My Spiritual Emergence
by Gordon Yumibe
“For all those who have or are suffering silently.”
There’s been a chapter in my life that I have kept hidden; it concerns my own mental health issues. I’ve wrestled with sharing this, asked for guidance many times over, and synchronistically received answers including a recent article published in the New York Times by Marsha M. Linehan, about her personal issues with mental health. I decided to share this in the hope of helping others.
When I was 35 years old, I suffered a month-long psychotic episode. There was no hint of what was to follow. I had been devoted to a spiritual path for 10 years. I had graduated from college with a degree in psychology and even worked on the psychiatric floors of a hospital.
It was an acute episode: I remember going to a restaurant to talk to my employer, and as I walked out, everything changed. It was an uncomfortable, frightening world that I would inhabit for the next month. I seemed normal on the outside, yet on the inside everything had an intense Alice in Wonderland feeling. The lights chased me around the city at night and alien entities pursued me to inhabit my body. I took all of my savings and fled on a journey that took me from Washington down the coast to California. The people around me didn’t see this internal turmoil or know about my visions at night. Eventually, the energy which had propelled this episode started dissipating and I started feeling my life force ebbing away. Through a fortunate turn of events, I was admitted to a hospital in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to find medication to end this bizarre phase and I quickly regained my normal senses, but I was emotionally drained.
Edgar Cayce talks about health as a cooperative balance between all spheres of mankind’s existence. The mind, body, spirit, and soul all have to create a mutually balanced cooperative approach if inner health and equilibrium are to be achieved. All it takes is for one’s health start to slip before one begins to realize how fragile our physical existence really, truly is.
Over the next year, I began to feel grounded and returned to work. The fears of another episode seemed like a distant memory. There were some lingering effects including enhancement of my own psychic ability as I began to know what other people were thinking. I also worried that people would never take me seriously again. You know.... “the crazy one.”
Twenty years after the episode, several courses at Atlantic University were instrumental to my understanding. The course “Mysticism and Mental Health” helped me put another face on mental illness. Kay Redfield Jamison’s book, Touched with Fire, talked about some of our most noted writers and poets flirting with their own mental health issues throughout their most creative periods. There seems to be a link between high levels of creativity and episodic periods of mania. Christina and Stanislav Grof, MD explored the idea of a “spiritual crisis,” as emerging spirituality causes disruption to mental health equilibrium.
This concept fit with Laren M. Prato’s From the Inside-Out: Shattering the Mental Illness Myth about her time in a mental hospital and the lack of understanding from mental health professionals as to the true causes of some of these issues. The appendix at the end of her book outlined a new diagnostic category in the DSM-lV (the manual used by mental health professionals) called “Religious or Spiritual Problem.” This is a lasting legacy, possibly started with the the Grofs’ lifetime of work to re-educate mental health professionals about the very nature of this classification.
In the AU course “Transformational Astrology,” I was introduced to Jeffrey Wolf Green’s book Pluto, the Soul’s Evolution through Relationships, Vol. I, which touches upon some of the transformational aspects of this potent planet. I discovered that Pluto was in my Eleventh House between 1980 and ‘88 when I was in my 30s. It also opposed several of the planets in my chart, which may have been the catalyst for my spiritual crisis. According to Mr. Green, individuals with Pluto in the Eleventh House (house of Aquarius) are learning to break free of social structure and often find new methods of self-discovery.
A few years ago, I attended a lecture by Mirabai Starr titled “Spiritual Crisis/Emergence” in Portland. One of the program attendees strongly voiced skepticism about whether or not it was real. I remember publicly defending the validity of her work. That night, I dreamt of being incarcerated in a previous life because others thought that I had become too “otherworldly.” I realized that I am no longer afraid of what others think about me. That fear is gone.
Now, almost 30 years later, I have become grateful for that fearsome experience. For those of us who are more able to live and experience other dimensions daily, this may just represent the evolution of inner life. I am no longer living in a world just defined by time and space. This may represent a portal to help others evolve and know their own spiritual souls and the creative forces that link all of us with our Creator.
Gordon Yumibe is a lifelong seeker with an interest in Jungian, Gnostic, and Edgar Cayce material. While he is a professional gardener by trade, he also has a psychology degree. In 2009, he received a Spiritual Mentoring Certificate from Atlantic University. You can find Gordon on Facebook.