A tough one III: the dark nights of the soul and senses

 

There are many forms of dark nights… In a more technical sense, there are two of them, and in a loose – daily – sense, lots of them.

The two formal ones are…

  • The dark night of the senses, which is an initial stripping away of beliefs and identities, enough to notice all as God, to notice that everything is a field of awakeness, of consciousness, even of awake emptiness. It can be painful, maybe an experience of being pulled apart, dismembered, even of dying. What dies is really only beliefs and identities, but when we are identified with these, when we take ourselves as that, the experience is of being dismembered and dying. For me, this was a very intense time, but there were lots of rewards in the middle of it as well. It was painful, but also immensely blissful.
  • The dark night of the soul, which is similar but goes more to our core beliefs and identities, and specifically the one of a separate self, of someone that this is all happening to. Here, any and all beliefs are stripped away, and it often happens through a profound disillusionment. Everything that we found comfort in is stripped away, taken away from us, and none of our practices have meaning or even work anymore. Nothing is left. God is gone. Any sense of accomplishment is gone. Any ideas of being special, or chosen, are gone. There is no place to anchor any of those beliefs anymore. They get stripped away, whether we want or not, and most often we desperately cling to them as long as we can, making the torment even stronger for ourselves.

Having cleared out some space through the dark night of the senses, the soul realm is revealed. Bliss, clarity, alive presence, all as God, inspiration, luminosity, and so on.

And having cleared out even more, including the sense of a separate self, through the dark night of the soul, the emptiness is revealed in its completeness. When I am gone, emptiness is revealed, as the Ground of it all… of awakeness itself, of the soul level, of mind, of form. It is all emptiness dancing, already and always absent of any trace of any separate self anywhere.

Our core belief, and core identity, of a separate self is greatly diminished through the dark night of the senses, and that is exactly what allows the soul realm to be noticed and come more into the foreground. Here, there can be a sense of no separation, of all – absolutely all – as God, as divine, as consciousness, as the divine mind, there can even be a sense of oneness, but there is still a trace of a sense of a separate self here. And this serves as an anchor for a sense of being special, privileged, of having accomplished something, of being chosen.

The dark night of the soul takes care of that. Every reason for feeling special, privileged, of having accomplished something, of being chosen, is taken away. And none of the practices or tools that at one point work so easily and so well, have any use anymore. They are all broken.

Where the dark night of the senses is more of a dismemberment and a sense of dying as a human being, the dark night of the soul is a deep existential falling away… my most core identity of being something at all, separate from anything else, is wrestled away… leaving just emptiness. No angels. No luminosity. No bliss. Nothing special. Just emptiness. The emptiness that allows, and is, the dance of everything.

The dark night of the senses leads into an amazing awakening, with lots of bells and whistles… God in all its glory. Alive luminosity. Guidance. Inner God, and all as God. Amazing insights. Amazing abilities to do things in the world. Amazing energies.

The dark night of the soul leads into nothing at all. At the threshold of it, it appears thoroughly boring, neutral, like nothing. And inside of it, there is the Ground of all, that which allows the dance of everything. It is nothing special. Just what is, here and now, always.

The void that never changes, and allows all change. The no-thing that allows all things. The absence of everything which allows the fullness of everything. The groundless ground, which already and always allows every fruit.

The bottom falls out of everything. Leaving only the dance of emptiness, with no separate I anywhere.

Some effects of the dark night

 

In a loose sense, we experience a dark night any time there is a sense of loss, any time we believe that something should be here – either what was or what could be – but is not.

And in a more narrow sense, the dark night (of the soul) is a loss of God. Of an alive presence of the divine, of seeing/realizing all as God, of awake empty luminosity, or in whatever form it came up. It is of course not a real “loss”, just an experience of loss, or maybe the loss of an experience.

I seems to have gone through a quite typical dark night of the soul. And it may not be the only one. They seem to come at different times, at different levels of intensity, and with different flavors. (I didn’t realize how typical and ordinary my experience of it was until I read Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill, where the chapter on the dark night describes, often in detail, what I also went through.)

