Spiritual emergence-ies, traditional religion, and more

Hi all,

As a new member, having just completed the Transformation Course, I wanted to share a few thoughts about spiritual experiences and ask if anyone else relates to them. 

I've been a lifelong meditator, off and on. After a couple of years of more intense meditation, I started having startling awakening experiences about six months ago. They were experiences of great joy, peace, love, and unity with what I'll call the Great Light. I also had flashes of how the universe "works" and developed a very tender heart that was easily touched to tears by many things. There was also a new extroversion to my personality, a joy at being with others that had not been there before. Some of this has subsided but left a very positive residue of change in my life.

At the time all this was at its peak, I questioned my sanity. After meeting several spiritual teachers, quite synchronously, I was reassured that this was a wonderful time of spiritual growth and sanity need not be a concern. I now recognize that my soul knows where it is going, and I am no longer worried about any "unusual" experiences along the way. Has anyone else had a similar spiritual emergence-y? If so, did you find that you needed guidance from someone, or did you get through on your own?

I also have a background in many religions but settled about 10 years ago into Catholicism. After a time of questioning that connection, I am slowly realizing that the Christian faith has within it the seeds of transformation, but they are deeply hidden. The mystic saints found it, and more recently there are better role models, like Richard Rohr (living), Thomas Keating (living), and Bede Griffiths (deceased). It has been a struggle to reconcile my new, much more alive and open view of God and the universe with Catholicism/Christianity, but they are slowly integrating in my mind. The main thing is to recognize that Jesus clearly expressed unity consciousness, as evidenced by his many non-dual statements. These expressions are plainly present in the Bible ("I and my Father are one"; "I am in the Father and you are in me," etc.) but they go unrecognized or misunderstood by the churches. Are others here also Christians, and have you been through this process of integrating direct spiritual experience with a faith tradition that on the surface does not seem to support such an experience?

Finally, I have found wonderful support from a number of helpful online teachers and resources that I would like to share. It's an eclectic mix of religious (Zen, Catholic, Hindu) and non-religious sites:

Candace O'Denver: www.greatfreedom.org

Gangaji: gangaji.org

Adyashanti: adyashanti.org

Richard Rohr: http://www.cacradicalgrace.org

Bede Griffiths: Bedegriffiths.com

Sadguru Sant Keshavadas: templeofcosmicreligion.org

Soul Workers (Bob Mackura): www.soulworkers.com

And, of course, the Transformation Team, whose link I need not post here. I owe a great debt to all of the above and hope some or all may be helpful resources to others on this forum.

Thanks for "listening" and please feel free to share your thoughts on these topics. I look forward to reading them.


ksaulino's picture

Hi, Chuck, and welcome to the Gathering Spot!

I am what I laughingly call a recovering Catholic.  Born and raised Roman Catholic - 8 years of Catholic school - the whole nine yards so to speak.  I have always felt a natural and deep connection with the Divine that I associated with the Church - not really realizing that it was deeper than just a church connection.  There were things about the Catholic religion that I was uncomfortable with, but chose to ignore.  About 5 years ago, I became very disappointed in some of the newer developments and felt that instead of moving toward a more progressive and inclusive idealogy, the Church was actually moving backward in it's thinking.  It became too much to ignore any longer.

I went through a period of searching, and in that time read Neale Donald Walsh's book, "Conversations with God".  The book changed my whole thought process regarding religion - no exageration.  I also found the United Church of Christ, which is a progressive protestant denomination, and found a local congregation that has fed my need for community and provided an outlet for my sense of social justice.  I consider myself Christian still, but it's mostly because I think of Jesus as someone who was sent to speak in "my language".  There are other valid paths that maybe just don't connect with me as easily because the "language" is different.  I also think we are ALL sons and daughters of the Divine - Jesus was awake, but not a favorite... he just "got it" more fully than most people.  My personal heritage as a Native American has also engrained a deep sense of appreciation and love of nature and Mother Earth which I have not pursued as a religion, but only as a way of being in the world.

