A typology of experiences of sudden spiritual awakening is suggested, proposing that they may occur in two major forms, or modes. In a study of 19 cases of self-reported sudden spiritual awakening (within a larger sample that included cases of wholly gradual spiritual awakening), it was found that 13 cases could be interpreted in terms of either (a) a sudden collapse of the ego or self-system (egodissolution) or (b) a kundalini-like explosive release of energy. Both these types of spiritual awakening appeared to be most frequently induced by intense forms of psychological turmoil, such as bereavement, depression, addiction, and intense stress. An attempt is made to explain both modes of sudden awakening in terms of the release of energy that is normally monopolized by two different functions. Ego-dissolution awakenings are related to energy associated with the ego, while explosive energetic awakenings are related to energy normally associated with sexuality. The former type of awakening can be characterized as essentially structural in nature while the latter can be characterized as essentially energetic.

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