(1) With the increasingly sensitive awareness induced by meditation, there developed a psychic weakness which troubled me. It was a knowing of other people's mental attitudes and emotional states, their personal characters and inner conditions. I read each man's mind as easily as if it were an extension of my own. Owing to my inexperience, ignorance, and unfamiliarity, I did not know how to bring this excessive empathy under control. I was too easily drawn out of myself, out of my own ego-centre, into that of the person I happened to be with at the time. This weakened or even dispersed my concentration on the Overself and made me too subject to the influence of others. The result was chaos and confusion. It was a long time before I was able to get rid of this unwanted faculty and clear up this undesirable condition.
(2) Then followed an interval of some years, when a dark night settled over me.
(3) The first result was a complete change in my attitudes to life itself, to other people and even to myself.
(4) For four years, when I walked through the city streets, I marvelled at the insensitivity of the crowds, at their eager pursuit of small aims and trivial hopes, at their utter blindness to the inner reality.
(5) In those earlier times about one year was spent in traversing the three degrees. The first was a year of initiation, the second of dedication, and the third of revelation.
-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 3: Encounter With Destiny > # 59