What Are Spiritually Transformative Experiences?
Spiritually Transformative Experiences “STEs”, is an umbrella term for a wide range of diverse spiritual and paranormal experiences which have a spiritual impact on individuals. STEs often cause the experiencers values and beliefs to change in a more spiritual and altruistic direction. The first STE or a powerful STE often causes a “spiritual awakening”.
The phrase “Spiritually Transformative Experience” was originally coined by Dr. Yvonne Kason MD, in 1994 in her book, A Farther Shore, and elaborated on in her more recent books, Farther Shores, (2000, 2008), and, Touched by the Light (2019).
Dr. Kason groups Spiritually Transformative Experiences into 6 major categories:
- Mystical Experiences;
- Kundalini /Spiritual Energy Awakenings;
- Near-Death Experiences;
- Other Death-Related STEs: Including End-of-Life Experiences/Deathbed Visions/Terminal Lucidity; Death-Watch Experiences/Shared Death Experiences; and, After-Death Communications;
- Psychic/Intuitive Experiences of many types; and
- Inspired Creativity and Genius.
The term “Spiritually Transformative Experiences” has now been adopted and is being used internationally by many researchers, scholars, counselors, and STE experiencers
History of Spiritually Transformative Experiences
Spiritually Transformative Experiences have been reported for centuries in all cultures, albeit by many different names. The mystical traditions of all major faiths include references to STEs occurring to their saints, prophets, and visionaries.
Many different words have been used in recent years to describe various STEs, including “Extraordinary Experiences,” “Exceptional Human Experiences,” ”Spiritual Emergence Syndrome,” “Spiritual Emergencies,” “Ascension Experiences,” “Enlightenment Experiences,” “Transcendental Experiences,” ”samadhis,” (mystical experiences in yoga), “siddhis,” (psychic phenomena in yoga), “Holy Spirit quickening,” or simply “visions,” and other terms.
After-Effects of Spiritually Transformative Experiences
Many STE Experiencers discover after their first Spiritually Transformative Experience, that they are launched into a long-term process of transformation which affects their body, mind, and spirit. Dr Yvonne Kason describes this long-term transformation with after-effects in detail in her books Farther Shores and Touched by the Light.
After their first STE, or “spiritual awakening”, many people often find their consciousness more open to other types of STEs, they become a “Multiple STE Experiencer.” This suggests there is an interconnectedness or relationship between different types of STEs. Additionally, many STE Experiencers discover that they begin to have repeated episodes of the same type of STE as their first STE.
Many STE after-effects continue for the rest of the experiencer’s life. These after-effects may be physical, psychological, psychic, and/ or spiritual in nature.
Common physical STE after-effects include: increased sensitives; metabolic changes; changes in sleep patterns with frequent middle of the night waking and more…
Common psychological STE after-effects include: abandoning former unhealthy habits; setting healthier boundaries with others; stronger sense of life purpose or “mission” and more…
Challenging psychological STE after-effects may include: difficulties in relationships because the Experiencer’s values and attitudes have changed; fear that the STE is a sign that they are developing a mental illness and more…
Common psychic STE after-effects may include: development of new psychic abilities; an increase in previous psychic abilities; clairvoyance; clairsentience; clairaudience; mediumship and more…
Common spiritual STE after-effects include: conviction of an afterlife; conviction of the reality of the Higher Power; more tolerant and less dogmatic religious views; loss of fear of death and more…
Spiritual Emergencies – Crises related to Spiritually Transformative Experiences
“Spiritual Emergency” refers to a crisis during one’s spiritual transformation. Spiritual emergencies may happen after dramatic STEs, because of the challenging unusual states of mind that may occur. Spiritual Emergencies are not a mental illness, although traditional psychiatry might misdiagnose and treat spiritual emergencies as a mental illness. Read more…
Expanding the Range of Normal Human Consciousness
Spiritually Transformative Experiences are a universal human phenomenon of consciousness. STEs have been reported for thousands of years, by persons of impeccable repute: in scriptures, in sacred texts, and by great saints and mystics of all faiths. Research has documented that STEs are happening to millions of people around the world, to persons of all ages, of any sex, of any sexual orientation, of any race, of any color, of any faith, and with no faith.
STEs add to and enrich the range of normal human consciousness. STEs are NOT hallucinations. STEs are NOT a sign of mental illness. Rather, they support the Yogic theory that the range of human consciousness is expanding. What was once considered “paranormal” is becoming the “new normal” for STE experiencers worldwide.
Spiritually Transformative Experiences give experiencers powerful insights into the nature of reality, our true spiritual nature, and the potentials of human consciousness. STEs convince experiencers that we are not just a physical body, but we are souls, spiritual beings having a physical experience in a human physical body, and that our souls live on after death of our physical body. STE experiencers often become convinced through their first hand experiences that a Higher Power exists and is real, that our Higher Power emanates profound unconditional love for all, and that love is the most important attribute for us all to develop and to express.
Promoting Healthy Spiritual Transformation of Consciousness
After the spiritual awakening STE, many Experiencers want to develop spiritually. According to yoga and many other mystical traditions, the long-term goal of STE-related spiritual transformation of consciousness is for each soul to “find their way home” to self-realization. Dr. Yvonne Kason recommends several practical guidelines for promoting a balanced, healthy spiritual transformation process Read more…