Since you mentioned Father Keating, I'd suggest that you look into his work with Ken Wilbur.  They did a DVD together called "The Future of Christianity"  (there was a subtitle, but I can't remember it).  It's a great DVD on where the Christian churches will need to go to create a sustainable future - particularly as people evolve from their current state of consciousness, to a new, more integrated state of consciousness.  I think you'll enjoy it!

As for spiritual emergence-ies (I like your term!) - I've had my share of "healing crises" and blissed out days that come from particularly powerful energy experiences.  Some of them have been annoying or frightening... others have been wonderful!  I've learned to try and see them all the same... sort of observe them objectively and recognize that they are just signs of a shift. 

Have fun with all the reading here!  I remember when I first got to the site I was so overwhelmed by all the past posts - and completely enthralled at the same time! 

We're happy to have you join the team, Chuck!

Much light and love to you,


PS - please don't view my story as trying to steer you in one direction or another.  It's just to give you a sense of where my path has taken me with regard to organized religion.  It's worked for me, for the most part, but that doesn't mean that it needs to work for everyone.  :)




Call me Mary's picture

Hello Chuck,

First off, Welcome to the Gathering Spot!  I will try to put together some semblance of a response.  Normally I communicate best when I write – but the past few months I have been struggling to just be able to put together a coherent sentence (much less try to type it out!)    Perhaps it is the time of year – more of an internal time than an outward time – and it seems that the forum kind of slowed way down and has been in a lull also.   I look forward to seeing if your questions begin a conversation.   I’m sure it would be an interesting one!

Let me start by saying that I did not grow up with any type of religious background, so I can’t really answer your questions about fitting your spiritual experiences into a faith tradition.   In a way, I think this lack of religious training gave me greater freedom to explore different avenues, but it also left me without anything to hold onto when difficult times arose in my life.   As I tripped and stumbled through life, becoming more and more fearful and discouraged, my search for some kind of meaning - or at times even a reason to continue living – I found the path led right back in close proximity to religion.  I used to consciously move myself away from those proclaiming themselves to be Christians – quietly and gently – because they could become quite scary when riled up.   Later, I found there were some very interesting gems of truth hidden in the Christian religious teachings.   I had experiences where statements and quotes from the bible that I had heard many times kind of shifted, or morphed and the deeper meaning shone through for me.  You stated it very nicely with your words, “ ….I am slowly realizing that the Christian faith has within it the seeds of transformation, but they are hidden deeply.”    In hindsight, I would say it was ME who finally made it to another level and was able to understand the deeper knowledge.  

When I first joined the Gathering Spot I wondered if there were others having the same experiences, or looking for the same things.   What I have found is that my spiritual experiences seem to have been uniquely tailored for me, and don’t quite match others experiences.   Nor are others necessarily looking for the same things as I am.   Yet there are common threads that run through our conversations.   I really enjoy hearing others tell of their journeys – what it feels like, and what it looks like from their eyes.   Some are ahead of me on the path and I have to struggle to understand what they are saying – and sometimes I just don’t.  Others are at places that I remember traveling through, yet they are experiencing things in their unique way. This sometimes provides a refresher course with a new perspective.   Then there are others who seem to be in very close proximity on my path.    I learn from them all – sometimes in joyous leaps and bounds, other times with tears and pain.   I have mostly studied spirituality in seclusion due to a built up distrust of others, but found that I had gone as far as I could on my own and needed to join in community with others.    The Gathering spot has provided the perfect place for me to join in….. it is a kind, loving environment, filled with vast levels of intelligence, spirituality and awakening.   

Thank you for sharing the links of those you found helped you.   I look forward to exploring them when I have more time.

Welcome, once again, and I look forward to more of your contributions Chuck.       

With Love,


fredburks's picture

Welcome to the Gathering Spot, Chuck! And thanks so much for your very thoughtful post. It sounds like you've been in a period of intense spiritual growth the past six months. From what you describe, you may be going through what is called a "kundalini rising" experience. You might want to do a search on this term.

I've been through two of these myself and found them to be incredibly profound and powerful. I've also counseled a number of people who had difficulties going through kundalini rising experiences. They can be extremely challenging and disorienting, at the same time as they are filled with bliss, ecstasy, and deeper connection.

