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So-called ‘Schizophrenia’ as ‘Spiritual Emergency’

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Apotheosis

Guest
Abstract: Much needless suffering results from ignorance of the multidimensional nature of the human personality, human psyche or ‘human nature’. Insights on the nature of human nature are revealed by combining Western scientific research with new concepts provided by Eastern psychologies such as Buddhism. These insights can be applied to the study of the healthy healing process involving psychic overload of uncontrollable spiritual growth i.e. spiritual emergency or so-called 'schizophrenia'. Schizophrenia is not a 'mental illness' but an intense transpersonal or ‘spiritual’ experience involving spiritual awakening or ‘spiritual emergence’.

It is a chaotic and uncontrollable self-organizing process which represents positive transformation of the self and has been designated as a psychospiritual crisis or 'spiritual emergency'. The apparent 'craziness' of spiritual emergency reveals the passage into a higher consciousness state required for effective adaptability. The result is so-called 'individuation', 'self-realisation', 'self-actualisation', 'spiritual renewal' or 'rebirth' and represents the affirmation of a life of total well-being or 'high level wellness'. Spiritual emergency is a part of the human condition and involves the 'beyond ego' or 'transpersonal' dimension of human nature. It is therefore a concern of so-called 'depth psychology', also known as 'spiritual psychology' or 'transpersonal psychology'.

Schizophrenia has been described as a nonspecific disease by the psychiatric profession. This supposedly devastating condition was originally named by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926). Kraepelin believed that the condition involved an irreversible mental deterioration and coined the term 'dementia praecox' - Latin for 'prematurely out of one's mind'. It later became clear that the term was a misnomer and a new term was coined in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (1857-1939) who was noted for his kindness and humanity. Bleuler was the teacher of Carl Jung and professor of psychiatry at the University of Zürich where he headed the famous Burghölzli Clinic. Since the condition seemed to involve a mental split between thought and emotion, Bleuler coined the term 'schizophrenia' for 'splitting of the mind'. The term is derived from German 'schizophrenie' from Greek 'skhizein' meaning 'to split' and 'phren' of unknown origin meaning 'heart or mind'. According to Greek etymology, ‘schizophrenia’actually means 'broken soul' or 'broken heart’.

Although there is still no universally accepted definition of the term, it has been applied to many so-called 'mental illnesses' including a set of socially and culturally unacceptable thinking and behaviour patterns which other people greatly dislike thus making it a model of ‘unwanted conduct’. The condition is largely misunderstood as a result of people’s fear of the unknown.
It turns out that schizophrenia is not a disease or ‘mental illness’. It is not a hopeless condition but a brilliant one. In fact schizophrenia is a personal 'story' which involves a natural and temporary self-organising transformative process or crisis of transformation, a ‘psychospiritual crisis’ now known as 'spiritual emergency' - the term coined by psychiatrist Stanislav Grof. Spiritual emergency is a self-healing process involving the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs originating in the programming of social conditioning which gives rise to aberrant thought complexes and prevent the person from making accurate evaluations for effective decision-making and appropriate social adaptation.

In a period of spiritual emergency, the person instinctively surrenders to a spontaneous organismic process involving the temporary separation of thought and emotion (‘ego-loss’) which is necessary for the reassessment of their thoughts without having to deal with the emotional implications. The person undergoes a series of varying stages or ‘episodes’ and eventually learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the expectations of others to a higher consciousness state and a new level of awareness. The state of so-called ‘ego-transcendance’ is characterised by an inner sense of emotional liberation which allows for increased creativity and the discovery of ideas and behaviours which increase the effectiveness of social adaptability. Ego-transcendence purifies and sharpens consciousness and therefore results in clarity and a true perception of reality. Accurate perception is a function of moral consciousness or 'intuition' of rational conscience and depends on complete moral or 'spiritual development’ – the defining characteristic of the human psyche or human personality i.e. ‘human nature’.

And what is human nature? Human nature can be defined in terms of the universal moral values of humanness, the social values required for survival of the species as a social species i.e. ‘human values’. Human values are universal values of moral justice, understanding or 'knowledge', social responsibility or ‘peace’, wisdom of compassion or 'loving kindness' and so on. Awareness of human values results in heightened intuition and social intelligence which is necessary for effective adaptation to the complexities of changing social conditions i.e. 'adaptability'. Human adaptability is a function of the social nature of the human organism as a social organism with instincts for social cooperation and social harmony i.e. ‘social instincts’.

