The Healing Potential of Spiritual Emergence

Even the most dramatic and difficult episodes of Spiritual Emergency are natural stages in the process of spiritual opening and can be beneficial if circumstances are favourable. The crisis involves a radical clearing of old traumatic memories and imprints. This process by itself is potentially healing and transformational. However, in Spiritual Emergency so much psychological material surfaces from the unconscious it can interfere with everyday functioning of the person.

“Non-ordinary states of consciousness make it possible for unconscious material with strong emotional charge to emerge into consciousness. This process is an expression of a powerful spontaneous healing potential and should be supported. Under such circumstances, emotional and psychosomatic symptoms are not problems to be combated but indications of a healing effort by the organism that has to be supported, encouraged and brought to completion.” ([Grof and Grof, 1990])

Here it is not the nature and content of these experiences but their context that makes them seem pathological. Because these experiences appear to be out of context with everyday reality they can be both frightening and confusing. Hence, many people choose to ignore, discredit or forget these experiences which offer such invaluable opportunities for personal growth.

When, by various techniques, we allow this kind of material to emerge into consciousness to be fully experienced and closely examined, it loses the disturbing power that it can otherwise exert in our lives, and chronic psychological and even physical problems whose origins were previously unknown can be fully healed.

The recognition of the dual nature of Spiritual Emergency – danger and opportunity – has important theoretical and practical consequences. The capacity to integrate spiritual experiences into one’s self-concept and functioning in the world is the key determinant in the outcome of spiritual crises. If properly understood and treated as difficult stages in a natural developmental process, Spiritual Emergency can result in emotional and psychosomatic healing, deep positive changes of the personality, and the solution of many problems of life.