The Power of NOTEs is here!


The gifting season has arrived early!

Hot off the printing press, The Power of NOTEs: How Non-Ordinary Transcendent Experiences Transform The Way We Live, Love, And Lead is finally here!

You can grab your signed copy here. It will be lovingly packaged and posted by yours truly.

I’ve got to admit there’s nothing quite like cracking open that box and holding that new book for the very first time.

I’m thrilled that it’s finally ready to be shared with you.

Here’s some of what folks have been saying about the book:

“As William James pointed out, what we think of as ‘normal’ awareness is just one out of a whole spectrum of different states. With great clarity and energy, Nicole Gruel explains why non-ordinary states have such significance and may even hold the key to our future as a species.”

—Steve Taylor, PhD, author of The Leap and Spiritual Science

“This book is a wonderful support for those who experience non- ordinary transcendent experiences (NOTEs) and a clear perspective to help everyone understand their potential for life transformation. Gruel blends the perspective of noted scientists and psychiatrists like Carl Jung with remarkable stories of experiencers and offers ways to integrate the insights from these moments into the flow of life. She offers an impressive contribution to the field of transpersonal psychology and spiritual emergence.”

—Bonnie Greenwell, PhD, Psychotherapist, Non-dual teacher, and author of When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening.

“Dr. Nicole Gruel’s common-sense and inspirational style of writing, along with her ability to blend research with direct experience, makes this book the new required reading in the field of Spiritual Emergence and Emergencies. Her ability to address complex theories and research in way that is readable will enable both professionals and experiencers alike to develop an understanding of and appreciation for, the potential of NOTEs to create transformative shifts in a person’s conscious growth. Not only is it difficult for experiencers to shape into language the experience they have undergone, but it is also difficult to explain the personal challenges and changes most NOTEs create. This encouraging book will help solve that problem. Nicole’s graceful handling of these issues gives us a common language we can use to communicate regarding these experiences which helps create a much-needed bridge of understanding between the experiencer and the non-experiencer.”

—Elizabeth J. Sabet, PCC, ASCLC, President of The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences, Transformational/Transpersonal Coach

8 Gifts Arising From Transcendent Experiences

Often, when someone has been through a transformative non-ordinary experience, peculiar gifts can arise.

Those gifts may be extensions of what the person could do before, like singing, but now to a whole new level of sublime. Or they could be completely foreign abilities, like telepathy, that can sometimes freak a person out.

The gifts that arise from NOTEs (non-ordinary transcendent experiences) can be a mixed blessing. It can take time to get to know them and learnt to harness them well. They’re kind of like superpowers, which of course, should be respected.

But if we learn to work well with these new abilities, magic can truly happen.

I had the great pleasure of presenting at this year’s IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) Conference on one of my favourite topics: the gifts of extraordinary experiences.

Rumi sums up these transcendent gifts as only Rumi can:

“You have no idea how hard I've looked for a gift to bring you. Nothing seemed right. What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the ocean. Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient. It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these. So I brought you a mirror. Look at yourself and remember me.” Rumi

Here’s the recording of the complete presentation plus Q&A. We cover a lot of territory.

Hope you enjoy it!

Shine on.

Nicole xx

What Happens Beyond Extraordinary Experiences?

I often get asked if I’ve ever had extraordinary experiences. And if so, what happened?

As anyone who’s had such an experience can attest, it’s often difficult to sum up such transformative live events in a few neat sentences. So, it’s a real pleasure to have the opportunity to share some of my story and to extend the discussion into what life is like through and beyond these experiences.

Those familiar with my work will know that I’m passionate not only about the wild variety of NOTEs (non-ordinary transcendent experiences)—of which there are more than 500!—but also life AFTER these profound experiences. Specifically, how they change us and what we then feel pulled to do in the world.

In fact, I love this stuff so much it’s why I do what I do every single day as a coach for NOTEs experiencers and those seeking a life of spiritual health.

I’m most grateful to Sheryl Gottschall, Barry Taylor, and the Afterlife Discussions community in Brisbane, Australia, for the invitation to share in a wonderful conversation.

If you desire a safe and supportive space to process your NOTEs and to explore the changes in your life they have prompted, it would be my honour to work with you.

Here’s 3 was to join me in live coaching: a new Shine Brighter Success Circle starting early 2019, The Emergence Salon, or a one-to-one Deep Dive Intensive.

