There are times when we find ourselves in an unexpected condition that is invaluable, priceless, actually, for our personal growth.
We must decide whether we will try to console and comfort ourselves with old ideas and familiar hopes for the future. Or, if we choose not to console ourselves, but to use a moment like the one we’re now in – this coronavirus pandemic – in a way that uplifts our consciousness.
If we seek familiar consolations, we find ourselves confused and disrupted because all the general structure of our lives has seemingly been pulled out from under us.
When conditions suddenly come crashing down around us
We are not meant to turn on ourselves or others or do unpleasant things when conditions suddenly come crashing down around us.
Instead, we’re meant to use these conditions to bring up and reveal a completely different, more practical part of ourselves with which to meet life. If that’s what you want, let’s look together at how we can all use this moment to grow stronger and wiser.
What Turns an Event Into a Crisis?
Part of what makes this a crisis is that we don’t know what to call on within ourselves to meet this challenge. All we have are old ideas about how to comfort and console ourselves. When everything seems to be suddenly emptied of meaning, we turn to the familiar. But these familiar things and ideas can’t help us now.
What we need now is something new.
Finding ways to comfort ourselves
If we meet this crisis by finding ways to comfort ourselves, such as ordering a dozen pizzas that we believe will give us peace of mind, all we are doing is satiating a level of self that can never know peace, can never be fearless. Because it lives in a constant state of identification with things outside of itself from which it derives its identity.
We feel safe as long as things are the way we want them to be. But when the situation shifts, and we’re no longer on solid ground, that same consciousness dives in to find something else to feel good about itself. And it just comes up with more of the same kind of answer that never worked before.
Things Change When We Realize the Crisis Is Also a Path
No person hasn’t felt panic – who hasn’t been ripped through by fear. At the same time, we also know the possibility of another kind of character where an event brings out the best in us – what is good, noble, and generous. Because we can be aware of these two types of selves, we stand in a unique position that only a crisis can produce.
This is why, in the old languages, the word crisis always corresponded to something like an opportunity. It reflected an understanding that what we see as a problem can also be seen as a path.
The problem we’re struggling to deal with
We are suggesting to you that this problem we’re struggling to deal with can be a path. And not a circular path like all the usual solutions to this kind of suffering produce, but a path upward and outward to a higher level of consciousness.
This new view starts with understanding that life isn’t trying to take something from us in a crisis. Real-life is trying to show us something we didn’t know about ourselves. Through that new awareness, we can be given something that can only be given to us in moments where we let go, surrender, and agree to see what we must about ourselves.
[Also Read: A Complete Guide to Find ‘Alone Time’]
How do we let go of that fear of emptiness?
How do we let go of that fear of emptiness, of that sense of self that feels itself in great jeopardy? It’s an interior spiritual work that asks that when that shock comes, and my sense of self has been obliterated, we struggle not to recreate ourselves in the old way.
Every time we think about what we need to make ourselves whole, we recreate ourselves about what we should do to fill this emptiness we’re experiencing. This response is habitual and unconscious. We’re all subject to it. But we can begin to meet the moment differently, which changes everything.
[Also Read: Remaining Resilience & Grateful During COVID-19]
Looking for solace?
You see, we’re all looking for solace in the refrigerator, On TV, On our mobile devices. But we are spiritual beings who can change. And we will when we begin to see that by revisiting the familiar, we’re not comforting ourselves; we’re holding ourselves captive of a consciousness that’s only comfortable as long as it’s experiencing the familiar.
Try to understand that a moment wouldn’t create an internal crisis unless our familiar identity had run headlong into conditions where we can’t be our familiar selves anymore.
But for those who can see it, that crisis is also a path into greater wisdom, greater compassion, and a higher level of consciousness. It’s an opportunity to become something new.
Stop trying to keep things as they were
Use this moment to stop trying to keep things as they were, and hating things because they aren’t. Meet life with a willingness to be something new. Your relationship with life will change. Events that had always seemed like adversaries will now be seen as emissaries to a new level of being. And the real consolation will come to you that you’ve been seeking all along.
About The Author:
Guy Finley is a bestselling self-help author and an internationally renowned spiritual teacher. He is the Founder and Director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for transcendent self-study in Merlin, Oregon.