Whether it happens all at once or gradually over time, spiritual awakening is an experience that may be accompanied by great insight, ecstatic bliss, or a mystical infusion of light, love, and vision. But it can be an overwhelming experience, too, leaving those to whom it’s occurred searching for answers and understanding. Written by a transpersonal psychologist and non-dual teacher, this book will help you understand the phenomenon of spiritual awakening, and provide guidance and support for you on your spiritual journey.
At the heart of most spiritual traditions is the understanding that we are one with all of existence. This realization, also known as spiritual awakening or spiritual emergence, can occur spontaneously, after years of spiritual practice, or through many other portals. Although awakening is often considered a purely positive experience, many people are not prepared for the ramifications of such a life-altering event. When your perception of yourself and reality has been altered, you may find yourself with more questions than answers. Where can you turn?
Based on over thirty years of case studies, as well as the author’s own experiences, When Spirit Leaps explores the why and what of spiritual awakening, revealing how this phenomenon occurs across all traditions, and exploring the various ways it can happen. Including discussions on kundalini energy, meditation, yoga and qigong, breathwork, near-death experiences, and much more, this inspirational book offers companionship and practical solutions to common challenges along the spiritual path of awakening.
With this book as your guide, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the process and different portals of awakening, and find comfort and support in the real-life stories of those who have experienced this shift in consciousness and faced its challenges. Most importantly, you’ll learn how you can embody this awakening and live joyfully and effectively without attachment to a personal sense of self, but as the oneness with all that is your true nature. No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, this book will help you along the way.
Part One: How We Awaken
1. Spiritual Experiences and the Gift of Awakening 8
2. Energy Moves Us Along the Way 19
3. Consciousness Recalls Its Essence 33
4. The Many Portals of Awakening 44
Part Two: Navigating the Challenges of Awakening
5. Challenges That May Come with the Process 84
6. Emergence, Emergency, or Mental Illness 110
7. Ways to Support Ourselves and Others 128
Part Three: The Continual Unfolding of Liberation
8. Blissful Losses in Transformation 168
9. Living the Paradox of Duality and Non-Duality177
10. Embodied Gift of Being 188
“In this seminal work, Greenwell provides us with a detailed understanding of how to respond to both the sublime and beatific realizations, and the emotional and mental challenges that naturally arise as one integrates transcendent wisdom with everyday life. When Spirit Leaps is a must-read for all who wish to understand the complexities and pitfalls that occur, in one form or another, to all who are engaged in the process of spiritual awakening.”~Richard Miller, PhD
—Richard Miller, PhD, past president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology, and author of The iRest Program for Healing PTSD and Yoga Nidra
“Bonnie Greenwell is a wonderful guide for both the awakening of mind and of your body’s energies. Understanding energy work is an important bridge between the two worlds of infinite awareness and everyday reality, which has not been clearly described, and yet is so important for the unfolding awakening. You will find When Spirit Leaps a gift in navigating the awakening process of body, mind, and spirit.”~Loch Kelly
—Loch Kelly, author Shift into Freedom
“Some spiritual seekers mistake intellectual understanding for Realization. Others have a genuine Awakening, but are frightened or confused by the experience because they don’t understand it. I think that seekers should consider the cultivation of both experience and understanding a lifelong project, as Bonnie has done. One of the fruits of her dedication, which is rare among spiritual teachers and writers, is that she appreciates the multidimensional nature of reality, and is thus comfortable embracing paradox. I think you will find this one of the more useful and memorable spiritual books you have ever read.”~Rick Archer
—Rick Archer, Buddha at the Gas Pump
“Any time a great writer tries to tackle higher consciousness, they can get lost in their own dogma. Bonnie Greenwell’s new book does not get lost—it represents a lifetime commitment to help raise humanity’s awareness of higher consciousness, how to live with an awakened kundalini, and offers wonderful, simple exercises that can help the process along the path in a clear and positive manner. Bonnie has put forth her lifetime of working with and studying people in the process of self-realization and even God realization. The end of the book shows insights into what this really means: that perfection is never 100 percent perfection, and awareness of this is awareness of what it really is in and of itself. It is a masterpiece of divine words with a pure heart and positive message. Anyone who reads this book will benefit from the experience.”~Tom Kay
—Tom Kay, founder of www.ecomall.com, www.cybergod.com, and the last person to interview Gopi Krishna
“When Spirit Leaps is the essential guide for spiritual awakening and transformation. It is for both the awakened teacher and the truth seeker in transition. It is also essential for those of us who may know our path very well, but are not familiar with other paths. One size does not fit all, and it is very important not to be dogmatic in our approach. This guide helps teachers see there are more ways than one. It is a profound, loving, and thorough book. In Zen it is said, ‘If you want to know the way up the mountain, ask someone who comes and goes on it.’ Bonnie Greenwell is such a one.”~Tom Thompson
—Tom Thompson, spiritual teacher and consultant for over forty years; cofounder and director of The Awakened Heart Center for Conscious Living in Pittsboro, NC
“Bonnie Greenwell’s new book When Spirit Leaps summarizes in a pragmatic fashion over thirty years of her psychospiritual practice, research, and personal experience about how to make one’s way through the process of spiritual awakening in a lucid, inspiring way. Regardless of whether one’s awakening experiences were spontaneous or the result of years of yoga or meditation practice, or whether they have been blissful, crisis-filled, or something in-between, this book takes you through many key components of how spirit can unfold within our awareness, including the areas of kundalini and non-duality. It will be of great benefit to experiencers, spiritual teachers, or health professionals that specialize in this emerging field.”~Ted Esser, PhD
—Ted Esser, PhD, spiritual counselor, former director of the Spiritual Emergence Network, and assistant chair for the psychology department at Sofia University
“This is a deeply touching, transforming, and empowering book. Different from inspirational autobiographical accounts of those seekers who suddenly found themselves in touch with spiritual realities of their minds, this book is written by an experienced psychologist, researcher, and trained clinician. Bonnie Greenwell used her professional skills in service to the spiritual search. As a result, the book both inspires and provides practical, pragmatic tools to one’s own process of spiritual awakening and transformation. Most importantly, the book overcomes an illusory division between the spirit and the body by grounding spiritual awakening in lived reality of one’s embodied every day. ... Like Bonnie’s earlier books, this volume is destined to become an instant spiritual classic.”~Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, MD, PhD
—Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, MD, PhD, professor emerita of psychology and comparative religion at the former (1975-2014) Institute of Transpersonal Psychology