More than anything, Australian author Marlyse Carroll's book Am I Going Mad? offers a very nice overview of psychology, incorporating lots of the ideas of Jung and criticising the western mania to label things as “sick” when they are merely different or a little difficult. Marlyse points out that the spiritual journey has always been a difficult one, with many phases along the way, but in recent years we have been encouraged to think that somehow any divergence from the norm is somehow “sick.”
She tells lots of wonderful stories – some of them quite distressing and outrageous – based on her own experiences. These are often quite archetypal in nature, reflecting the universality of the Jungian journey. She also recounts some wonderful experiences, like learning to dance as a simple expression of the soul.
The overwhelming message of the book is that fundamentally Jungian one of embracing the shadow self.
The whole book is describing the intense spiritual journey in a very honest way, highlighting the challenges and the pitfalls, and assuring the reader that they are all worth it. Carroll is actually a solid and scholarly writer, and this book is quite serious in its intent. She draws from many of the best spiritual, psychological and scientific thinkers to present this overview, and it is really quite an impressive effort.
She sites mystical consciousness (as opposed to mental illness) in Jung’s described space of the transpersonal. At least, I think I got that right - like I said, this is weighty stuff.She also incorporates ideas of kundalini, using the chakras to illustrate the stages of a person’s journey towards true selfhood.
Chapter headings include:
"How do we know when we experience an archetypal encounter?"
· "Science and spirituality" ( how many physicists are almost mystics, and how the two subject areas almost meet at the other end)
· "Nothing ever happened!" (how so often we stop halfway along the spiritual journey, sometimes totally rejecting it because we are tired or afraid or it has shaken things up too much. Jung recognised this as a common event).
· "Use wisely the extra physical energy now at your disposal."
From the author's website:
Finally, a book that sheds light on the dark side of spiritual evolution...
A book that bridges science and spirituality in an entertaining way!
This work has mostly taken place through the INNER PEACE Institute for Wellbeing, a non-sectarian educational organization based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1995 by my husband Michael Carroll and I, its aim is to teach meditation, spirituality and wellbeing.
Practical information relating to the subject of spiritual evolution and its crises.