These must be cultivated in a process of development of moral consciousness or ‘conscience’. Rational conscience is a product of moral or ‘spiritual’ growth based on the preservation of the integrated functioning of the personality and involves transformation of the self or 'enlightenment' of so-called 'spiritual emergence'.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
"In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one's life and in the universal scheme of things. Spiritual development is an innate evolutionary capacity of all human beings. It is a movement towards wholeness or 'holotropic state', the discovery of one's true potential." (Stanislav Grof)

Spiritual emergence is a gradual dynamic, fluid, naturally ordered and integrated on-going process of personal development into greater maturity and spiritual awareness and involves personal evolution from the limited sense of self or 'ego' and its egocentric perspective to the expanded sense of self beyond ego… the ‘higher self’ or 'Self'… and its transpersonal perspective. The transpersonal perspective allows for the attainment of knowledge of one's true nature… or human nature… as the source of motivation for personal productiveness and creativity or ‘work’ i.e. 'self-knowledge'. As a result of transcendence of the 'ego or ‘ego-transcendence’, the consciousness is expanded, purified and sharpened to allow for a clearer perception of reality. The result is a sense of the wisdom of compassion an understanding of the ultimate connectedness or ‘unity’ of all things and an appreciation for the divinity of humanness. This spiritual awareness allows for more accurate evaluation of changing social conditions and more effective adaptability. Self-knowledge is the source of personal power and creativity i.e 'self-empowerment’.

Each person is at a different stage of spiritual emergence depending on the level of their moral or spiritual development.

Spiritual emergence takes place over a period of years and depends on conditions of freedom in education i.e. 'free education' or 'holistic education'. Holistic education is based on the necessary fulfilment of biologically based motives or ‘human needs’ which must be met in a process of normal moral or ‘spiritual’ development. Human needs include both 'lower' psychological needs for security and self-esteem - the 'ego needs' - and 'higher' psychological needs for moral or ‘spiritual’ development - the spiritual needs or ‘metaneeds’… instinctive yearnings for unconditional love, truth, beauty etc. Motivation by the metaneeds… metamotivation’… allows for the discovery of one’s true potential.

If in highly sensitive individuals the process of spiritual emergence is blocked for any reason the person might be warned that their growth is in grave danger and that they rapidly need to make adjustments which are for essential for effective adaptation. The transformation process of spiritual emergence can be so dramatic as to become uncontrollable and reach a point of crisis or emergency. So-called ‘spiritual emergency’ is known by many names such as transpersonal experience, transpersonal crisis, psycho-spiritual transformation, psycho-spiritual crisis, spiritual journey, hero's journey, dark night of the soul, spiritual opening, psychic opening, psychic awakening, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, kundalini awakening, kundalini process, kundalini crisis, shamanic initiation, shamanic crisis, psychotic-visionary episode, ego death, ego loss, alchemical process, positive disintegration, post traumatic stress disorder with psychotic features, night sea journey, psychosis, shamanism, mysticism, gnosis, inner apocalypse, and so on.

Spiritual emergency is a process of healing and renewal and is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities' in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences which in fact offer invaluable opportunities for personal growth. The experiences can be frightening and confusing because they appear to be out of context with everyday reality. As a result they are often misunderstood and discredited as being pathological. Hence the medical model of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ which in fact is a concern for psychology of the spiritual dimension of human nature i.e. ‘transpersonal psychology’.
 
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Apotheosis

Guest
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Napolean Today

Guest
Whilst I really do understand this what concerns me is how orgnaised pyschiatry might latch onto and misapply this kind of thinking by bringing in organsied religion. I mean there is significant evidence that being abused as a child plays a role in a proportion of people with schizophrenic episodes. So imagine the damage that might be done by a pyschiatrist directing a abuse victim to the local Roman Catholic priest? Spirituality is riddled with corrupt and a-spiritual paths & people. In some respects spirituality provides the role model that pyschiatry follows with the shrink acting as head priest. Like spiritual practice you occasionally find bright lights in the darkness of psyhciatry. There's a truf war going on but there really shouldn't be. The best way to avoid this is to focus on specific spiritual activities like Tai Che or Meditation and let the overall path of spiritual growth take it's own course. This 'self surrender' is something all spiritual paths have in common although pyschiatry would mistake it for fatalism and apathy.
 
