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Rules #24a: The Soul's Journey: "The Dark Night of Soul"

At some point in our journey, we encounter a phenomenon known as "Dark Night of the Soul". If you have experienced it, you have no doubt about what it is. If you have not, it can best be described this way.

When the sun is shining brightly and there is every reason to feel happy to be alive, you feel as if it is three o'clock in the morning and the world is devoid of life. No lover to comfort you, no friend to cheer you, no family to support you, you feel abandoned.

And this feeling goes on, day after day, month after month, year after year, and sometimes life after life. You come to wonder what is the point of this dark despair and when will it ever end and why did it start to begin with.

These rules cannot end the seemingly bottomless pit of hopelessness but they will shed some light on it. And yes, the Dark Night of Soul DOES come to an end for everyone. That is the only way it can be in a loving and compassionate universe.

Consider this: "The light shall shine in the darkness" (Isaias) to illuminate the dark corners of the Soul so that they can be purified and sanctified to do God's work in the universe.

Just knowing there is a purpose for this seemingly endless suffering makes it much easier to endure. So welcome to the land of endless night...

1> THE PROBLEM OF ATTACHMENT
............ & LETTING GO TO LET GOD IN

Source: Etheric (Intuitive) Body
Problem: Attachment - Solution: Detachment

"Establish in us O God that which Thou hast wrought, and perfect the work which Thou hast begun in us to Thy glory." (Martin Luther) At the end of our wanderings, we finally make perfect the perfection which God has originally created inside us.

Until we connect with our perfection, we get drawn back into this world by the attachments which imperfections create. Detachment, the desireless state which Eastern religions believe is nirvana, is the key to leaving this world behind us.

The
"dark night" helps make this detachment possible by helping one to "burn off" attachments to this world than no longer serve them. This is the place of "letting go to let God" so that we can be a full Coworker in the majesty of his Creation.

2> THE PROBLEM OF VANITY
............ & KNOWING YOUR PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE

Source: Mental (Thought) Body
Problem: Vanity - Solution: Balanced Self Esteem

"Be the master of your will and the slave of your conscience" (Hasidic Proverb) Vanity arises whenever the "will-ego" and the "conscience-Soul" are severely out of balance - in both directions (narcissistic vanity & masochistic vanity).

In
narcissistic vanity ("how great I art"), the will and the conscience are imbalanced in the direction of a person believing that they are the universe instead of just having a place in it. The "dark night" is quite effective in dispelling these false, narcissistic illusions but it may tend to aggravate the other extreme for awhile.

In
masochistic vanity ("what a miserable bag of dung I am"), the will and the conscience are imbalanced in the direction of a person believing that they have no place in the universe when in fact everyone does. Given enough time, the spirit emerges reborn from the "dark night" into a balanced state of self esteem.

3> THE PROBLEM OF INTOLERANCE
............ & THE ROAD TO ACCEPTANCE

Source: Causal (Karmic) Body
Problem: Intolerance - Solution: Tolerance

"The highest result of education is tolerance." (Helen Keller) For tolerance is learned after we have gone through many lifetimes and have at one time been all things. The smallest particle of intolerance is all it takes to keep one from transcending the human consciousness.

Perhaps the most difficult thing that the
"dark night" has to teach is tolerance for the God that "puts us through it". In the supreme irony, it is this "dark night" process that burns the residue of intolerance from us. For if it did not then we would never be able to get off the ever spinning wheel of death and rebirth.

4> THE PROBLEM OF UNFORGIVENESS
............ & THE WAY OF UNDERSTANDING

Source: Astral (Emotional) Body
Problem: Unforgiveness - Solution: Forgiveness

"He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven." (George Herbert) In a universe constantly evolving from darkness to light, it is inevitable that the pattern of the light will change from time to time revealing new truths.

What one did in a past life or earlier in the present life with full conviction that they were doing right, can later be proved to be wrong. So forgiveness of one's self and others has been, is, and always will be a part of human existence.

Part of the
"dark night" experience is forgiving yourself for "that which you did and should not have been done" and "that which you did not do and should have been done". One of the biggest surprises in the land of endless night is discovering that it is much easier to forgive others than it is to forgive yourself.

5> THE PROBLEM OF HATE
............ & THE PATH TO UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Source: Physical (Matter) Body
Problem: Hate - Solution: Love

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." (Martin Luther King Jr) This is because hate begets hate while love begets love. In the physical world, it is remarkable how little it takes to hate someone else and how much it takes to love them.

So many are drawn to the Earth plane simply because these opportunities to experience the depths of love and hate are so rich. Dragging hate into the
"dark night" produces storms of such great magnitude they feel as if they cannot be long endured. And yet they go on for as long as one clings to the hate that powers them.

That is why for any question - even for the question of how to escape the
"dark night of Soul" - love is always the only answer.

6> THE PROBLEM OF PRIDE
............ & THE SEARCH FOR BALANCED HUMILITY

Source: Crown Chakra
Problem: Pride - Solution: Balanced Humility

"Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Joseph Addison) Our lives are always lived along two tracks. The first is our individual journey as Soul through the universe (karma) so we can become fully Self Realized.

The second is our continuous connection to the God Source (known as our Higher Self) and the collective consciousness so we can become fully God Realized.

Pride is an imbalance that results when the needs of the individual are always put ahead of the needs of the collective universe. Humility is the opposite when the needs of the collective universe are always put ahead of the needs of the individual.

Pride leads to an individual being "burned up" while humility leads to an individual being "burned out". The
"dark night" often feels to the individual that both things are happening to them as the same time. By the counter tension of these opposite forces, the individual comes to a place of humility where honoring oneself and the universe can be peacefully balanced.

