Psychosis and spirituality consolidating the new paradigm 2nd edition
One person had an intense awakening experience following a period of intense psychological turmoil, during which she ‘felt the most intense love and peace and knew that all was well’ (Taylor, 2011, p.4).
The experience probably only lasted for a few minutes, but in its aftermath she found that the feeling of dread had disappeared from her stomach, and she felt able to cope again.
Maslow (1970) made a similar distinction between the ‘peak experience’ and the ‘plateau’ experience, or between ‘peak experiences’ and the ‘self-actualised’ state.
What is the basis of this distinction between temporary ‘awakening’ experiences and experiences of permanent spiritual awakening?
They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance…as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time (James, 1985, p.380).
I suggest that this transformation of perspective and of values following temporary awakening experiences be termed a ‘secondary shift’, or ‘secondary transformational experience.’ The transformation may lead to significant cognitive and affective changes, with different values (e.g.
‘In some ways’, the woman reported, ‘I have spent the last 25 years since exploring what it meant and how I could perhaps go back there’ (ibid.).
These individuals experience themselves as the same continuous ‘ego-self’ as before, although they may possess a different ‘cognitive map’ of reality.
Temporary awakening experiences can be seen as a temporary ‘installation’ of a different, ‘higherfunctioning’ self-system’, which does not become established.
Similarly, one person reported how she had ‘spent my life searching for the feeling again because I know it’s there’ (Taylor, 2011, p.7).
Another person described how, following her awakening experience, she felt drawn to books about spirituality, began to read about Buddhism, and learned to meditate (Taylor, 2011).