In one of my previous books, I mentioned that the growth of awareness halts if an observer is no longer exposed to experiences that place him in unfamiliar situations. Such situations can be created deliberately by the Master or faced in the course of following God’s Will. They also happen to us naturally in everyday life. All things that happen to us in life are relevant material to work on oneself. Regardless of whether these experiences are good or bad—anything that is emotionally bruising, tugs at your heartstrings, or distresses you, presents an opportunity to practice awareness.
A common attitude among people is to wish only good things for themselves, i.e., a tranquil and steady lifestyle that does not take much to maintain and satisfy your needs. The longing for inner peace stems from the fact that things one has to do are not necessarily those that one wants to do. This desire is very human, yet deadly for a seeker, and arises merely in a weak moment or as a sign that the seeker’s quest is coming to an end. A serene, peaceful life stimulates no personal growth because it lacks challenge, and hence, one has no need to surmount difficulties.
Please know that facing hardships on the Path is a necessary and indispensable part of personal growth. Whether you like it or not, you become mature only through overcoming yourself and adverse life events.
As such, the rule of a true seeker is as follows: Whatever is happening with you and however much it hurts or is difficult—stay in awareness! Do not stop witnessing even for a minute, even when you feel you are about to collapse. There is nothing in this world that a witness is unable to withstand. Do not let your fear and self-pity dilute the energy of your attention. Regardless of what happens, stay present—this is the key to growth. It is extreme life circumstances that open access to things lurking deep inside that have not yet fallen into our sphere of awareness. Quiescent under normal circumstances, our fears are stirred up; previously undetectable desires are triggered. This is the perfect moment to practice awareness, an opportunity to break through into your being to depths you would never imagine possible. Practicing self-awareness when under stress requires a supreme effort, but the very situation steers you toward self-discovery. Never try to escape a difficult situation that has unfolded already, as it is detrimental in every sense of the word: Pretending that the problem does not exist will not help resolve it. Walk into it, accept it, and gain new experience. Experience is priceless, because it is the only lesson we learn in life.