• Amir Giles

Self Care, Difficult Experiences, and Spiritual Emergency

Updated: Jan 5

The deep contemplations we aspire to here can be surprisingly powerful, for better and for worse, so it's worth knowing how to help ourselves and each other when difficult experiences arise.

If you or someone you know is experiencing challenging experiences or distress arising from meditation or related practices, check out 'Cheetah House' which provide resources for meditators in distress.

You may also find the following resources useful: International Spiritual Emergence Network (ISEN)

Spiritual Crisis Network (SCN)

Emerging Proud: Reframing mental distress as a potential catalyst for positive change Nondual Therapy Directory

One of the most important things to assist in navigating the ups, downs and confusions is being connected with people and community that sympathise and resonant with what you are going through. There are lots of us out there, so do get in touch!

Additionally, there are endless practices and techniques for raising general well-being, such as gratitude, meta meditations, writing, exercises, and creative expression. These are all worth delving into if you find your general wellbeing is compromised. 

Many studies have promoted the benefits of mindfulness, but often ignored the 'dark night of the soul' and other mental health difficulties that can arise with the practice.

Dr. Willoughby Britton has been studying both, and attempting to find out when meditation can be harmful and what to do about it.

Check out this video for a complete interview, but to summarise:

1) If a practice seems to be inducing feelings of unworthiness, then back off that practice and switch to self-compassion and other positive psychology methods.

2) If childhood or psychological trauma is arising, back off the practice, and use positive psychology as well as seeking out therapy and support from friends and community.

3) If existential terror related to 'the three characteristics' is arising, (that there is no permanent enduring "Self" that can manage or control experience, that all phenomena are impermanent and empty of inherent existence, and that there is an innate unsatisfactoriness of all experience) then KEEP GOING! If you feel you are tipping over into nihilism then check if your wellbeing is going down, and supplement your practice with positive psychology and connecting with things you love. 

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