Some of the effects I notice, now more of the tail end of it, are…

A burning away of identities, or rather identification with identities (although there are certainly some left.) In the dark night, there is a loss not only of God, but often of lots of other things in our life. For me, anything that gave me comfort was lost, either externally or internally, and with this went any identities that gave me comfort. My experience of myself and my life was so completely at odds with these identities, so the identification with them (as a good Zen student, as someone awakened to all as God, as someone who could deal with difficult situations and experiences, as someone good at you name it) gradually wore off, although in my case with a lot of reluctance, resistance and kicking and screaming (which only made it more difficult for me). I should say that they are not really burnt away, just lessened in intensity and solidity.

A fearlessness. Again, not a 100% fearlessness, just more of it from a sense of transparency of fears. In the dark night, everything worthwhile and valuable seems lost, and it lasts for a while. There is plenty of time to get used to it. So what is there to fear? I am already used to loss, even of what was at the center of my life and gave my life meaning, so what more is there to fear? This is a reduction or loss of the existential fear, so there is still the more mundane fears here, but even those are more transparent, space.

A sense of it all, whatever happens, no matter how amazing or terrible, as unremarkable. We have gone through the highest ecstasies before the dark night, and the darkest loss and despair in the dark night, so anything that happens now have a sense of ordinariness and of being unremarkable, including the most unusual states and awakenings. Or more accurately, they may be experienced as remarkable and surprising for a little while, but somehow against the background of it all being unremarkable. As space, transparent to it as unremarkable.

A surrender. This is the thread that runs through any of the other outcomes of the dark night. Surrender… to what is, to whatever may come. The loss of identification with identities is a surrender of the identification, but also a surrender of wanting things to be a certain way. Now, whatever happens is more OK. Before, whatever happened was OK as long as I didn’t loose God (the apparently stable awakening to all as God.) Now, whatever happens is more OK, including exactly that.

For all of these – identities, fear, a sense of it being remarkable, resistance – there is not a complete burning through. They are still there, only lessened in intensity, not so substantial, more transparent, more as just space.

And finally Ground awakening. The dark night paves the way for a Ground awakening. An awakening independent of any content, any state, any experience, and allowing them all.

Dark night as burning through remaining traces of a sense of I, and the effects of a sense of I

 

One of the functions of the dark night, which comes some time after a clear (or near-clear) and stable awakening to selflessness, seems to be to burn through and out (most of ) the remaining traces of a sense of separate I, and the effects of a sense of separate I on the personality…

The second part of it, burning through the effects of a sense of separate I on the personality, seems crucial here.

For most of us, our personality is formed within a sense of separate I. And although it does reorganize to a certain extent following an awakening, many traces of this sense of a separate I still remains.

And the dark night is one of the ways this is burnt through, allowing the personality (and the individual) to reorganize more fully within a context of realized selflessness. Maturing into it, becoming more seasoned.

Forms of darkness

 

I read parts of A Dazzling Darkness earlier today, an anthology of writings from Christian mystics. My attention was first drawn to the title, and then on of its chapters on darkness.

Reading the selection under that chapter, I was reminded of the many forms of darkness…

There is the darkness of evil, of what appears as Other and not desirable. (Not used my mystics much, thankfully, since mystical awakenings does away with the sense of I and Other and reveals all as Spirit.)

There is the darkness of the dark night, of loss, of failed expectations, of a profound sense of hopelessness.

There is the darkness of not knowing, of finding ourselves as that beyond discursive thought. This is the darkness from an absence of the “light of mind”, of conventional thinking and abstractions.

And then there is the darkness of the luminous blackness, the fertile darkness, formless and arising as and allowing all form.

The three first ones are metaphors, poetic expressions, analogies, and produced by the thinking mind. And the fourth one seems to be a direct experience of fertile darkness, of luminous blackness (from my own experience, others I have talked with, and also as described by Almaas. Even right now, there is a sense of this luminous blackness as formless, yet in and as all form.)

Phases of the endarkenment: dark night, Breema, dreams of soul mates and shadows, identities, and sleep and movies

 

Just to complete the picture here of the endarkenment process, I should mention a few things about my dreams and sleep.

Dreams of soul mates

Since about July this summer and up to the endarkenment shift, I have had a large number of dreams where I meet my soul mate (always a different one each time!). These dreams stopped after the endarkenment, because what I dropped into was the soul mate, or rather (an aspect of) soul itself.

(I have been embarrassed to write about these dreams here since I am in a relationship in my waking life, even as I know that these dreams reflect a much deeper inner process, not the externals of my waking life.)

