Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dark Night

I'm not feelin' the love today. It happens. Those moments of union and perfection that have come with amazing regularity these past few months feel about as far away as Timbuktu, like they come from a book I read rather than my own life. This is all part of being human, I know: feeling lost or alone or (and here's where I end up most often) like you just don't want to do this whole life thing anymore - it's all just part of the game. We can bury it in work, or simply ignore it, or give in to it and sink into the depression that always beckons like a siren. The feeling may be experienced in the background or take over all our thought, be more or less destructive, sap our energy for living for a day or a week or a year (or 5), but eventually it will change and pass.

So it's part of being human, and it's part of the spiritual path, too. Ever heard of the dark night of the soul? It's that time when outer things are stripped away, when what previously gave you pleasure seems hollow and empty. Read the mystics and you'll see that it happens a lot on the spiritual path, and (like everything) it seems to be there for a purpose: what gets stripped away is whatever your latest misconception is. God loves me because I do good things; I'm special because I experience these moments of union; there is something solid and unchanging that my logical mind or incoherent heart can hold onto. Yeah, all that gets unceremoniously trashed. It's got to, to make room for the better stuff, the truer stuff. But it feels like hell getting from here to there.

The dark night and me, we're old friends. But now that we've gotten so chummy, I can see that it comes around for a purpose; it's a gift even when it feels like a dagger. I played this song over and over last night that has this line:

You wonder what you gain
Living through so much pain
But you find again
That you know who you are

So it helps, this dark night, this stripping away. It helps me find the deeper truth, figure out more about who I really am. But it still feels like hell.

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