This preparedness, the capacity to bear, depends on so many factors. The nerves in the brain, one’s physical fitness, one’s mental capacity – all have their limitations, and the energy we are talking about is unlimited. It is like the ocean falling into the drop: if the drop is not prepared in some way to receive the ocean it will merely die; it will be destroyed and it will attain nothing.
To be exact, there is a double line of action necessary for spiritual growth. We have to bring ourselves to the path and become attuned to it. But before that we have to develop our ability to absorb it. These are the two tasks to be accomplished by a seeker. On one hand we have to open the door and improve our eyesight, and on the other we have to wait, even after the sight is improved for the eyes to withstand the brightness of light. Otherwise too much light brings an even deeper darkness. This is a one-sided transaction – the light has nothing to do with it. The responsibility is entirely ours and we cannot blame anyone for it.
Man’s journey is spread over many lives, and he does many things in each life. Many times it happens that he dies just as he is about to be able to receive grace. With this death he loses all the memories of this life.
Working upon yourself through many lives you may have reached up to ninety-nine degrees of growth; dying, you will forget all your achievements – but the existential elements of your inner growth will be carried over to the next life.
There is another person sitting next to you who has accomplished only one degree of growth in his past life. He has also forgotten all about it. You are both meditating, but you belong to totally different levels of growth. Now, if one degree of growth happens the other person will reach only the second degree of growth and grace is not going to descend on him. But with one extra degree of growth you will reach the one hundred degree point and suddenly grace will descend upon you. This will be sudden for you because you have no idea that you are at the ninety-ninth degree. And so heaven can drop into you all of a sudden and the right preparation should be made for this.
When I say mishap I am only referring to an event for which we are not prepared. Mishap does not necessarily mean a bad or painful event; it means only the occurrence of that event for which we are not yet ready. Now, if a man wins a lottery of one million dollars it is not necessarily bad, but he can die. One million dollars – his heart can stop beating! So by mishap I mean the occurrence of an event for which we are not prepared.
The opposite may also take place. If a man is prepared for his death and it comes, his death is not necessarily a bad event. If a man such as Socrates is prepared to meet death and welcomes it with open arms, then for such a person death becomes samadhi. He accepts death with such love and joy that he will see that reality which never dies.