Just a day after my Dark Night of the Soul post I feel relieved. The previous week was cathartic. I am grateful that I have more control over what I choose to focus on. I am grateful that I can call on my inner peace and love and sit there for a while. A great piece of advice I heard was to make peace with my life wherever it is at the moment, and to be kind and gentle on myself . Don’t try so hard.
I still have no idea how I will achieve my desires and dreams but that’s OK.
In Joseph Campbell’s description of the Spiritual Journey, which he also calls, The Hero’s Journey (see diagram above), the individual is called to adventure then after a certain time the journey takes the individual into unknown territory. Territory that is filled with dangers and temptations and challenges. Here the individual with attract teachers who will give him/her the tools and the knowledge needed to navigate through these challenges and temptations. Jesus’ 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness is an example. As is the Dark Night of the Soul of Mohamed:
In the Name of God, Singularly Merciful, Universally Compassionate
By the glorious morning light! And the still night when it covers with darkness.
Thy Lord has not forsaken thee, nor has He become displeased, and verily the latter state is better for thee than the former.
And soon will thy Lord give thee so that thou wilt be well content. Did He not ﬁnd thee an orphan and give (thee) shelter? And ﬁnd thee lost, so He showed the way? And find thee in want and make thee free from want?
Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness. And him who asks, chide not. And the favor of thy Lord, proclaim.
The Buddha too faced his spiritual crisis. While meditating under a Bodhi tree …
As dusk fell, Devaputra Mara, the chief of all the demons in this world, tried to disturb Siddhartha’s concentration by conjuring up many fearful apparitions. He manifested hosts of terrifying demons, some throwing spears, some firing arrows, some trying to burn him with fire, and some hurling boulders and even mountains at him.
Through the force of his concentration, the weapons, rocks, and mountains appeared to him as a rain of fragrant flowers, and the raging fires became like offerings of rainbow lights.
Seeing that Siddhartha could not be frightened into abandoning his meditation, Devaputra Mara tried instead to distract him by manifesting countless beautiful women, but Siddhartha responded by developing even deeper concentration.
After which the Demon King gave up and the Buddha was liberated.
All these individuals set out on a journey where they encountered many challenges, barriers and temptations, but through the power of mindfullness and resolve they became empowered. They didn’t defeat these demons, rather they defeated the thoughts within themselves that gave power to these demons. I see it has been the same with me. It is my own mind that has lead to my current situation. Sure there have been some seriously difficult circumstances in my physical dimension but it is because I allowed, because i got lazy, that these circumstances effected me so deeply.
Jesus, Mohamed and Buddha, as well as many other Masters of Life, were incredibly powerful and intelligent individuals. Their Dark Night lasted a matter of days. Mine has lasted for years. Campbell’s description is helpful, for in it I see there is an end. And I can feel transformation but I have been in the Abyss for so long it is a very strong force that keeps pulling me in. I am in the process of dying to my old self and being reborn. We are all so blessed to be living in this time where we have this knowledge and wisdom, literally at our fingertips. Imagine being back in the times of Jesus or Mohamed, or Buddha where such knowledge was sacred and was only divulged to individual’s that earned it.