‘Dark night of the soul’
Who hasn’t heard that intriguing metaphor, ‘Dark night of the soul?’, at once so vague and yet so precise because just about everyone has experienced it.1,2
So where did the Christian poet-fantasist John of God3 get the idea? Well he got it from Genesis 1:2&3,
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”4
The biblical sentence describes what in everyday terms is described as ‘the dark tunnel that leads to the light.’5 It is a universalised, hence abstract description of the affect of a very common feature of human existence, namely of the constantly recurring need to resolve problems.6
It is the unresolved problem that is the cause of the dark tunnel (or dark night). For it saps, depletes energy, thus creating an energy depression. And that energy depression is experienced as dreary, grey, dark or black,7 and self-signalled8 with various intensities of unhappiness, misery and so on.
The future Buddha’s ‘Dark night of the soul.’
By resolving the (in fact any) problem9 the dark tunnel is eliminated and one finds oneself surrounded by bright light previously seen at the end of the tunnel. The end of the dark tunnel happens as a sudden surge of energy, indeed an energy high and which is experienced as (often extremely) bright10 and signalled with the various intensities of happiness or joy.
From which follows that in order to step into the light, i.e. to see anew, I have to get into, or engineer a tunnel first. No dark tunnel, no bright light, no new dawn, no new vision, no new (hardware = real) manifestation.
So, either I let life itself create my dark tunnel.11 And which happens if and when I screw up or someone else screws me up and when I have to create12 a solution to get to the light. Or I cleverly create a dark tunnel in order to engineer my escape to the light and the new vision.13
Getting from ‘the dark night of the soul’, meaning ‘the dark tunnel’ to ‘the light at its end’, that is to say, to the new vision, is a basic biological phenomenon. Every human performs this feat, and which is so well described in Genesis 1:2, a million times a day.14
Awakening: Into the light from the dark tunnel
The trick to brightening up, meaning to getting high, elated, joyful,15 is to simply engineer a dark tunnel16 via which to get to enjoy the light, the new vision, at its end.
Thus one proceeds from the uncreated (indeed decaying) therefore dreary and dark tunnel (as ‘dark night of the soul’) to the beautiful and exhilarating light at the end of the tunnel, i.e. to the bright day happening as emerged effect of the created.17
Actually exiting ‘the dark night of the soul’ is relatively easy though a bit onerous and sometimes painful. At least it’s easy when you know how. And anyone who responds naturally rather than culturally,18 will easily quit the ‘dark night’ and thereby demonstrate that he or she knows how.
© 2018 by Victor Langheld
1. The experienced of the ‘dark night’, or simply ‘night’ can happen from moment to moment and can last for any length of time, that is to say, until its cause, namely and unresolved problem, is eliminated and a ‘bright day’ (a solution as new dawn) happens. Generating a solution constitutes a spiritual act.
2. Elsewhere the metaphor ‘blindness’ is used, the whole ‘dark night and bright day’ process being described as ‘Before I was blind but now I can see!’ In ancient Buddhism (and in the Upanishads too), blindness, i.e. not seeing (Sanskrit: avidya, often reinterpreted as ignorance, possibly chaos), was the prime cause of dependent origination, hence of creation (i.e. of vision).
3. The monk was describing the effect on him of having lost sight of (or union with) his (vision of) God. He was out of touch, excommunicado, indeed blind, and felt incomplete and therefore hopeless, lost, afraid and so on. He had reverted to the Jewish God’s status prior to creation.
4. The two sentences are a superimposition of elements of the human survival operation upon the Jewish God. In fact, all henotheistic Gods, i.e. selected super-humans, such as the Jewish and Christian Gods, are deifications of basic biological processes. Only pantheism does not require anthropomorphic super-imposition since the pantheist believes that ‘All is God.’
5. Elsewhere called enlightenment. Enlightenment, experienced either as a glow, surge or burst of light or as the sudden sense of being lighter, because relieved of a burden, happens as after-effect of problem solving when processing capacity invested in finding a solution is released for alternate use.
6. Problem solving, meaning the creation of new, because differential survival options, is the sine qua non of survival, therefore of spirituality. Hence ‘Create or die!’
7. Indeed ugly, ugliness (i.e. as imperfection) resulting from low (i.e. depressed) capacity concentration.
8. As feedback for self- (or own) Guide & Control. Such feedback is needed since all living systems (i.e. as distributed creation network) are self-driving, to wit biological automatons set to achieve one single (content independent) outcome, namely relative survival capacity increase.
9. To the brain (meaning: a bio-system’s blind auto-pilot) the particular content of a problem (i.e. the meaning of a data flow) is irrelevant. Its job is to solve one and all problems, both real and imagined, in order to improve a bio-system’s survival chances. As mere digital data processing device it can’t tell (or judge) the difference between fact and fantasy
10. As many mystics have confirmed, the bright light (as in Genesis: ‘Let there be light!’) is initially so intense it actually blinds (or burns up), as, indeed, Moses was warned. However, as one gradually becomes accustomed to the light, contours appear (they are virtually invented/created and so constitute a virtual spiritual act), namely the beginnings of what will eventually be a clean and clear (new) vision, and which one then must needs manifest as hardware reality (as primary spiritual act that produces an item for consumption) in one’s everyday world. The beauty (as perfection) or otherwise of the initial wetware vision or its subsequent hardware depends on the intensity of concentration brought to bear on it. The accomplished tunnel leaver will have the required concentration speed (i.e. his perfection gear) ever ready to be applied and so superimposed.
11. This is the normal everyday tunnel generation mode. Each unresolved everyday problem brings with it its own dark tunnel, each solution the bright light/dawn of a new vision to be made real.
12. Meaning: invent. Solutions (like the experience of ‘my true self’ or the thought of a pizza or beer) can’t be found. Even if borrowed they have to be reinvented by one’s auto-pilot, i.e. by the brain as virtual reality simulating device before they can activate the bio-system’s hardware (body).
13. This is the mode used by those existing in, or having withdrawn into a private everyday world, for instance monks and other (usually uncreative, hence bored and therefore hurting) nuts, such as chess or football players, who invent fantasy bubbles within which they live out an ecstatic and wholly meaningful existence. All games are invented fantasy worlds that offer an easier route to fulfilment (hence to personal survival) and pay off fully in happiness.
14. Most dark tunnels are short and merely grey (to wit, off colour, and when inside one feels off colour) and the light at the end dim and the vision paltry and its manifestation indifferent. In other words, most ‘rebirths’ to a new life vision (that may or may not become a new life) happen at a very low impact level, indeed below the threshold of consciousness.
15. The trick is pulled if one feels low, depressed and so on, As, for instance, as I do since I’m very old and anticipate that from here on in life will go downhill and be utterly depressing (as in ‘Eat, shit, wait for death!,’ unless deliberately reengineered to climb a fantasy mountain of my own design.
16. It’s done either by creating a phoney problem or be applying the psychical or physical affects naturally experienced in a tunnel. The latter way is that of asceticism, that is to say, of deprivation, usually intensified with psychic and physical pain (in India called tapas and lauded since the Upanishads as almost sure means of achieving union with God, that is to say, used to blackmail God to reveal him or herself).
17. As described in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
18. Basically a cultural response indicates that that individual hasn’t yet ‘got the finger out’, is therefore constipated and restricted in his or her creative (hence solution finding) capacity.