The mother of a second year student at university described his deep depression as a ‘spiritual crisis’ to me. When he came away from home to start university, he joined a certain church there. Soon he was a regular as he enjoyed being there in prayer and spending time with the priests. However when he got a lovely new girl friend, he was encouraged to discontinue the relationship as the people at the church , who he had come to trust could not see the beauty in her spirit. On the contrary, they somehow believed her to be a negative influence in his life. He could not understand that. It was a very difficult situation for him and he had to remove himself from there for a while to think about it.
Religion has an organizational and a spiritual aspect. I believe the real crux is universal and establishes the deep connection between the human and the Divine. However being human, most of us get completely caught up in the organizational aspects of it – the rituals, the clothes, the traditions, the names of Gods, the hierarchy, the words. Very few get to the core of it. Historically, some of the most ‘religious’ people are responsible for causing a lot of pain to thousands of people. We don’t learn. We continue to do the same even today. Religion is one of the major causes of mass blindness. While it gives hope to many, it destroys many others.
In the shamanic tradition, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies that signal the ‘birth of a healer’. Communities believe that the most sensitive amongst us are selected to be healers. They help reconcile the energies of both worlds.
The sensitive, in Western culture are labelled as oversensitive. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way. Hence sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé, a shamanic healer. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterizes Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.
Could these arguments explain why the incidence of ‘spiritual crises’ is on the rise all over the world?