If you are experiencing a spiritual awakening or a spiritual emergency, this advice will help to prevent you from derailing your journey of transformation. Finding the right help during this time is imperative to prevent setbacks.
What is a spiritual awakening?
A spiritual awakening is an awakening to your higher consciousness that shifts your life, sometimes drastically, and invites you into a new, more spiritual way of living. This process can take place over years or can erupt spontaneously, with varying degrees of severity. To learn more about my personal experience, see my previous post Breaking Down the Hidden Dangers of Spiritual Awakening.
A spiritual emergency occurs when an awakening experience contains symptoms that create a crisis. Living in the Western world, the types of mystical and spiritual experiences that have occurred all over the globe and for millennia, can be disturbing and cause experiencers to question reality, all they have been taught, and essentially everything about their lives. When experiencing a spiritual emergency, having a loving support system to allow them to experience the awakening symptoms safely and without judgment can bring healing and transformation.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
During my own awakening I experienced a spiritual emergency. I recovered with the support of my family. Once I regained equilibrium, I knew that I needed an expert to assist me. Other than my family, I relied on few different practitioners for assistance. I had good experiences, bad experiences, and one pretty ugly experience with a provider who was potentially dangerous in their practices.
Experiencing a spiritual awakening when you are not already immersed with a teacher of any kind can be very confusing and distressing. There are a number of resources that can help. I used everything I could find to help, including a therapist, a yoga therapist, and reached out to several yoga teachers. My experience has been that a rare few could understand what I was going through, though often they would not outwardly say so. This is when we must rely on our power of discernment.
We have tools to determine what we need. During spiritual awakening, and often after, intuition is heightened. We tend to know when someone isn’t being truthful, synchronicities will happen that are revealing, and sometimes even bigger signs appear. The trick is we have to listen to our inner guidance and trust ourselves.
Finding the right support can be a daunting task, wading through resources to find authentic practitioners as well as what is a good fit for our own situation. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the good until after I’d experienced the bad, and the ugly situations that sent me on a continued search. But, even those bad experiences teach us, and potentially provide resources that can be helpful. Those things that serve us, if we pay attention, can help us hold out until we find the support we need.
After an alarming spontaneous awakening that brought my ego up swinging, my whole life upended. I quickly and unexpectedly moved across several states, and my life was by most measures, in shambles. I had my small family and my pets, but all else had fallen away and I had not one other piece of solid ground to stand on. I had given up my career, my home, my friends; in an odd and unintended process, my whole life changed. Unbeknownst to me, I was about to take a giant step into the dark night of the soul.
I was far from understanding that was going to happen because I was still grappling with the spontaneous awakening and the events that unfolded during what was an intense two weeks following the initial sort of spiritual explosion.
I was in a new house, in an unknown neighborhood, in an unknown city, still not unpacked; I searched the internet for a therapist, a yoga teacher, anyone who might understand and offer support. I reached out to a couple of yoga instructors, emailing a short description of what was happening to me, and asking specific questions. The responses I received back were less than welcoming and it was clear the instructors were not knowledgable about what was happening to me, through me.
I was perplexed by the lack of knowledge and understanding I received. Beyond that, it seemed that these instructors were uncomfortable with the topic altogether, when I thought they would be the experts. I was stuck between feeling what was transpiring was beautiful, a gift, and thinking that instead, maybe there was something wrong with me.
When I struggled to find assistance through yoga, which I had practiced sporadically throughout my life, I put my search on the back burner, deciding that the teacher that was meant for me would come to me. That was how The Universe worked, right? When we are struggling, we let go, and then the thing that we need comes to us? I’d heard enough Abraham Hicks to believe that was what I needed to do. Stop searching, trust, and receive.
But NOTHING HAPPENED! At least that’s how it felt. I was just there with all of my feelings, confusion, and mystical experiences, and I was honestly worried that I may be crazy. I became more anxious and more confused as the days went on, and I knew that I was beginning to gain clarity on some of the things I had experienced but I didn’t trust that I held the knowledge I needed to figure it all out.
