Spiritual emergence has been defined as “the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature, and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one’s life and in the universal scheme of things.”
(Grof & Grof, 1990)
When spiritual emergence is very rapid and dramatic this natural process can become a crisis, and spiritual emergence becomes spiritual emergency. This has also been called transpersonal crisis, acute psychosis with a positive outcome, positive disintegration and an extreme state. There is no sharp division between emergence and emergency.
A spiritual emergency could also be defined as a critical and experientially difficult stage of a profound psychological transformation that involves one’s entire being. This is a crisis point within the transformational process of spiritual emergence. It may take the form of non-ordinary states of consciousness and may involve unusual thoughts, intense emotions, visions and other sensory changes, as well as various physical manifestations. These episodes can often revolve around spiritual themes.
The terms spiritual emergence and spiritual emergency were coined by Dr Stanislav Grof (psychiatrist) and his wife Christina Grof who have worked for many years as therapists and researchers in the field of non-ordinary awareness and personal transformation. They have written many books about spiritual emergence containing much more information.
Here are various resource links on the topic of Spiritual emergence/emergency: