We live in a time of crisis. This is nothing new – we have always lived in a time of crisis. Crisis is simply the passing of form, the falling-away of structures that once – we believe – supported us, and an opening up to newness. It may be a death from one perspective, but it is also a birth, albeit perhaps a painful one. The separate self, which feeds on fear and clinging and the status quo of its “story”, shies away from any kind of instability or uncertainty. But crisis, in fact, does not mean “disaster”, but “turning point”. There can be no real change without crisis. No wonder the separate self fears crisis – it fears its own demise. The Unknown is its funeral pyre.
In the midst of personal and global crisis, there is such a temptation to give up, to shut down, to pine for the old ways, to cling on ever more tightly to that which is trying to leave. In our fear, we may even try to deny the world, pass it off as an ‘illusion’ (a misunderstanding of the word illusion, by the way) or settle on a rigid belief such as “there is no me” or “there is no choice” or “nothing can be done because there’s nobody here to do it”. If there’s nothing else to hold onto, at least we can hold onto our spiritual beliefs! In crisis, our suffering can be heightened, it is true, and we scramble to find easy answers. And there are plenty of easy answers out there.
But crisis is the invitation to let go of these easy answers. The old is trying desperately to fall away. The shell of life is cracking open, what is dead is dying, and a cosmic rebirth is happening. This has always been the way. We are only experiencing ancient rites of passage.
There is call to great freedom here, if we can turn towards what’s happening, and not away from it. Crisis is only the passing of form, yet, as mystics ancient and modern remind us, what is essential cannot pass, and what is unchangeable will pull through this crisis, and the next, and the next. Contained within this modern crisis – personal and global – is a timeless invitation to wake up to what is essential, to that which is unchanging and cannot change, and remember the truth of who we really are.