Evidence shows that people in this spiritual crisis need education, peer support, the understanding of healthcare providers who have had similar experiences and advanced education and skill building to assist these clients, and acknowledgement that these experiences are not indicative of mental illness.
Spirirual Emergency is a term coined in 1980 when Stanislav Grof, MD, and Christina Grof began the first Spiritual Emergency Network. These crises/emergencies refer to natural occurrences in personal evolution in which a person feels disoriented and overwhelmed for a period of time by overwhelming spiritual experiences beyond the realm of the intellect.
The original name Spiritual Emergency Network was chosen very consciously as a play on words. The term emergency inferring both crisis and emerging. It was later renamed the Spiritual Emergence Network as a way of focusing more on the positive aspects of the phenomenon.
A spiritual emergence is a period of spiritual opening or transformation, which can happen over time or very suddenly. When it happens suddenly, often initiated by a traumatic experience, it can be very turbulent and then often referred to as a spiritual crisis. During a spiritual crisis, the awakening process can become unmanageable without help. Psychological difficulties often occur, as undealt with past trauma surfaces to be healed.
With appropriate support, people in spiritual emergency integrate their experiences, are more able to create a meaningful life for themselves, and function at a higher level than before their crisis.
Typical symptoms of spiritual emergency can include:
- Being bombarded with unusual inner experiences and /or information previously unknown
- Having old beliefs and ways of being challenged
- Finding it difficult to cope with the demands of everyday life
- Having difficulty distinguishing the transpersonal world from the world of shared reality
- Experiencing physical sensations of forceful energies through the body
- Feeling a strong urge to communicate these experiences
- Feeling like you have unusual or paranormal powers and are the only one in the world who knows ‘the truth’
- Feeling like you are going to die
- Telepathic experiences and communication from spirit