Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

(Note: This is NOT the article about seeing your thoughts that I promised you yesterday. Sorry. – WW)

Before you pursue enlightenment too seriously, you may want to read about my “Dark Night of the Soul” episode that occurred this very morning (Thursday, 9/17/2009).

To preface it. Yesterday afternoon, just as I was posting that day’s blog entry, I received an email from my mother, who, among other things was worried about a dream/premonition she had of a dark entity threatening me. I replied with something along the lines of she’s just naturally worried about losing me to what is happening and I endeavored to explain that this phase of my life felt much like childhood or (if you’re old enough) how your teen years feels like to you now – you’re still the same person, but different. I assured her there was no risk of her “losing” me.

But the “evil entity” concept got me thinking. I have never believed in the dualistic concepts of Good vs. Evil. Jesus, in his 40 days in the desert dealt with the Devil. Buddha, in his final meditations under the Bodhi-tree, dealt with Mara. What do I consider evil? Not that I’m their ranks, but who is my Devil?

With this thought, I went to bed, and to see if it would help me find insight, I put on the Breathe track I had made to help people with their holotropic breathing. Since it was dark, and I’m not super familiar with the iPhone music controls (I wanted the track to repeat), I just pushed “play” and started the deep, rapid breathing.

As the track finished and I was feeling pleasantly “one” the next song came on. Being as the tracks were sorted alphabetically, it was Jimmy Buffet’s Bring Back The Magic and the line, “Nothing can tear you apart, if you keep living straight from the heart. Though you know that you’re going to hurt some, the magic will come.” And those words resonated with me—since most of my life I have lived from the head and not from the heart.

I fell asleep with those lyrics in my head and then, at 4:39 this morning, I found my Devil…

(The following was written immediately upon arising, with minimum editing.)

I awoke, overcome with terrible, horrible feelings, the emotions so primal – so raw. I sobbed and cried and raged and I watched. The whole time I watched and smiled and new that this was a purging – a cleansing.

From deep within, I felt dark, hard clumps of rot and filth – emotional pain – welling up from my dark bowels. The pain had no name, no fixed word for it – just a deep hurt, an injustice. And I smiled and took his hand and caressed his head as he wept – just as a mother caresses a weeping babe.

The emotions started to become more clear, but no less painful. Abandonment – being PUSHED from the womb, being PUSHED from the breast, being PUSHED from the Mom as she left me to make dinner, being PUSHED away, away, away. And I watched as I cried and I knew that this was good.

The next wave of pain came from childhood – the selfishness, the stealing, the grabbing and hitting and I cried and I hated myself and I felt so damn guilty and I smiled and watched and comforted me.

Each wave felt like a dark clump of matter, a dark clump that had been hidden deep down inside me for my entire life. Each rested on the earlier one, and was released as its foundation fell through. I knew this somehow and I allowed it, and though I cried and sobbed and clung at my face and wrung my hands and felt so helpless and alone and like there was no one who could save me I watched and allowed and loved me.

Each wave rose and crested and crashed as every sin and sorrow from each phase of my life rose and clarified and pummeled me. And between each wave a calm, a lull – and love, always love, always there underneath it all.

Older and older I got, each pain bringing with it horrible guilt and crystal clear understanding. It was there, raw, unedited and in my face and there was nowhere to hide, no way to escape or deny it. All the pain and heartbreak I had caused others because of my pettiness and selfishness. And I cried and sobbed uncontrollably and I hated myself and I hated who I had become and I watched and understood and the pain was released and forgiven and seen for what it was.

I got out of bed at 8:03 am when a bird flapped up against my window, trying to catch his reflection. The twinges of pain had subsided and the Light seemed so clean and pure.

I washed my face, made some tea, and wrote this down.

Keep in mind, this was not a dream. My floor was littered with balled up paper towels (Tissues? Real men use paper towels when they cry like a baby).

