Spiritual emergencies are moments of awakening and ego-shift which can be profoundly beautiful and meaningful, but also disturbing and terrifying. They can have aspects of psychosis, such as mania and hallucinations, but handled right they are temporary stages in a person’s growth rather than the beginning of a lifelong biological pathology.

If you’re going through a spiritual emergency, don’t worry, others have gone through them and come out OK. Focus on your set, setting and integration.

Set means your mind set. Try and focus on the present, without worrying about the past or future. Accept what you’re going through, and observe whatever arises with compassion and curiosity. Practice breathing slowly, and connecting to your body. Take care of yourself , eat properly, and try to get proper sleep. Spend time in nature, and with loved ones who can support you at this turbulent stage. It can also be helpful to find a sympathetic therapist, and medication may be helpful too.

Click here for an article about spiritual emergencies and what to do to navigate them.

I’m co-editing a book of first-person accounts of spiritual emergencies. If you’ve been through a spiritual emergency and have practical insights and useful advice to share, click here to find out how you could contribute.

Here are some other useful resources. This collection of essays on Spiritual Emergency, edited by Stanislaf Grof and Christina Grof, is excellent. Walking Shadows, by Dr Tim Read, is also excellent. Also check out When Things Fall Apart and The Places That Scare You, both by Pema Chodron.  You might also like my own books, The Art of Losing Control, and Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations.

In terms of support, there is the International Spiritual Emergence Network,  the Hearing Voices Network, and the Spiritual Crisis Network in the UK. If you’re having trouble integrating a psychedelic experience, there are support groups for that, and therapists who specialize in transpersonal work (transpersonal psychology is a field of psychology that is open to spiritual experiences, including spiritual emergencies).

If you want to contact me about a specific inquiry, email jules.evans@mac.com

Here are some videos from an event we did in London, in which four speakers provide practical advice on what helped them (or their clients) through spiritual crises: