Spiritualizing pathology

 

In the anthology Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis, Stanislav Grof writes about pathologizing spirit and spiritualizing pathology.

I don’t like the terminology so much…. it seems a bit harsh and polarized. But it’s still an important topic.

Pathologizing symptoms of awakening. Symptoms of a spiritual awakening – and perhaps especially when it takes the form of a spiritual emergency – can be taken as symptoms of a physical or mental illness, and this often happens when health professionals in the west (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists) are involved and uneducated on the topic. This is unfortunate since a real understanding of what’s happening, and a supportive environment, is the best way of supporting someone going through this. This is a pathologizing of a quite normal – although sometimes dramatic – process of awakening. (At the same time, this experience will then be part of the awakening process, and material for inquiry and something to be loved and seen through. It may be unfortunate in a conventional sense, and yet valuable – since it has happened – in the bigger picture.)

Spiritualizing pathology. The reverse can also happen. We may not address what’s surfacing to be healed and loved.  In an awakening process, wounds, trauma, hangups and discomfort – anything in us we have made into an “enemy” – will surface to be loved and seen through. And we may use “spiritual” ideas to tell ourselves we don’t need to face it.

………..
………..
………..

 

– spiritualizing pathology – or, at least, not addressing what wants love/healing/seeing through
– patologizing spirituality – spiritual emergency, insights etc.

…………
…………
…………

In the anthology Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis, Stanislav Grof writes about pathologizing spirit and spiritualizing pathology.

I don’t like the terminology so much…. it seems a bit harsh and polarized. But it’s still an important topic.

Symptoms of a spiritual awakening – and perhaps especially when it takes the form of a spiritual emergency – can be taken as symptoms of a physical or mental illness, and this often happens when health professionals in the west (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists) are involved and uneducated on the topic. This is unfortunate since a real understanding of what’s happening, and a supportive environment, is the best way of supporting someone going through this. This is a pathologizing of a quite normal – although sometimes dramatic – process of awakening.

The reverse can also happen. We may not address what’s surfacing that needs healing and love.  In an awakening process, wounds, trauma, hangups and discomfort – anything in us we have made into an “enemy” – will surface to be loved and seen through. And we may use “spiritual” ideas to tell ourselves we don’t need to face it.

…………

The reverse can also happen. We may not address wounds, trauma, hangups and discomfort. In an awakening process, anything in us we have made into an “enemy” will surface to be loved and seen through. And we may use “spiritual” ideas to tell ourselves we don’t need to face it.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.