Love them all and not sure which one’s the best match for you? Book a FREE 30 minute Discovery Call with me and we’ll figure out your best road forward.

Shine on!

Why The World Needs A Spiritual Science

Voila! The latest episode of Take NOTE, the place to be to make the most of your non-ordinary transcendent experiences. Today we speak with Prof. Steve Taylor about his newest book, Spiritual Science: Why Science Needs Spirituality To Make Sense Of The World.

Here's what Deepak Chopra said about the new book:

With elegance and lucidity, Steve Taylor explains why spiritual science is the only hope for humanity. A science based on the superstition of matter as fundamental reality could lead to our extinction but a science grounded in the understanding of consciousness as a fundamental reality – as described by this book – could be our saving grace.

In this conversation, we touch on:
💎 why and how current materialist science is outdated
💎 how a spiritual science can explain phenomena that seem to defy reality, such as near-death and awakening experiences 
💎 how depression can be reframed from "broken brain" to something so much more (and therefore navigated more wholesomely)
💎 what an awakening experience is and who has them
💎 introversion, extroversion and the spiritual journey
💎 the cultural shift taking place right now that is ESSENTIAL for the future of our species and planet

May you enjoy these diamonds and share with those who you know will dig this too. Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube channel so you never miss an episode.

Get your copy of the book at

Got someone you'd love to hear an interview with in a future episode? Let me know!

Shine on! ✨😊✨ #thepowerofNOTEs

The 8 Transcendent Gifts Arising From NDEs

Looking forward to presenting at the upcoming International Association For Near-Death Studies (IANDS) conference. 80 amazing speakers including NY Times bestseller Dr. Eben Alexander and PMH Atwater, a pioneer of NDE studies. It's an honour to be part of this conversation into the aftereffects and gifts of NDEs--one of my favourite topics!!

I'll be speaking on...

The 8 Transcendent Gifts Arising From NDEs and Other NOTEs (Non-Ordinary Transcendent Experiences)

This presentation shares experiencer stories and key findings from doctoral research that explored if and how personality plays a role in life-changing NOTEs (non-ordinary transcendent experiences), their aftereffects, and the meaning experiencers make of them. Examples of NOTEs include NDEs, NDLEs, kundalini awakenings, out-of-body experiences, revelation, divine encounters, paranormal experiences, psychedelic experiences, spiritual crises, and other STEs. The findings suggest there are transcendent dimensions to personality that are “switched on” or enhanced by profound NOTEs. These transcendent dimensions provide indications of the types of gifts experiencers come to know through their experience(s), often significantly shaping their life after their experience(s) and may eventually become gifts they choose to share with others.

Although I was meant to be there in person, my circumstances have changed and I won't make it physically. BUT thanks to the wonders of technology, I'll be presenting via LIVE video. In the meantime, I'll continue to practice bilocation.

If you have an interest in NDEs or are an experiencer yourself, this is THE place to be. It will be marvellously enriching on all levels. If you can't make it in person, be sure to register for the live stream option. Gold be here.

Darkness To Light To A Global Movement featuring Kelly Walsh (aka The Positivity Princess)

Welcome to the latest episode of #TakeNOTE ~ the place to be to make the most of your Non-Ordinary Transcendent Experiences!

NOTEs often bring about an insatiable desire to help others and make the world a better place. In this episode, we speak with Kelly Michelle Walsh (aka the Positivity Princess), who is one such person. Her purpose is "to help you shine so friggin bright the world needs to wear sunglasses!" 

We discuss:

  •  Kelly's suicide attempt that led to a near-death experience and gave her a mission to fulfil on planet earth
  • the ups and downs after an awakening experience
  • the importance of an anchoring person or community as one goes through transformation
  • navigating the mental health system as a NOTEs experiencer and how you can help as a loved one or mental health professional
  • Kelly's experience-based perspective on suicide and what happens beyond the physical with those who suicide
  • the birth of a movement to create more positivity on this planet (with the help of those in the physical, those no longer in the physical, and other non-local forces) and how you can get involved

A whole heap of loving goodness and real talk in this interview.

You can get in touch with Kelly here

And join the Positivity Power movement here

The book "The Transformative Power of Near Death Experiences: How the Messages of NDEs Can Positively Impact the World" with a prologue from Neale Donald Walsch is available from Amazon and other online sellers. Highly recommended.

SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and never miss an episode of quality content to grow your spiritual health and life wealth.

Shine on beautiful people.

Life As A Dream Oracle with Dyana Valentine

Voila! The latest episode of #TakeNOTE, the place to be to make the most of your non-ordinary transcendent experiences!

In this episode we speak with Dyana Valentine, oracle and teacher. She shares with us what a modern-day oracle is, how this work came to her, and how she works with dreams to help answer people's deepest existential questions.

We talk about:

  • what is an oracle?
  • how dreams give powerful messages for waking life
  • staying congruent as a NOTEs experiencer
  • learning discernment with one's gifts (especially in the early days)
  • developing a process that works for communicating non-ordinary messages
  • working with Spirit/Creator (whatever you want to call it) through everyday life, particularly as an entrepreneur
  • creating and honouring a healthy process as a highly sensitive person, including dealing with the world's pains and troubles
  • the dangers of transformation without grounded support, context, and integration
  • being ok with uncomfortable situations and conversations in an often superficial world (including the "spiritual" community)
  • questioning whether NOTEs need to lead to service, or not!
  • learning which NOTEs are for sharing with others and which aren't
  • figuring out what is your SOUL FOOD

Like, share & enjoy beautiful people! We'd love to hear your thoughts arising from this conversation.

As always, shine on.

And to never miss an episode of Take NOTE, subscribe to my youtube channel. Share with people who will benefit. Thank you. 

You can get in touch with Dyana here.

Navigating Spiritual Awakening & Its Challenges with Dr Bonnie Greenwell

For more than 30 years, Dr. Bonnie Greenwell has specialized in mentoring people going through transformative experiences relating to spiritual awakening and the kundalini process. Among many hats, Bonnie founded and directed the Kundalini Research Network, established the Shanti River Center and has authored several key books on awakening.

We discuss her latest book When Spirit Leaps: Navigating The Process Of Spiritual Awakening.


  • What is kundalini?
  • What is non-dualism?
  • How do we awaken?
  • Major common obstacles to transformation
  • What does liberation look like?

The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences with Dr Penny Sartori

In this episode of Take NOTE, world-renowned expert in near-death experiences, Dr. Penny Sartori, tells us about her latest her latest work, the highly acclaimed book she co-authored with Kelly Walsch, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences: how the messages of NDEs positively impact the world.

Awakening The Visionary Spirit: an interview with Dr. Mick Collins

An interview with Dr. Mick Collins on his new book The Visionary Spirit: Awakening to the Imaginal Realm in the Transformocene Age.

We cover a lot of ground including challenging NOTEs (non-ordinary transcendent experiences), integrating profound experiences, collective transformation, how personal growth relates to planetary health, how to work with the imaginal realm, what evolution to the transformocene age could look like, and most importantly putting all that good stuff to imaginative action.

Enjoy the deep dive!

Life beyond spiritual emergence: an interview with Katie Mottram

Had a fun time last night in an interview with the delightful Katie Mottram, creatress of the #EmergingProud movement that seeks to give voice to those “coming out of the spiritual closet”. We talk #thepowerofNOTEs, research findings, and I share about some of my own NOTEs and how they brought me to this work.

Katie is doing amazing work bridging the gap between mental health services and challenging spiritual emergence experiences. If you want to share your experiencer story, hear others, or seek resources in this area, check out all the goodies at

Jung On Yoga by Prof. Dario Nardi: a book review

Originally published in The Bulletin of Psychological Type. Vol. 41, Issue 6, 2017

Editor’s Note

Doing a book review is incredibly time consuming. We are very appreciative of both Nicole Gruel’s expertise and time committed to review Dario Nardi’s new book for us. I love Nicole’s description of “Nardi’s erudite yet whimsical style of presentation.” This book is both expert and eclectic. Not just anyone could have reviewed this for us, so I’m especially grateful to this contribution from Nicole.

Happy Type Watching to you, and Happy Type Reading, too,

Carol Linden

Jung on Yoga: Insights and Activities to Awaken with the Chakras. Dario Nardi. 2017. Los Angeles, CA: Radiance House. 140 pages.

