Thursday, October 28, 2010
What is the dark night of the soul?
You are a human being. The human part is a conditioned state based on the past. The nature of this self is so complex that it creates its own shadow and then tries to overcome it at the same time. In this context of paradox and complexity lies the emergence of the “dark night of the soul.”
In brief, this dark night is a total identification with the conditioned self.
The human, which is the conditioned part of us based on its past, is often referred to as the shadow self. It is the artificial self. The term ‘soul’ which is identified with the human self, is a misnomer. There is no soul as such but a fragment of Spirit. There is, in reality, only Oneness, a Unified Field of Being. Therefore what we call ‘soul’ is an individualized mind – a conditioned state of mind based on past experience only often oblivious of its true nature as the ‘NOW’ itself. The ‘Being’ part of us is the Truth of us and it is the part that watches, witnesses known as Pure Awareness, the NOW itself.
What is the shadow self also known as the conditioned self? It is the part that identifies completely with what it experiences and therefore does not see the experience as something ‘happening’ but a conditioned perception based on its identified role.
The shadow self is well-named because it is like a shadow that our body casts from the light of the sun. If we tried to escape the shadow by running away from it, we would end up completed depleted from exhaustion and find that the shadow is still there untouched. The shadow will always follow us because that’s the nature of the shadow. Similarly, our BEING experiences its human part ALL THE TIME because that’s what is needed to experience the witnesser of it. This is imperative to recognize.
Is the dark night of the soul necessary? This question is redundant because we experience only what we need to learn. This ‘dark night’ is created through the need to escape it. Another paradox of the human conditioned self is that it identifies itself with its own resistance and then resists it as it is self-created. In order to understand this let us take the example of the cowboy riding the wild untamed bronc. This wild horse is our human part that wants to be free but hasn’t experienced it yet. The rider is the Being part that allows and stays unrelentingly in its ALLOWING stance. Thus the rider stays on the back of the wild horse without any attempt to control the horse but lets it do its ‘thing.’ It stays on until the wild horse is so exhausted that it gives us. The moment the horse gives up it will follow where the rider wants it to go. Similarly with us, our pure awareness also known as the ‘NOW Presence’ is the rider and it ALLOWS our wild contradictory nature to do its thing without interfering. It stays on until the wild untamed and contradictory conditioned self is exhausted and gives up its struggle. The moment the conditioned self gives up its struggle then the ALLOWING nature of BEING becomes combined with the surrender self and the two become integrated and WHOLE. This is the goal of human life – to ‘accomplish’ this wholeness!
What can we do when we are in the midst of the ‘dark night’? The answer is – do nothing but allow! Then the human mind will ask, “How does one allow?” This is the great paradox and if it is understood with your heart you have grasped the power of the rider. It is this – in true allowing here is no allower. In other words, there is no one who allows and when you can grasp this heart-knowing that there’s no one who allows or accepts then, that very understanding becomes allowing and acceptance.
Here’s an example of acceptance and allowing – picture a young innocent white boy in the South playing with a black boy. The parents tell him not to associate with the black boy. However, the innocent white boy cannot understand the prejudice of the parents and keeps playing with the black boy because, after all, it is his best friend. That’s full acceptance without anyone doing any accepting. The white boy didn’t accept but allowed fully what-is without prejudice. This is the key of ALLOWING the dark night of the soul to be but the shadow that it actually is.
The question might arise, “But how do we heal it?” You don’t! Healing and allowing are the same thing because they are both our BEING nature. The allowing is itself the healing!!
To the persistent question, “How do we allow?” which the conditioned part of us will raise is redundant. There is no one who can allow and this very understanding is the ‘allowing’ itself. Go over this statement until you understand it. The moment you grasp it, it becomes allowing itself. Just like the white boy allowed himself to keep playing with the black boy, there was also no one who tried ‘allowing’ but simply allowed!!
The dark night of the soul is persistent and totally identified with. If we can sit with it doing nothing but simply observe its dynamics as ‘what-is’ happening then this very ‘allowing’ becomes the healing. The dark night of the soul means one thing – resistance! It is such a total identification with the human part that the BEING part is in the background. Bring the witnesser, the awareness of this ‘thing’ called ‘dark night’ into perspective and embrace it in its sensations and emotions. Be one with it (allowing) as you sit looking at it through the body in the moment. Then, in this ‘looking’ the healing starts on its own because there is no longer anyone to identify with anything – there is only just the witnessing of it.
When we see this simplicity, our human conditioned part will rebel because it abhors simplicity and calls it simplistic asking, “But, what if…”
Healing is very simple and yet its simplicity is objected to by the ‘dark night’ because that is what created the dark night in the first place – the conflict between the human and the Being. It started out by resistance thinking, “What is wrong with me?” “Why am I like this so different from others?” “Why am I different and separate?”
