Mirabai Starr’s preface to her contemporary translation of John of the Cross’ original Dark Night introduced my series. Richard Rohr quotes from the translation on the Silence that prevails as the two Nights unfold, in his article titled “Luminous darkness, deepening love”:
“…take a break from ideas and knowledge, to quit troubling herself about thinking and meditating… without agitation, without effort, without the desire to taste or feel him. These urges only disquiet and distract the soul from the peaceful quietude…” (https://cac.org/silence-2022-05-10/)
Easy to say, but nearly impossible amidst torment. I myself may have found my Silence came only after burning through and burning out all my other attempts at understanding:
I slid, unaware, into this paradigm of silence. But only after I burned through all the other apparent alternatives, paralyzed by major depression. Stumbling into nothing but paradoxes entwined in incessant ruminations cycling ceaselessly through my mind.
First, I read. Voraciously, looking for reasons this was being done to me, looking for answers about where I went so wrong, convinced that I did go wrong, and asking why. Why are they doing this? Why did I do this?
Some answers. Partial. None complete, but more enticement and teasing, with half answers, unsatisfying. Chased more. Surely some answer(s) would come.
Just frustration and deepening depression. So I tried all five of the different kinds of pills. I tried exercise, hobbies, new things. I tried old things, music, prayer, meditation, faith practices. I sought a therapy group, couldn’t find one, asked someone to form one. They did.
It didn’t heal me, but it kept me alive, out of hospitals and out of jail. Literally. It kept me going, so I could burn out all evident options. Until nothing was left but silence.
Nothing I could do. All my attempts to understand, to control: Fruitless. [Advent Prequel To Footprints https://feelwithneil.com/2019/12/16/advent-prequel-to-footprints/]
What was happening to me?! I screamed. I sobbed. I writhed, curled up in bed. A lot.
I wrote. I wrote what seemed to be true, had stopped chasing, grasping for illusory explanations. Or any explanation at all. It seemed I was doing nothing. It seemed “it” was being done to me.
Neil D. 2022-05-13
Next>> Dark Night of the Soul (1.8.1) – Transcendence