My Spiritual Emergence
“For all those who have or are suffering silently”
There’s been a chapter in my life that I have kept hidden from view. It concerns the trouble I have had with my own mental health issues. I know it is not necessary to include others in this chapter, but if writing about these things might help others; so be it. I’ve asked
for guidance many times over, and recently there have been others who have decided to come forward. Marsha M. Linehan recently had a New York Times article written about her personal issues with mental health. (1) She’s now a respected therapist and teacher at the University of Washington. Another, Lauran M. Prato, wrote of her account in her book recently just released, “From the Inside- Out: Shattering the Mental Illness Myth. A True Story.” (2)
There has been a progressive understanding of some of the elements of mental illness, as too possible etiological reasons…there was a popular yet mythological myth that the reason for schizophrenia was having an over-dominating mother. That was still a thought in college level courses I’ve taken back in the 60-70’s. Well I don’t pretend to know much about the causes of mental health issues. I know they occur more frequently than once was thought. I also know that the stigma that has become attached to those who are suffering has began to lessen as well.
When I was thirty-five years old I suffered a month long psychotic episode. There are a lot of details of that month that I needn’t go in to. I had been working regularly with never a hint of what might be in store from me. I had even worked in hospital psychiatric floors for several years while attending college. I graduated from college with a degree in psychology in 1971. I had been devoted to a spiritual path for ten years but with out any formal discipline of meditation. I had also begun to see fleeting glimpses of a feminine spiritual energy that would come to me.
An acute psychotic episode was exactly that. I remember going to a restaurant to talk to my employer at the time and I remember walking out and everything just changed. It was a completely alienated world that I would inhabit for the next month or so. It was not a good feeling or comfortable. I thought lights that would chase me around the city at nights were pursuing me. I thought alien entities where trying to take and inhabit my body. I seemed normal on the outside, yet on the inside everything had an Alice in Wonderland feeling to it. I ended up taking my money I was saving and took off on a journey from Washington and down the coast to California. I would have nightly visions about where to go and I’d be off. None of the people I ended up visiting where aware of my inner turmoil. Eventually, the energy, which had propelled this acute episode, started dissipating and I started feeling my life force ebbing away. Through a fortunate turn of events, I was able to get admitted to a hospital in San Francisco and get the help I needed. The medication I received helped end this bizarre episode. I remember being overcome with gratefulness. I felt I could have easily ended up homeless. It took awhile regain my footing emotionally, but I ended up being able to quickly start to regain my normal senses.
Edgar Cayce talks about health as a cooperative balance between all spheres of mankind’s existence. The mind, body, spirit, and soul all have to create a mutually cooperative balance if inner health and equilibrium is to be achieved. I realized how tenuous and fragile this balance can really be. It can be rather frightening to feel one’s own mind start slipping away.
I was able to recover my senses and well being over the next year or so until I began to feel more grounded and connected to the life I had. I was able to work again and the fears of another episode begin to fade away. There were, however, some lingering effects. They were two fold. One thing I begin to notice is that after this episode past, my own psychic channels began to open. I was more in tune with what other people were thinking. I, also at the same time, worried that people would never take me seriously again, you know… “the crazy one,” if I let them know what I was thinking.
Let’s move forward…twenty years have since passed and I’ve been regularly employed. Through another fortunate event, I started taking some courses through Atlantic University, the educational side of the Association of Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. I graduated with a Spiritual Mentoring certificate a couple years ago. There were two courses that I took in addition to the require courses that were directly related to the experiences I had. One was: HMT 540, Mysticism and Mental Health. The other one was: AS 501, Transformational Astrology.
Mysticism and Mental Health helped me put another face on the difficult aspects of mental illness. Kay Redfield Jamison’s book, “Touched with Fire,” (3) talked about some of our most noted writers and poets, flirted with there own mental health issues throughout their most creative periods. There seems to be a statistical link with many of us between being able to be highly creative and having to deal personally with episodic periods of mania or what ever.
