Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening: Two Affirming TED Talks

by April Bender

The first affirming talk is by Phil Borges on Shamanism and shamanic awakening. He speaks of his own encounters with indigenous shamans across the world, his own change of heart around the phenomenon, and our modern culture which wants to label such things as mental illness or psychosis. I've also included a second 14-minute TED Talk referenced by Phil Borges with Eleanor Longden titled, The Voices in My Head. Both are wonderful talks and provide a great deal of insight and understanding into the psychic and/or shamanic experience. 


Phil Borges, filmmaker and photographer, has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures for over 25 years. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books have been published in four languages. Phil's recent project, Inner Worlds, explores cultural differences with respect to consciousness and mental illness. 
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To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn't know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive. 
(YouTube video description)