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  • Writer's pictureAmir Freimann

Awareness of the sacred in times of crisis

I the interviews I conducted with spiritual exemplars as part of my PhD research, one of the questions I asked was: Did you have in your life "dark night of the soul" kind of periods, times in which you felt disconnected from the sacred / absolute / divine?

Almost all the spiritual masters / exemplars I interviewed responded with a negative and told me that "it" was present for them even when they were in the midst of a severe emotional, relational or health crisis. Here is an example of how one of them put it:

"I’ve experienced down times, I’ve experienced periods of depression, but I’ve never experienced a sense of being abandoned or a sense that the sacred is not present. It's always there. I’m just not always able to draw it into my life as fully as I might like in one of those down periods."

In a conversation with a friend today I told her about that, and said that this was different from my experience. There were stormy periods in my life in which I felt emotionally and cognitively completely disconnected from the sacred / absolute / divine. Only after the storm was over did I realize that I could not have been *completely* disconnected. A thread of of awareness must have been there, for it carried me through the crisis. But that was always only in retrospect.

While I was telling her that, I remembered a poem I wrote in my diary many years ago, during one of those crises. I looked for it and found it:

I'll jump out the window Run to the end of the earth Hide under a rock At the bottom of the sea Disappear in some frozen star Take my own life --

But none of these Would take away This awareness: I am a human being And my eyes are open.

The words I wrote at the end of the poem suggest to me that, even in the midst of that crisis - one of the worst I had - I was not completely and utterly lost. And I was aware of that.

So I discovered something new about me today.

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