Spiritual awakening: doctors label it delusional but one healer calls it magic

Spiritual awakeningInterview and written by Trish/Gary

A scientist who’s not a mystic, is not a scientist  ~ Albert Hofmann

The room at the back of the Krasman Centre is dim and dusty from the windowless walls and second hand furniture.  I do not mind because I am happy to be in Gary’s company for our second interview together.  The first time we talked about the war against the poor on the streets of Toronto.  This time we are going to cover a completely different topic.

“The wounded healer…” Gary mutters our interview topic as he looks through his knapsack to find me his latest handout advocating against Public Health recommending chest compression in response to an opioid overdose.  He hands it to me and I read the title ‘Never Give Chest Compressions to a Non-Cardiac Patient… Chest Compressions is the Worst Thing You Could Do.’

Gary is as much a student of humanity as he is a student of mysticism.  He was introduced very early to the healing arts and to belief.

“My Grandmother was called a witch (just a name) healer.  You don’t become a shaman until people start calling you one.  I remember the day when I was 4 years and the words she said when I was given my bag.  First she asked me to make a wish. I wished my brother and sisters would never get sick and die.  Out of the mouths of babes.  What she saw in me I don’t know.”

He remembers his childhood as always being able to see the good in people.  When he was in his teens, this belief was shattered and changed his life.

“Some people receive a wound to the soul.  It turns them.  They wake up and say, ‘wait a second…’  Jesus had it when he found out King Herold was killing all the babies.  Moses found out when he found he was a Jew and he was living in the King’s castle…

Mine was an event that happened in the courtroom.  Police officers lied.  The judge even said, ‘Gary, I believe you.  But 2 police officers said the same thing and I have to find you guilty.  You should appeal.’

And then I told my Father and he said, ‘Police don’t lie.’  I grew up to believe that they didn’t.  My belief was shattered in civilization.  The world is not what it seems.  I became uncontrollable and self-destructive.  Society can’t hurt me any more than it already did. Under all this pain I remained a giving person.  And tried to stand on the highest moral ground.”

A little later, he had a near death experience and God came to him to tell him to go back.

“I died and knew I was dead.  I saw the spirits leave me and I was in the presence of pure love, the most powerful force in the Universe.  I was in front of a lotus plant.  There was light and it was growing and the leaves were eating darkness and getting white… pure love… and the most humble entity in the Universe told me, ‘Gary, everything is as it should be.  There is too much needless suffering.  Go back.’  And back I was.”

As I listen to Gary’s story, I can’t help but think of the parallels between his experiences and that of my own spiritual awakening—an experience that, when I told people, was labelled as psychotic and delusional.  I since have read that it can also be diagnosed as schizophrenic.

I mention this perspective with Gary and he agrees with me on the detriment of the labeling.

“Humans are spiritual creatures.  And it gets told, ‘No, this material world is the only thing… no… no.’”

Again I reflect on my experience and how my spiritual awakening traumatized into a psychotic break that later took on the form of scrupulosity—a negative religious obsession filled with guilt and shame.

This leads me to comment to Gary that his spiritual emergence did not seem to leave him ungrounded and sensitive to the possible obsession that might arise in others.  So how did he come back and not want to stay in the spiritual realm he experienced upon death?

“The spiritual realm stayed.  It taught me everything is alive, nothing dies.”

“So fear nothing,” he laughs.  “And go on journeys.  I took journeys everywhere and did all kinds of different jobs.  The actual doing, that’s when the knowledge comes in… yeah, it’s the actual hands-on experience.  And… see… all through history, the disenfranchised have been the keepers of the Magic because they live essentially by their hearts.  And all through history, a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, their sacred trust is to protect the poor, and when this trust gets broken, civilization crumbles.  And moving here 3 years ago, yes the social workers, and doctors and nurses, yes, their sacred trust has gone out the window.”

