| Dark Night - or Disidentification Crisis||28 Nov 2003|
|by Tsebastian Digges|
MY DARK NIGHT OF THE SENSES
"The only full and authentic purification is that which turns a man completely inside out, so that he no longer has a self to defend, no longer an intimate heritage to protect against inroads and dilapidations. The full maturity of the spiritual life cannot be reached unless we first pass through the dread, anguish, trouble, and fear that necessarily accompany the inner crisis of "spiritual death" in which we finally abandon our attachment to our exterior self and surrender completely to Christ." (Thomas Merton)
GOT 2 Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"
Integrating The Shadow
“That which is hidden must be revealed”.
I don’t think of this event as a spiritual realization - it was more like an instinctual opening up and a purging of subconscious and repressed material. It was initiated from some place deep within and slowly engulfed my everyday repressed, constricted and conformed life.
After many years working hard at stifling and repressing urges, (being religious) and avoiding thoughts and desires that were taboo in my social environment (and that’s quite a lot of things in a fundamental church community) I began to open up to the ‘hedonic’ or sensual side of life, and no longer clung to a pious façade so tightly. I knew deep down that there was a reason why these unwanted thoughts and feelings that were parts of my own mind kept invading my life. I began to open up to and embrace the ‘dark’ side, to dance with the devil. After so many years of repression, I could clearly see how it didn’t work to bring anyone into a state of what I considered to be true inner peace. In fact most people I knew were suffering guilt and depression. I instinctively began to explore a different avenue that might answer the questions that plagued me. Questions like: Why am I so reactive? Why am I subject to compulsive thoughts and actions? Where is inner peace?
The opening up to and integrating the shadow is the first phase in the mystical unfoldment of your true nature. It is the beginning of integration from a fragmented state to wholeness. For me this period lasted maybe 8 years. I could actually say it was sort of an experiment, a step in my quest for truth, because there was a certain degree of a conscious observing of myself to see what would occur or evolve. Like what happens to me if I drink a little and flirt with some woman? During this time my embrace of the shadow was mostly in a hedonic, indulgent manner. I was just being more willing to allow the impulses and feelings I had been so thoroughly repressing.
I would not argue that the path I took in this was the best or only way. I only knew that what I had been doing (religious practice and repression of anything that was interpreted as not ‘holy’) was an exercise in futility and I had to find out the truth. I had no one guiding me except my instinctual desire to be whole. If I had a guide or a mentor, my experience may not have been so disruptive to others around me and may have been less painful for me as well. There are now venues and guides all around for people who want to explore their dark interiors.
Giving Up The World
“What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul”?,
“The Kingdom of God is within you”. Yeshua.
“It stands to reason that one must give up the world in order to gain his soul”.
St John of the Cross.
Early on after reading some very powerful writings about this transformation I came to a realization that my entire orientation in life was a seeking for wholeness outside of myself. I sought consolation and completion in relationships or situations. I tried to get security from belongings or living situations. I looked for fulfillment in experiences such as adventure or the excitement of winning some game. Even the higher states I could feel at church services were a result of seeking outside myself for what I felt I lacked.
One day a few months after I had begun a regular practice of meditation, I was hit with a stunning recognition. I came to fully realize that the world and everything in it was totally meaningless and had no value at all. I died to the world that day, literally. This realization hit me so hard that as I was walking through a field it brought me to my knees. The world had nothing for me. Nothing… ever. And as the Hindu mystics say, I saw this world as an illusion, a play, a form of entertainment that ultimately was not true reality. This may be hard to swallow or understand, but it is my experience. It was a peak experience that subsided. I had more to learn.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.
Then I entered into a phase of cathartic and unifying purgation (to use the descriptions of St. John of the Cross). During this time, the processing of unconscious material became rapid and bewildering. The stuff bubbling up from deep within often overwhelmed me and confused me, causing great emotional turmoil. I had become deeply involved with a woman who was a willing co-journeyer on this path to truth, and this relationship became the catalyst for this bumpy phase. Another important factor was the willingness to let go that occurred when I began to earnestly study Christian mysticism and Transpersonal Psychology. This willingness to let go of everything I clung to for safety, security and identity was the manifestation of my devotion to know the truth no matter what the cost. It was then that I stumbled upon the most powerful practice I had ever encountered and its effects on me were staggering.