When Jung unveiled Psychological Types in 1921, he went to great lengths to explain his theory of individuation. Namely, he believed the opposition of forces within the psyche creates important opportunities for a person to transcend the tension and continually grow to new ways of being and knowing in the world. With the posthumous release of what he considered his most important oeuvre, The Red Book: Liber Novus (2009), we further know that his theory of psychological type was intended to be a dynamic tool to venture into, through, and beyond the wilderness of psyche. Indeed, in the years he grappled with the unconscious he was also writing Psychological Types, attempting to encapsulate his psychology of consciousness. Jung, at his core, was intrigued by how we can actively experience the divine within whilst best making use of our natural typological tendencies. At the same time, he forewarned of his typology’s potential to become a mere “childish parlour game” of labeling, a reality manifest today that would likely have him turning in his grave.

Dario Nardi’s Jung on Yoga is an insightful breath of fresh air that returns typology to its intended roots of individuation and active awakening. Its hope is, as Nardi says, echoing Yogi Bhajan, to bring greater health, happiness, and holiness. The book uses Jung’s 1932 lectures on kundalini yoga as a jumping off point for a broad and fascinating synthesis of typology, individuation, the yogic chakra system, neuroscience, and entheogens. It is where depth psychology meets transpersonal psychology and modern brain science. Through it, Nardi has attempted to reconcile Jung’s interpretation of the chakras—a system of centers through the body that receive, assimilate, and express life-force energy—with the actual descriptions found in yoga. Nardi has further added his own creative twist with symbolic imagery and practical activities to help the reader grasp, engage, and integrate vast bodies of information.

Part One of the book provides a broad overview introducing kundalini yoga, the chakras as both biological centers and psycho-spiritual gateways, Jung’s interest in the chakras, and how the journey of individuation relates to awakening levels of consciousness.

Part Two takes a deep dive into each chakra, presenting and elaborating upon Jung’s descriptions. Each chakra is complemented by mindful activities and self-reflective prompts so the reader can actively engage personal growth and even self-score a chakra profile. Unlike the regular seven-fold model of the chakras, here we find an additional version of the third eye chakra with a quintessentially Jungian flavor, which Nardi names Jung’s 6th chakra of psyche and imagination. It is in this center that we “tap strange imagery from the unconscious, get in touch with the many archetypes, and perform alchemy for spiritual growth” (p.57). Whether Jung confused the Sanskrit names of the higher chakras with their function, fundamentally misunderstood them, was misinformed, or simply took creative liberties, his somewhat unconventional western interpretations nonetheless add to a richer modern conception of the chakras.

In keeping with Jung’s fondness of mandalas for exploration and resolution, Nardi has similarly provided summative tableaus filled with symbolic imagery for each chakra to help the reader get in touch with themselves. The tableaus are a combination of traditional yogic chakra symbolism, thematic aspects of Jung’s descriptions, and Nardi’s playful imagination. The outer frames of each tableau represent the gradual dissolving of ego boundaries as one moves from the root to the crown chakra. Each is far more than an intriguing picture; the tableaus alone are transformative tools for the visually inclined.

Part Three offers ways to practically work with the chakras through basic kundalini yoga exercises. Much like attending a yoga class, Nardi guides the reader through several body, breath, and mindfulness practices that can easily be incorporated into one’s practice. Such exercises were traditionally practiced with the guidance of a teacher and within the safety of a sacred space, such as an ashram, with full awareness of their potency and potential to awaken the practitioner as they were designed to do. Nardi appropriately recommends one finds a guide if venturing beyond the basics and discusses the signs, symptoms, and what to do in the case of a sudden release of life-force energy.

This section also touches on tantric yoga—the harmonizing and exchanging of male and female energies—which aligns well with Jung’s concept of the anima/animus and what he believed to be their inevitable encounter in the journey of individuation. There is a complementary checklist of the chakras for couples to explore.

Also included in this part is an overview of the nervous system and what occurs neurologically during awakening and altered states of consciousness. In addition to yoga, Nardi discusses various other methods and traditions of psycho-spiritual transformation, including the ceremonial use of entheogens.

Part Four, aptly titled “More Jung”, presents Jung’s model of the psyche and suggestions for how the chakras relate to the types. Nardi postulates that the transcendent function acts as a “motor for growth” as one develops through the chakras over a lifetime. This is one of the book’s most significant contributions as it links the chakra system to a key aspect of Jung’s theory in a way that Jung himself did not. The table on chakras as developmental levels (p.115) neatly compresses this idea and the spiral chart (p.121) presents an alternate model of individuating and eventual awakening through the chakras.