“It was Stanislav Grof who coined the term ‘spiritual emergency’… pretty sure of that.  Carl Jung, Alexander and Ann Shulgin, Ernst Junger and Joseph Campbell are awake to this spiritual emergency philosophy.”

From my readings on spirituality as it relates to schizophrenia at SchizLife.com, I have learned that the speed and intensity of the emergence determines if it will become a spiritual emergency.

I divulge to Gary that my awakening resulted in a spiritual emergency and I ask him why he thinks his experience did not.

“It’s because you don’t get any help.  People say you’re crazy.  But you’re not.”

In my enthusiasm to his response I am bopping up and down on the chair saying, “Yes!  Yes!”  I ask him if people called him crazy.

“I didn’t believe them,” he responds with sincerity.

“All children see the other reality, the worst thing an elder can do is say it does not exist.  That is what helped me with my spiritual emergence; remembering my childhood encounters.”

And then he quotes Ernst Junger: “The real is magical as the magical is real.”

“I’ve always known when I was young… I used to carry littler critters and stuff… it’s Magic.  I remember being young and seeing things and people would say ‘you’re crazy.’”

Gary goes from being soft-spoken to a laugh that is a cross between a chuckle and a giggle.  I am learning that this is his cue to those listening that he has given them some Magic.

“But all children see it.  It’s this civilization—the Western civilization–that says it doesn’t exist.  Yes.  But other cultures… this is normal.  That’s why a lot of schizophrenia, it’s a cultural thing.  People from different cultures, they come into this Western civilization and it’s the shock. [Visions, connection, messages from God] is considered a disease here.

You have to work it out [spiritual emergency].  The outer mysteries and then the inner mysteries, only the person can work out the inner mysteries.  This is the spiritual awakening.  Just because spirits may appear to be ‘demonic’ doesn’t make it so.

There is 7 billion ways to reach the Creator… how many blades of grass?  Everything is striving to find the Creator.  The Creator has no religion.  The Creator is a creative God.”

“There is no evil, there is a lack of wisdom that’s all.” [Tweet this quote!]

He laughs again.

“Stanislav and Christina Grof treatment protocols are called ‘Holotropic Breathwork’, a technique in spiritual emergencies.  It’s a whole process.  Like the mystery cults, all talk about spiritual awakening.  The Eleusian Mysteries (mysteries Latin for employment) of Greece where for 2,000 years up to 3,000 people per year partook of these mysteries. Included in this list is Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristotle; The Roman Emperors  L. Verus, Commodus, Cicero, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius etc. etc. and Pindar wrote “Happy is he who, having seen these rites, goes below the hollow earth; for he knows the end of life is a god-sent beginning”. The Greek State kept a close eye over these ceremonies, to talk of them was punishable by death. I personally think Jesus was privy to these mysteries, i.e. changing the water into wine at Cana, and his raising of the dead. There are two plants in the Shaman’s tradition where it possible to raise the dead. There is every indication that the substance used at Eleusina was Lysergic acid amide, a plant containing this still grows there.”

So to summarize what I have learned so far, I pose the hypothesis that a soul-shattering experience results in spiritual awakening and then leads to the wounded healer.

Gary quickly responds, “We’re all trampled roses.  All of us.  Apes of the jungle practice spirituality. The silver back fears nothing, is ethical and compassionate.  He has been elected by his tribe, lord help him if he makes a mistake, the tribe turns on him. He knows where to obtain healing plants and minerals. He is the wise man, philosopher, healer.  When an ape gets injured, he sleeps closer to the silver back because he has healing powers. All our household pets are natural healers… they love us as God loves us—unconditionally.  Humans can practice this also.  Animals and humans can see where this pain comes from and emphatically heal.”

I am curious how Gary sees all this potential in humans to heal, yet it is crushed by society.  I ask him how he doesn’t give up.

He responds with another laugh, “I suffer fools gladly.”

