Acute catastrophes are the times when we make great leaps, when we face them directly and fixedly say, ‘I will not veer from this spiritual work.’ Now we are really confronted with truly spiritual work. It is not reading some pleasant-sounding phrases in a book or looking at some happy picture. Instead, we are right in the thick of it, in the teeth of it. The teeth of spiritual work occur when we are confronted with that which we cannot avoid. It is the direct confrontation that requires a leap in consciousness.
These are the golden opportunities that are priceless if we see them that way, if we are willing to be with them and say, ‘Okay’. The willingness to go with them, no matter how painful it may be, enables a giant leap in consciousness, a real advance in wisdom, knowledge, and awareness. That which we read about in the books then becomes our own inner experience.
… The trick of the mind is to not see that. It tries to change what goes on ‘out there’, tries to figure it out, and then falls back on the intellect and finds that the intellect is not going to resolve this kind of problem.
… There is the awareness in acute overwhelm that we really can handle the experiences. Part of the panic comes from the realization that what we think we are – our powerless, limited self – is no match for the power of this experience. That is precisely what is going on – the limited, individual, personal self cannot handle the overwhelm. This is the precise spiritual value of it.