Breaking Open: Finding a Way Through Spiritual Emergencies

Front Cover
Jules Evans, Tim Read
Aeon Books Limited, Apr 24, 2020 - Mind and body - 232 pages

Spiritual emergencies are moments of messy awakening, crises of ego dissolution and rebirth that are often misunderstood and unskillfully managed by materialist psychiatry. As more Westerners meditate and are drawn to psychedelics to foster their psycho-spiritual growth, mystical experiences are becoming more common--yet some of them will be disturbing and difficult. There is an urgent need for our culture to upgrade its understanding of what these experiences are like and what helps people through the turbulence.

Breaking Open is the first book in which people discuss their own spiritual emergencies and share what helped them through. The contributors are the experts of their own experience, and they share their wild journeys with courage, insight, and poetry. There are fascinating parallels in their experiences, suggesting minds in extremis go to similar places. These are beautiful postcards from the edge of human consciousness, testaments to the soul's natural resilience. These people have returned from their descent with valuable insights for our culture, as we go through a collective spiritual emergency, with old myths and structures breaking down, and new possibilities breaking open. What is there beyond our present egocentric model of reality? What tools can help us navigate the emergence?

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About the author (2020)

Jules Evans is an author, broadcaster, and academic philosopher. He is a research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, where he researches the history and philosophy of flourishing. He also organizes the London Philosophy Club, the largest philosophy club in the world. He is the author of Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations (2012) and The Art of Losing Control (2017). He blogs at www.philosophyforlife.org.

Tim Read is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and psychotherapist based in London. He was Consultant Psychiatrist at the Royal London Hospital for twenty years, leading the Emergency Liaison Service and the Crisis Intervention Service. He has trained in psychoanalytic therapy (IGA) and in transpersonal therapy (GTT). He is a certified facilitator of Holotropic Breathwork and has a special interest in working with expanded states of consciousness. His book Walking Shadows: Archetype and Psyche in Crisis and Growth was published in 2015.

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