The individual going through the dark night always feels separate and different from others and that’s the paradox because it is simply caught in being like most others. The dark night of the soul happens to every seeker who is heavy in its thinking and is always reacting with a “yes but…”
Therefore, the moment we become seekers for a better life we often get cauht in this “yes but…” mentality where we question everything especially the spiritual life that says ‘bliss’ is our true nature. We try to justify our childhood ‘pain’ by reinforcing and validating our past experience and so in hanging on (which is the vast majority of spiritual seekers) we plunge into this world of shadow known as the ‘dark night.’
It is true that most of our spiritual knowledge is bunk but then it is a earning experience to meet whatever happens. I have met so many intellectuals who have read all advaita books available and actually believe that they ‘know’ when in truth ‘real knowing’ means ‘there’s nothing to know’ but simply the fact that YOU EXIST NOW! These three words ‘you exist now’ are all the truth you need. You exist and therefore you are existence itself. Allow this existence to play itself out as it must and in this ‘allowing’ we accelerate our inner knowing of our true nature that no one can teach us except our own allowing (which is Being).
So we ask again, “Is there something wrong with the ‘dark night of the soul?” Absolutely nothing is wrong. It is what we have created unconsciously through identifying with the past as all there is and giving full power to it despite our need for the true Self (Being) we already are. Again, the more we wanted the Higher Self, the more we identified with its ‘lower’ version by resisting it saying inwardly, “I don’t want this” which inadvertently became our focus.
Most spiritual seekers go through the dark night sometime in their lifetime unless they encounter a genuine teacher who will instruct them in the art of allowing, surrender, acceptance without a ‘doer.’ This is the crux of the matter. The individual going through the dark night of the soul wants to know ‘how’ to do something. The true open-hearted innocence knows intuitively that the ‘how’ of anything is not in the domain of the intellect. In other words, the ‘how’ of the spiritual life is God’s business and not ours. Ours is opening up the heart to ALLOW.
The spiritual life is the ‘stopping of the mind’ through witnessing it especially when it says, “yes but…”
Everyone goes through the same story but it becomes ‘our story’ and that’s the suffering. It is all the same one. There is nothing and no one who is separate or different or better or worse. It is a game we play.
You are a BEING plaing the human role.
Our ‘job’ is to allow whatever is rising in the moment as a movement of mind and we are the witness. The witness is always at peace watching it all.
The spiritual life is living each moment in what is in alignment with truth. Truth is love, unconditional love, and therefore it is without conditions and ACCEPTS all conditions.
Our spiritual ‘duty’ is to meet everything that arises and in that meeting there is allowing that we are far more than what is happening.
Friday, October 8, 2010
"I wanted to ask you about emotions, why they are important, and their function. "
This is a tall order to reply to but I shall do my best. The word E-Motion comes from the understanding that we are electromagnetic creatures and therefore thought has manifested as our form body. Our human form is the emotional body, period. E-Motion is motion of Energy and that's how things appear to be real when they are ultimately not real. We chose to be born human beings. The human form is a eplica of BEING and it appears very solid to the senses (but this is something that we have to realize directly).
Let's start with basics -- there is Only Ultimate Cause often called God, Father, Being, Oneness, Truth and LOVE. All thse labels mean the same thing. We can begin to understand what human is when we trace it back to its source energy known as Pure Awareness or First Cause. You see, first Cause is Causeless simply because there had to be a beginning which is beginningless, do you understand? So, the first Cause caused everything to happen and it split into fragments called SOULS. You and I are fragments of LOVE known as individuated souls but essentially the same One Spirit known as God or Love. This Love expresses as Pure Awareness and essentially has no form but this is the mystery -- everyone on earth know they exist because everyone on earth is a fragment of the same cause of pure awareness that knows "I AM." Please stay with me here , read it over and over and do not move on until it is clear.
For example, right now as you read this, be very still, take a deep slow breath and slowly exhale as you close your eyes for a moment. Just observe how thoughts cross your mind like flashes of light ever moving. These flashes of motion are known as personal perception based on forms you have had for millions of years. They are your DNA imbedded in every cell of you as a form. Now, knowing this, let these flashes of thought go by and see what is left. Open your eyes then and ask, "What am I?" and then what you are left with is...."I am just awareness..." That is, awareness of these thoughts; awareness of my body; aareness of my environement; awareness that I exist and yet all thee things change but my awareness is ALWAYS. This awareness is the primal feeling known as bliss or nothingness or Silence or peace of mind or innocence or beauty or Essence. It is our very BEING. This is who you are and it is experienced as 'heaven' or 'inner joy' which is its true nature.
Now, let's take it a step further and see what happens -- it is the nature of pure awareness to be aware. AWARE OF WHAT? It is this awareness of 'something' that created the first thought. The moment there is identification with thought we have a belief. This belief creates our perception of life. Here's the first shocker -- there is no LIFE outside of you but only the reality you created by your perception. This has also been discovered by Albert Einstein in his theory of relativity, also by David Bohm who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of time and space as holographic essence and the realizations of Sages throughout history plus the teachings of Jesus, Buddha and Krishna.