Once again, practical activities are provided, this time for specifically developing Jung’s 6th chakra and working with opposites in the chakras. Interestingly, a final note compares ego development in the east and west—an important distinction to keep in mind when navigating Jung’s thoughts on any one of the many eastern philosophies and concepts he explored.

Part Five wraps up this grand tour with the Wheel of Conscious Experience, a tool to “stay awake” beyond transformative experiences. In it, Nardi has brought together stages of individuation with various states of consciousness and activities for psycho-spiritual growth. It allows the reader to locate where one is in life’s great journey and to shift to the next natural phase when the time is appropriate. It is a means of keeping the alchemical process of transformation alive and well.

Overall, this book is an ambitious effort that brings together several dense subjects in a light and practical manner. True to Nardi’s erudite yet whimsical style of presentation, this text is sure to become a favorite in any type lover’s library as well as a frequent go-to reference. For those who dare to accept the challenge and embark on diligent self- exploration through this book, hold onto your chakras . . . you’re in for a treat!

What Are NOTEs and How Can We Work With Them?

My first ever FB live with Inner World Village Coach, Megan Baker. Please excuse the tech hiccups and sudden ending! We discuss what NOTEs are, the good, the challenging, and their integration.

Special announcement in the video: In partnership with IANDS (International Association of Near Death Studies), we will be starting Online Sharing Groups for NDE and other NOTE experiencers. If you’d like to join a group, please contact IANDS. Our first pilot group, which I will facilitate, will begin March/April 2018.

Transformation and the Transcendent Dimensions of Personality

A talk given by Dr. Nicole Gruel at the Australian Association for Psychological Type (AusAPT) 2017 Conference in Sydney, Australia.

It Ain’t Funny, Until It’s Funny: Encountering The Great Cosmic Joke

Originally published in the Shades of Awakening online magazine, Issue #3, January 2018.

Shades News, a curated look at some of the projects and offerings from our Shades Forum members and the broader Spiritual Emergence(y) and Transformational Crisis community. Shades of Awakening is a community platform providing a safe container to ask questions and have conversations about such topics.

I remember the first time I encountered The Great Cosmic Joke. I was dutifully scrubbing the shower floor at an ashram in the picturesque countryside of Australia. At that time I took spirituality rather seriously. I woke at 4am each morning to pour warm salty water through my nostrils, practiced yoga postures several times a day, read as much of the recommended texts as I could, took pains to pronounce every Sanskrit word accurately, wore the right coloured clothes, was acutely attuned to the ins and outs of every breath, and aspired to embody a yogic path as perfectly as possible.

As I crouched on the shower floor that morning, fixated on the tiles whilst inhaling a cleaning mix of vinegar and eucalyptus oil, my entire life spontaneously flashed before me.

For some reason the absurdity of it all—life that is—hit me hard and I burst into a long hysterical laughter. Its beauty. Its brevity. Its poignancy that is but a mere pinprick in the eternity of time. I felt like I’d been whacked with a cosmic baseball bat. The game of life I thought I’d been playing revealed that, actually, all along I’d been played. It was literally rolling on the shower floor, tears streaming down my face, laughing so hard there is no sound, can’t make it stop, people getting worried kind of moment.

I’ve never quite been the same since. I’ve also become far more relaxed.

Laughter, as we know, provides numerous benefits from major feel-good endorphin rushes to better physical, emotional, mental, and social health. It works magic in the family, the workplace, and especially the bedroom! In the context of awakening experiences, there are even more benefits this grand trickster provides. It helps keep the rabbit holes light, reveals irony, and cultivates the ability to live with the paradoxes of non-ordinary transcendent experiences (NOTEs).

And given all that NOTEs experiencers go through, sometimes there really is nothing else to do but laugh.

It’s no accident that The Fool in tarot is unnumbered, giving him the ability to have both the first and final laugh. Nor is it an accident that the fat jolly man of the ten Buddhist Ox Herding pictures (a visual representation of an awakening process) makes his debut in the final image of the series—a representation of successful integration and full participation back in the ordinary world. In naïveté lies a certain kind of wisdom, and vice versa.

