The Message of Crisis

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Personal and Collective Crisis

None of us have the same crisis.  Crisis happen in varying degrees and the impact may also be different from one person to the other. What is accurate in every crisis is a precise process. First, there is always a trigger, and this goes in multitude of reasons for many people. Second, there is a feeling of great loss. Such loss creates an emptiness or a void that most philosophies and sacred wisdom described as the very essence of truth and our nature. Third, there is a drastic discontinuity, wherein a series of familiar routines were abruptly cut off. Discontinuity is also a characteristic of humor and creativity. (Jokes are meant to create a discontinued patterns of stories, making it unexpectedly hilarious.) This explains why in retrospect, instead of feeling bad, we laugh at all problems we encountered in the long past. All resolved problems become very funny, far different from how it felt when we were in the moment of crisis.

Crisis is the wound of the soul. But the paradox of it is that while a wound is painful and broken, there is force that mends it much like how a physical wound is being naturally healed. A personal crisis may be something very personal and remains different for many people, but the deep feeling of anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration,  guilt and regret are all the same for the whole humanity. Our personal crisis becomes the key to touch that deep consciousness where all emotions reside.

The loss that happened on the personal level is now being filled in the level of the great human soul. This is now seen in the universality of our inner emotional experiences as it leads to physical solidarity–in times of crisis, relationships become stronger and meaningful.  What is more amazing is the nonphysical solidarity, when our relationship to what we consider Divine, and we are profoundly and beautifully united by faith and prayer.

Internal and External Crisis

Personal and collective crises are but two faces of external crisis. Our awareness of their dynamics is an internal one. Ancient wisdom have revealed us that the world inside is the world outside. “My” crisis is a fragment and a whole of humanity’s crisis. There is no such crisis owned by one  person. “My” crisis represents a perspective that encompasses a similar crisis of many others. As “I” transcend from this crisis, “I” discover ingenious solutions and powerful insights for the rest of humanity. This is how our entire society has evolved. Name any system of human thought and you can find that mistakes of few in the past have become wisdom of all. For every crisis we encounter, we are breaking through the barriers of our limitations. We are touching the unknown from where wisdom always unfold, an internal crisis that creates new ways of possibilities.

Existential Crisis

In totality, both our personal and collective crises are an external crisis, and the internal crisis is when we understand them. Now, the dynamics between external and internal crises is our existential crisis. This deepest, most complex facet of understanding crisis is actually a path to Love. When we seek to see crisis in this paradigm, we begin to ask the most appropriate questions. A question begins with a quest, a journey beyond the horizon , a world that we cannot see.

Our friend Mini Gavino, a Baybayin teacher and creative, always tells us her personal insight on  this. She learned a beautiful word that the Visayans and people of the Southern Philippines use to refer to something that lies beyond the horizon: tiwala. In English, trust. For a better synonym, we can call it faith. There is something beyond, and its mystery awaits us. All we have to do is to ask, for a question is the most primordial crisis. The answer to it lies in our faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrew 11:1)

photo from Microsoft Office Image

Crisis is perhaps the most difficult paradigm to understand Love, although it is also the richest field to explore. In the second part, I will share crisis as a symbolic process, and how the insights from this process would help us redefine our meaning and experience of Love. (to be continued)

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