In our interviews with Rick Tarnas, Sadhguru and Roger Walsh we’ve found that Western culture does not have a context or foundation for someone going through an episode of severe mental distress that could potentially lead to a spiritual awakening and an expansion of consciousness. Unlike most of the indigenous cultures I’ve visited we also seem to lack a supportive community that someone can rely on while they are going through their process of awakening.

When Adam returned from Hawaii Ron graciously offered him a place to stay. In this interview in Ron’s garage Adam reminisces about finding a community of support in an unlikely setting – among the homeless while sitting around a bonfire on a beach in Maui.

Ken Kimmel, a Jungian Psychologist with over 30 years of clinical experience talks about the importance of a supportive community for someone going through a process like Adam’s, and the fact that our culture does not provide that community in any substantial way.

If you know of any groups or communities, especially in the Seattle area that would be beneficial for Adam or others going through this experience, please share them below in the comments.

6 Responses to “Interview with Ken Kimmel: Supportive Community is Essential”

  1. Evan

    Adam appears to be in some pain but it is difficult to identify community supports for him without more details about what happened to him during his spiritual emergency and how his “guides” manifest to him. All that the readers of this blog really know is that he had a psychological breakdown, Vipassana meditation helped him for a while, Phil felt heat coming out of his hands (sounds like Reiki), and that his guides don’t always lead him in the right direction (he landed in the hospital twice while he was in Hawaii). Adam said in one blog post that his spirits often remind him of their presence and that it bothers him but he doesn’t say how.

    Given the plethora of spiritual traditions in the world, perhaps it would occur to you that the Spirit manifests in many different ways and at many different levels. People who work with the Spirit have different abilities (siddhis if you will) and people at different levels of realization can have one or more of these abilities but everyone is different. For Adam to find community, he has to identify his abilities and/or find a spiritual tradition that he resonates with (one that makes sense to him given the way his spirits are manifesting and resonates with his personal ethics and sense of right and wrong). If Adam can’t research different traditions for himself, it might be helpful to offer more details so that some of your blog readers can try to help. For example, when Phil mentioned that he felt heat coming from Adam’s hands, a blog reader who does Reiki responded to the post and identified what she thought was happening.

    Shamanism and wisdom are paths. Knowledge and ability aren’t simply handed to a 20-year-old during a psychological event. Your blog doesn’t give enough information for anyone to identify what happened and is happening to Adam so it is difficult to identify community regardless of the fact that you keep trying to project a happy-Shaman image on to him.

    There is a community Reiki clinic in the Seattle area that Adam could go to and have Reiki done on him to see if he feels a sense of connection or feels at home. Alternative medicine treatments aren’t just about receiving the benefits of a technique from the practitioner, they are a means to self-knowledge for both the practitioner and the patient so it might help. The web site for the Reiki clinic is:

    • Phil Borges


      I very much appreciate and agree with your comments.

      At one time, Adam was very bothered by his interactions with what he calls his ‘guides’ because he didn’t know what was happening to him. Like he said, a year ago he didn’t believe in a higher anything, so he had absolutely no context for what was going on with him. Adam is in process, in a culture that doesn’t have clearly established pathways and support when something like this happens to an individual. In fact, Adam’s confusion during his search is an important element of this story. I realize that there may not be enough information for readers like yourself to come to any conclusions about what exactly Adam is experiencing, at this time. The reality is that it isn’t clear for us either. As a storyteller, I will continue to present what is happening to Adam to the best of my ability.

      I agree, to find community he absolutely has to find what spiritual tradition he resonates with and what his abilities are. As a documentarian, I am watching this process unfold and I do hope that Adam finds a mentor and/or the specific community he needs.

      I welcome any specific questions that you have to be directed to Adam. Since he is homeless, he only has sporadic connection to the internet, but the next time I see him I will make him aware of your comments.

      Thank you for the suggestion of the Reiki clinic and for taking the time to share this value feedback with us.

      With much appreciation,


    • Rossa Forbes

      You wrote: For Adam to find community, he has to identify his abilities and/or find a spiritual tradition that he resonates with (one that makes sense to him given the way his spirits are manifesting and resonates with his personal ethics and sense of right and wrong). If Adam can’t research different traditions for himself, it might be helpful to offer more details so that some of your blog readers can try to help.
      What I found very helpful for my son was numerology and Chinese NIne Star Ki. While we normally think of astrology and numerology in laughable terms, I personally have come to think that the ancients had a very good grasp of how vibration and date of birth affects us. I worked with my son, whose numbers revealed very apparent and also very subtle aspects of his personality, and it resonated with him more than the “logical approach,” Adam’s birth date and year will reveal a lot about his path in life and his talents. I started with a simple book, I See Your Dream Job, by Sue Frederick, and then progressed to Your Hidden Symmetry, by Jean Haner. Perhaps it takes a devoted someone who knows the person well to help the person see their potential. The numbers were right on for my son.

  2. Georgia Cammann

    I count Adam among my friends from Soul Food Books in Redmond. I saw a light in him the moment we met that has never faded despite the ups and downs he’s experienced the last few years. Although I’ve had experiences of what I like to call “high strangeness” all my life, in the process of studying my craft as a shamanic healer during a particularly intense period of about 5 years, I had a lot of experiences which were inexplicable by our standard cultural standards and left me bewildered and in terror. I developed PTSD for a time but I was I was also able to gain an immense amount of information beyond my usual senses… new knowledge about myself and a much bigger picture of things and to learn how to stay empowered in my daily life and the work I do with others. There was often a lot of judgment and critisizim, particularly from other healers who could not understand or relate to things like this. At times I honestly felt I was losing my sanity until I began to let go of the fear and see them as the lessons they truly were. I also came to understand this had been a rite of passage for me into a big part of my purpose here which is to support and empower young people like Adam who poccess their own special gifts. There’s always a common thread that runs through them collectively. They are very bright, creative, highly intuitive, compassionate, loving and struggle with a myriad of mental health “labels”. Because they’re so empathic, they have difficulty seeing with clarity what they are feeling around them verses what are actually theirs. I often give them tools they can use to help keep themselves grounded and protected. They come to me as someone who truly understands much of what they’re experiencing and can give them a safe place to be heard without judgment. Our mental health system has been flawed for a long time in it’s ability to accurately diagnose or understand a much wider and deeper perspective and understanding of the dimensional, “shamanic-type” experiences these often are. Many of these young people are basically old souls who are here before their time and I see the numbers increasing all the time. Every human has an intrinsic need to be valued for who they authentically are and not being supported and nurtured in this way leads to feelings of isolation, confusion and pain.


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