Barry and Karen – my friends and mentors – have a new website: Birthing the Luminous Self.
I especially resonate with their section on Enlifenment, awakening of the belly soul center, as that seems to have been the focus of my process for a while now.
In our spiritual quest, we may have become so fixated on enlightenment as the ultimate goal that we pursued this lofty state at the expense of our humanness. Years into the journey, we may receive a wake-up call — in the form of illness or other imbalance — that lets us know we’ve left our human selves lying in the dust, forgotten in the rush toward our image of the ultimate spiritual accomplishment. The degree to which we’ve pursued enlightenment through severely structured, “disembodied” spiritual practices and disciplines may turn out to directly correspond to our need to surrender to the complemetary aspect of wholeness, endarkenment.
Endarkenment asks us to drop down, to sink into the depths of being, to surrender all striving to remain “above it all.” This can take the form of a “dark night of the soul”, as St. John of the Cross termed the experience of finding that even one’s most cherished spiritual ideals and truths suddenly seem empty, devoid of meaning or substance. We may feel shattered, taken apart; with our carefully-constructed edifice dismantled, we suddenly seem utterly confused, clueless, and lost.
Much has been written about the Dark Night experience, so we won’t go into it too deeply here. Suffice it to say that all that we have been avoiding typically comes flooding into our consciousness and experience. We can no longer evade or rise above it — now, our task is to accept, allow, and acknowledge every last bit of it. Eventually, through Grace, we find we can even love it all. As a loving embrace replaces hatred, resistance, and denial, the intensity recedes and we are carried into the next phase of our journey.