In life there are times when we become aware of a greater dimension of being, sometimes it happens through synchronicities, coincidences, in dreams, or suddenly during our regular routine. There are many people seeking to be spiritually awakened and to experience the depths of the inner world. This quest of inner knowledge can lead one to become healthy and compassionate. In this journey the aspirant seeks teachers, techniques and technologies of the sacred. This can led one into a dedicated practice of inner exploration which can cause many changes in a person’s worldview. They may begin to experience unexplainable emotions, visions, dreams, disturbing images in meditation and even blissful or painful body sensations. If the aspirant is on a path of inner exploration the direct experience of the inner realities is the true guide and the teacher simply helps the process move forward smoothly by reminding us of universal peace and divinity with-in. This process is filled with inexplicable experiences and realizations which push us to surrender all we believe and are, in order to merge with the universal consciousness.
Our traumas, our bodies, our sense of self all dissolve and we enter into the other world of the collective unconscious. Many spiritual cultures have created charts, maps, deities, and realms which describe this other world to help prepare the seeker for the experience. The indigenous world has no separation between inner and outer experiences because to the individual they are both rich and vast. It is in more recent history that the industrialized world has created a clear divide between inner and outer worlds.
Amazonian ayahusca painter Pablo Amaringo illustrates the world of a Peruvian healer showing a variety of other worldly images such as nomes, mermaids, UFOs, conscious plants, wisdom serpents, crystal cities filled with light and conscious beings. For his people in Peru these illustrations represent the realities of nature filled with spirit. There are numerous master yogis who speak about the ability to travel to other planets, to divine dimensions, beyond time and will even experience union or total identification with deities and universal consciousness. In fact, most of the world religions had stories of spirits, deities, and mythological creatures of all kinds and perhaps those creatures are beings encountered when we enter into another level of awareness. Many spiritual stories also involve super human feats such as rising from the dead, materialization of objects, communication through dreams and many more examples which too can either be literal or metaphorical for experiences and abilities in another level of reality .
The mystic path is a difficult path that requires one to face themselves and to encounter the depths of consciousness in its beauty and darkness. One of the most common guide posts along the path is the internal experience of ego death and rebirth. Ego death and rebirth is when one has a convincing experience of dying and then emerging a new into the world. This theme is presented in many sacred texts and traditions with Jesus Christ and his rise from the dead, Odin hanging from the sacred tree of life and being brought back to life with divine knowledge, the journey through Hydes and emergence back into life and Native American church ceremonies where the tipi is the womb and when we leave we are reborn. In shamanic initiation the process of death and rebirth is evoked through ceremony, strenuous ordeals and the use of plants. The initiate enters the internal death experience and emerges in the otherworld where he encounters visions and dreams and awakes reborn. Later on the shaman learns to enter this other world and to communicate with its inhabitance at will for healing and wellbeing of the community. The experience of death and rebirth is often the doorway into the otherworld and even into divine union. This other realm of being is the true teacher of wisdom and is the ultimate source from which all arises of which we are indivisible.
This process of spiritual awakening happens in many different ways and contains an infinite array of personalized lessons and experiences. Many of these lessons and experiences have similar characteristics and seem to be universal such as the death and rebirth experience, union with the divine, the void or nothingness, transformation, spiritual flight. There are also universal ethical and moral considerations such as the relationship between good and evil, the quality of our thoughts and action toward others and the planet, the balance of internal peace and external responsibilities. The theme of death is in all religions and spiritual pursuits because we all will experience physical death at some time, likewise, the experience of birth is universal to the human experience. There is certainly a risk involved in unleashing these inner forces with our responsibilities and the common understanding of these experiences as being psychotic.