Phases of the endarkenment process

As I see it now, the endarkenment process started a long time ago, and has gone in several phases. The first phase was the dark night, preparing the ground for it. The second finding Breema, which has an emphasis on the belly center. The third seems to have been all the soul mate dreams, reflecting a shift that has not yet become conscious. And the fourth, dropping into the velvety smooth darkness, the endarkenment itself. I guess the current one is the fifth, where it continues to deepen and change.

Shadow dreams mixed in

Also, mixed in among the dreams I have written about in this blog has been a series of shadow dreams, of things coming to the surface needing to be seen, balancing, grounding and widening it out in all directions. There has been a pattern of awakening dreams (velvety blackness, alive luminosity) and widening dreams (shadow dreams), much as a wave with peaks and valleys passing through.

Identities

Related to all of these corrective and shadow dreams is identities. I have been more acutely aware of identities over the last few weeks, seeing them clearly when they come up, and how they filter the world into I and Other, and how attachment to them is holding back what is emerging. They are an old coat that does not fit anymore, too small, wrong cut and color, dusty and old.

More about this in the next post.

Sleep

I have also needed a lot of sleep in this period. Even today, I slept more than twelve hours, and could have slept many more. There has also been a lot of processing before falling asleep and after waking up, allowing a parade of whatever comes up to be embraced by the velvety darkness.

Movies

I have also had a draw to see a lot of movies since the endarkenment, in a wide range of genres from science fiction to horror to existential to comedy to thrillers to post modern to documentaries to classical to quiet Iranian movies. It is as if the endarkenment wants as much of me as possible to come up and be embraced by the velvety darkness, and movies is a good way to trigger this.

Resistance, dark night and purgatory

 

Over the last few days, the birth of the seed resistance, the effects of identities, and the difference between resisting and fully experiencing these effects have been even more acutely up for me. I also see how resisting the effects of a sense of I and identities is a dark night, while allowing myself to fully experiencing these effects is purgatory. It allows the sense of I and its identities to gradually burn away.

Seed resistance, giving rise to a sense of I and its identities

First, there is the resistance to what is as inherently absent of I. This resistance gives rise to a sense of I, and of I and Other.

This sense of I is fleshed out through various identities. I am this, not that. I want this, not that. And this gives rise to resistance to various aspects within form.

Resistance to the effects of the sense of I and identities

Then, there is resistance to the effects of the sense of I and the various identities. There is resistance to the experiences of loneliness, fear, anger, attraction, aversion, confusion, and so on.

When there is this resistance to the effects, the sense of I and its identities tend to seem very real and substantial. We act as if they are real, so they tend to appear as real.

When the resistance to the effects is dropped, when we allow ourselves to fully experience the effects of a sense of I and various identities, they tend to appear less substantial. They may even erode over time and fall away.

Resisting experiences vs. fully experiencing

In practical terms, it means that when we resist experiences, the sense of I and its identities appears as more real to us. They become solidified.

Many of these experiences arise when the world is filtered through a sense of I and its identities, such as fear, anger, loneliness, and so on. And resisting these experiences only makes them proliferate. We pour gasoline on the already existing fire.

When we allow ourselves to fully experience, the sense of I and its identities appear as less substantial and real. Eventually, they can burn out completely.

Fully experiencing allows us a glimpse into what we really are, awake emptiness and form absent of I, and this gives a sense of coming home, and even of bliss.

Resisting experience is hell. Allowing the resistance to experience to fall away is bliss.

Dark night and purgatory

I notice for myself that this is also the difference between an experience of dark night and purgatory.

When I resist experiencing the results of a sense of I and various identities, it is hell and an experience of a dark night.

When I allow myself to fully experience the results of a sense of I and the various identities, there is a sense of fullness, being held, coming home, and even bliss. There is also an experience of the sense of I and its identities burning away, of purgatory.

Put another way, resisting God’s will is hell and a dark night. Surrendering to God’s will is heaven and purgatory.

Fall from and into grace

 

Following my years of (head) awakening, there were some years of a dark night. There was a reversal from deeply realizing all as Spirit, and luminosity, clarity, insights, effortless practice, and incredible energy and activity in the world, to the opposite of a complete absence of Spirit, being just a separate human being steeped in confusion, hopelessness and fatigue, unable to engage in any form of practice.