That meeting with the Universe’s wicked and twisted sense of humor was, for me, the first of many to come. Over the years, and having spoken with many NOTEs experiencers, I’ve found that the ability to see divine comedy at play is most helpful for those who live the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Ironically, it often ain’t funny at all, until it’s really funny.

Laughter doesn’t excuse or diminish situations that need addressing. Nor is it an excuse for inaction or spiritual bypassing. Rather, the capacity to have a laugh no matter the situation can provide welcome relief and warmth, especially throughout and beyond the disorientation that can accompany awakening processes.

Life at any given time might be painful, ugly, or a glorious mess. Regardless, it seems that as long as there’s just a glint of humor to be found in the mighty madness of it all, everything becomes just that little bit easier.

Laughter really may just be the best kind of medicine out there!

Is Personality A Hindrance Or Help In Spiritually Transformative Experiences?

Originally written for and posted by the American Centre for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE) on October 2017.

As we journey along the unique and unpredictable roads of spiritual transformation, be it through a one-time event or multiple experiences over many years, it’s common to stumble across the idea that the personal self must be overcome if we’re to grow successfully. Attaining and maintaining transcendent or awakened states require taming the ego, perhaps even quashing it completely, or so many popular teachings seem to profess. Our personality starts to sound like little more than a pothole on the road to embodying expanded ways of being.

Yet as a fellow experiencer of spiritually transformative experiences (STEs) and confidante to other experiencers, I’ve found this message causes confusion. The ego, after all, is the center of one’s field of consciousness and provides a sense of… continuity and identity (Jung, 1921/1990). It’s fundamental to our ability to make sense of who we are and the world we live in. Try reconciling your bank account or planning a birthday party without it!

Psychologically, however, when we attempt to remove or transcend our individual personality, a core part of us gets the message that “you’re not welcome here” and is driven into the shadows where other unaccepted parts of self may also feel shamed and abandoned. Moreover, rejecting what doesn’t fit our idea of how a “spiritually realized being” thinks and acts often plants seeds for the growth of spiritual ego and spiritual bypass.

Thus many experiencers acutely—and sometimes painfully—perceive a split between the existing self with its old, neurotic habits and quirks, and this newly revealed transpersonal self. They may feel “stuck” between worlds. This is problematic not just for an experiencer’s emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing but can also spell disaster in relating with others and fulfilling an integrated life-path.

Having a deep interest in both the personal and transpersonal has led me to question how useful the message to overcome one’s personality really is for the modern person. Is it a true reflection of what happens as ordinary people go through and beyond extraordinary experiences? Or could our innate character instead have some kind of role to play in STEs and the meaning we make of them? Can personality even be helpful? Might it potentially be a necessary part of those experiences?

I explored these questions in my doctoral research by interviewing 20 people who had come through one or more non-ordinary transcendent experiences (NOTEs) that significantly changed their lives. Here’s what emerged from the research:
It turns out the dominant aspects of one’s personality do indeed appear to influence STEs, their aftereffects, and the meanings we make of them. For example, someone who tends to be a conceptual and abstract thinker in ordinary life, may report encountering highly conceptual and abstract content during their experience (the type that “blows the mind”) and may also afterwards rely on their power of thought to make sense of what occurred.

Another, who tends to be more relationship and socially focused in daily life, may report an experience that was particularly moving on the level of meaningful connection, and may integrate the experience by deepening their relationships with and service to other living beings. This doesn’t mean the abstract thinker won’t experience deep connection or the relationship-focused experiencer won’t encounter abstract thought; rather, one’s dominant traits seem simply to reveal what one will be more naturally focused on during and after the experience.

Thus, the personal appears to play an important role in helping to comprehend the transpersonal in a way best suited for each experiencer. In other words, how we make sense of things in ordinary life colors how we make sense of STEs, much as it would for any other transformative event. This explains why two people may share a similar near-death experience, for example, but come to wildly different conclusions about why it happened and what it meant, and use very different language to describe the experience.

It also emerged that personality traits appear to have transcendent dimensions. Using Jung’s model of psychological types (1921/1990), which describes eight tendencies of life-force energy that in their totality shape a personality, the research shed new light on the extraordinary aspects of these ordinary modes of human consciousness. They’re described here as eight gifts (Johnston, 2016). These descriptions were originally written for the ACISTE Cultural Competency Guidelines manual, a valuable reference for those working with experiencers of STEs.