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Apotheosis

Guest
I think that there needs to be a distinction made between religion & spirituality. & there ought to be balance here. Some people are going to find most help by going to a Doctor & getting meds; some are going to best be helped by exploring spirituality & finding 'alternative' means. Some people will find a mixture best. Does it have to be either or? I agree that there are certain difficulties with taking wholly the above perspectives, but there are obvious difficulties, to my my mind, with taking a wholly orthodox perspective as well. Each of us are individual; & I think that things should be approached, ideally; on an individual basis. There is no one size fits all.

I have explored spirituality, religion, psychiatry, & think that there are multiple reasons for what I have experienced. That things are part of a spectrum. I have personally found that I need to address the physical, mental & spiritual aspects of my condition. I am trying to focus more on the healthy living aspects of things at the moment - exercise, good diet, good environment, relaxation, & structure/routine. Of course allopathic medicine has a role & a place, a function & purpose. I just find that often the bio-medical, orthodox perspective can be narrow, & fixed. Is it not better to approach things in a more rounded way?

I do follow simple spiritual practices. I have become more & more disproving of religion as time has gone on. I practise Ti Chi & meditation, & explore different spiritual beliefs.

I find myself in a dilemma. I tend to think that the core of my own condition is a spiritual dilemma, or predominantly based in factors described in the original post. & so I have often fought against, opposed, resisted & avoided the orthodox paradigm & treatment. I do realise that there is also a physical aspect, & also the psychological aspect; of traumas, environmental influence & may other factors as well.

But 'maybe' reasons & primary factors for my condition is biological? & I'm best to work closely with a psychiatrist, embrace a medical solution with meds, & leave all this 'alternative' thinking behind? The problem is that I can't do that. I have friends who lean towards thinking along very similar lines to the ones that I do. The spiritual component, & psychological aspects are the ones that resonate with me & make most sense.

Maybe a higher dose of anti psychotics, some anti depressants, & some sleepers, would make a difference? Instead of a low dose of one med? But such a thing I have opposed, & it would be the anti thesis of what I have tried to follow & think is happening. Some days I have more doubt than others, & I do question whether I have got it right? But I am also aware of the times that I have been on high doses of meds & how zombified I was, & how shut down; that wasn't living. I felt a cosy, lethargic, drugged existence, but also came to the realisation that it was like I was dying - internally & physically.

What are the answers? I plod on, I try to consider all angles. I keep putting the work into a recovery. I have felt bad again recently, depressed, difficult emotions, difficulty getting stuff done. Would it be easier to throw all my cards on the table with the psych, go into a lot of detail about all my difficulties, & take whatever advice/meds that they give? I seriously wonder if it would. I get moments of contentment, overall I have a good life. Quite a few years ago I decided to get to a low dose of one med & make other certain changes to my life. I only have the life I have today because I decided to make those changes. Had I stayed on high doses of meds, then I seriously doubt that I would be living as I am today.

Are there any categorical or definite answers to all this stuff? A lot of the time it would all appear to just be about different perspectives. I battle with trying to be as accepting as I can; without becoming too apathetic, & looking at what I can change. It is often a painful process trying to separate out the two.

I'm not happy about being on meds, I want off them, I can't wholly accept that they are the best solution to things, even if they are just a part of things. I can't fully accept having to presently take them. I go between hope that I can recover enough to successfully get off them, to negativity that I am stuck on them. It is a dilemma. How does an individual best recover as fully as they can? How do you best integrate the experiences of very extreme states of mind/emotion, with living as fully as possible, & with as much support as possible - given the way our society is?
 
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Twylight

Guest
Yes, there is major difference between Religion and Spirituality

For me Religion brings up: thou shall not this and thou shalt that

And terrifying repercussions in an afterlife

Whereas Spirituality can go anywhere - there are no boundaries
 
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Twylight

Guest
Yes - Big differences.
It has been difficult to shrug off religion as it seems to be built into the english language
it's been a quest for some time to push spiriruality at the same time of losing Reiligion !
But I think were there..
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
It has been difficult to shrug off religion as it seems to be built into the english language
it's been a quest for some time to push spiriruality at the same time of losing Reiligion !
But I think were there..
On one hand yes, there has been a surge of interest in spirituality - on the other; the fanatics have become more fanatical.
 
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Twylight

Guest
I heard an article on BBC radio 4:
That the Roman Catholic Church have now accepted that they now believe in both Evolution and Creation

So the're admitting that at least part of the scriptures - are Bollocks.
 
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watchinghour

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Messages
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Australia for now.
I agree that you should follow your own spiritual path, under the auspices of ongoing research, meditation, and experience. Disassociation from the catholic church and its repressive dogma has been a significant contributing factor in preventing my situation from deteriorating any further...that and carefully filtering through the small amounts of mainstream media content I might consume. I don't see much of a difference between being herded through every gate by the religious powers-that-be like docile sheep and passively submitting to the controlling dictates of coventional psychiatry without so much as a single independent thought. I hate being controlled.
 
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watchinghour

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2009
Messages
13
Location
Australia for now.
I heard an article on BBC radio 4:
That the Roman Catholic Church have now accepted that they now believe in both Evolution and Creation

So the're admitting that at least part of the scriptures - are Bollocks.
Sounds like desperation to me, making more and more concessions so as to hang on to what little power, influence, and control they have left in the world.

Bollocks indeed.
 
schiz01

schiz01

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Excellent post Apotheosis....really enjoyed the vid at the end too.....i have traveled all over the place over the years....i seem to be for ever searching for answers.
Heres my take on it
People as well as animals live by an unspoken set of rules...a moral code of conduct if you will.....a deep inner feeling of whats right and wrong.....a deep inner feeling of self and belonging.Religions all over have capitalized on this for different reasons,good and bad.In our modern world it is easy to turn our back on religion and spiritual beliefs there fore loosing touch with the very essence of our being.

You could well be onto something with this train of thought and i think it certainly has it merits.
On the other hand i don't think you can rule out that there could be some physical reason or malfunction in the brain that can cause us problems.

Doing things and thinking things are different things and i don't think you can think your way out of schizophrenia just as you cant think your way to recovery after a stroke.Thinking has a big part to play in it of course but you have to physically be doing something as well.An example ....years ago i had an elderly chap take me under his wing and give me a job,he ran a scrap yard and would let me turn up and come and go as i pleased,he let me tag along and follow his lead so to speak,we never spoke much, instead concentrated on the task at hand.As time passed i spent more and more time there until i was there working full time.Albert the elderly chap who had helped me had been in the Vietnam war,he told me a story one day of when two of his friends were killed while they were down a fox hole waist deep in water and in complete darkness .Albert lived by bobbing down under the water and firing his gun at the enemy and killing them.He was on the front line and had obviously been affected deeply.He also had lost a child and had another seriously brain damaged after a drunk driver had driven into their parked car .His son also worked with us and was an inspiration by himself.

Point is by doing rather then thinking my mind kind of fixed itself ...Albert made sure i had breaks ,had food and had something to keep my hands and mind busy ...the rest took care of itself.
I actually went on to a much higher paying government job but the in house politics and stresses of the job made me become unwell again.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
You could well be onto something with this train of thought and i think it certainly has it merits.
On the other hand i don't think you can rule out that there could be some physical reason or malfunction in the brain that can cause us problems.
Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Yes, you are right. & where I have been at very much recently; is accepting & acknowledging the biological perspective(s) a bit more; that maybe a lot of these MH experiences; are due to biological factors, & that we are simply built differently to others.

But that this is then combined with how we react to things, & are influenced by other things - like a stress reaction, or a reaction to certain environmental circumstances. That these conditions are not operating in isolation. That biology is not a sole factor of cause; but operating within a complex interaction & influence with other factors.

Things are I think also very individual. People are different. & the likely hood to my mind is that each case is not exactly the same - that maybe in some people; the primary causes are biological; in others they may be more social/environmental/psychological, or in others spiritual - or a mixture of all; or a complex of factors. There does also appear to be a difference in outcomes/prognosis; in the way these conditions/experiences are dealt with & addressed. As with any health condition - different people react differently; & some people overcome things better than others (that is not to put down those that don't). Severity also differs, & in the ways, & areas that we are effected.

