Brian Farlinger has been a Director of the Canadian SES (Spiritual Emergency Service) for the last decade. Brian knows only too well that peer support is vital when we’re going through a spiritual emergence process, and that ‘the only way is through…’
Here he demonstrates the importance of the process being recognised for what it is;
I believe that my spiritual emergence began early in my life. I grew up in a very loving family environment with a sense of spirituality. When I was eighteen, I experienced weakness while I was in class at school. I went to the doctor who said that this was anxiety and prescribed a medication. I felt better for a little while and then things got worse. Eventually I was referred to a psychologist. This was not easy for me. I feared that I might be ‘crazy’. I saw this psychologist several times over the spring and summer. He was from New York and he gave me three books that would open new areas for me……….. a different look at spirituality and life. The authors were Hermann Hesse, Krishnamurti and RD Laing.
Thirty years later, I found myself in a bewildering state. There was tremendous fear that was unexplainable and nebulous, and ‘dark things’ coming up (through phrases and images), a sense of dread, a sense of impending doom. There was also tremendous remorse for things that I had done in the past. I felt that I was un-forgiven and had lost my divine connection. My life, my world was falling apart, spiralling rapidly downward and all I seemed to be able to do was watch.
I found myself becoming more and more isolated …………as I desperately attempted to escape/avoid what was happening to me……………… to a point where I would sit alone in a darkened room all day and taking a sleeping pill at night to get a little rest…….. for days, and weeks and months on end. Suicidal ideations began to come up as my ego desperately sought escape from this seemingly hopeless existence.
I saw an acupuncturist one time. After the session, I asked her opinion on what I was dealing with. She said “spiritual emergency”. This was the first time I had heard of this.………..and it resonated with me at a deep level. Yes, I was on a spiritual journey ………………one that was extremely challenging.
Remarkably I found a therapist who specialized in spiritual emergence and she helped me greatly, always honoring my journey. She was a fellow experiencer of a spiritual emergency.
My spiritual emergence continued to get darker and darker and more desperate until hospital became an urgent option for me, a very scary one at that. I was deathly afraid of going to a hospital, being judged and labeled in a western medicine psychiatric way. Eventually, I listened to my inner sense and just went, trusting that something would work out somehow ……….and miraculously it did …………….
I stayed for a week, felt safe, and found a medication that really helped me. Yes, my journey has involved medication and I have come to learn that it can have a place in spiritual emergency
More importantly, I realized that this subtle sense from within was intuition, my connection with the divine, my guidance and yes it could be trusted even when it didn’t seem logical.
I had discovered divine guidance ………… I had this loving divine presence within that would beautifully take care of me even through the darkest of times.
A few years later and much wiser I have experienced more very challenging spiritual emergence…..from which I continue to grow.