During these years, it definitely felt like a fall from grace. I was blessed with a spontaneous and quite clear awakening, and then fell down into identification with this human self and all its confusion and weaknesses.

Now, I can still see it as a fall from grace, but even more, it seems as a fall into grace. It is true that it did take me off track in terms of my plans of continuing my Zen studies and eventually becoming a teacher, and also getting a degree which would allow me to practice and do research in the mind-body field. In that sense, and in many other ways, it was a fall from grace. But in another sense, it was a fall into grace. It allowed some edges to soften. It allowed me to experience from the inside the suffering that so many experience, at least at times in their life. It allowed me, possibly, to drop into the endarkenment.

And it allowed me to learn about surrender. And loss.

Surrendering even that which seems, in every way, so good. A surrendering that allows space for something else to emerge, something not part of my plans, something that was not being “on track” as I saw it, something completely different.

It is certainly a fall from grace. And it is equally a fall into grace.

Dream: giving it all away

 

I am in a different culture, and must have moved there since I have all my belongings with me. A kind of festival is coming up, and I am encouraged to contribute to a kind of display. I offer them all I have, including my most personal belongings such as letter, photos, journals, and so on.

To my astonishment, a horde of people show up and take everything. Nothing is left. I tell one of the people in charge that there is a mistake, I would never have contributed all I have, including my most personal belongings, if I had known they would all be lost to me.

She said I had to follow the rules of the game. It turned out later that the ceremony was a way for people to get rid of their excess belongings, to declutter. I felt a mix of terror of having lost everything, any anchor I ever had in the physical world, and also, more distant, a sense that it could be exiting and freeing when I got used to it. Everything would be open. No anchors.

The day residue is from an old Star Trek episode I watched last night, Amok Time (!), where Kirk makes a similar mistake by agreeing to take part in a ritual from a culture foreign to him, and finds that he is getting more than he thought he agreed to.

The experience in the dream is similar to two real-life situations for me.

Identities falling away

One is what happens when there is no identity, as I have explored more over the last few days. Our identity, or identities, is our most intimate and cherished belonging, in a certain way. There is a sense of I, and then all the ways we clothe it up and define it through a set of beliefs, through an identity.

Our identity, especially the most intimate parts of it, gives a sense of security, buffering, familiarity, a point of view, a particular perspective, an anchor. And when we start to explore this identity, and parts of it starts falling away, there is a point of no return.

There is a place where the process cannot be stopped, where it continues all the way, until the last element of an identity falls away and nothing is left, except wide open space. Just awake emptiness and form, allowing any and all perspectives to be taken and explored, fluidly, without getting stuck anywhere.

It looks fine for a while. I can get rid of the clutter in my identity, those parts I didn’t care much for anyway. The excess parts. It feels good. But then, there is a point where the more cherished parts of the identity is questioned, where they too are taken up in the process, where they too start to unravel. And that does not always feel so good. This is where terror comes in, a sense of a terrible mistake being made. But it is too late.

Dark night

The other similarity is the dark night phase, where there was a similar experience of all my cherished belongings being taken away.

Of course, those two, the eroding of identity and a dark night, are not that different from each other. They are two ways of looking at the same process. One of letting go to how we see ourselves, how we define ourselves, our identity, all the way to the core of it.

Content Changing to Allow for Recognition of Ground

 

I don’t know if there is a typical pattern here, but it seems that…

Initial awakening and amazing experiences

During initial awakenings, to soul levels and nature/deity mysticism, there is typically a large amount of amazing experiences, including deep insights out of the blue, strong energy experiences, causeless bliss and joy, seeing of auras, new abilities in any area of life, and so on.

Attachments as a carrot

So naturally, there can be an attachment to this particular content. This can be very helpful for a while, it is the carrot that keeps it moving.

Fall from grace

After a while, the process is ready to move on beyond attachment to this particular content. If there is still a stubborn attachment to this content (as was the case with me), then the rug may be pulled from under one’s feet, as an invitation to see this attachment and allow it to burn through.

Dark night

After a while of despair, a sense of dryness and weariness may surface, a clearer seeing of the futility and confusion in attaching to any particular content, even that content which seems most appealing and attractive to this human self.

Realized selflessness

And in this dryness, this setting of all dials to zero, the Ground may surface more, it may shift more into the foreground, this Ground of all content, of all phenomena, of all experiences. There may be a taste of real selflessness here, and eventually a clearer realization of selflessness – maybe first in glimpses and then more stable and clearly.