Then, one night while on Instagram, I came across a yoga therapist at a new yoga studio near my home. The studio was inclusive, their mission was progressive, and this was a yoga therapist, something I didn’t even know existed. I thought I’d found my support system. So I emailed and we began communicating. I was relieved to know she had experienced an awakening herself. I scheduled a phone consultation appointment.
During the consultation appointment, I completely trauma-dumped some of my experiences and she sat listening. I felt foolish and more than a little bonkers. I accepted service and I was offered two payment plans; pay by session or take a discount and pay all at once. Pay attention because this is where I made my first mistake: I was reacting to the relief of being offered support by someone who claimed to be knowledgable about awakening experiences, without taking a step back to evaluate and listen to my inner guidance, I paid in-full for several weeks of yoga therapy. There was to be an appointment in-person each week, and a check-in call once a week.
At her request, I completed a deep-dive assessment, offering personal information about my family, my childhood, my religion, my diet, my sexuality, my sex life; a more thorough intake than you would complete for an actual therapist. She continually explained to me that she was not licensed as a therapist by choice, and only because there were situations, such as working with suicidal clients, where the regulations were too strict. I ate it up like pure sugar. I was just relieved to find help.
Mistake 3 (Ugh, I know and we aren’t even finished yet.)
When she offered her background and education, I looked the school up like the responsible person I am. The thing was, when I went to the website, I could see the school seemed legitimate, but when I clicked on one of the links to their additional school in India, it went to some gambling website in a completely different country. I assumed this was just an old website they had stopped maintaining, and didn’t ask about it. At this point I noticed the red flags, but I explained them away while also feeling uncertain about the services I had paid for.
Feeling uncomfortable about everything at that moment, I almost cancelled the services when she then contacted me to say my payment hadn’t gone through, and that it had been flagged as fraudulent. I paid through PayPal, which was legitimate and connected to an account with ample funds that I had maintained for several years. I contacted my bank and they warned me that this was not a situation I should continue with. I assumed (again with the assuming) that this was a mistake, and that things would iron themselves out.
Mistake 4 (If we’re all still counting.)
The problem, I didn’t realize until much later, wasn’t that I had been flagged as fraudulent. She had reversed the deposit of funds because they would take too long to process. She then cancelled the payment and requested I instead pay another way. I understood what she had done and how this had transpired only later, when I realized she had accidentally sent me the receipt of cancellation in an email, which had nothing to do with my account being flagged. By then, I had already paid her and felt like I had to continue forward.
The number of times my inner guidance led me away from this person is astounding, and it’s embarrassing that I didn’t follow it. I’m humiliated to share this with you, but I really wish someone had told me all of this.
I finally called it off.
My concerns were building, but I couldn’t get a scheduled appointment with her to discuss them. Every appointment we had was rescheduled by her. When I finally called it off, I was only four weeks into therapy, and the weekly sessions were not happening. There was an excuse each week. Some of them were long and personal, including details about her friend being abused, things that were triggering and uncomfortable for me. I felt like I was her therapist, roles reversed.
The one session I actually had at the studio, she told me the space was haunted, that it had bad vibes from previously being a church, and that it had also been broken into, describing damage to deity statues. My eyes were open to the clear indication she didn’t want to use the space. The information she continually provided was manipulative and I couldn’t figure out why she seemed to want to scare me away from the studio. She continually asked if we could do the sessions in my home, which she would then charge more for. It seemed she did everything she could to sabotage the “therapy” I had paid for.
From there, our conversations became strained and abusive. She lied, twisted my personal details, made me sound insane, and gaslighted me. I finally ended the relationship, after receiving only two sessions. A refund was denied to me even though she broke our agreement several times. My only recourse was to send the information to my attorneys.