7> THE PROBLEM OF GLUTTONY
............ & THE MEANS OF SATISFACTION

Source: Third Eye Chakra
Problem: Gluttony - Solution: Satisfaction

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." (Kurt Vonnegut in "Mother Night") Gluttony is all about pretense. Gluttons for food pretend it fills them with comfort and warmth. Gluttons for drink pretend it dulls their pain and loneliness. Gluttons for sex pretend it gives them love.

They gorge themselves on sensual pleasures so that they will not have to face how unsatisfying their lives really are. The
"dark night" intensifies these feelings until the Soul realizes that what it is really missing is the love of God.

For it is this divine love where true satisfaction really lays: Raoul Wallenberg knew this as he spent his life in a Russian prison. Always happy, always smiling, he knew the true satisfaction that being immersed in the love of God brings.

8> THE PROBLEM OF ENVY
............ & THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

Source: Throat Chakra
Problem: Envy - Solution: Gratitude

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers." (Francois Voltaire) For questions are always more revealing than answers, just as speaking always reveals more about character and intention than people realize. Of all the words we speak, those which damage ourselves the most are those we speak in envy.

For when we envy others, we tell ourselves that we are not good enough. For when we want the gifts that others have, it means we cannot appreciate the gifts we have been given. When we do not appreciate our gifts, we cannot be grateful for them. When we are not grateful for them, the gifts simply stop working for us.

The power of spoken gratitude cannot be undervalued or underestimated. For, if during the blackest part of the
"dark night", you can shout from your heart that you are grateful for it's gifts - and mean it - you can start to be free from it.

9> THE PROBLEM OF ANGER
............ & THE QUEST FOR INNER PEACE

Source: Heart Chakra
Problem: Anger - Solution: Calmness

"If there is anything better than to be loved, it is loving" (Anonymous) As it says in the Bible, "love is always patient". Patience is mentioned first because it's opposite - impatience - is another word for anger.

For when anger strikes us, the first thing it shuts down is our ability to love both ourselves and others. Anger is a wild animal that can push even the most rational among us to unthinking acts of desperation.

Yet the animal can be tamed with the collar of calmness which acts like water on fire: "calming one's perplexities, moderating one's anxieties, steadying the scales of judgment, preserving one from exaggerated and rash actions." Calmness is essential for survival in the
"dark night". Lack of inner peace feeds the power of darkness while calmness allows the warm rays of love to lighten and shorten our time there.

10> THE PROBLEM OF GREED
............ & THE OPENING TO SELFHOOD

Source: Solar Plexus Chakra
Problem: Greed/Charity - Solution: Self Reliance

"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision." (Eleanor Roosevelt) What we come to see through the "dark night" is that the "good" and "bad" aspects of our character are only value judgments that we place on ourselves. So it is with the concepts of greed and charity.

Greed is a bad thing when a few take all that there is for themselves and refuse to share their bounty with the less fortunate masses. Greed is a good thing when it motivates people to provide goods and services that are the best they can be. The same greed that says "I want it all for myself" also recognizes that "I cannot get what I want for myself unless I decide to serve others".

Charity is a good thing when it helps those who truly cannot help themselves. Charity is a bad thing when it keeps those who can help themselves in a state of laziness and dependence. The same charity that says "let me help" also adds "let me help you help yourself". In this light, it can be seen that the entire journey through the
"dark night" is meant to teach us self reliance and self dependence.

11> THE PROBLEM OF SLOTH
............ & THE FIRM ROD OF DISCIPLINE

Source: Sacral Chakra
Problem: Sloth - Solution: Discipline

"A great sailor can sail even with a torn canvas." (Seneca) If the Earth can with a warning label it would be this: "Do not enter here unless you are prepared to triumph over adversity". Ironically, this is why most people come to the Earth: so that they can see how they will measure up to it's ultimate tests of discipline.

Yet discipline is a virtue that must be drilled into an individual because the central defining characteristic of humans in their natural state is sloth or laziness. If you doubt this, just look around to see how many labor saving devices there are. Cars save us from driving, washers and dryers save us from laundering, microwaves save us from real cooking, and so on. They "save us" time so that we can have it to laze around the TV like couch potatoes.

In the land of endless
"dark night", sloth is fatal - there are too many challenges. To survive them, grab hold of the buoy of discipline: it alone will keep you afloat.

12> THE PROBLEM OF LUST
............ & THE DEEP POOL OF COMPASSION

Source: Root Chakra
Problem: Lust - Solution: Compassion

"Empathy and fellow feeling form the very basis of morality." (Sissela Bok on "Compassion Fatigue") Empathy, the ability to sympathize with and feel sorrow for the pain of another, is the biggest difference between "regular" people and socio-paths (like serial killers, rapists, etc). For without empathy, man would exist in a state of "his animal lusts" for power, sex, and money.

History is full of examples of ruthless dictators exercising their power solely for their own benefit and crushing others under in the process. Police registers bulge with reports of bizarre sexual offenses. The press just loves to leap onto stories about "misconduct with money" as in con men bilking widows out of their life savings.

Karma balances the scales with the former victimizers becoming victims in later lives. Not surprisingly, those who did the most hurting in one life and come back to be the most hurt, are those who develop the deepest compassion for others.

What we all must experience in the
"dark night" is to see and to own how our actions have effected others dow to the smallest detail. Only then can we move forward in our Soul's unfoldment with love and compassion. For it is only love - and love alone - that will guide us safely on our journey back home to God.

Credits: adapted from "The Dark Night of Soul" by John of the Cross.


 

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