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The example is instructive. In my experience, the interpretation of a situation as "blowing up in our faces" is driven by a motivated read of events. Always. When I experience something as having "blown up in my face", it is because I had unreasonably expected some outcome based on finite information and the limited processing skills born of my humanity.

Contemplative practice does not allow me "more perfect" knowledge of the situation, but rather a better cognizance of the limits of my grasp of the situation. It reduces my certainty, but more importantly reduces my need for certainty. When I do it (which is too rarely), it makes room in my world for wonder and awe.

My wife often exclaims, "What is God up to?" when confronted with the unexpected. I find it is a quick mind-check that creates room for the unexpected.