Secular and spiritual dark nights

 

Some folks frown when the phrase dark night is used in secular contexts, for instance describing what many of us go through after losing a job or the end of a relationship. They say it should be used only in its original meaning, as describing the dark night of the senses or the dark night of the soul.

But is it so wrong to use it in a secular sense? Maybe the secular and spiritual dark nights are not as different as they may appear?

Any dark night, whether secular or spiritual, comes about through a friction between our shoulds and reality, or rather, friction between our stories of what is and what should be. It doesn’t really matter what the content of those stories are. The effect is the same: unease, stress, tension, complains, sense of being a victim, perhaps sadness, grief, anger, frustration, sense of loss, and so on.

In the dark night of the senses, there may be a friction with – and eventual wearing off and release of – stories of who we are and what will make us happy. There is a release – at least to some extent – of identification with this human self, with its many needs and desires. Revealing all as already and always God. What is left is an “I” as a doer or observer, one with all, and all as God, with a sense that it is not quite complete, and that there are more veils to go.

In the dark night of the soul, there may be a friction with and release of the story of “I”, of identifying as a doer or observer. Revealing the doer and observer as simply images, content of experience as any other content of experience.

And those are just two flavors of the many possible flavors of dark nights.

P.S. In my limited experience, the dark night of the sense, may be experienced as being pulled apart and put together differently. And the second dark night may be experienced as a very real death, a death of what we take ourselves to be. Since this is just based on me, and I haven’t even gone properly through the second one yet, I am sure there are many ways to describe it that are more to the point, and better get to its essence.

………….
………….

– any friction between shoulds and reality, a dark night
– what is typically called a dark night, only one flavor of it, one variety
– dark night of senses, release of “me”
– dark night of the soul, release of “I”

– death of who (human self, dark night of the senses) + what (an I as a doer or observer, dark night of the soul) we take ourselves to be

………….

Some folks complain about the phrase dark night being used in secular contexts, for instance describing what many of us go through after losing a job or the end of a relationship. They say it should be used only in its original meaning, as describing the dark night of the senses or the dark night of the soul.

……..

In the dark night of the senses, there may be a friction with – and eventual wearing off and release of – stories of who we are and what will make us happy. There is a release of identification with this human self, with its many needs and desires. At least to some extent. And revealing all as already and always God. What is left is an “I” as a doer or observer, one with all, and all as God, with a sense that it is not quite complete, and that there are more veils to go.

In the dark night of the soul, there may be a friction with and release of the story of “I”, of identifying as a doer or observer. Revealing the doer and observer as simply images, content of experience as any other content of experience.

And those are just two flavors of the many possible flavors of dark nights.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *