Tuesday, 23 June 2020
Advice for those in spiritual emergency...
Spiritual emergency is a term that is a bit of a play on words, in that "emergency" implies both a crisis, but also "emergence". I first heard of this way of describing crises of the soul from a book I bought called "The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth through Transformational Crisis" by Christina and Stanislav Grof. This book was rather helpful to me, especially in the section where it lists the various forms of spiritual crises a person might encounter, and how to identify them. I read many books but this one made coping suggestions, and I would often turn to it to confirm suspicions about what I was going through.
Anyway, let's cut to the chase - here's my list of suggestions for dealing with a spiritual emergency:
- First off, if things get really hard, you might have to deal with the mental health system, possibly as an inpatient. Keep in mind that most medical staff are not usually trained to identify these sorts of conflicts, so they may use terminology like "schizophrenia" and "bipolar". They are wrong, if it's true spiritual emergency. How do you know the difference? In a way, that takes coming to conclude it in yourself... often, the Spirit will find a means to reach out to you in some way to help you to understand it in those terms. Medications may be needed for psychological difficulties. I disagree with the new age argument that they are never a good idea, but it's true that some are going to be better than others. I recommend Latuda for less side effects, and I advise you stay away from older generation antipsychotics, which may sedate or flatten you out so badly it cripples your ability to make progress with yourself. Meds might not relieve you completely of symptoms in some cases - they may simply tone things down, allowing you to do the work on your own, and gauge your progress. They may be necessary to lead a nearly normal life. Treat hospitalization as a protective measure in an emergency, if you are in danger, but don't expect psychiatrists or other medical staff to hear you much if you speak heavily of the soul. They are trained to see things as a brain disease, not something transformative.
- Avoid all psychoactives to prevent any strange states that could aggravate symptoms. This includes marijuana. I had to quit THC, but now use CBD products for therapeutic means. I personally seem to be able to get away with a couple of drinks, but I don't recommend heavy drinking either. Change your lifestyle - do low key exercise, if you like yoga try Yin over Kundalini Yoga. Although vegans would hate me for saying it, consider eating meat if you don't already. The proteins help ground you and give you what you need for your soul's development. Many yogis actually recommend red meat for active kundalites, as a way of helping them to cope with uncomfortable states. Rest when you feel the urge. Explore nature. Listen more to your body and what it's telling you it needs.
- Do some soul searching and figure out what kind of spiritual path suits your soul's needs best. This took a while for me, but I settled on a hybrid, esoteric Catholic style Christian path that borrows from indigenous plant medicine ceremony. Christ can save many from awful experiences, and being Christian doesn't have to look or feel square. A friend of mine found the best path for them was Tibetan Buddhism. What are you called to? What keeps showing up in your life? Experiment, contemplate, look for results. Always pray, and don't give up. You might have to commit to something in a hardcore way for a while to achieve relief, which could change the course of your life.
- I didn't exactly do this, but perhaps journaling is more good advice I'd give, to keep a record of where you have been, where you are in the moment, and where you are going, to gauge your progress through the experience. I have re-examined old spirit writings, which were once chaotic and negative... the stuff I get now is clear and can go up to several paragraphs long in a single session.
- Look for alternative therapy. For me, this was Jungian analysis. You can often find therapists who do sliding scale rates if you are low income, or on disability. Don't expect a quick fix with analysis... it's an ongoing process, but well worth the results, if you have the time and money. It was my analyst who first really listened to me, telling me I am not crazy (after just about everyone else said I was), and it was what I needed to hear from a professional to really start healing.
- It's probably best that you watch who you open up to about this. A lot of people didn't get what I was going through, and thought I was a lunatic for believing in what I did. Now that, in some ways, I am saner than anyone else around me (at least in dealing with bad shit), people listen a little more - I also articulate myself better now. Find friends and/or family who will listen, but maybe just don't tell everyone, unless you can handle the gossip. People are weird about difficult spiritual stuff in this age.
- Weighted blankets are nice if you're anxious. Just don't fall asleep under one, or else you might cramp up by the time you awaken. Try to surround yourself with comfort objects, to de-stress. I live alone, so I have things like this I use to relax.
-Don't over-engage unconscious material, because you could become lost in it. Know when to step away, and distract yourself with other things. Don't identify too heavily with the contents of your unconscious, either. It might be trying to tell you something, so if you feel you want to explore that, seek a Jungian. Just don't become obsessed with it. It can get weird.
The good news about spiritual emergency is that most people ultimately grow from it, and provided you care appropriately for yourself, it's a fantastic opportunity to transform. One animal often associated with it is the Phoenix, rising from the ashes of the former self. The modern age has yet to catch up with the needs of those experiencing this phenomena, but if you do enough hunting, there are resources to be found.