What is Spiritual Emergency/Emergence?
When spiritual seekers or even those who do not consider themselves to be on a spiritual path find themselves experiencing levels of awareness or energy transformation that they are unable to handle or for which they have no reference, then the result can be a state of emergency. In this state, a person feels highly vulnerable and oversensitive to incoming stimuli. Typically they feel overwhelmed, fragmented, fearful, confused and disoriented. With their absorption in inner processes, they may not be able to look after even basic self care.
All these situations can be bewildering and frightening, and at these times these people need support and reassurance as they undergo their transformations. The spiritual emergency network in the US seeks to network people and provide information to facilitate a more gentle emergence of spiritual potentials. The network is intended to put people in touch with others who have undergone similar experiences, or with counsellors who are aware of spiritual dimensions of reality.
Read an interview with ORMUS user that may shed light on the reason why we are telling you about kundalini.
The Symptoms of Kundalini Awakening
While the awakening Kundalini may be a dramatic experience, the resultant shift in consciousness may be accompanied by years of physical and psychological upheavals. The process of Kundalini awakening can vary greatly from person to person. Some have intense physical symptoms, while others experience mainly emotional or psychological symptoms. It is as if the new energy invites a spring cleaning throughout the entire system, with unresolved physical or emotional conditions coming up for resolution and release. The life transforming changes which accompany a Kundalini awakening cover the entire physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual spectrum.
Dr. Greenwell ("Energies of Transformation" -1990) has noted seven categories of symptoms which have been observed during Spontaneous Kundalini awakening.
1. Pranic movements or kriyas
Prana is the Hindu word for vital energy. Thus as intense energy moves through the body and clears out physiological blocks, a person may experience intense involuntary, jerking movements of the body, including shaking, vibrations, spasm and contraction. As deeply held armouring and blockages to the smooth flow of energy are released, the person may re-access memories and emotions associated with past trauma and injury.
2. Yogic Phenomena
Some people find themselves performing yogic postures or hand mudra gestures which they have never learned or could not do in a normal state of consciousness. Similarly, they may produce Sanskrit words or sounds, or have an awareness of inner music or sound, mantras or tones. Unusual breathing patterns may appear with either very rapid or slow, shallow breathing. Some people may not breathe at all for extended periods.
3. Physiological Symptoms
A Kundalini awakening often generates unusual physiological activity as intense movement of energy releases toxins in the body. Symptoms include apparent heart problems, pains in head and spine, gastrointestinal disturbances and nervous problems. Internal sensations have been reported as sensations of burning, oversensitivity to sensory input, hyperactivity or lethargy, great variations in sexual desire and even spontaneous orgasm. Symptoms can be erratic, coming and going without provocation, but are generally unresponsive to medical treatment.
4. Psychological Upheaval
Spiritual awakening offers a direct challenge to the primacy of ego consciousness and the myth of separation. It brings with it a challenge
5. Extra Sensory Experiences
As perception expands outside of consensus reality, people experience atypical visual phenomena, including visions of lights, symbols, entities, or review of past life experiences. Auditory input may include hearing voices, music, inner sounds or mantras. Even the olfactory system may be stimulated with perception of scents of sandalwood, rose or incense. There may also be disruption of the proprioceptive system, with losing a sense of self as a body, or feeling bigger than the body, or out of the body, with the resulting confusion and disorientation.
6. Psychic Phenomena
With the opening up of psychic abilities, a person may experience precognition, telepathy, psychokinesis, awareness of auras and healing abilities.
7. Mystical States of Consciousness
A person may shift into altered states of consciousness where they directly perceive the unity underlying the world of separation and experience a deep peace and serenity with a profound knowing of wisdom. In some cases, the state of emergency due to psychological upheaval is so acute that it resembles a psychotic episode. Many clinicians still regard phenomena associated with spiritual emergence as indicative of pathology because the signs are so easily confused with the indicators of psychosis, mania, depression, schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. Many people undergoing spiritual emergency are misdiagnosed and treated with suppressive medication which further complicates their process.
What can be done to support a Kundalini awakening?
When Kundalini awakening happens to people who are not on a spiritual path or who have no context or framework to understand the bewildering upheaval of mind, body and spirit, the experience can leave them fragile and fragmented. As the Kundalini process involves a redefinition and reintegration of self, it adds extra pressure when health professionals or significant others wish to suppress the transformation and insist that the person conforms to old ways of being in the world.