As all this was happening, I was amazed that I had two conscious “minds.” I saw Wayne-the-ego suffering and I was Wayne-the-ego suffering. I was overwhelmed with pain and at the same time I was seeing it from outside me – not outside the body, but outside “me” the one who was suffering. It was amazing, it was like my consciousness had split. And while I have never been a religious man, I felt the Divine: I was the Divine and I was the Sinner. Indeed, all those pains felt like sin, like a denial of God. And I, as the Divine, saw very clearly that they (the emotional blocks) were a denial, for all these years they have blocked me from seeing the Divine in myself.

It’s clear to me now, and was clear to the Divine me as it happened, that my ego (and though I am no psychologist, I know everyone’s ego) is built on those initial moments and days and first years of rejection from the mother. Rejected from the womb, rejected from the breast, left alone while the mother attended her other duties. I – as an infant – didn’t understand the “being left.” And that “being left” with it’s pain, started the ego. Started the separate Wayne, and from there all selfishness and greed and envy and hatred and rage arose within the dark side of myself. And so, as each wave of pain and guilt was released, it loosened the foundation of those that had been built upon it (the “sins” of me as child, then teen, then adult). Each collapsed as the foundation under it – the infant ego – collapsed.

As I write this on the morning of September 17, 2009, I feel a sense of “blankness not knowing” combined with a wonderful sense of stillness and lightness and certainty that, though I don’t know what lies next, I do know that there is nothing to be concerned with ever again – for everything is happening exactly as it is supposed to.

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7 thoughts on “Dark Night of the Soul

  1. Fully engaged in this surrender that both scorn and soothe the heart of lives past with all its immense loves and abandonments of dreams, hopes, fears, purposes. Reminded of how we hold within our cells the codes of ancient patterns lived, judgements cast and blames -of self and others- once nurtured. When the Dark Night arrives it cracks these codes open to reveal the lessons that we have learnt. So that we may understand the grace that enfolds us and which is never separate from us. From this unity which allows us to walk in this Devine grace even though we might not understand it all; the mysteries of the Universe or the primal language and signature of God. Yet we may perceive this from another level, the level of the watcher, the detached observer- so that you may live in the ecstasy, so that we may live in the ecstasy, so that all may live in the ecstasy of Grace.
    As i turned to the page of the book currently on my bedside table the second time I am reading this, yet just as captivating, and my soul resounds the eco of her words…

    ‘I have learned about the Dark Night” she said to the now silent forest. ‘I learned that the search for God is a Dark Night, that faith is a Dark Night. And that’s hardly a surprise really, because for us each day is a dark night. None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, and yet still we go forwards. Because we trust. Because we have Faith”
    Or perhaps who knows because we just don’t see the mystery contained in the next second. Not that it mattered. What mattered was knowing that she had understood.
    That every moment in life is an act of faith. That you could choose to fill it with snakes and scorpions or with a strong protecting force. That Faith cannot be explained. It was simply a Dark Night. And all she had to do was accept it or not.”
    God/ess protects the innocent. ~Paulo Coelho

    I like to contemplate the Dark Night as the first sense of Day light (delight) ..

    • @Q: Beautiful Quinzelle. Glad to see your back.

      Email from Randy (quoting Whitman):
      I know that I am solid and sound, and I know that I am deathless.
      I am not contained between my hat and my boots.
      Apart fron the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
      Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
      looks down with sidecurved head, curious what will come next.
      Both in and out of the game, watching and wondering at it,,,,
      I witness and wait.

  2. Wanting enlightenment is bad idea. If you want something, you have a problem.

    An alternate method is to ask the great question, “What am I?” and then just pay attention to whatever appears, moment to moment.

  3. Powerful, powerful, intense story. I’ve always been fascinated by the Dark Side of the Soul and read already St John of the Cross’s. Yours is unbelievable. So good you wrote and shared. Precious. Thank you

  4. @Marge: Good question. Ultimately the Devil is your self, the belief that your past history is ‘you.’ In my case it was all sorts of unresolved anger/rejection issues.

    But for a couple other posts I did on the subject of the Devil/Mara, see this and this.

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