For Gary it seems that his awareness has unfolded gradually from childhood and at a pace where he can take in what he learns and apply it to life.  Perhaps this is what has enabled him to become an active and experienced spiritual teacher and healer with a focus on the poor.

How many more of us could have embraced our new-found spiritual perspective to realize our potential as healers and teachers if we knew it was normal?  Instead, we hide our spiritual experiences out of fear of being admitted to the psych ward.

This reflection reminds me of something Gary said earlier in our interview:

“Humans have this healing power in abundance… they lost it… gets taught out of them.”


We are interested in hearing your opinion and/or experience.  We would welcome any comments or questions you may have.


Trish’s References:

Spiritual Emergence as Spiritual Emergency

Schizophrenia and Scrupulosity


Photo credit: AlicePopKorn


Gary is a Street Outreach Worker and Dragon Slayer who has recently diagnosed an infectious pandemic to Toronto and Area called Toronto Voodoo Death (TVD).  The cause is living in fear of the real and imagined, therefore not living.  The symptoms are loss of all reasoning, failure to comprehend simple logic, and can’t foresee consequences of their actions.  His recommended treatment is teaching patients the mysteries where all wisdom emanates and in the case of an emergency, pump air into their heads.


The Krasman Centre is a community mental health drop-in centre, with locations in Richmond Hill, Alliston and Newmarket Ontario Canada.  The Krasman Centre is an organization that is governed, led and staffed by consumer/survivors and family members. They work with consumer/survivors and families to improve lives through information and education, self-help, mutual support and partnership. They promote wellness and recovery, and foster supports to help people stay well.

Click here to visit their site.

View all posts contributed through this Reclaim Our Voice storytelling program.

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  • Jared @ Schiz Life

    Wow, thank you for sharing this interview. Gary and Trish, you two are the real deal. I love it! It is through our own suffering that we come to learn empathy and compassion for others, and once combined with the wisdom of experience, the possibilities of healing ourselves and others go beyond just healing. We can reach our once-baseline and then transcend it and grow and grow and grow! Great piece, here. Thanks again!

    • gary thompson

      The story of John Perkins comes to mind. When young he work for the “Peace Corps” in Ecuador, then moved on to work for the IMF (International Monetary Fund). After 911 he wrote a book of his work “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” explaining to the world how we are controlled by capitalism. This is mans largest disconnect. Then he returned to Ecuador and learned how so called “primitives” connect, and wrote “The World is as You Dream It”
      “The idolization of the ephemeral institutions is the nemesis of creativity.” Arnold Toynbee. In other words the praise of the transitory institutions is the death of creativity. We are creative creatures and should follow our bliss and become as gods. This I feel is the creators aim for all.

  • Rachel Miller

    This is so interesting! In my spiritual development group we have been talking about spiritual emergency and how so many people cannot get the care they need from psychiatrists. My teacher has shown me that I’m not mad, I probably don’t have Bipolar Disorder- but spiritual awakening is causing me to become out of balance. She has helped me so much to deal with it all in a positive way- using Bach Flower Remedies, Meditation and Energy Work. I still take my medication as well, but the spiritual work has imp[roved things no end for me.

    In the UK we have the Spiritual Crisis Network:


    Two members of our spiritual group work in the mental health profession and are training in spiritual emergence as well. There is hope!!!!

    • gary thompson

      I have lost faith in psychiatrists myself. At a conference “Kids not Cons” top psychiatrists, psychologist and social workers talking of school yard bullies and gangs. The scientist have found these bullies have a high I.Q. it is the social cognitive theory (learned behaviour) at work. The way to get ahead in this world gaining power by controlling others. i told them they have to talk to the parents and school boards where this learned behaviour is coming from. Reply was “not our job that is politics.” As their society crumbles, this lack of compassion becomes infectious, therefore we all suffer in a thousand ways mentally, physically and spiritually. Living in fear of speaking the truth, they are not living. So this fear of wisdom, leads me to distrust. And a wiser move is to look elsewhere for guidance. The dragon is just a big bully full of hot air that lives in fear of wisdom.