Another important part of HMT 540, was the link that Christina and Stanislav Grof, M.D. made to mental health issues and “spiritual crisis.” Their book “The Stormy Search for the Self,” (4) was part of this. It seems as if there is a link made between one’s emerging spirituality and the disruption it can cause to one’s mental equilibrium. In Laren M. Prato’s story, she talks about mental health providers being in the dark as to the true causes of some of her issues. She was forced to undergo time in a mental hospital because of what she was undergoing mental and emotionally. One of the more important facts of Prato’s personal account is the additional information in her appendix at the end of her story. This is where the story really begins for me because it talks about the DSM-lV having a new diagnostic category called “Religious or Spiritual Problem.” This is the lasting legacy possibly started with the Grof’s work spent over a lifetime trying to re-educate other mental health professionals about the very nature of this classification.
The other class: AS 501, Transformational Astrology, introduced me to the writings of Jeff Green, “ Pluto, The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Vol. l.” (5) There is much to be gained by reading some of these astrological writings. Green’s work touches upon some of the transformational aspects that this potent planet has. Here is some of my earlier work I did in writing a paper about this and it’s effect that it had on me.
“Pluto opposed to all planets in llth House, 1980-88: I think I may have struck an internal mother lode on this one. Could this actually account for some of the reasons that I had a “spiritual emergency?” To the best of my recollection I was 34-35 years old. Pluto was in the 11th House between my ages of 31 to 39. Here again I will be referring to Jeff Green’s description of Pluto. ‘individuals who have Pluto in the Eleventh House or Aquarius have been learning to break free from crystallized and outmoded forms of self-definition as reflected through the composite effect of society, parents, friends or anything else…the evolutionary intent has been to shed the skins of the past…they have been learning to resist becoming shackled, conditioned or defined by the customs of society…they have been learning to view themselves outside the confines of time and space…these individuals have also learned to sever all attachments that prevent further growth or freedom to explore new ways of discovering themselves…'(p. 199).”
There is one more aspect that seems worth mentioning here. It is a very personal note that seems to cap off this whole experience for me. One of the assignments I had while working on the Mysticism and Mental Health course was having the pleasure of writing a paper on Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Three of those books I read for that that course was translated by Mirabai Starr. I had an opportunity to meet her in Portland about a year later. The subject matter came up at the end of her talk about “spiritual crisis or emergence.” There was someone who voiced some skepticism about whether or not that was real or not. I remember coming strongly to the defense as to the validity of that or not. That very night I woke up from a dream that I had that I had been incarcerated in an insane asylum in a previous life because some others thought that I had become to “otherworldly.” Now, I have become not afraid of what others think about me…no more fear!
Now, almost thirty years ago since that initial time, I have become grateful for that fearsome experience. For those of us who are more able to live and experience other dimensions daily, this may just represent what our inner life may be evolving into. It’s been a long time now since I too, have stopped living in a world defined as just in time and space. About seven or eight years now I have become spiritual illuminated. I have written about it in some earlier articles. That portal that may have started opening with my spiritual emergence may have needed something of that nature or magnitude in order to evolve. Edgar Cayce has mentioned many times over to use each experience as a “stepping stone.” I now am able to helps other evolve beyond their own present inner spheres of experience in order so that they too might know more of their own personal spiritual soul and the creative forces which help shape them. It is that Divine link which we all share with each other and with our Creator. Thank you!
1. Carey, Benedict. “Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight.” New York Times. June 23, 2011. Page A1.
2. Prato, Lauran M. “From the Inside-Out: Shattering the Mental Illness Myth. A True Story.” Charleston; BookSurge Publishing. 2009.
3. Jamison, Kay Redfield. “Touched with Fire.” New York; Free Press Paperback. 1993
4. Grof, Christina and Stanislov. “The Stormy Search for the Self.” New York; Penguin Putman. 1990.
5. Green, Jeff. “Pluto, The Soul’s Evolutionary Journey of the Soul. Vol l.” St. Paul, Llewellyn Publications. 1998.