The most important thing I've found is to keep grounded. I advise people to spend lots of time in nature. Hug trees, lie in the grass, and feel your connection with the Earth. From that grounded place, you can welcome the amazing gift of spiritual opening that kundalini rising brings.

Regarding your religious faith, I love Ghandi's quote that said something like the heart of all religions leads to the same place. I consider myself a member of all faiths and welcome people from any religious background. Thanks for being who you are, Chuck, and for joining us here. You take care and have a most rich and wondrous passage into the new year.

With abundant love, joy, and gratitude,

Noa's picture

Dear Chuck:

You are a welcome addition to this group.

The entire planet is experiencing monumental changes - physical, emotional, and spiritual.  People who are sensitive can feel this.  Likewise, animals are demonstrating love to other animals in remarkable ways.  I just saw photos of a polar bear frolicking with a dog sled team!

Here is a short inspirational film series that particularly speaks to my heart and soul:  http://awakeningasone.com/

Love and light,


Wendy's picture

Hi Chuck-

I read your post several days ago & have been waiting to see if I would be inspired to write something meaningful. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself here, I greatly appreciate your post.  I can only hope to get to the place where you are someday, I have not made it a spiritual practice to meditate alone but do it occasionally when I feel the need for relaxation.

As far as christianity goes, I think I've always been a christian, but I fear that many christians would say I am not one as I do not believe in the virgin birth, or atleast think it's important that I do. My ideas about christianity are definitely at odds with traditional churches but not the ones I have belonged to. I just love so many of the messages, mainly the idea that the ego needs to die in order for a new person, at one with and obedient to God can be reborn. (I think it's great that you chose the words seeds of transformation - that reminds me of the parable of the mustard seed) I love the sermon on the mount and try my best to live by it's principles. I was raised by an atheist and agnostic so I had to find religion on my own. I became a Quaker, and then studied "A Course in Miracles". I left the Quakers, not because of a change in belief, just a move where I could not easily find a nearby Quaker meeting. I belonged to the Unity church for a while and was glad to learn many of the principles that they teach, the most important to me is that we are all children of God and all capable of fully performing the same miracles Jesus did if/when we are ready to fully be completely at one with God and fully embrace the power of God within. Now I'm a Unitarian Universalist because there is a church of friendly souls very close to home, even though in my heart I'm still a Quaker.

I think if more people thought about it deeply like yourself, they would find that in some way or another their church did not support their beliefs or experiences. My UU church is too silent about speaking out against war and the services speed by with little time for contemplation. But if I went back to being a Quaker, I would surely miss the singing - my UU church is always filled with beautiful music.

Thanks so much for your information filled post, I see that I still have a lot of exploring to do and welcome to the gathering spot.


LightCommodore's picture

Thank you all for thoughtful responses to my first post. I won't try to address each post or point other than to say that I appreciate the many kinds of spirituality each of you shared. It seems we all find the path that is right for us, and that path may even change several times throughout our lives as we grow in understanding. In my own case, I gathered important truths for my journey from each of the spiritual traditions I've tried, and now I consider myself more of a universalist like Fred or maybe something like a Christian Zen Buddhist, if there can be such a thing. But I made a commitment when I entered the Catholic church, so I am doing my best to honor that commitment. The church is a very big tent that shelters people of enormously different beliefs, so I am able to find some kindred spirits there. There is a strong tradition of mysticism that dates back to the Gnostics, the desert mystics, St. Teresa of Avila, and the modern mystics I mentioned previously. Still, it's probably not the ideal place for a universalist to fellowship, which may be why I am also on this forum and other places on the web that offer different perspectives. 

Fred, thank you for the diagnosis of "kundalini rising." You are right on the money. I mentioned to two of my teachers that I hear a humming sound when I am deep in meditation, and both said the same thing you did. I found that practicing the Web of Love seems to be a good outlet for this energy and also praying remotely for the healing of others. There may be other ways to direct this energy, and if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Thank you all again for your wonderful responses!


LightCommodore's picture

Noa, thanks so much for the reference to these movies.  After reading the prologue, I am very intrigued and will definitely watch these. ~Chuck

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