    • Todd

      Right on the money Rachel also taking meds is really important.There is a fine line between being delusional and having a spiritual experience.I believe the experience needs to be gradual our brains cannot handle to much.Dont just stop taking your meds because you believe everything that is happening to you is spiritual.It can become convaluted,your brain can only handle so much at a time.Thank you,Todd.

  • gary thompson

    psychiatrists actual quote was “not our job thats politics, we live in troubled times Gary”

  • Kundalini Yoga Workshops

    this really great article. spiritual awakening is nothing but the listening to your inner voice. when you started listening your inner voice you will feel happy and motivated…………

  • Rick Preble

    Hi my name is Rick . I have bipolar 1 , the illness with schittzophrenia. I have had four really intense psychosis and probably soon to be 5th psychosis. In these experiences I have had many miracles like instant manifestation of objects and black dots a centimeter wide appearing on my face and then disappearing the next day. I believe I was going through multiple experiences of spiritual awakening but I I don’t ever get the chance to finish this amazing process because wouldn’t you know the people at the hospital inject me with medicine and also make me take pills. I’ve seen demons I’ve seen angels and I’ve even seen infinity through people’s eyes ( which makes me fall down to the floor as If dead with electric energy coursing through my body). I want purposefully go into psychosis and finish what god and I have started. I want to awaken using psychosis as a tool by not taking any kind of medicine. It doesn’t matter if they- government-hospitals- friends and my parents try to control me, I will break free and finally remember who I Am. I may have to risk spending the rest of my life in a rubber room because I failed to ascend. I really hope not because that would be one of the most boring things to experience and never see the light of day as the world just forgets about me:…(
    Anyway that is just one of my fears. I wish someone anyone would just take my hand one day and lift me into the new world:..) I hope you understand good day to you sir and may your life continue to be joyful:)

    • Paula

      Hi Rick, how are you feeling these days? I’d love to connect and talk more about your experience – as I had a very similar one ❤️

  • gary thompson

    Rick, labels is societies way of disableing people, we are individuals. Each person has a path. Demons, the angels physical discriptions throughout recorded history are other worldly. Looking into other people eyes and seeing infinity falling down with energy coursing through your body. Same happened to Abraham and John the Baptist etc. etc., you are looking into an old souls eyes, traveling through time, at the end is pure love. Pure love the most powerful force in the universe.
    Quiet contemplation, breath, empty your mind, purify your body and mind. Purposefully finishing your journey to the all mind, seems to wanting. Our ego must fly out the window as we contemplate quietly. Our society does not wish people to become aware, as it throws their system out the window. They persecute this wisdom, this wisdom is not about you, be humble, be good. This wisdom when it comes will make you laugh. Love those that persecute you, for they have just not learned. When this wisdom is obtained you will fear nothing.
    Just one man outlook. All the best, the magic is all around us.

    • Rick

      Thank you Gary for your support and insightful words:) have a joyful day:)

  • gary thompson

    Rick you have already seen, the other reality. Remember what you saw, takes time to understand.
    By living in this reality we can understand both. Everyone has the ability to become a great healer.
    There are no demons when you understand PURE LOVE
    Have seen exactly what you have witnessed
    Remember the Magic

