There are times in life where we have awakenings. A series of horrible things happen that make us question everything and re-prioritize life. It puts us in such an other-worldly mode, that we end up doing such amounts of dua and dhikr that we never before thought possible.
Imam al-Haddad talks about this. He calls this al-baa'ith (that which sends, since the tests send us up to higher levels of detachment from dunya and awareness of Allah). He says that when Allah wishes to improve a believer, they are sent a season of tests. Test after test. Trial after trial. Tribulation after tribulation. Whatever could go wrong, does go wrong, and you're just amazed at how this perfect storm has suddenly consumed you from every angle. You then dig deeper and deeper from within and without knowing it, begin transforming. You begin leaving off old pleasures and past-times simply because they have become distasteful, or you're just not in the mood.
When this happens, Imam al-Haddad continues, the person should not make the mistake of thinking that life will always be like this and that they must keep up that regimen of worship and dhikr forever. Rather, when the desired effect of that season of trials has become complete, then the hardships will go away one by one, and ease and prosperity will return. When that happens, Imam al-Haddad tells us, the person can just keep up half of what they were doing before, while remembering the lessons learned and reminding themselves of how they were able to detach.
Most likely, everyone has experienced this cycle. (Sometimes things are so good for so long that you get this gnawing voice in the back of your head telling you you're due. It's like your car being due for a car wash.) But where have you seen this concept so beautifully and accurately explained like this? And most of all, the Imam gives us practical guidance, so that we know what to do during and after such seasons of trials. This is the value of the science of tasawwuf when it is taught by an experienced scholar. The book is in Arabic and entitled Adaab Suluk al-Murid. (Possibly, Mostafa Badawi translated it already.)
May Allah let us all understand and benefit from these seasons and trials, and never forget the lessons we learned.