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Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis (New Consciousness Reader) Paperback – 1 Dec 1989

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (1 Dec. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874775388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874775389
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Stanislav Grof, M.D., is a psychiatrist with more than thirty years of research experience in nonordinary states of consciousness. He was born and educated in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and received an M.D. from Prague's Charles University School of Medicine, where he specialized in psychiatry. He was the principle investigator for a program at the Psychiatric Research Institute that explored the potential of psychedelic therapy. For his dissertation on this subject, he was awarded a Ph.D. by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
In 1967 he was invited to Johns Hopkins University as a clinical and research fellow and to the research unit of Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, where he continued his psychadelic research. In 1969 he was offered the position of chief of psychiatric research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and of assistant professor of psychology at Henry Phipps Clinic. The research team he headed systematically explored the value of psychedelic therapy in neurotics, alcoholics, drug addicts, and terminal cancer patients.
Stanislav continued these functions until 1973, when he moved to California and became scholar in residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Since that time, he has focused on exploring the potential of experimental psychotherapy without drugs, in addition to writing and conducting seminars worldwide. He is one of the founders and chief theoreticians of transpersonal psychology and the founding president of the International Transpersonal Association. He has published more than ninety papers in professional journals and is the author of Realms of the Human Unconscious, The Human Encounter with Death, LSD Psychotherapy, Beyond the Brain," "and" "The Adventure of Self-Discovery. He was also editor of the volumes Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science and Human Survival and Consciousness Evolution.


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This book is about the crisis and personal chaos that can result from personal transformation or spiritual emergence. In the east this is called kundalini, in the west it's usually called ascension or transformation and is frequently associated with transpersonal experiences and what we perceive as strange physical, emotional, mental and psychic symptoms. For anyone who has been through, is going through, or is trying to support someone else while this process is taking place this book is like a gift from heaven, a light shining on a dark path.
There are contributions from many eminent people with expertise in associated fields. Ranging from: psychologists; Assagioli and Laing to the great spiritual teacher Ram Dass. There are sections covering kundalini, psychic opening, UFO encounters and much, much more. There are no wasted words either, no padding, it gets straight down to the nitty-gritty.
There is a section on help for people in spiritual emergency and while this is mainly aimed at the professional therapist it makes useful reading. The type of help that might be needed in such an emergency is as vast as the variety of experience because much depends on cultural background, religious or spiritual affiliations, ones personal path of approach and what triggered it in the place; for most people there is a trigger. These can range from meditational and religious practices to emotional trauma and near death experiences and because of this, this book should be on the "required reading" list of all health care professionals and spiritual counsellors of all denominations.
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I remember running a tantra workshop in the Colorado mountains in the early 1990's. I was sat near the first aid tent resting when someone came by who was having a "bad trip" on acid. I was sitting cross legged in the lotus position and looking very relaxed and peaceful. They asked for my help and I brought them back to earth and relaxed them with "anapansati - the most grounding of mindfulness breathing techniques I knew at the time. It worked! I ended up spending the whole day helping many others come off their bad trips, hallucinations and panic attacks. Later when I was as student of the renowned and somewhat unconventional ( I call her approach original and creative)meditation teacher, Ruth Dennison who is based in the Joshua Tree Desert, California, - she told me of how meditation states can sometimes induce psychotic states, indeed, she had experienced this herself as retold in her recent published biography. I had never heard of these "spiritual emergency states" before but it did ring some bells with me. Five years earlier, I too had experienced some very uncomfortable and hallucinatory effects through very concentrated, long and intense meditation sessions where I was pushing myself too far to get results more quickly. I wished I had had Stan Grofs book at the time. I wouldn't have had to go through a painful process of thinking I was going mad and being riddled with anxiety attacks. After unsuccessfully seeking help from meditation teachers, therapists and anyone that might be able to help, I worked out my own way through it, very much in the way Grof and the experts he interviewed have done. 15 years on I remain a very healthy, calm, and relaxed person, and whereby meditation has become a way of life to me.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
As a psychiatrist of some 20 years i think the spiritual emergencies described in this book are quite rare. And when they happen the people involved usually have enough sense not to go to a psychiatrist. Grof is quite right that the average psychiatrist doesn't understand these conditions and would tend to pathologise and prescribe. The important point is that if supported these experiences can lead to growth and transformation. The support is most likely to come from other people who have had similar experiences, usually as part of their own spiritual journey.

Its a slim book, less than 250 pages and nearly 20 years old. I would have liked to have read more about the effects of holotropic breathwork, the work of Roger Woolger and robert Monroe to name a few - but this book is the authoritative text. The authors are the world experts in their field. Each chapter is different, rich in information and perspective, well argued and lucid. The book is a gem. Buy it.
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A great book and I just wish I'd bought it years ago as it explains all about spiritual emergency, and. I now know that this is what happened to me. I've been searching for answers for 15 years, and they are all in this book.
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I have read most all of Stan and Christina Grof's books and can honestly say they are not only well educated people, their books are very well written, practical, and really do offer the self seeker "help".

As a qualified Psychologist myself, Stan and Christina's work is down to earth, with a human element that is not on offer throughout the psychology community.
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I bought this for a present and from a wish list. I am fascinated by the work of Groff and feel sure that this book will be as great a read as his other books. He has written about LSD and other drugs in a way that does not usually reach public attention. He is also a highly trained and brilliant man and was lucky enough to do his research before such legal restraint.
For anyone wishing to go beyond the regular off-the-shelf books I would recommend anything by this author.
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