How Spiritual Experiences Offer a Richer Appreciation of Life

Once I graduated with my master’s degree in social work I started reading about the personal lives of Wm James and Carl Jung particularly. This material, which had not been given to any of us in our graduate education, interested me. I had lived in California for a number of years where I became interested in psychics, mediums etc. I felt confused that this history and the fact that both James and Jung believed in mediumship and spoke about God (in psychology!) had been deleted from my education. Why? I wondered.

It is reported that Carl Jung had a sign over his house in Switzerland that read “Bidden or Unbidden, God is There.” I then had a spiritual experience that showed me what he meant.

In 1986, at a conference on Transpersonal Psychology, which includes all psychologies, I had a Holotropic Breathwork experience where I felt another breath come into my body and out my mouth. I didn’t know whose breath it was, but I continued to breathe, and this breath breathed along with me.

After this was over, I experienced my original birth – coming down the birth canal. I remember not knowing what was happening but wondering “Where was my mother?” during this time. I had lost time and space (Where I was) during this breathing because I thought it had lasted for twenty minutes; however, the trainers said it had been four hours.

I drew a mandala which is a picture in a circle that Jung believed reduces the chaos the client had just experienced. My picture was of a flower blooming, green grass and the sun. After lunch in a circle where we all were showing our drawings, I was told that my drawing was “A rebirth.” I had very little idea of what that meant but I knew that after the breathing was over, I had felt love for the other twenty attendees. I knew we were all connected, and I knew we were all connected to everyone on earth. It was awe, just complete awe! Although, since no one else in our circle mentioned a breath coming through them, I didn’t mention that portion of my breathwork because it felt “crazy.”

spiritual appreciation of lifeImage by Jayshree Sharma from Unsplash

It took me about two years to determine what had happened to me. I related mostly to Bill Wilson’s, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, comment when he had his spiritual experience after asking God to remove his desire to drink. He said something like “I felt a breath of spirit, not air, go through me and my desire to drink was gone.” With my research and this story, I then knew I had also felt the breath of the Holy Spirit.

The most profound effect from this Breathwork Experience is that I now, like Jung, know there is a God. It is a grounding knowing that helps me understand much more about Jungian Psychology, what he was trying to teach us and I have more wisdom and spirituality daily coming into my life.

I continued to learn about James and Jung and mediumship. Mr. and Mrs. James had lost a toddler son. Mrs. James went to local mediums in Boston and found Mrs. Leonora Piper. Wm James started attending the seances and with his colleagues started working with Mrs. Piper who James eventually called his white crow. A white crow is someone who has an unusual ability. James then began the study of mediumship at Massachusetts General. He called them “Mental Healers.”

Jung’s mother had been psychic. He said she was a particularly good mother even though once in a while during a conversation she would come out with a sentence or two that made no sense to anyone. His grandfather, with his second wife, would sit at lunch and talk to his first wife who was “On the other side.” Jung saw all these states of consciousness, which is why he was so interested in psychology. His first job out of the university was as Assistant Manager in a mental hospital, which was a block long. The staff lived on the second floor above the patients. For the first six months, Jung never left the facility. None of this material on James or Jung was ever given in any psychology course I took through eighteen years of “education.”

A psychic is a person you go to when you want to discover where Grandma hid the money in the attic before you sell the house. A medium is who you go to when you want to talk to Grandma. Psychics and mediums blend two energy fields (The 3rd and 4th dimensions) from earth to the other side and vice versa. Some have interchangeable skills.

Jung was present at an investigation of a medium. An electrical engineer measured the degree of ionization of the atmosphere in the immediate vicinity of the medium. At one point on the right side of her chest, the ionization level was about sixty times normal. He stated that this Ion situation should be studied further in the future. I believe the future is NOW.

For clients who are in chronic grief and seem stuck in their therapy, I sometimes will highly recommend a visit to a medium. We discuss their resistance from what their family believes, which is usually not going, to what their religion believes, which is usually not going. If and when they go, the guilt they were feeling, sometimes unconsciously, is gone and they know they now have a connection on a different level with their loved one. Once this loving connection is understood, their grief is very much resolved.

How do all these spiritual experiences happen? I believe one answer is about some of the metaphysical systems that are swirling all around us. First, is our sensory, materialistic world where things can be explained in a rational way and where there is cause and effect. In this reality, everyone can see what is going on and there is a past, present and a future.

Second, is the clairvoyant reality or unobstructed universe. In this reality, only one person can see what is being experienced. There are things such as, but not limited to telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, prayer, contemplation, and meditation. Feelings determine your response, your heart and mind connect, and it is where we experience the NOW which is a place where we get to know and connect to our Soul. The feelings in this reality are those of calm, peace, love, serenity, centeredness, and connectedness.

This place of NOW is where I was during my breathwork experience. It is where clients are when they feel the love during a medium visit. These experiences usually happen to only one person. One would have to be clairvoyant to see what the experiencer is feeling. So far, clairvoyance is mostly an inherited gift people have. We need more clairvoyant researchers, medical doctors and nurses to help tell us what is going on with the vagus nerve spiritually when psychic energy is being felt in the physical body. Until then, we need more people to just be educated that these experiences can and do happen. So far, 40 to 50% of the population in the United States are having some sort of spiritual experience. Even so, it takes years for someone to research and then to talk about these experiences.

The experiencers are thrust into a higher state of consciousness. They are humbled about what has happened to them. They then believe there is a higher intelligence or power in the universe. They believe they have a definite purpose even if they do not know what it is. They want “better” relationships. And they spend more time lowering their mental level – not thinking. They want to meditate, garden, walk, be in nature, read spiritual material, etc.

These are just some of the benefits that come from having a spiritual experience. Believe! And one may just happen to you!!! And, if nothing else, please spread the word that they are possible! Thank you.


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Rev. Karen E. Herrick, PhD, LCSW, LMSW, CADC, ACMHP
Rev. Karen E. Herrick, PhD, LCSW, LMSW, CADC, ACMHP, completed her Masters Degree at Rutgers University in Social Work, and PhD at Union Institute and University. She is the founder of the Center for Children of Alcoholics, and has shared her clinical expertise for thirty years in private practice by lecturing on dysfunctional, addictive homes, dissociation, and grief and loss from a Jungian perspective.


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