So what is it about psychotherapy -- or any other path of sustained attention -- that sometimes sparks spiritual awakening? I've written earlier that attention is energy and that attention, especially on the present moment, is an invitation to the greater energy of life to move us, to help us grow. That we can grow, and want to grow, is part of the miracle of evolutionary creation. What is even more strange, in my experience, is that when we commit to allowing the forces of life to transform us, the very events of our lives seem to rearrange themselves in a way that is both profoundly challenging and helpful.
Every one of us has wounds and places of fragility. We are human. These "issues" are veins of richness to be mined throughout the lifetime. Life events compel us to come at them again and again, mining new insights. Even after we are awake and can see that there is only One Living Being manifesting Itself in ever-changing creation, we still bump into our places of pain from time to time. But from increasingly awakened states, the places of pain are respected and loved as everything else in life is loved.
Spiritual/psychological work requires us, first, to face pain, then, to feel it. This is where life seems to offer up to us the exact situations we need in order for the pain to be re-evoked. All of us, at first, go into
frantic campaigns not to feel what is coming up for attention. But, in my opinion, pain must be felt before it can be released or allowed to settle into its rightful place. Finally we can surrender to the Life that is trying to grow us. We can arrive at that place of integrity and peace where we accept ourselves in our entirety -- including all the gritty, messy, unpleasant and unattractive parts. This unfathomable self-acceptance, this unlimited love for the human being we are, is no longer personal. It is a love that expands to include life itself and is, in truth, Life Loving Itself. The ability to view one's fallible self impersonally and with great love seems to me to be a mind-boggling (literally!) gift of evolution. Many find that the work of life brings them to this state of grace on the deathbed. More and more of us are finding that we cannot wait.