The Aesthetic Gift (what Jung calls Introverted Sensation) perceives luminous innervations (i.e. enhanced perceptions) that transform outer objects in immanent ways. During or after an STE those with a dominant preference for this type may experience an increase in creative flow, perceive spirit throughout the physical world, have profound somatic energy experiences, and may be able to access the eternal through the present moment.

The Visionary Gift (Introverted Intuition) receives luminous visions of images, symbols, and sequences that transcend ordinary time and space. During or after an STE, those with a dominant preference for this type may experience a heightened ability to read symbolically and synchronistically, experience greater flexibility of psychic boundaries, know or see existence in holotropic/transcendent ways, and may experience spontaneous witnessing states.

The Idealistic Gift (Introverted Feeling) connects to deeply felt luminous ideals that possess timeless holistic value. During or after an STE, those with a dominant preference for this type may experience an increased sense of calling, purpose and/or mission in life; perceive humanity’s interconnectedness; describe personal, collective, transpersonal, or mythical themes of light versus dark; and experience heightened feeling tones.

The Conceptual Gift (Introverted Thinking) organizes thoughts to fill out and clarify a luminous holistic idea. During or after an STE, those with a dominant preference for this type may experience an enhanced quality of information and ideas, perceive holistic templates sometimes via an epiphany, and may seek explanations for their STE in scientific theories particularly in the field of quantum physics.

The Realistic Gift (Extraverted Sensation) perceives facts of the physical world in luminous ways with heightened access to what is. During or after an STE, those with a dominant preference for this type may experience a heightened sense of being in the physical world, spontaneous here-and-now, Zen-like experiences, greater access to and knowledge of the facts of the world, and may seek practical forms of staying grounded.

The Catalytic Gift (Extraverted Intuition) perceives luminous possibilities and catalyzes expansive potentials in the world. During or after an STE, those with a dominant preference for this type may engage the expansiveness of their own and others potentials, experience something seemingly impossible made possible, and have a sense of being an active co-creator in the world where they take tangible, impactful steps towards co-creation.

The Social Gift (Extraverted Feeling) experiences luminous empathy that creates social harmony and benevolent action in the world. During or after an STE, those with a dominant preference for this type may feel profoundly attuned to social harmony and/or disturbed by social disharmony, develop deepened empathy and compassion, form a benevolent outlook and take concrete actions to better the lives of others, and experience heightened sensitivity to loving and being loved.

The Constructive Gift (Extraverted Thinking) perceives and constructs practical luminous order in the world. As there were no research participants with this as a dominant type, the definition provided here is purely hypothetical. Future research is needed to find how this type preference may impact STEs and their aftereffects.

Experiencers often say their STE(s) made them more of who they really are, helped them to come to know their “true” self, or even “upgraded” them to a higher level of functioning and being. Such statements agree with the finding that one’s innate personality is a pivotal part of one’s experience and can aid in its integration towards a more aligned way of being.

The takeaway? Do what works best for you. Go with the natural flow. This way, moving through an STE and its integration become far smoother. Our personalities reflect not only the parts of us that need to grow and develop, but also beautifully shape the unique gifts we are called to offer the world.

So is personality ultimately a hindrance or a help to STEs? Like all great paradoxes, there’s room for both arguments and many nuances in between. Although this article presents evidence pointing toward the helpfulness of personality, the counter argument remains both a popular and an ancient one for good reason. A healthy debate would be another article entirely. As always, it’s up to experiencers themselves to determine what rings true as we each do our best to navigate these uncharted territories.



ACISTE (2017). Cultural Competencies Guidelines. Retrieved from

Gruel, N. (2017). AfterNOTEs: non-ordinary transcendent experiences and their aftereffects though Jung’s typology. (doctoral dissertation). California Institute of Integral Studies, California. ProQuest Number 10274326.

Johnston, J. (2016). Jung’s indispensable compass: Navigating the dynamics of psychological types. Perrysburg, OH: MSE Press.

Jung, C. G. (1990). Psychological types (R. F. C. Hull’s rev. of H. G. Baynes, Trans.). In H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler, & R. F. C. Hull (Eds.), Collected works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6 (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1921)