Spiritual Awakenings: Scylla and Charybdis
Spiritual awakenings can be difficult for two reasons. One is that the experience falls outside the person's conscious worldview, and it can become very difficult to make sense of it or to reconcile it with what one already knows.
The second is that in much of the world such awakenings aren't welcome. There are some who believe that such things cannot exist, and that those who report such experiences are crazy. There are others who believe that spiritual experiences are of the Satan. A person who has a spiritual experience in such places has to pass between the Scylla of ignorance and the Charybdis of intolerance, and many get lost along the way.
With Scylla of materialistic psychology, there are actually disorders that have been invented to label people who have spiritual experiences as sick. By that standard, the bulk of humanity for the bulk of its history has been mentally ill. Spiritual experiences - and spiritual beliefs - have existed for as long as anyone knows; and to claim that such things cannot exist, and that those who do have such experiences are crazy, is the height of arrogance and ignorance that is unbecoming to people claiming their authority to be science.
With Charybdis of religious fundamentalism, the claim is that these experiences come from Satan. Thus, for example, children's recall of past lives - documented by a UVA anthropologist - has been described as spirits possessing children. Homosexuality is regarded as narcissism. All spirituality that is not of Christ is regarded as being of the Satan. The Charybdis is preferable as, unlike Scylla, it recognizes the validity of the experience. Its explanations of these experiences, and what it prescribes as a way to deal with these experiences, along with its social agenda, however leaves much to be desired.
I started out as a hard-core atheist, but the spiritual experiences that I've had became harder and harder to ignore. Then I started talking about these experiences and trying to prove them, only to be met in most cases with sneering or a blank wall - in some more cases with claims that I was evil - and only in some situations with someone who actually had a clue. The Christians have been on both sides of this, with some being aggressive and malicious and others being dedicated and helpful. It is obvious that my experiences are not unique, and that there is a need to reach out to the people who have them and give them valid explanations before they get medicated and before they and others decide that they are evil.
If you have spiritual knowledge - whether as part of Christianity, as part of New Age, or as part of any other path or on your own - I suggest you reach out to the many people who have spiritual experiences and don't understand what they are. These people need to know that they are not crazy, and they also need to know that they are not evil.
And the sooner they make sense of their experiences, the less will be the disruption to their lives and the lives of the people around them.