The Contribution of Crisis: Emergence Through Emergency

"Emergence through emergency." These words of Dr. Jean Houston's have stayed with me since I first heard them years ago. She passed them along from Buckminster Fuller.

It often takes an emergency to awaken us to something profound: to a higher truth or a simpler state, to a deeper connection or a shift in perspective, to myth or magic, elevation or evolution of the human consciousness.

Many times, in order for one to wake up or transform their life, some type of emergency must first occur. You could say this was true for Eckhart Tolle, who has shared his experience with being suicidal. He had finally reached his limit and was ready to end it all. In that night of crisis the call to awaken came. In that darkest hour, the light emerged.

It happens often for individuals: an emergency that redirects the course of their life and expands their awareness of the world and themselves. From that point on life changes.

Leaps in Innovation

Collectively we also emerge through emergency, making leaps in innovation that otherwise may not have come. The city of Los Angeles releases millions of "shade balls" into the city's reservoirs to prevent further evaporation of the city's precious water supply during an unprecedented drought.

A high school friend of mine suffers a brain tumor and his family is unable to cover the cost of the experimental drug. A crowd-funding campaign is launched and within hours friends who had not connected since high school and strangers who will never meet this man or his family come together online to provide support.

My cousin rests in an induced coma in the trauma wing of ICU after a devastating car crash. As I sit with my mom and my aunt, I contemplate the sophistication of the technology that keeps him alive and will see him through recovery. I mention my observation to Mom who replies how much of the technology has resulted from war.

Syrian refugees are blocked by riot police from riding trains in Hungary. Carrying their children on their backs, some refugees opt to continue the 110-mile journey to Austria by foot with little other choice. People of Hungary emerge, despite their government's actions, with food and water for the Syrian people on foot, even accompanying them part of the way in a show of support. They emerge as people supporting people, the human family taking care of one another in crisis. Germany, who has agreed to receive the refugees, needs police to keep the German people from bringing any more food, water and supplies to the German train station, as their warm welcome has already flooded the station with as many supplies as it can hold.

Crisis as the Catalyst

Our hope is to avoid emergencies, to escape life unscathed by crises. Often it is the crisis, the emergency, that is the catalyst for emergence: emergence of technology, of creative solutions or unusual ideas, deeper compassion and empathy, collective energy of prayer and support, higher levels of consciousness and perception, a deepening of our responsibility on this planet, and a shaping of our global family.

And though an emergency can also bring about fear, confusion, anger and grief, all of this may lend to a greater understanding of our strengths, courage, compassion, perseverance and evolution. Indeed, it can lead to higher states of resilience, acceptance, connection and creativity.

In the midst of emergency we can consider these questions: What is born from this? What new way is about to emerge?

My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted.

Buckminster Fuller

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