Gaylene's Reviews > Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes Crisis

Spiritual Emergency by Stanislav Grof
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's review
Sep 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, spiritual-exploration, transpersonal-psychology
Read from August 12 to September 11, 2011

This is an amazing book which easily catalogues a variety of ways people emerge into deeper aspects of spirituality. Grof chose the word "emergency" but I prefer the term "emergence". The idea that it is possible to emerge from one level of spirituality to another more insightful level is very appealing to me. Perhaps the reason Grof chose to use the word "emergency" is because he is trained as a psychiatrist and has had people come to him for help as they make their way through an experience that is somewhat foreign and a bit frightening. People who enjoy the everyday world of consensus reality and wouldn't want to step outside that realm, might be caught "off guard" by a glimpse into a more attuned level of spiritual awareness should it "happen" to them without their conscious seeking of that experience. For example in the case of a UFO sighting and perhaps if one experienced an unsolicited drug experience...the words "spiritual emergency" might be more appropriate. The Grofs' addressed at least 10 varieties of Spiritual Emergency including:
1. The Shamanic crisis
2. The awakening of Kundalini
3. Episodes of unitive consciousness ("peak experiences")
4. Psychological renewal through return to the center
5. The crisis of psychic opening
6. Past-life experiences
7. Communications with spirit guides and "channeling"
8. Near death experiences
9. Experiences of close encounters with UFO's
10. Possession states
They outlined and defined each of these states in the introductory chapter of the book and then went on to include articles by authors who are experts in each of these fields of transpersonal experience.
My favorite article was by Paul Rebillot who was an actor who became a facilitator of groups who took "mythic journeys". Since I already have an interest in psychodrama, I was intrigued by the idea of including Jungian ritual in workshops designed to encourage personal growth by creating a personal map for future challenges.

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