Inspirational Passages for the
Spiritual Crisis Experience



The passages below have been taken from various books. They are meant to inform, inspire and encourage anyone who is experiencing a severe spiritual crisis in their lives at the present time.

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"For some individuals, however, the transformational journey of spiritual development becomes a 'spiritual emergency," a crisis in which the changes within are so rapid and the inner states so demanding that, temporarily, these people find it difficult to operate fully in everyday reality." (1)

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Throughout history, people in intense spiritual crises were acknowledged by many cultures as blessed; they were thought to be in direct communication with the sacred realms and divine beings. Their societies supported them through these crucial episodes, offering sanctuary and suspending the usual demands." (1)

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"I no longer knew who I was or where I was going, my identity in the world was gone, and I did not feel in control of my life anymore." (1)

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"To understand the problem of spiritual emergency, one has to see it in a larger context of 'spiritual emergence,' ... that leads to a more mature and fulfilling way of life." (1)

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"When spiritual emergence is very rapid and dramatic,... this natural process can become a crisis, and spiritual emergence becomes spiritual emergency. People who are in such a crisis are bombarded with inner experiences that abruptly challenge their old beliefs and ways of existing, and their relationship with reality shifts very rapidly. Suddenly they feel uncomfortable in the formerly familiar world and may find it difficult to meet the demands of everyday life." (1)

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"It is important to realize that even the most dramatic and difficult episodes of spiritual emergency are natural stages in the process of spiritual opening..." (1)

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"One of the first questions most frequently asked during discussions of spiritual emergency is: How does one differentiate between spiritual emergency and psychosis?... The first important criterion is the absence of any medical condition that can be detected by existing diagnostic tools." (1)

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"Confronted with the fear of losing control (of one's life), the mind and the ego become very ingenious in their efforts to hang on..." (1)

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"During the existential (spiritual) crisis, one feels cut off from the deeper self, higher power, or God...  The result is the most devastating kind of loneliness, a total and complete alienation that penetrates one's entire being." (1)

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"She was going through a process of self-discovery... She did not know that she had entered a "dark night" experience." (2)

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"Much has been written about the nature of the personal spiritual journey... and... the stages of separation that are necessary in order to form a fully consciousness bond with the Divine. At each stage comes experiences of exquisite mystical transcendence as well as feelings of depression, madness, and extraordinary isolation unknown to ordinary human experience." (2)

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The 'symptomology' of a spiritual crisis is almost identical to that of a psychological crisis... The (spiritual) crisis begins with an awareness of an absence of meaning and purpose that cannot be remedied merely by shuffling the external components of one's life. (2)

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"The absence of meaning, the loss of self-identity, and the need for devotion are the three strongest symptoms indicating a person has entered into the 'dark night'... these characteristics are similar to common psychological dilemmas that people experience. Yet their root is spiritual... the cause of the crisis is within." (2)

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"Enduring the 'dark night' requires faith, prayer, and if at all possible, a spiritual director... and above all, hold onto the truth that all dark nights end with a light illuminating a new path." (2)

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"The significance of abandonment, I now realize, is that it represents a question from God: Are you capable of believing in Me even in the Darkest night?'... Your own spirit breaks during the abandonment, and you realize that the only way through that hell is to turn back to God and accept the terms of the Divine, regardless of what heaven asks of you from that point forwards." (3)

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"In the Okinawan culture such a state (spiritual emergency) is called kamidari. It is a period when a person's spirit suffers, a time of trial during which he or she cannot operate rationally. The community supports such an individual, recognizing the distraught condition as a sign that he or she is close to God. Afterward, such a person is regarded as one who has a divine mission, perhaps that of a healer or teacher." (1)

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"... what is actually dying is the old ways of being that are inhibiting an individuals growth.  In many traditions, the notion of 'dying before dying' is essential to spiritual advancement." (1)

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"The state of detachment from roles, relationships, the world, and oneself is another form of symbolic death... In Buddhism, attachment, or clinging to the material world, is seen as the root of suffering, and releasing it as a key to spiritual liberation." (1)

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"... it is necessary for an old mode of existence to 'die' in order to make way for a new self; the ego must be destroyed before a larger self-definition becomes available. This is known as ego death... Although it (ego death) is one of the most beneficial, most healing events in spiritual evolution, it can seem disastrous." (1)

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"After going through an ego-death experience, a middle-aged woman remembers her feelings of total destruction: 'Afterwards, someone congratulated me on my courage at putting the pieces of myself back together. But there were no pieces left, not even a shred. Everything I thought I was had been demolished.'" (1)

And when the crisis is over...

