An Amerindian tradition reports that shamans, during initiation rituals, offered to the novices substances that propelled them into spiritual worlds, journeys they undertook accompanied, with well-prepared protocols. During these trips, they experienced inner states of consciousness that radically changed their perception of the world and themselves. When the novices returned, the shamans invited them to find these spiritual and inner worlds, only helped by their intention and their personal work.
At the end of these initiations, supporting the student was always required, because if the access to the invisible worlds may be linked to gain new knowledge and possibly new powers, it may also provoke the raising of unexpected threats. The traditional esoteric teachings, illustrated by the new techniques of medical imagery, teach us that the use of drugs, techniques or prayers create possible access to these parallel and / or inner worlds. However, they also increase the porosity of some subtle bodies,
through which adverse forces may interfere and possibly disturb the subject and influence his behavior.
Therefore, on the spiritual path, one may experience concomitantly new sensations and insights, while being exposed to new dangers.
Since ever, but especially today, when Earth’s vibratory frequencies are becoming thinner, individuals and groups are experimenting such new states of consciousness. These experiences may be the peak of a true and authentic inner quest, but they may also arise unexpectedly, caused by substances or practices, or by any situation from which may result a sudden change in existential connection that is reasonable and well-known: fear, confusion, mourning, burn-out, accident, etc.
An intense spiritual experience, even a brief one, places the individual in areas of consciousness that completely transcends his ordinary reality, and can have unexpected consequences on his behavior, his personal development or his social situation. Cases are regularly reported of people who had an experience of spiritual awakening that they could not manage themselves or with a psychological support, and who become totally disoriented and fragile.
In the absence of adequate outside help, these people may face their family or friends, who will refer them to the traditional family doctor who, due to lack of knowledge in the matter and facing a person temporarily disconnected from the conventional social reality with the symptoms of a mental disorder, would act accordingly, so to say at the best by medication, at the worst by hospitalization.
In fact, the line between the spiritual path and the mental disorder can be volatile, especially in our traditional occidental societies, where the standard is required and any deviation from the norm is a potential threat. Many people today can find themselves in asylums, due to their inability to communicate a transcendent inner state, and due to the inability for allopathic medicine to explain and manage suchspiritual breakthroughs.
In the light of the teaching of Sri Aurobindo, and more specifically of the Mother who detailed many similar experiences in “the Agendas”, certain behavioral disorders and/ or “so-called” mental pathologies could today be tackled under the spiritual angle and a new existential understanding, possibly accompanied by new behavioral and / or therapeutic tools.
Like a computer that constantly downloads new updates, human consciousness appropriates in real time any new information it receives, from inside as from outside, as if it had always been part of its system. However, on the spiritual path, any new breakthrough, understanding or insight may be accompanied by new dangers. Some adverse forces involved, which may facilitate access to the inner worlds, may cover
the subject, making him taking insights for the goal, proposing to the personality to use them for egocentric purposes.
Nevertheless, the acknowledgement of these phenomena may bring us new tools to avoid or neutralize the threats. Here again, necessary help is required, in a reassuring and disinterested presence, supported by love and compassion, that are capable to disactivate any attempt to interfere with antagonistic forces.
The spiritual path is becoming more and more demanding for isolated individuals as for the community. It requires a more sustained focus and a commitment towards the unique goal. In Auroville, as in all places of high spiritual energy in the world, we are confronted with such situations, where individuals experience modified states of consciousness, with consequences for themselves and the community. We constantly try to address these consequences collectively, from a practical point of view, by imagining new kind of organizations that are responsible, and from a spiritual point of view, by innovative behavior of help and support.
The basis of this innovative behavior is always love and compassion, which are the only effective tools to neutralize adverse forces.