Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Four Common Types of Spiritual Experiences

By: Shaye Hudson MA, Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist 

In this blog, we will be discussing some of the type’s experiences and encounters that clients have shared with me in the previous blog. Many of us have read in bestselling books of those who have died and came back to life in the near death experiences, others having out of body experiences gaining an expanded sense of identity, after-death encounters with loved ones who have crossed over and other peak experiences. There are a multitude of other variations of transpersonal experiences but in this continuation of we will cover some of the more commonly reported experiences.

Near-death experiences (NDEs)

According to the The International Association For Near Death Studies (IANDS),“An NDE may begin with an out-of-body experience—a very clear perception of being somehow separate from one’s physical body, possibly even hovering nearby and watching events going on around the body. An NDE typically includes a sense of moving, often at great speed and usually through a dark space, into a fantastic landscape and encountering beings that may be perceived as sacred figures, deceased family members or friends, or unknown entities. A pinpoint of indescribable light may grow to surround the person in brilliant but not painful radiance; unlike physical light, it is not merely visual but is sensed as being an all-loving presence that many people define as the Supreme Being of their religious faith. “

Clients have reported the positive effects from their Near Death experience to include an expanded spiritual perspective, a reduced fear of death and a sense of deep meaning in their lives. Many report a certainty of life after death and how our loved ones are more than okay, and the lesson is to learn to be more loving.

On the other hand, I have heard stories of interpersonal, relationship, and intrapsychic problems. I have found that my response as the therapist can have a critical influence for those with the NDE experience. If their experience is validated it can lessen negative emotional resistance and is generally more easily integrated in a healthy way.

A counselor, coach or spiritual director with training in spiritual and religious problems can help in situations with family members that have that they have a difficult time adjusting to the new beliefs and attitudes. There are times where marriages are strained and even divorce can occur. The NDE-experiencer can also undergo anger, depression, withdrawl from the experience and other attitudes that can affect their psychosocial functioning. In situations like this, it may be necessary that the experiencer receive outside help to adjust to their new way of being and the ripple effects it may cause in some or the majority of areas in their life.

Out-of-body experiences (OBEs)

The Monroe Institute (TMI) is a nonprofit education and research organization which focuses on the exploration of human consciousness. This organization has residential and outreach programs as well as an International Local Chapter Network(ILCN) where participants experience altered states of consciousness through a patented sound technology called “Hemi Sync”. Many have reported having the Out of Body” (OBE) and other transcendent experiences. Both TMI researchers and participants report that the “OBE” is an experience that usually involves a subjective sensation or experience of being outside one's body.

In my therapy practice, I have listened to clients share having experiences where they experiencing a paralysis, a buzzing sensation, lifting out and even seeing their own physical body. Some have reported that the “OBE” experience had a profound impact on reducing their fear of death as well as changes in their identity since they have come to experience themselves as more than the physical body.

Past-life experiences

As a part of my Hypnotherapy practice, I facilitate both - individual and group Past Life Regression sessions. I have had clients report amazing stories of how they lived in places and times that they did not expect. Some clients report having an experience of remembering during waking states or having a direct experience of a past life through hypnosis, dreams or other non-ordinary states. Past lives are associated with the idea of reincarnation, which is the religious or philosophical concept that the consciousness or spirit can (after physical death) return to another life in a new body. This doctrine is an integral part of various ancient and modern religions.

On occasion, clients report being the opposite gender, which is very amusing and even sometimes unsettling. Some shared that they were with people who they knew were people in their present day lives. In many cases the client can gain insight on their present day issues and relationships and use the experience to empower themselves for positive change.

After-death communications (ADCs)

These are experiences where a person has communication with a physically deceased person. This can generally happen during waking states, meditative, and dream states. ADC's often include sensing a presence, hearing voice, feeling a touch and other physical phenomena, smelling a fragrance, and visual encounters.

I have shared my personal experience ADC experience in my earlier blog and have also listened to a multitude of clients share their stories of contact with deceased loved ones with numerous combinations of the states of consciousness well as the sensory types. I have found that these ADC type experiences can be very healing to those who are experiencing grief and loss.

Shaye Hudson, MA, CH.t is a Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Atlanta, GA with a Transpersonal orientation and training, who specializes in Spiritually Transformative Experiences. He is also a Reviewer for the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology. Shaye hosts spiritual groups at Tru Integrative Health & Wellness. 

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