I do try to have a balance - there is the physical/biological component, there is also the mental/psychological component; & I think that there is also very much a spiritual component; & that these areas are all also very much intertwined in influence & effect. It is all perspectives at the end of the day. On balance I can't find definite conclusive factual proof for any one area being at main cause in my life for distress. So I have tried to factor in everything; I do think that a MH condition is highly complex, & a spectrum, or a complex of many different factors, & potential/possible causes. I try not to have this either/or thinking - yes it's biological, it's also psychological & spiritual; & environmental, & social, & inter personal, & everything in between - to my understanding.

I personally lean towards the idea that in many cases the 'causes' or the condition of the main diagnoses - especially psychosis/schizophrenia - is psychogenic in nature; with biological nuances. But I think that powerful medication can change this whole dynamic. I lean towards ideas of the trans-personal & spiritual as having the main component in these conditions. But I know that holding such views, puts me very much in a very small minority. Most people disagree with me on these things; & that is OK.

Doing things and thinking things are different things and i don't think you can think your way out of schizophrenia just as you cant think your way to recovery after a stroke.Thinking has a big part to play in it of course but you have to physically be doing something as well.
Yes, you are very much right again. It is action; & for me acceptance that is a very big part of things. But I have to balance the levels at which I can cope; especially with stress; with being as active & productive as possible. Again, I think that it is about balance; that there is not again an either/or case here; but that psychological, & therapeutic help; & a contemplative/meditative attitude should be balanced with activity & action.

Many years ago I really was convinced the answers to my life problems lay in my head; & I would get into some very thoughtful/introspective states, & go very much within my own mind. I was, in the past, predominantly trying to think my way out of addiction. It was an important & hard lesson for me to finally realise that far from the answers, or reality being inside my head/mind - that the truth was that it was most likely the last place that they were; & the fact of it was, that ironically, inside my mind was were all the problems were. I try to be more pragmatic today. That my head is very far from reality, or the truth, that many answers are not in there, reality is not inside my head - far from it. The brain/mind is a tool, & I try to treat it as such, I try to practise mindfulness, & detached observation of the mind. I am aware from 7 major periods of severe psychotic breakdowns - that I can be convinced that many things are happening & real - that simply aren't happening or real. I try to operate & function on the idea - that I am not my mind/thoughts/emotions - but am a whole which is more than the sum of it's parts. - I hope that makes sense?

An example ....years ago i had an elderly chap take me under his wing and give me a job,he ran a scrap yard and would let me turn up and come and go as i pleased,he let me tag along and follow his lead so to speak,we never spoke much, instead concentrated on the task at hand.As time passed i spent more and more time there until i was there working full time.Albert the elderly chap who had helped me had been in the Vietnam war,he told me a story one day of when two of his friends were killed while they were down a fox hole waist deep in water and in complete darkness .Albert lived by bobbing down under the water and firing his gun at the enemy and killing them.He was on the front line and had obviously been affected deeply.He also had lost a child and had another seriously brain damaged after a drunk driver had driven into their parked car .His son also worked with us and was an inspiration by himself.

Point is by doing rather then thinking my mind kind of fixed itself ...Albert made sure i had breaks ,had food and had something to keep my hands and mind busy ...the rest took care of itself.
I actually went on to a much higher paying government job but the in house politics and stresses of the job made me become unwell again.
There are good people out there. & I have met many who have inspired me too. It is very grounding doing physical things. Around 6 years ago, I spent a year in a carpentry workshop; it was low stress, & little pressure. We did some site work, installing wooden doors & windows, & in the shop, we renovated furniture, made benches, bird boxes & all sorts. We were also allowed to work on our own stuff too; & I made some very nice coffee tables; from some old oak, some boxes, & other things. The guy that ran the shop on the floor with us was a very kind man, he had one leg, & was overweight. He had spent his life devoted to helping ex offenders, recovering drug addicts, & people with MH difficulties. He died around a couple of years ago. It would seem that there are people out there that spend their energy & time in service to others. & I am well aware of the therapeutic value of doing so, however in such a small way we may do so.

I get where I can get far too 'cerebral' - it is good to focus on earthing things, & practical stuff. I have always enjoyed doing practical things with my hands, & I am usually happier doing so. For quite some years I worked full time in kitchens, & on building sites. But the stress factors were too much for me, & I used to become very unwell after a time. I also once worked in a garden nursery; which I enjoyed, I do love nature & plants; & the natural world I think can also be very grounding & healing.

I am looking to be starting voluntary work very soon, hopefully helping those with MH difficulties with basic computer skills, in a local MH drop in.
 
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