Emma Bragdon, in her book The Call of Spiritual Emergency – From Personal Crisis to Personal Transformation distinguishes between spiritual emergence (SE) and spiritual emergency (SEY). Bragdon’s book is also mentioned in our Resources section here.
In the case of SE, Bragdon states that:
“There are usually critical points in that process when a person feels disoriented and for a time is unable to function as usual in ordinary life, relationships, work, chores, etc. while he or she becomes acclimated to more subtle levels of consciousness. The end result is positive transformation, observable in increased compassion, creativity, and a desire to be of service to all of life. Like crossing a sword-bridge, this transition time demands more focused inner attention and special care, so as to see things as they really are. The stress of the situation may make things appear more threatening than they actually are.”
In the case of SEY, Bragdon states that:
“When spiritual emergence is punctuated by profound emotions, visions, psychosomatic illness and compelling desires to behave in unusual ways, including suicidal thoughts, the spiritual emergence becomes a crisis, a spiritual emergency.”
MY SPIRITUAL EMERGENCE (GS Personal Insight)
In my case, after my wife Bettina died suddenly, I experienced profound emotions including shock, guilt, curiousity, and a strong desire to serve others. I developed an obsession to learn everything I could about afterlife concepts and to determine what had happened to my wife/soul mate. I read many afterlife books, watched YouTube videos and movies, consulted with and received readings from mediums, shamans and spiritual teachers.
Through my efforts, I learned that consciousness continues and that communication with a loved one in spiritual realms is certainly possible and perfectly normal. I also learned that we are spiritual beings who temporarily incarnate into earth plane many times, and that angels and spirit guides watch over us and even interact with us while we are here. As I became more knowledgeable and observant, I began to experience various forms of communications and interactions with both my wife's spirit and with angels and guides. Spirit was helping me to evolve, open my heart, and experience spirituality. Most importantly, I learned to trust in God.
In short, I went through an intense personal experience – a spiritual emergence. Thankfully, I didn't experience those other more serious symptoms usually associated with spiritual emergency.
Some people use the term "spiritual awakening" instead of "spiritual emergence". Here is a link to an article called "51 Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening – How Many Do You Have?" Also, below is an interesting TedTalk YouTube video about spiritual awakening.