Nadir Experience

A Nadir Experience is a negatively felt Connection Experience. Nadir experiences are unpleasant moments of stress, anxiety, anger, confusion, fear, paranoia, and even psychosis caused when Connection occurs and the individual is unprepared, damaged, embedded in a toxic milieu, or filled with ideologically rooted Wrong Thought.[1][2] A Nadir experience is the opposite of a Zenith Experience.

Syncretic Terms

Nadir Experience > Flooding, Psychotic Mysticism, Spiritual Emergency

Related Terms

Connection Catastrophe, Connection Pathology, Connection Quality, Nadir Experience, Zenith Experience

Nadir Experience Types

Connection > Connection Experience > Nadir Experience > Connection Psychosis, Dark Night of the Soul, Egoic Bloating, Egoic Collapse, Egoic Explosion, Flooding, MEPF, Psychotic Mysticism


Independently conceptualized, but Abraham Maslow mentions nadir experiences in the book "Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences."[3]

And, discussed and defined in Thorne. "A nadir experience may be described operationally as a subjective experiencing of what is subjectively recognized to be one of the lowest points of life, one of the worst, most unpleasant and harrowing experiences of life. Operationally, nadir experience reports consist of answers given by subjects in completing the item: "The worst experience of my life was when " Or, the subject can be asked: "What was the worst time you ever had in your life?" [4]

Shamans, as represented by Michael Harner, describe entry into a nadir experience as descent into a Lower World.[5]

Nadir experiences can range in intensity from mild anxieties and fears through paranoia and confusion to full-blown experiences of existential despair. Profound nadir experiences are often referred to as the proverbial “dark night of the soul”.

Nadir experiences sometimes occur when naive users consumer Connection Supplements. Rave, a Winnebago, and leader of the peyote "cult" of the Winnebago, reports a nadir experience when he first consumed Peyote that consisted of being pursued by monsters. [6]. His solution was to show respect to the substance, and ask for assistance.

Nadir experiences may occur spontaneously or may be "induced" when the Bodily Ego is intentionally suppressed through the use of Connection Supplements

Robert Mogar mentions nadir experiences[7] Mogar notes that nadir experiences can have therapeutic value.

William James recognizes that Zenith Experiences are only "one half of mysticism." The other half can be found, according to James, in text-books on insanity with the same sense of power, visions, missions, "ineffable importance in the smallest events," but tinged with negativity, pessimism, desolations, etc.[8]

Salzman[9] distinguishes between progressive or regressive connection experiences. "The former is characterized by honesty, humility, tolerance, and generosity, whereas the latter is characterized by rigidity of belief, zealous proselytizing, intolerance or hatred of infidels, and propensity for aggression and martyrdom.[10]

Nadir experiences need not have negative consequences and can, in fact, be growth experiences, but some people may be "destroyed" by the experience. This "destruction" may be fueled by low self-esteem or a damaged [Bodily Ego]]'s need to protect itself. "There are some who are psychologically destroyed by crises set off by apparently trivial events because their energies are devoted to preservation or bolstering of primitive protective devices oriented against the self. Not having dealt adaptively with earlier developmental crises (or having been overwhelmed by insuperable crises) they have insufficiently complex, flexible, or rich psychological structures and lack the capacity for dealing with the task of emergency self-revision. Psychoses, for example, represent such precarious attempts to hold incongruous adaptations together that the ego is either fragmented or in continual danger of fragmentation. Hence, minimal stimulation can produce crisis and new requirements must be rejected"[11]

Havens conceptualizes the entry into "Cosmic Consciousness" as a process that moves through the "sudden and profound dissolving of all existing conceptual and perceptual systems..." When unprepared, or when psychopathology exists, "Such an experience can be extremely confusing and disturbing, and may be related to the intense anxiety and panic commonly associated with some acute schizophrenic episodes and bad trips with hallucinogens.[12]

A nadir experience may occur spontaneously, particularly after long periods of chronic stress, or it can result from temporary/careless/unprepared suppression of the Bodily Ego, and through the incorrect, careless, and misinformed use of Connection Supplements.

It is important to note of nadir experiences that while many people have them, and while they do represent an outcome of authentic spiritual awakening, nadir experiences are not a necessary feature of Realization. Nadir experiences exist, but only because we are damaged by a Toxic Socialization process, and only because our societies are toxic and filled with violence, greed, poverty, pain, and anguish. Nadir experiences arise as we become aware of and confront toxicity and damage. If there is no toxicity and no damage, there is no nadir experience.

Carl Jung records the Nadir Experience of Brother Nicholas of Flue who had a connection experience wherein he was confronted with a "piercing light" that induced "fear that his heart would burst into little pieces....overcome with terror, he instantly turned his face away and fell to the ground."[13]


A knowledgeable practitioner capable of guiding the experience helps reestablish equilibrium and future orientation. "It is most adaptive in the long run when the resolution is partly conscious, deliberate, and delayed and a new relationship is integrated, preferably with a person whose authority or skill can redirect the outcome of the crisis.[14]

Therapists should be trustworthy and provide safe and non-judgmental spaces to explore the roots of the crises.

Forer provides an interesting and inspiring discussion on the nature of crises and how to achieve a positive therapeutic outcome.[15]


  1. Template:LPWORKBOOK1
  2. Template:LPWORKBOOK3
  3. Maslow, Abraham H. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1964.
  4. Thorne, Frederick C. “The Clinical Use of Peak and Nadir Experiencer Reports.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 19, no. 2 (April 1963): 248–50. p. 248.
  5. Harner, Michael. Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2013
  6. Radin, Paul. “A Sketch of the Peyote Cult of the Winnebago: A Study of Borrowing.” Edited by G. Stanley Hall. Journal of Religious Experience 7, no. 1 (1914): 1–22. p. 5.
  7. Mogar, R. E. “Current Status and Future Trends in Psychedelic (LSD) Research.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 2 (1965): 147–66.
  8. James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study of Human Nature. New York: Penguin, 1982.
  9. Salzman, L. “The Psychology of Regressive Religious Conversion.” Journal of Pastoral Care 8 (1954): 61–75.
  10. White, William L. “Transformational Change: A Historical Review.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 60, no. 5 (May 2004): 465.
  11. Forer, Bertram R. “The Therapeutic Value of Crisis.” Psychological Reports 13 (1963): p. 276.
  12. Havens, R. A. “Approaching Cosmic Consciousness via Hypnosis.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 22, no. 1 (1982): 109.
  13. Jung, Carl G. 1980. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. 2nd ed. edited by G. Adler, S. H. Read, M. Fordham, and W. McGuire. New York: Princeton University Press. P. 9.
  14. Forer, Bertram R. “The Therapeutic Value of Crisis.” Psychological Reports 13 (1963): p. 277.
  15. Forer, Bertram R. “The Therapeutic Value of Crisis.” Psychological Reports 13 (1963): p. 277.

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