"They may have a sense of being reborn and rejuvenated; they feel very different than they did at the start of the journey, born into a healthier relationship with themselves and the world." (1)

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A sense of renewal may or may not happen all at once. Some people experience a sudden resolution of their emergency and a rapid and easy transition into a new, effective way of being. Most people, however, go through a time of reentry during which they are somewhat unsure of themselves and their place in the world." (1)

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"During a spiritual emergency much, perhaps everything, changes. The path is often rough and difficult to navigate, but it eventually leads to peace and inner freedom. Coming home , you will chop your wood and carry your water, but in an entirely new way.  And though you may very well be aware that enlightenment still awaits you, you experience increasingly more light along the way" (1)

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Caroline Myss says the following...

"Always, a shift in awareness includes a period of isolation and loneliness as one gets accustomed to the new level of truth. And then always, new companions are found. No one is left alone for long."

"... and above all, hold onto the truth that all dark nights end with a light illuminating a new path."

Christina and Stanislov Grof had this to say...

"The vividness of your experience will fade, but its memory and impact will never leave you."

"In the Okinawan culture such a state (spiritual crisis/divine madness) is called kamidari. It is a period when a person's spirit suffers, a time of trial during which he or she cannot operate rationally. The community supports such an individual, recognizing the distraught condition as a sign that he or she is close to God. Afterward, such a person is regarded as one who has a divine mission, perhaps that of a healer or teacher."

The key to spiritual crisis, especially the all-consuming kind, is that these tests of faith are meant to bring one to a state of surrender... to God. I am convinced that this is the end-point, with detachment and a deep desire to serve humanity, being the major side effects.

There is nothing easy about the profound inner change brought on by the dark night. Incredibly, there is a simple way out but it is not as easy as it sounds... releasing it all to God, not with resignation but with joy and gratitude. Saying it requires little effort. Living it hour after hour, day after day is where the real challenge lies. Blind trust, faith and acceptance is not easy to achieve but it is the end-point of spiritual crisis.

As you go through your test, there will also be a period of waiting. This is another difficult lesson, a very big challenge indeed... waiting for the test to end, waiting for God's help and then waiting for your life to become meaningful and purposeful once again."   

Here is Caroline Myss once more...

"I have yet to find a person pursuing a path of conscious awakening who has not experienced a time of 'waiting,' during which his or her interior is reconstructed."

"So many people struggling to find their way are in that necessary but confusing state of waiting. A part of each of them is eager to allow the Divine will to direct their lives, yet they remain tormented by the fear that they will lose all comfort on the physical plane should they actually surrender to it. So they are held in a waiting position until they are strong enough to release that fear and embrace the deeper truth that 'all will be well' -- not 'well' by our definition, perhaps, but by God's."

"One may experience the painful ending of many phases of life, such as a marriage or occupation. But I have yet to meet the person who felt that the real end result of uniting with Divine authority was not worth the price." 

Here's another very useful insight by Ron Roth who also endured a dark night before finding his real path in life...

"The significance of abandonment, I now realize, is that it represents a question from God: 'Are you capable of believing in Me even in the darkest night?'

"Your own spirit breaks during the abandonment, and you realize that the only way through that hell is to turn back to God and accept the terms of the Divine, regardless of what heaven asks of you from that point forward. The memory of the 'dark night' remains in your consciousness as a reference point, keeping you aligned to God, humble and forever aware that your resurrection can come at any time, no matter how dark the night."

1. "The Stormy Search for Self" Christina/Stanislav Grof, M.D. 
2. "Anatomy of the Spirit" by Caroline Myss, Ph.D.
3. Quote by Ron Roth from the book "Anatomy of the Spirit."

 


~ Soul-to-Soul Spiritual Crisis Connection

Dark Night Symptoms

References

Inspiring Crisis Quotes

Spiritual Crisis Links

Carolyn Myss' Inspiring Story of 
Marnie's Dark Night

Personal Dark Night Experiences of 
Visitors to This Page

My Dark Night Crisis and 
Surrender and Detachment

 

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