  • Karen Constantinides

    Having viewed the progression of my son’s ‘mental illness’ over the past nearly three years, I am more convinced the established ‘stance’ is off mark. With his first hospital admission, I broached the topic of spiritual emergency with his first psychiatrist who informed me only those who are themselves ‘mentally ill’ consider such things. Even on the strongest meds, he remains in touch with the voices he perceives. Through this experience with him, I have gained enormous connection with my own spiritual side and am often humbled by the expression of the Divine in all who I now encounter. If I choose to ignore that I create my own reality, my son remains a bright daily reminder that we all do, in awareness or not. In that lies the ‘magic’. I look forward to the day when our Western society can choose LOVE over fear and we can revere all the journeys we witness around us and appreciate the expansion we all take in each of us achieving that state of reverence. For now, I am enjoying the journey of moving past my own limiting beliefs as influenced by my own background and society and coming to brighter, lighter, and more centered conclusions that inform more and more of my own perceptions. I enjoy finding sites such as this that point toward these lighter perceptions and contemplating that the most dis-ease is perhaps rampant within the beliefs of our own societies and perhaps less so within the minds of those we have chosen to label ‘mentally ill’. In taking responsibility for my own experience of life, choosing love over fear, or not, in any given moment, I acknowledge the ‘magical’ as discussed here, but because of the connotations of that word, I tend to use miraculous in its place or, at least, contemplate the magical from this perspective. I now perceive most of all around us as ‘practicing magic’, from the institutions we attend (schools, churches, hospitals, banks, governments, courts, businesses, etc.), the media we watch, read, and listen to, the conversations we engage in, etc. but not all of this ‘magic’ comes from love. In love, we have infinite possibilities as a species, as divine expressions, to explore physical life from an amazing cornucopia of choices and starting points; in fear, we limit ourselves and these ‘institutions’ and others around us may become our ‘enemies’, objects of our fear. In the end, we each must make the choice of love or fear for ourselves, whether we are ‘labeled’ ‘mentally ill’ or not. I often think of my son as a ‘canary in a coal mine’ now. When I operate from fear, there is a huge difference in the expression of his ‘illness’ than if I operate from love, trust, and faith. In this, I applaud and appreciate the gift of all those souls who have chosen to be the ‘canaries in the coal mines’ for the rest of us and I wish for us all ‘better air’ that our lives are filled with the well-being possible in coming out of the ‘mines’.
    In humble appreciation,

  • gary thompson

    Karen glad you understand, our civilization is not all we get preached about. Use of the word magic am implying “mysteries-the creators employment” PURE LOVE the most powerful force in the universe. ANYTHING is possible ANYTHING, KNOW IT. We all come to this understanding, the all mind. Just one mans outlook, the creator is a creative god, 7 billion ways to reach the creator.
    Thanks for writing much enjoyed
    “Someone’s authority which keeps you obedient, and compels you to do its will.” Alexander Berkman

  • Karen Constantinides

    Thank you Gary for your response.
    It is such a comforting perspective to me to not feel the urge to push against the various institutions in the world and to be present to really being the change I wish to see in the world. Knowing that what I put out there is what I will see reflected back. I’ve stopped blaming the mirror for the reflection I’m seeing. Or at least I mainly realize when I’m doing that and can laugh at my own folly. 🙂 I’ve happened upon several different perspectives on how the world may operate in ways we do not normally think about or would wish to contemplate, for some it makes the world more frightening, for me I see it making the world more wondrous and bountiful, and a rich smorgasbord for each of us to hold onto or expand what beliefs we have from wherever we may each be at along our personal journeys. On a broad enough level, all truly is working out perfectly! The magic is we are all creators, creating the world according to our beliefs and expectations, and taking varying degrees of responsibility for what we create. Often easier said than done. I have little doubt that my son’s ‘illness’ is a co-creation, and I enjoy receiving more and more clarity on my part in this co-creation and shifting it to one more of our liking.

  • gary thompson

    Scratched on the wall of CAMH “we are born to be murdered.”
    “Someone’s authority which keeps you obedient and compels you to do its will.” Alexander Berkman
    People believe we are powerless, so we oppress ourselves.
    It’s all a big mystery
    All the best

  • Megan

    Thank u so much for sharing. For a year or more I have thought I was crazy and so have those I love most. I have learned so much and have just wanted them to see that and understand things as I have. I am still seeing things that way and don’t think I’ll ever be “normal” again and don’t think I want to. Thanks for sharing.

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