Posts tagged #alchemy

Misery is a spiritual emergency

So lately I've been thinking a lot about spiritual emergencies.

Spiritual emergency: a brief introduction

The psychiatrist Stanislav Grof coined the term "spiritual emergency" to refer to periods of intense transformation that in our culture often get interpreted strictly as an illness and only treated through materialist means.

Nigredo alchemy spiritual emergence spiritual emergency

A spiritual emergency is a kind of sickness, but it's also a birth, a coming-into-being of the spiritual self - i.e., an "emergence" and a crisis that requires attention - i.e., an "emergency."

In his work, Grof used the term "spiritual emergency" to refer primarily to episodes of psychosis and disassociation that were actually involuntary or unconscious shamanic explorations. It's my personal experience that spiritual emergency also can include extremely intense misery (i.e., "depression") and unease (i.e., "anxiety").

Misery as spiritual emergency

Intense misery is probably a vastly more common symptom of spiritual emergence than the visionary shamanic episodes that interested Grof.

Intense misery relates to emergence because when it happens in the life of a magically-oriented person who's aiming for awakening, lucidity and illumination - well, that means that it's actually the alchemical phase known as "nigredo" or "blackening, decomposing."

Misery is what occurs when our natural self-centered quest for pleasure and status leads us into our own personal underworld.

For many people not gifted with awareness and knowledge this journey to the underworld leads directly to actual death and degradation.

Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in people aged 15 - 34 in America.

How misery becomes ultimately-liberating nigredo

Misery becomes transformed into ultimately-liberating alchemical nigredo when it's met with honesty, compassion and awareness. We learn to look at our self-centered grasping truthfully, and then to gradually transmute the selfish misery into altruism that uplifts and heals us and everyone around us.

If you're experiencing a state of spiritual emergency lately, please know that I'm always available to talk to on the phone.

Love, Carolyn

image: [Abode of Chaos on flickr]

Art, Love and Transmutation - A guest post by Abigail Amalton

Art is about love. It is love, pure love.

 

I can't even begin to describe what music has done for me. How can an art form, independent of the flaws of its creators, catalyze such deep healing and transformation? How can somebody else's stories lead me back to myself, deeper into my own bliss? The deeper I move into the subjective, the more often I hit the universal. Do we all ultimately share the same core?

Art is love. And love is transcendent, transformative. Love has no opposite. Love is the step beyond dualist thinking. Dualism dissolves completely in the heat and light of pure love. This wonderful step beyond is not even thought nor is it just feeling - it's pure being. Love is being absorbed in the flow: the conscious observer-participant co-creating the universe, the drop of water in the endless ocean of existence. It isn't merely an emotion, not merely a state of mind - love is all-encompassing being. It is a subtle awareness of the life force that flows through us - through bone and bloody capillary, through neural networks and the serpentine energetic currents in our spines.

Love is the knowing that this life force is one and the same with what moves stars to begin their lives in misty stellar nurseries, light years away. It is the possibility that everything in this universe, every last little organism, every drop of blood is alive - purely. And simply waiting for us to realize this.

Love is a new way of being on this planet. It revolutionizes each individual who decides to make it a way of life, changing her so that she may never go back, never settle for anything less than pure joy. So what do lovers do? We live for love. We show, through our lives, that it can be done. That we can partake in this cosmic dance with joy - that this is our birthright. Love is the activation of our potential for continued and unending bliss.

Love transmutes.

 

It is the knowing that in spite of pain, we live. Pain, however deep, helps us remember that we are embodied and interconnected. When we reflect on our pain, then we remember that we are ensouled. As long as you love, you'll never lose your soul. So, why continue to hurt? Catalyze the transformation with a deliberate joy in every moment of this ecstatic existence. Push for it. Let it open you up. Let joyfulness be a breaking open of the calcified shell of the ego. Decide you'll never live in the egoic mode again - and when you do, laugh at it.

Live this way and let life have its way with you, move through you - let spirit sense matter in whatever way it will, for the purpose of love. Live this way and you won't have to meet with death to finally live - because you will no longer unconsciously push yourself further and further to hurt simply to feel alive.

Gather with other souls in love and explore collaborative ecstasy. Collaborative beauty. Explorations like these are how the planet will begin again, how we can jumpstart conscious evolution. Let go of the patterns we only cling to out of habit and replace them only with love.

Love is how we will reach the stars sooner than we think.

Abigail Amalton is an amazing artist who lives and creates in New York City.  Check her out over at The Silent Infinite!