Now, the Ground awakens to its own nature of no I anywhere, naturally allowing any content to come and go, to live its own life, within and as Ground itself. Bliss and pain, joy and sadness, dryness and ecstasy, it is all recognized as nothing other than Ground itself.

Ground is primary and in the foreground. The particularities of the content is all recognized as Ground itself, and important only in a relative context.

Preferences of this human self – within context of I and realized selflessness

The preferences of this human self are still there, yet now within a different context.

First, there was the context of a sense of I, so the preferences of this human self naturally came into the foreground. There was an attachment to some experiences, to some content, and an aversion to other content. All this is perfectly natural and innocent.

Then, in a context of realized selflessness, there is still the preferences of this human self, as before. But now, these too unfold as Ground. These preferences, as any other phenomena, unfold as emptiness. The nature of these preferences as Ground, as emptiness, as Spirit, is in the foreground, is primary, is clear, inherent in what is happening.

They are not identified with. They are not seen as I. The center of gravity is no longer in these preferences. They just happen as anything else. They live their own life, as anything else. They happen with no doer there. They arise with no I to be found anywhere in it.

Deity Mysticism, Witness & Fall from Grace

 

Even as the center of gravity moves to nature and deity mysticism and/or the Witness, there is still an identification with a segment of what is.

There is a belief in the idea of I, and it is placed on the soul (nature/deity mysticism, F7/F8) and/or pure awareness (F9). There is still a sense of I and Other, no matter how apparently transparent and subtle.

It is an awakening still with the presence of a sense of I, and identification with a segment of what is, so it is naturally subject of change with changing content.

Nondual awakening

From here, it can move on to a nondual awakening, to Ground awakening to its own nature of no I anywhere, allowing any content to come and go as it naturally does. This is an awakening where the context is the only thing that needs to change, from a sense of I to an realization of no I anywhere. Content – states, experiences, phenomena, come and go freely and naturally, as they do anywhere, but no with no trace of attachment or resistance to them.

Fall from grace

If this does not happen, if there is a stuckness here even as there is a deeper readiness to move on, there will be a fall from grace, a dark night of the soul. And this fall from grace invites to a gradual wearing off of any sense of I, eventually revealing the Ground – absent of I anywhere.

It seems terrible as it happens. It seems that everything is lost. But it is just another phase in the process of Ground awakening to itself, of God remembering who it is, of Buddha Mind realizing its own nature, of emptiness dancing.

Example

This is what apparently happened in my case.

The nature/deity mysticism awakening and the awakening as Witness initially came out of the blue, uninvited in any conscious sense (to somebody who saw himself as a die-hard materialist and atheist!). It deepened and stabilized over some years.

At some point, there may have been a deeper readiness to move on to a Ground awakening, yet there was also an attachment to and holding onto the belief in I and to the nature/deity awakening and the sense of Witness as I.

So there was a fall from grace, a dark night of the soul, also lasting for years, gradually wearing off attachments to a sense of I, to segments of what is, to any content. And it is still far from complete.

Finding Peace with Fall From Grace **

 

I have struggled finding peace with the fall from grace which happened some years back. So many plans got thwarted, so much seems lost.

I have done several inquiries on it, I have stayed with whatever emotions and other experiences come up around it, I have set the intention of it to unravel and clear, and it has helped – but some remnants of the regrets are still there.

Today, I suddenly saw clearly that my specific role is to find peace with this particular life.

It seems so simple, yet it hit me like a ton of bricks. And there was a huge relief and sense of coming home in it. Finally, this is what my role is – at least in relation to this life situation.

I don’t need to process it to death and harvest every little gift and nutrient in it (although I will most likely continue to do that). I can just find peace with it as it is. That in itself is my role.

I can find peace in not completely finding a resolution to it. It is OK.

And of course, this is not just about me. This is the role we each have: to find peace with our particular life. And to demonstrate how to find peace with this particular life. We are all teachers for each other in this.

Buddhist God Realm, Identification with Witness, and Fall From Grace

 


I am sure this is detailed in Buddhist philosopy, although I can’t recall having seen this in the sporadic readings I have done in the area.

One of the six realms is the God realm, defined by bliss but also impermanence.