Inner Healing / Emotional Metabolizing
“Resist not evil”, “Turn the other cheek”
The practice could be summed up as “non-resistance” to what I had judged as ‘bad’, especially negative emotions. (and this is only the first step) I learned that I could stop resisting something that would normally upset me and that I could open up to and trust (the universe, God, Spirit, evolution) and face the deep dark feelings that would arise with the support of this comforting Presence. If I stopped looking outside myself for relief from my pain, fear, anger, jealousy, etc. and I kept the feeling with me, opened up to it, and did not project it at someone else, I would go through a process. The first thing that happened is that the upsetting feeling increased… sometimes to excruciating levels. I learned to stay with these feelings and try to open to them and embrace them. It boils down to a sort of warmly, lovingly wrapping awareness around them. It is really the act of ‘doing nothing’ because the normal response to emotional anguish is to run or resist or cover it up or project it. It is could also be described as paying attention with objective curiosity and a fondness for understanding the truth.
After allowing my true feelings to arise and wash (or blast or burn) through me, I simply observed them… they eventually subsided and I experienced a release… sometimes a tremendous one and sometimes just a sigh. This is an inner healing. Before I understood it I was experiencing this. I went through this process many times and the first 6 months were rocky to say the least, because the periods of rest between the arising of unmetabolized emotions and negative experiences was very short or even non-existent at times.
Sometimes after emerging from an emotional clearing the release would expand into an 'essential experience' such as a feeling of profound Love for everyone and everything, or a deep abiding peace and contentment like I had never known. Merging love, Certainty, Strength and Joy were occasional experiences as well. (mentioned in the Bible as the fruit of the Spirit).
Dark Night of the Soul
“Why hast thou forsaken me”?
After getting used to experiencing these blissful times it became even more difficult to endure the times when great waves like clouds of darkness would rise up and engulf my peaceful resting bliss. During these times I would lose hope and sight of the reality of the essential state I had been enjoying. This experience is referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul. So named by St John and he described it as a state of despair after having known truth and experienced ‘God’s‘ presence and peace and the reality of Him abiding in you when He disappears and leaves you barren. This is not actually what happens, but that is another story.
28 Nov 2003 @ 17:42 by : Thanking God
I had an expiriance similar to what you wrote in your artical about 5 years ago. The one thing I learned was, even when my prayers seemed to be answered to my satisfaction, I would thank God, and then next thing you know I felt baren. I then came to the conclusion that not thanking God for the help kind of keeps him/her around. Like I feel now that when I thank God, he/she says "good", then your on your own and I can move on to the next soul. :}
28 Nov 2003 @ 18:14 by spiritseek : thanks for sharing...
I understand some of it and I hope I understand more.
29 Nov 2003 @ 03:49 by : Thanking God
Hmmmm... Just an idea, see if it fits... Maybe the act of "thanking God", in your case, is at the same time a conceptualization of all that is "God" to you and in order to thank "this Godness" you must place it outside yourself. This results in a separation. Try allowing all that is "God" to you to be ONE with you. Abide "in it". Allow it to permeate all that you think of as yourself. Thankfulness is a quality that can dwell within this space. In truth there is no separation. Allow this to BE.
29 Nov 2003 @ 06:25 by istvan : Keep it coming brother
Sebastian. They will eventually be understood by those who can handle the experiencing of the pain caused by letting go of the illusory comforts of the ego, that is, clinging to the idea that the world and God are separate entities and we constantly have to make a choice as to where we belong. The integration of of the fragmented soul at times appear as unbearable pain or uncontainable bliss. We have to allow both states to be as indicators of growth.
Many have described this process and their descriptions are important signposts on this path.
"When you have found the beginning of the Way the star of your soul will show its light; and by that light you will perceive how great is the darkness in which it burns. Mind , heart, brain are all obscure and dark until the first great battle has been won. Be not appalled and terrified by the sight; keep your site fixed on the small light and it will grow. But let the darkness within help you understand the helplessness of those who have seen no light, whose souls are in profound gloom. Blame them not. Shrink not from them, but try to lift a little of the heavy karma of the world; give your aid to the few strong hands that hold back the powers of darkness fron obtaining complete victory. THEN YOU ENTER A PARTNERSHIP OF JOY, WHICH BRINGS INDEED TERRIBLE TOIL AND PROFOUND SADNESS,BUT ALSO A GREAT AND EVER-INCREASING DELIGHT."-Maabel Collins
29 Nov 2003 @ 06:46 by swan : The process you write about
is both a difficult one and a rewarding one. My own processing through shadows at the depth you are describing has gone on at differing degrees for 18 years. What Istvan says above " The integration of of the fragmented soul at times appear as unbearable pain or uncontainable bliss. We have to allow both states to be as indicators of growth.
" is so true. Having gone through the darkness, many times, I am now experiencing more and more joy in my life. We come to accept the balancing of the energies, enjoying the joys and knowing the sorrows won't last forever.
12 Dec 2007 @ 20:23 by daniel odonnell @126.96.36.199 : lost in all this n need help
been going through this 4 7 years n have no 1 to talk to my circle of friends i cant reach i try but they reject me how can i help them n me?
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