Of greatest benefit is a supportive framework which can allow people to make sense of the intricate connection between spirit and the movement of physical energy in the body, rather than fearing they are going insane. It is more empowering to understand that Kundalini awakening is a process which taps into the blueprint for higher consciousness which is latent within every human. While the enormous changes associated with a spiritual awakening may demand psychological and social adjustments, they are not in themselves necessarily indicative of illness. Communication and connection with others who can provide support and a meaningful context for understanding the process reduces the isolation and overwhelm and can help to minimise the disturbance. Someone who has the personal qualities of creative adaptation to change and a flexible mental framework is more likely to weather the changes with grace and style than someone who is rigid in their beliefs and world view.
Humanity's Wake Up Call
Usually the awakening of Kundalini was a process which only occurred after years of spiritual practice and meditation. Yet increasingly, the Kundalini experience is being reported among people who are not undertaking spiritual practices. Since 1993, when Shared Transformation, a n American journal for connecting spiritual awakeners first began, it has been contacted by over 700 people in the throes of spontaneous Kundalini arousal (Collie & Kress,1995). These increased reports of spontaneous Kundalini awakening at this time of planetary upheaval may be indicative of a larger purpose at work, the beginning of a planetary wake up call. Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or engaging in practices which change body energies, such as meditation, yogic practices, breathwork, rebirthing or polarity balancing, may find they begin to resonate with the changing energies at this time and that they begin their own Kundalini awakening process.
Is Kundalini awakening the same as enlightenment?
It is important not to confuse Kundalini awakening with enlightenment. Enlightenment rarely results from a single encounter with the numinous. It is more as if the energetic awakening initiates an expansion in consciousness which sets the scene for a progression of many experiences with transpersonal states of consciousness. The intensity and duration of each of glimpse varies with our readiness to contain and integrate them. Thus the Kundalini awakening is not an end point in itself, but the beginning of a transformation of consciousness which expands our capacity to KNOW the infinite. Spiritual emergence often includes expanded perceptual abilities, increased energy, creative expression and a dedication to being of service for the greater good.
In her book, The Energies of Transformation, Bonnie Greenwell (1990) gives us an indication of what this transformation may bring in practical terms. "Most of those who awaken this connection with the ecstatic inner Self will return to being who they were, perhaps doing their lives with more contentment or a gentler perspective, perhaps more involved and committed in service to others, perhaps more energised and expressive, perhaps writing poetry, teaching, loving unconditionally."(p302)
The Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN) http://www.ciis.edu/comserv/sen.html is a non-profit organization founded by a psychiatrist Dr. Stanislov Grof and his wife Christina after she experienced a Spontaneous Kundalini Awakening years ago. Dr. Grof and Christina wrote a book I recommend called "Spiritual Emergency". Anyone who contacts the network can get referred to local people who understand how to help people who are having these difficult experiences. The phone number for the Spiritual Emergence Network is (415) 648-2610. Another book I recommend is "Energies of Transformation" by Dr. Bonnie Greenwell Ph.D.
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Resources To Help Transform Spiritual Emergency Into Spiritual Emergence:
Dr. Brian Sackett
Psychologist, Ph.D Office: 1745 Saratoga Avenue SUITE 203, San Jose, California 95129
Contact Information: phone (408) 257-6662
Therapeutic Orientation: Transpersonal, Psychodynamic, Existential, Humanistic, Jungian, Systems, Altered States, Body Oriented
Alternatives: Spiritual Emergence/Emergency by Paul Levy.An artist and healer, with a passion for Dreamwork, Paul Levy is in private practice, assisting people who are spiritually emerging and beginning to wake up to the dreamlike nature of reality. Deeply steeped in the work of alchemy, shamanism and C. G. Jung, Paul is a long-time Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, and is the coordinator of the Portland PadmaSambhava Buddhist Center. He can be reached at (503) 234-6480. Spiritual Emergency or Emergence by Tom Adams: the etiology and definition of spiritual emergence and emergency WRITTEN FOR PSYCHOLOGY DEPT., UNIVERSITY OF CT, 1990 |
Spiritual Emergence and Spiritual Emergency at Elevated Therapy : Dr. Michael G. Millett,
author of the book Elevated Energy Therapy
Spiritual Emergence Network
The Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN) was founded in 1978 by Stanislav Grof, a psychiatrist and professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and his wife, Christina. They are authors of the book Spiritual Emergency.
The Spiritual Emergence Network operates an Information and Referral Service that helps people who are having problems with their spiritual growth. Trained graduate students in the School of Professional Psychology answer questions from callers and refer them to licensed mental health professionals in the caller's area.
The network refers callers to mental health professionals who are respectful of spiritual experience, familiar with a number of spiritual traditions, and qualified to work in at least one of the following areas:
* loss or change of faith;
* existential and/or spiritual crisis;
* experience of unitive consciousness or altered states;
* psychic openings;
* near-death experience;
* shamanic journey;
* difficulties with a meditation practice.
The Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN@CIIS)
Information and Referral Service
The telephone number is 415-648-2610.
Kason, Yvonne, M.D.
FARTHER SHORES: Exploring how Near-death, Kundalini and Mystical Experiences Can Transform Ordinary Lives. Explains kundalini awakening, and other spiritually transformative experiences, gives case histories, tells what symptoms people have experienced and offers suggestions about how to cope.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, Ontario 2000
Gersten, Dennis, M.D.
ARE YOU GETTING ENLIGHTENED
OR LOSING YOUR MIND? - A Spiritual Program for Mental Fitness
Three Rivers Press/Harmony Books/division of Random House, 1997
PSYCHOTHERAPY AND SPIRIT - Theory and Practice in Transpersonal Psychotherapy
State University of New York Press, Albany l997
Grof, Christina and Grof, Stanislav, Ph.D.
THE STORMY SEARCH FOR SELF
Los Angeles, Tarcher, 1990
Grof, Stanislav and Christina Grof, eds.
SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY: WHEN PERSONAL
TRANSFORMATION BECOMES A CRISIS
Los Angeles, Tarcher, 1989
ENERGIES OF TRANSFORMATION:
A GUIDE TO THE KUNDALINI PROCESS
Cupertino, California, Shakti River Press, 1990
Nelson, John E., M.D.
HEALING THE SPLIT - INTEGRATING SPIRIT
INTO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE
MENTALLY ILL - Revised Edition
State University of New York Press, Albany 1994
A SOURCEBOOK FOR HELPING PEOPLE
IN SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY
San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990
THE CALL OF SPIRITUAL EMERGENCY -
FROM PERSONAL CRISIS TO PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION
San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990
Carla Wills-Brandon, Ph.D.
A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN - THE REMARKABLE WORLD OF
SPIRITUALLY TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES
2004 Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts
Harris, Barbara and Leonard C. Bascom
FULL CIRCLE: THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AND BEYOND
New York: Pocket Books, Simon and Schuster, 1990.
SPIRTUAL AWAKENINGS: A GUIDEBOOK FOR
EXPERIENCERS AND THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT THEM
Baltimore, MD: Stage 3 Books, 1993
Whitfield, Barbara Harris
SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGS: INSIGHTS OF
THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AND OTHER
DOORWAYS TO OUR SOUL
Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1995
Sanella, Lee, M.D.
KUNDALINI - PSYCHOSIS OR TRANSCENDENCE?
San Francisco: H.S. Dakin, 1976
Sanella, Lee, M.D.
THE KUNDALINI EXPERIENCE
Lower Lake, CA Integral Publishing, 1987.
LIVING WITH KUNDALINI
Rev. by Leslie Shepard. Boulder, CO, Shambhala, 1993
KUNDALINI.- THE EVOLUTIONARY ENERGY IN MAN
Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 1967,1970
HEADING TOWARD OMEGA: IN SEARCH OF THE
MEANING OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES.
New York: William Morrow, 1984
THE OMEGA PROJECT
New York: William Morrow, 1992
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI
Los Angeles: Self Realization Press, 12th edit., 1993
Moody, Raymond A.
LIFE AFTER LIFE: THE INVESTIGATION OF A
PHENOMENON - SURVIVAL OF BODILY DEATH.
NewYork: Bantam, 1975
Morse, Melvin with Paul Perry.
CLOSER TO THE LIGHT
New York: Ivy Books, 1990
Morse, Melvin with Paul Perry.
TRANSFORMED BY THE LIGHT: THE POWERFUL EFFECT
OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES ON PEOPLE'S LIVES.
New York: Villard Books, 1992
Maslow, Abraham H.
TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF BEING
D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., NY, 1962
Maslow, Abraham H.
RELIGIONS, VALUES, AND PEAK-EXPERIENCES
Viking Penguin, 1970
EMBODYING SPIRIT: COMING ALIVE WITH MEANING
Hazeldon Education Materials
Center City, Minnesota 1994
AWAKENING IN TIME
Bantam Books, 1991
TRANSFORMERS: THE ARTISTS OF SELF-CREATION
DeVorss & Company, CA, 1994
TEXTBOOK OF TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHIATRY AND
Edited by Bruce W. Scotton, M.D., Allan B. Chinen, M.D., John
R. Battista, M.D. Basic Books, A Division of HarperCollins,
HALFWAY UP THE MOUNTAIN:
THE ERROR OF PREMATURE CLAIMS TO ENLIGHTENMENT
Hohm Press, Prescott, AZ 1999
THE NECESSITY OF MEETING GOD IN DARKNESS
For more books see the list on: