Why do some people who experience the worst that life has to offer respond not by breaking down but by shifting up, into a higher-functioning, awakened state? And perhaps more importantly, how can we emulate their transformations?
Over many years of observing and studying the phenomenon of life-changing awakening through extreme suffering, psychologist Steve Taylor coined the term “transformation through turmoil (TTT).” He calls individuals whose struggles lead to a dramatic shift into a new, expansive identity “shifters” and in Extraordinary Awakenings: When Trauma Leads to Transformation (New World Library, September 14, 2021) he shares dozens of amazing stories of individuals who “woke up” to profound transformation following bereavement, deep depression, suicide attempts, addiction, military combat, imprisonment, or other intense encounters with mortality.
“It is tremendously moving to hear accounts from people who have been to the furthest extremes of loss and suffering, who have faced the most desperate and desolate predicaments that human beings can possibly experience,” writes Taylor. “But even more than that it is inspiring that these people have risen so gloriously from the depths of their suffering and are now living such fulfilling and purposeful lives.”
Along with the amazing stories of shifters he shares throughout the book, Taylor uncovers the psychological processes that help explain these miraculous awakenings. He also highlights a number of lessons and guidelines from the experiences of shifters and offers readers hope and guidance to call on during their own struggles.
Steve Taylor, PhD, is the author of Extraordinary Awakenings and many other bestselling books. He’s senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University and the chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society. Steve’s articles and essays have been published in over 100 academic journals, magazines, and newspapers and he blogs for Scientific American and Psychology Today. Visit him online at www.StevenMTaylor.com.