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Are you experiencing spiritual emergence or spiritual emergency - Originally published in Waking Times, 25 May 2015


What is spiritual emergence and spiritual emergency?

How do we define ‘spiritual awakening’? What could it mean? What does it look like? More importantly, what would it feel like? These types of questions ‘fill’ the void of our soul and belong to everyone, not just to initiates of the mystery schools. These questions are the stuff of Life which also includes ‘who am I, what am I and what is my Purpose? The paradox is this, if we are unsure on what it is, how will we know when we experience it? These types of questions have cluttered up my mindscape over the past 25 years or so. Over time and as these eternal questions of Self in relation to spiritual awakening evolved and matured, I took onboard lots of clichés such as ‘all the answers lie within’ and ‘to let go, let God’. Fate, it seems, has an exquisite sense of irony. Simply put, spiritual emergence is an awakening to a much higher awareness of consciousness. Within this process, a new conscious you is birthed. It is a transformative process and we emerge as a butterfly from its cocoon. Spiritual emergence is a sacred process of remembrance which is both evolutionary and revolutionary. It is an evolutionary journey in that we arrived at our destination before we began. It is revolutionary in the sense that it births an exquisite balance between our inner knowing (spirit) and our Mind and Body complex.

Spiritual emergence relates to a knowing of super-conscious as it relates to who and what we perceive ourselves to be. There is also another dimension to our awakening state and this is called ‘spiritual emergency’. This occurs naturally as we go ever deeper within our journey and everything within is let loose. The term ‘spiritual emergency’ is even less well known unless you are into transpersonal psychology or caring for someone undergoing transformational change. The terms spiritual emergence and spiritual emergency were first coined by Grof, S and Grof, C in 1989 (47): “ the term ‘spiritual emergency’ (psycho-spiritual crisis), … alludes to their positive potential…..this term is a play on words reflecting the similarity between the word ‘emergency’ (a suddenly appearing acute crisis) and ‘emergence’ (surfacing or rising). It thus suggests both a problem and opportunity to rise to a higher level of psychological functioning and spiritual awareness”. They go on to say: “ If they are correctly understood and supported, these psycho-spiritual crises can result in emotional and psychosomatic healing, remarkable psychological transformation, and consciousness evolution”.



I argue strongly that the term ‘spiritual emergency’ relates to a state of societal understandings and responses which in many respects is unrelated to the experience of an individual undergoing the spiritual emergence itself. The Oxford English Dictionary (50) defines ‘emergency’ as “ a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action”. Societal responses to an individual ‘deep into their journey’ also come in many flavours and hues. Those undergoing spiritual emergence (called emergees) are sometimes viewed as being ‘troublesome’, ‘special’, or simply ‘spiritual’. Some individuals may sometimes be considered ‘troublesome’ in the sense that during and following emergence/emergency, those individuals no longer conform to past behaviours and persona. Arguably, it is the inability of society in general to simply say that spiritual emergees are just different, rather than thinking they are somehow ‘special’ or ‘spiritual’. In a widely expanded view of our spiritual nature, we are all ‘special’ yet different with unique paths back to Source. The pursuit of super consciousness itself is all about raising the consciousness of the Human Collective and is not a race to individualised enlightenment. We are that which we seek: we are individuated strands of God-Source having a 3D experience. That is the paradox within Life, explained in one short sentence. Spiritual emergencies in all their exquisite expressions are not, however, bounded by 3D concepts, constructs, procedures or ideas. Therefore, the path of the spiritual emergee should not be defined, classified and categorised based on what is commonly understood of observed behaviours as they play out. Rather, much of the drama surrounding these issues is largely based on incomplete understanding of what is going on both by the emergee and society in general.

Spiritual emergence will bring to surface vexing personal issues and strip away anything that is not working in our lives. Some will awaken gently to new vistas of thought and heightened consciousness yet others will feel the rug of their particular reality violently shaken, stripped away and laid bare. Some of us may experience disorientation and confusion regarding who we think we are, where we are, what our purpose is and most importantly, what has happened to us. The analogy of several wash and spin cycles of who we think we are springs to mind (no pun intended). Spiritual emergency represents an intense period of our inner journey, i.e. the breaking apart of perceived mind constructs and associations. Goel (1) says, “almost everything in your mind will fall like pins”. Thus, everyone in your life will be affected.


Before the ‘new’ you comes into being however, the ‘old’ you has to be split apart and re-configured. Therefore, spiritual emergence is a sacred process of remembrance in which ideas of Self-identity or ‘little me’ are broken apart in order to allow in a much bigger perspective or expanded awareness of consciousness. One of the temporary dangers of spiritual emergences or emergencies is likely to be the loss of context within our own reality constructs e.g. how we define ourselves in relation to status, job and all the other labels and boxes we or society put us in. During this birthing process it may feel like our ego or small ‘I’ is literally fighting for its survival. In one significant sense it is. By dent of free will life choices, we experience and define ourselves differently from each other. Thus, each spiritual emergence or expanded awareness of consciousness is as unique as the geometry of a snowflake. Some will shift to more expansive visions of themselves harmoniously whilst others may experience total loss of Self, leading to self-harm or suicidal tendencies. Each journey is different and the awakening process itself is pregnant with shock and awe, never-ending and indefinable. During the course of spiritual emergence it is not possible for society to judge events or outcomes as they arise.

Arguably, not all individuals arrive into 3D unaware of whom or what they are. They simply remember their abilities and Life Purpose from a previous existence. Mozart for example was a master of harmonious frequencies, gifted with an inner knowing of sound geometry seemingly from a very early age. His music was coded geometrically to serve and enhance the existence and experiences of those who listened to it. Similarly, Nikola Tesla discovered some fundamental natural laws of creation and invented practical machines and devices related to the use of electromagnetism. These inventions are detailed in his work on AC (alternating current) theory. Within this same vein of thought, Van Gogh (2) appeared from a 3D perspective to experience a real dark journey of the mind whilst painting his visions of reality i.e. the vibrant colours and hues of the life forces (auras) he saw around plants, animals and people. In spite of the gifts these individuals produced for the betterment of society, they were viewed as geniuses yet, socially unbalanced or flawed individuals. In other words, how we as a society perceive spiritual awakening as genius or gifts beyond imagination, tells us more about ourselves rather than what is actually playing out within those individuals. We starseeds are so full of wonder, majesty and uniqueness that if we were just able to stand one second outside our manufactured matrix of ‘little me’ to see the All of It, we would simply sink into Gaia and utter ‘wow’.

Like most things today, however, the cliché, mind, body, spirit appears to be, back to front? Perhaps a simple re-arrangement of these words could be, spirit, mind and body? Language, grammar and how we express ourselves is capable of subliminally altering the very essence of what we are trying to understand and experience; it’s a delicate balance and an art in itself. Thus, language and its written form is a poor substitute for the expression of intuitive knowing and feeling; much is lost in translation. We are not our mind and body; we are Pure Consciousness simply having a 3D experience. Spiritual emergence in all its exquisite expressions could then be viewed as a sacred and natural process of spiritual evolution, appropriate to our frequency, consciousness, intent and Life Purpose.

Namaste, Ellis