evolution, religious conversion, altered states of consciousness, spiritual practices, and other sublime and/or unusually expanded experiences of living.

Resources for further exploration

Spiritual Emergency Network (SEN) was founded in 1980 by Stanislov and Christina Grof in response to the lack of understanding and respect for psychospiritual growth in the mental health profession.  The website provides information, referral, and emergency phone numbers for mental health professionals and individuals experiencing a spiritual emergency:

Spiritual Emergency Network

This article written by Stanislov Grof is a basic introduction and overview to understanding and treating psychospiritual crisis:

Spiritual Emergencies: Understanding and Treatment of Psychospiritual Crisis by Stanislov Grof.

In psyche and spirit,






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