Can personal tragedy ever have positive after effects?
Can a horrific experience result in a sudden ‘awakening’ to the meaning of life and the beauty of the world?
And is this strange psychological phenomenon becoming more common?
Out of the Darkness tells the stories of more than 30 people who have undergone permanent psychological rebirth after intense trauma and turmoil in their lives. From suffering terrible injuries or developing life-threatening diseases, to hitting rock bottom as a result of addiction, these people have all shifted into a state of appreciation, connection and intense well-being. Including:
- Dr Gill Hicks, MBE who suffered terrible injuries in the 7/7 tube bombings in London and subsequently has a new appreciation for life.
- Carrie Mitchell, a television writer (Emmerdale), who has undergone a complete transformation since being diagnosed with cancer two years ago, with a new sense of meaning, connection and purpose.
- Glyn Hood, a woman from the north-east of England, who underwent psychological transformation following her daughter’s death.
- Tracy, who had a life-changing peak experience at a time when she was contemplating suicide, after being left by her husband, alone with her young daughter with no money and no home
- The American author Michael Hutchison, who was paralysed in a fall ten years ago, and suffered from depression for months afterwards, until he ‘let go’ and discovered a new sense of well-being and appreciation.
Steve Taylor has also interviewed several spiritual teachers whose original awakening occurred after intense psychological turmoil, including Eckhart Tolle and Catherine Ingram. In addition to telling these people’s stories, Out of the Darkness explains why turmoil has this ‘awakening’ effect, and illustrates the almost infinite capacity of human beings to overcome suffering. It suggests that, so long as we have the courage to face up to and accept negative situations, there is nothing for us to fear. But perhaps most importantly, it shows how natural spiritual awakening is to human beings, and how close it is to all of us.
Steve Taylor is a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University and researcher in transpersonal psychology at Liverpool John Moores University. He has written for many magazines, newspapers and academic journals, including Psychologies, The Daily Express, The Guardian The Journal of Humanistic Psychology and The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. Steve lives in Manchester with his wife and young children.