Reflection: on our personal experience of spiritual emergence, the dark night of the soul, and transpersonal experience
I have sensed recently that some of my FB friends are undergoing spiritual awakenings. This is something we can all share in common in our becoming whole human beings. Sometimes these spiritual experiences can seem confusing, painful, and like a bad thing.
Let me share two perspectives I find very useful in processing such experiences.
First a quote from the poet Christian Wiman on our need to talk honestly of God:
“It is a strange thing how sometimes merely to talk honestly of God, even if it is only to articulate our feelings of separation and confusion, can bring peace to our spirits. You thought you were unhappy because this or that was off in your relationship, this or that was wrong in your job, but the reality is that your sadness stemmed from your aversion to, your stalwart avoidance of, God. The other problems may very well be true, and you will have to address them, but what you feel when releasing yourself to speak of the deepest needs of your spirit is the fact that no other needs could be spoken of outside of that context. You cannot work on the structure of your life if the ground of your being in unsure.”
― Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
And secondly a quote from the psychiatrist, Gerald Mays, on how spiritual liberation takes place in hidden ways which is profoundly good:
“The dark night is a profoundly good thing. It is an ongoing spiritual process in which we are liberated from attachments and compulsions and empowered to live and love more freely. Sometimes this letting go of old ways is painful, occasionally even devastating. But this is not why the night is called ‘dark.’ The darkness of the night implies nothing sinister, only that the liberation takes place in hidden ways, beneath our knowledge and understanding. It happens mysteriously, in secret, and beyond our conscious control. For that reason it can be disturbing or even scary, but in the end it always works to our benefit.”