Now we have moved further into this knowing -- there are no thoughts but flashes of motion that creates the semblance of time and space known as EMOTIONS. These emotions are movements of perception culled, over and over, many lifetimes of identifying with form. Therefore FORM and EMOTIONS are one. Again, this is what 'suffering' is -- the identification with form as BEING who we are when in fact BEING itself is FREE. So, the question is, what good are emotions?
The Journey or Circle
Emotions are extremely important to our journey, in fact, they are the journey itself because in truth there is no journey but a CIRCLE leading back unto itself. Everything in nature is a CIRCLE leading back to Itself. It is this circle which is called time and space. For example, the earth rotates around the sun creating the semblance of time and space...it creates darkness when not our part of the world is not facing the sun and called day when it faces the sun. As it moves away from the sun in its rotation (or comes closer) it creates the semblance of seasons like Winter, Summer, Spring and Autumn giving us the idea of growth. We have invented clocks to keep abreast of this motion and the clocks are a circle startig with #1 and ending with 12 noon or midnight and starts over again and again. This circle is emotion or motion of energy and it also affects our FEELINGS.
Remember that the primal feeling is bliss also known as love-connection due to oneness, and since we do not know our true nature then we cling to this need to belong known as Oneness and we seek it through relationships, sex, possession, owning, needing, craving, yearning and hoping. These movements create all the emotions of 'suffering' -- however again, remember that suffering is the choice we made to experience humanity or emotion. Suffering is only to the extent of our realization. The more ignorant we are of our true nature, the more we suffer. Our true nature which is Source-Being can only be direct experience of itself and not by reading about it as most people do. This is why "A Course in Miracles" has been devised by 365 lessons for the year in order to experience directly that we are BEING playing the human role. If we do not realize this fact known as Truth then we are lost in a morass of words and symbols called 'religion or dogmatic beliefs.
Truth is not 'something' because it has nothing to do with beliefs, ideas or words but direct experience of pure awareness known as "I AM." Therefore again, we need emotions to lead us back to their source. Emotions can become so entrenched, so solid to us that our individuated mind can lose its balance known as insanity. This insanity is prevalent in our world. It is all starts from the FEELING that we are separate. We learn ONLY through the full acceptance (allowing) of emotions as emotions or motion of energy. When we entertain a thought such as "I wish to get rid of this feeling" "I don't want this anymore" "I have had it feeling like this" "How I wish to get rid of this" then this resistance exacerbates our emotions and we become temporarily insane or dysfunctonal. Emotions that are not wanted is ike rejecting your child. Emotional resistance to itself is a denial of BEING and therefore a rejection of yourself. All that you 'suffer' is not wrong but simply your CHOICE. In fact, every emotional feeling was created by you, however unconsciously it has been created. When we experince these emotions through ALLOWING (acceptance, forgiveness, embracement and as a 'lesson' then that's how we 'grow' towards the very NEING we have never left and complete the circle by returning to Source.
The Four Laws of Creation
There are FOUR LAWS in CREATION, ONLY FOUR and these FOUR are important to never forget. They cover every aspect of life and if you fully embrace these FOUR LAWS you wll hasten your expansion into LOVE. Remember that true love is NOT an emotion (although emotional love leads us to it through embracement). True LOVE is the joy of spiritual knowing of our true nature as "I AM" and expresses as JOY in life. Although in psychology we emphasize positive and negative emotions yet in truth there is only LOVE or FEAR. Just as FEAR is a 'feeling' of separation, so is LOVE a 'feeling' of belonging. Sexuality is the expression of physical love and when the heart is engaged it becomes also a spiritual experience. When the heart is not engaged then it remains just lust and loses its divine expression. These are the FOUR LAWS: --
1. YOU EXIST: You know you exist and when you go back to that inner knowing of existence then you start getting 'back' to Source. YOU will always exist and there is no such thing as non-existence. Therefore when we experience the zero-point of egoless love we are in Source and the feeling is known as innocent joy or heavenly feeling. Everything starts from this felt-sense of "I Exist" and it can lead to who you are. When Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi advocated "Who am I?" it opened the way to this primal knowing of "I exist."
2. YOU ARE ONE-SELF: This second law is derived from the first one and we often refer to ourselves as Oneself. There is only OneSelf. The mystery is that it feels like YOU, and, it is YOU and yet in its true essence is wholeness itself. There is no separation and this non-separation can only be directly experienced through knowing the meaning of "I Exist."
3. CIRCLE OF EXPRESSION: This emphasizes the action of return, that is, for every negative thought you indulge in then the same is returned to you. For every judgment you make is returned to you. Similarly, for every act and feeling of love is returned to you. This is the law of abundance or poverty. This is the Law also known as the Law of Attraction. You are, right now, the exact product of the way you believe. Every cell of your body is imbedded with millions of beliefs you believe are true and they attract the life you live. They are not right or wrong but represent your individual realty that you created by your perception.
4. CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTNT: That is, change is constant with the excepton of the three above. Change is always happening because everything is emotion in our world (motion of energy or the circle of life).
Anyway, I hope that this has been of help to you. Please keep this article and print it out and read it once weekly until it starts bringing greater insights and realizations.