Some people are very prone to entering the other world and have firsthand experience of its landscape, some have a supportive community and unfortunately some do not. Material emerging from the other realms of being can enter spontaneously into our everyday life without a catalyst. This can led to dangerous situations where a person experiencing dramatic physical symptoms related to spontaneous encounters with another reality could be tranquilized and labeled as insane. In fact, western industrial worldview has long viewed all spiritual realities which are not material in nature to be the result of psychosis. This is in direct contrast with nearly all religions and spiritual groups throughout history who have seen the spiritual worlds as the source of the material world. This makes western industrialized people who are prone to profound states of consciousness rightfully terrified of the unfolding process. The situation is further confused by religious organizations taking advantage of people’s spiritual needs for their own political and monetary gains giving the members no direct spiritual experiences. These experiences often occur spontaneously, however, there are many techniques that can be used to cause profound states of consciousness. When this emerging material become overwhelming and interferes with a person’s ability to live a normal life it is called a spiritual emergency.
Spiritual Emergency is a growing problem in western industrial society because of the intense disconnect between fundamentalist materialism and the inner realities of human experience. There are few support centers for spiritual emergency and the vast majority of medicinal doctors today label spiritual emergency as psychotic episode and the person is tranquilized. Western medicine has thrown out the baby with the bath water by labeling all non-ordinary states of consciousness psychosis. Spiritual emergency if properly handled becomes the process of transformation where the individual becomes greater then who they are and is reborn with an expanded view of reality which often is at odds with the reality they learned in life previous to the spiritual emergence.
The emerging spiritual paradigm in western culture is being expressed in new paradigm quantum physics, transpersonal psychology, visionary art, music, interest in world culture and utilization of spiritual practices. These new paradigm insights were developed by experiencing internally and then expressing and validated the intuition using mathematics, science and the arts. This suggests that contrary to materialistic science the internal experience could provide information which is verifiable through external means.
Transpersonal Psychologists have used the connectivity theory to explain the ways that people received accurate information about distant times and places when in holotropic states of consciousness. It is also a possible explanation for the studies validating the existence of esp, telepathy, remote viewing, altering random number generators with thought alone. This connectivity theory also suggests that human potential may look like the medicine man in the amazon who can receive information about hunting, healing, plants and tribal members through entering the other world. As a society we could utilize science to explore the spiritual traditions around the world and create practices, workshops, medical interventions based on transpersonal and quantum levels of reality.
Through 50 years of research Grof concludes that as a society we all suffer from a split deep with-in ourselves, that split was built with trauma and suffering. Through cultural denial of the spiritual domains we have taken meaning and evolutionary potential away from ourselves and created repression and confusion in regards to who we are. Healing and spiritual non ordinary states and can bring us back to wholeness. Once we experience the repressed collective bliss and suffering we reclaim parts of ourselves and overcome our fear and separation. People who move through this process begin to fully identify with the world around them. One can experience being a salmon in polluted waters or experience the earth as a whole and the suffering of all life due to human ignorance. These experiences led to a natural ecological conscience to a compassionate approach toward others. This suggests that as people develop understanding of the inner world we become more compassionate toward the outer world and thus would naturally led one to improve the world around them.
We all can make a change in our lives right now by dipping a finger into the waters of spirit and exploring who we are on the deepest levels. We can allow our experiences to guide us to wholeness. In this journey we face the depth of hell and suffering and it leads us to understanding compassion and kindness to the self and others. We explore the possibilities of consciousness through whatever practices most appeal to us and we all enter a unique path. On this path there are experiences and themes which seem universal and there are experiences, sensations, challenges and insights which are yours alone and unexplainable to others. Many artists, writers, actors, musicians, have utilized the inner journey for their deepest and most profound works.
We all can feel this divine inspiration and explore our evolutionary potential through honestly facing ourselves. The reality is that divine inspiration can come in the form of internal angelic paradise as well as full internal emersion into the darkest depths of what is commonly called hell. By experiencing the extremes of human experience internally we develop the courage and peace of mind to open ourselves to the greater reality. We all long for union with the source of creation and yet we are terrified by its power dissolve all that we are. By experiencing this ego death we lose ourselves and merge with the greater reality. The ancient rites of death and rebirth are alive inside our collective consciousness and at a certain points in one’s spiritual journey it will be realized. There are many moment of initiation where we feel all guides have left us and we are a drift. This is the time of initiation and your response will determine your readiness for further spiritual progress. Step like off the ledge and enter into a mystical reality and begin a cycle of spiritual unfolding to healing yourself and the collective.
By: Transpersonal Spirit.