Dr Yvonne Kason first coined the phrase Spiritually Transformative Experience or STE in 1994. A Spiritually Transformative Experience may also be referred to as a numinous, noetic, transcendent, transpersonal, mystical, anomalous, religious, paranormal, parapsychology, or ecstatic experience.
Fascinatingly, there are many STE after-effects. Every STE is unique but there are common after-effects shared by experiencers all over the world no matter what their background or belief system.
Typically, STEs result in the regeneration of the experiencer – psychologically and spiritually – even physically, in some cases. There can be a notable enhancement in their creativity, intuition, and sensitivities to the environment around them. And many other effects.
- STEs are intense, overwhelming, extra-sensory experiences that are difficult to verbalise.
- STEs often bring about a change in the way an experiencer perceives the world.
- An STE can super-charge an experiencer’s life – affecting their abilities, identity, relationships, interests, motivation, and behaviour.
- Experiencers may lose all fear of death and suddenly gain an insatiable appetite for spiritual knowledge, learning, and creativity.
- Experiencers generally have a more positive and compassionate outlook and feel a greater interconnectedness with all life.
Challenges of Spiritually Transformative Experiences
A Spiritually Transformative Experience may bring about new challenges, like feelings of confusion, longing, social isolation, and depression. The reason for this is that an STE may contradict what a person was raised to believe in, and may go against what the experiencer’s family or community accepts as real.
Ultimately, an STE is a spiritual healing or ‘wake-up call’ and to process it appropriately an experiencer must be able to communicate it. The experiencer will often feel a need to share what they have experienced, and yet it is something that is quite difficult to put into words. If they are then invalidated in some way, this may cause a lot of stress and disappointment.
One way to share an STE is to carefully choose someone to talk to about it who will listen respectfully and without judgement. It may or may not be a family member or friend. It may be in a safe online forum or with a spiritual counsellor.
Other ways may be to write about the experience in a journal or book; create something that represents the experience – big or small, move into a profession that utilises wisdom gained from the experience, speak and teach about the experience in a video, or to a group.
There may be a big need in the experiencer to take what they have been gifted with and put it to beneficial use, often in service of humanity. But if a person feels their experience will be dismissed or ridiculed by others they will feel reluctant to speak of it again. This may result in inner turbulence and poor health until the energy is communicated effectively.
The transformative aspect of an STE is complex and far-reaching. Depending on the intensity of the STE, whether it was an uplifting or fearful experience, how often the varying phenomenon and after-effects frequent an experiencer, the kind of support and acknowledgement they receive, and the resources available to them – it can take many years, even a lifetime, to truly integrate these profound consciousness experiences into daily life.
Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences
The integration of an STE can take many years and happens at many different levels within the psyche, eventually culminating in acceptance of what has happened, and how it has changed the experiencer’s worldview and the course of their life.
It is important for an experiencer to be able to focus the extraordinary energy they gain from the experience in ways that benefit them and others.
Everyone can benefit from the sharing of STEs – the experiencer and the recipient. If you wish to assist your own integration process, speak to someone that you can trust with your experience and also, write your experience down. You may even like to share it here at Spirit my way!
If you would like to assist someone’s integration process, you can ask them to share their experience with you. You can encourage them to write about their experience – it’s really beneficial.
There are many helpful organisations and sites dedicated to the study of STEs:
- American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE)
- International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS)
- Near-Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) – and others.
My book Where The Light Lives is about my spiritually transformative experiences, after-effects and integration process. Find Out More