Genuine Spiritual and Religious Experiences
YouTube videoes which illustrate spiritual experiences in mania. The film maker provides a beautifully articulated and illustrated and phenomenologically rich description of the genuinely spiritual experience people have in mania.
Is Bipolar Mania Spiritual Enlightenment?
Genuine Religious Experiences
Jerome Stack, a Catholic Chaplain at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, California for 25 years, observed that many people with mental disorders do have genuine religious experiences:
Many patients over the years have spoken to me of their religious experience and I have found their stories to be quite genuine, quite believable. Their experience of the divine, the spiritual, is healthy and life giving. Of course, discernment is important, but it is important not to presume that certain kinds of religious experience or behavior are simply "part of the illness."
During manic episodes in particular, people have experiences similar to those of the great mystics.
There is a general agreement among those who have experienced it, that religious truths are realized, the religious truths, the ones of the desert fathers and the great mystics. (p. 118)Ed Podvoll,MD The Seduction of Madness : Revolutionary Insights into the World of Psychosis and a Compassionate Approach to Recovery at Home
Anton Boisen who was hospitalized for a psychotic episode and then became a minister and the founder of pastoral counseling, maintained that,
Many of the more serious psychoses are essentially problem solving experiences which are closely related to certain types of religious experiences.( p. 154)Exploration of the Inner World : a Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience
Pat Deegan, who is both a consumer and a psychologist, makes the point that psychosis can be a genuine route to spirituality:
Distress, even the distress associated with psychosis, can be hallowed ground upon which one can meet God and receive spiritual teaching. When we set aside neurobiological reductionism, then it is conceivable that during the passage that is madness, during that passage of tomb becoming womb, those of us who are diagnosed can have authentic encounters with God.These spiritual teachings can help to guide and encourage the healing process that is recovery.If mental health professionals are to support the spirituality of people in the recovery process, then it is important to remain open to the possibility that people receive authentic spiritual teachings during periods of what gets called psychosis or psychiatric disorder. These spiritual teachings can provide a resting place for the weary; nourishment for the hungry; meaning for those in despair and a compass for those who are trying to navigate the passage of recovery. Simply allowing a client to discuss the spiritual teaching, while listening respectfully, can be healing. If the client is willing, exploring the teaching, applying it to daily recovery, and reminding the client of the teaching when it’s been forgotten can be helpful.