It seems that this describes an awakening as formless awareness – as the Witness, F9, causal realm – quite well.

There is bliss and a certain release from suffering, and it can certainly last for a long time. Still, there is the belief in an “I” here, now just placed on pure awareness. The seeing is made to appear as a seer.

With this subtle “I” there is also a subtle “other” and attachment to content. And as content always changes, it inevitably leads to a fall from grace. It is temporary.

All of this sounds a lot like the God realm.

From I to No I, Dark Night, Deepening into the Nondual

 

Here is a summary of recent slightly obsessive ruminations (!).

Three phases: from I to no I

When there is a belief in the thought “I” and it is placed on my human self, then there is a blind caught-upness in whatever is happening. I am identified with some parts of what’s happening, and try to either hold onto or push away other parts, and there is a sense of struggle and suffering. I see myself as an object in the world, at the mercy of an infinite number of other and unpredictable objects. So, naturally I am also caught up in emotions such as fear, desire, aversion, anger and so on.

When there is an an awakening to pure awareness, to the Witness, there is still a belief in the thought “I” but now placed on the seeing. There is a sense of release here. I can work on and learn how to allow anything and everything to come and go as guests, to arise, unfold and fade within space & awareness. Learning this is a process and involves some effort and attention.

When what is awakens to itself as having no “I” anywhere – when no segment of what is revealed as having no inherent “I” – there is a more complete release. There is the same content – awareness and phenomena, seeing and seen – but no “I” as either our human self or awareness or anything else. It is all just happening. And there is an immediate realization of it as emptiness, as emptiness dancing. Again, there may be the same content – pain, anger, confusion, grief and so on – but it is all revealed as emptiness dancing. There is no suffering anymore.

Dazzled and dark night

During the awakening as formless awareness, there may be a good deal of bells and whistles going off. Bliss, miracles, synchronicities, seeing and engaging with energies, experiencing all as God and Spirit, and so on. And since there is a belief in an “I” there is also an attachment to phenomena, however subtle it may seem at the time. We are dazzled by the show – by the content, and since it is subtly experienced as “other” there is also a subtle holding onto it.

Two things can happen here. Either we continue and awaken as the nondual, as no “I” anywhere. Or we continue to hold onto I and other, and as the content moves – as it always does – there is a fall from grace. It seems that one way this can be triggered is through exhaustion of the human self, from the high energies that can be experienced in this awakening.

In Ken Wilber’s framework, the awakening to Witness is F9, and it can be accompanied by awakening to F7 and F8 which is nature- and deity-mysticism. At all of these levels, there is a belief in the thought “I”, and a subtle sense of I and other. And this can occur even if there is a clear sense, feeling or intuition of God being completely beyond and including any and all polarities. We have an immediate and (apparently) clear realization of this, yet this whole beyond all polarities is subtly “other”. “I” am here as pure awareness, experiencing Existence as beyond and including all polarities. There is a oneness of “I” and the whole of Existence, of God.

During the dark night of the soul, there is a sense of loss of connection with God and of “dryness”. No content gives comfort anymore. And this is exactly what is needed for the awakening to ground, to the emptiness which content arises within and as. To the context for all content and experiences, to that which never changes and is always right here now. To what is, with no “I” inherent in any segment of it.

No I

The irony is of course that this experience of “no I” seems to be all of ours immediate experience. We just don’t trust it, and add a belief to the thought “I” onto it. Somehow, it seems safer that way. We become familiar with that way of operating.

And we have trouble becoming childlike again, to drop what we have been trained to see and experience, so we can realize that there is indeed on “I” anywhere in our immediate experience.

It is what aways is. Indeed, it is that which time unfolds within and as.

Or more accurately, it is that in which the fluid seamless whole of form (time & space) unfolds within and as.

Deepening into the nondual

There may also be a deepening into the nondual (I don’t know too much about this). First, it may be a nondual awakening with same content as before. Then, it may deepen to be present to itself during the sleep and waking cycles of our human self (as it seems that it can be at F7-F9 awakenings as well). Then it may expand in space for all I know.

Transcend and include

As the nondual awakening has the same content as before, only with no “I” anywhere, it is another case of transcend and include. Nothing is lost, apart from the belief in the thought “I” and the struggle and suffering that brought with it. There is an effortless inclusion of our human self and human life, in its fullness – and its continuing development and maturation.