I didn’t. I chose not to. I decided to let it go. She clearly wasn’t well, and shouldn’t have been teaching yoga of any kind, or practicing therapy in any form. What I decided was that taking money for services that hadn’t been provided isn’t ethical; it isn’t moral, and it’s illegal, but money is energy. When someone takes money from you, it comes back eventually. I knew that if I let it go, settled my heart, and moved on, the money would find its way back. I decided I would give her no more of my peace.
Clearly I was desperate to be understood and to understand what was happening to me. I was in a deep transformational phase, and I was grasping for help. I was at the end of my rope, and I was taken advantage of. I knew I was sane. I knew I was experiencing something special, something transformational, mystical, and I wanted to understand it. I was deflated. And I was humiliated.
Finally, the Good.
After a great deal of searching, I found a transpersonal therapist. A transpersonal therapist is a therapist that integrates spiritual beliefs into their therapy practice. I knew I wasn’t mentally ill. I knew that although I had trauma in my past, I had actively healed a lot of it throughout my life, and that I was experiencing something that was spiritual in nature. I needed validation and I needed guidance. I needed to feel inspired by what was happening to me rather than afraid of it.
The transpersonal therapist was able to help me, and quickly. From the first session she gave me practical and useful practices to help me regain my equilibrium and to empower me to understand and then to integrate the experiences I was having. She ruled out several mental illnesses, and her final opinion was that I was experiencing something mystical. In just a few sessions she was able to help me realize that I was in charge of my awakening, and I was able to begin my spiritual practices again.
How to find safe and supportive help during your spiritual awakening.
- Do your research. Answer the Who, what, when, where, and why for the provider. Make certain you are comfortable with their certifications, philosophy, and ask a lot of questions. Anyone worth their salt will not mind offering their qualifications.
- Pay attention to red flags. It can be easy to ignore the red flags when we feel confused and our lives have slipped topsy-turvy. It’s important to write down anything that is concerning you and ask about it, get whatever it is out in the open.
- Trust the signs and your inner guidance. You can see from my bad experiences, I knew something wasn’t right. In the ugly experience, I saw the signs, but I put them away. This was costly for me, and I hope that you can avoid it by paying attention to the signs. Never ignore your inner guidance, especially when finding support for your healing journey.
- Use your most powerful tool; discernment. You know what’s best for you. You know you and you know what you need, even if during your awakening you may sometimes feel confused or maybe even crazy.
- Never pre-pay. You likely won’t get your money back. Anyone who is taking advantage of your situation isn’t likely going to be more considerate where the money is involved.
- Pay attention to boundaries. If the support you are considering seems to cross boundaries, makes you feel uncomfortable, or blames you, you may be in the wrong company. From my own experience, the yoga therapist I was working with couldn’t make our first appointment because she lost her keys. Which she then blamed on my powerful energies. Yep.
- Consistency is key. If it’s difficult to get a consistent and regular appointment, if the provider doesn’t seem to have themselves together, this is a clue that they may not possess the ability to be a support for you.
I received all the guidance I needed during my journey to find support. Some I listened to, and some I didn’t. Ignoring my inner guidance derailed me, but it taught me an important lesson in self-trust. No derailing of our journey is particularly useless; we always get where we need to go eventually. I could have saved myself some money, and a good chunk of time as well as some humiliation, but at the end, I was proud of how I handled myself.
I chose peace for myself, and I learned quickly that even though I’d come to a place in my life that was confusing and nothing like the life I had planned and created for myself, with all it’s predictability, and all it’s stability, I had something much greater, trust in myself.
Finally, with the help of a transpersonal therapist, I was able to trust myself. I had been flailing for a year before I found some sense of stability and that stability was within me the entire time. Once I began to trust myself, I was able to move forward and better connect with my higher guidance. You are the expert; you contain infinite knowledge; you just have to trust yourself and trust the healing process. Essentially, that is what spiritual awakening is; it’s a healing journey. A beautiful though often difficult journey that will shower gifts along the path if we are brave enough to fully commit to it.