Losing what I relied the most on

I listened to the dark night of the soul chapter in Evelyn Underhill‘s Mysticism again today, and was reminded of one of it’s characteristics: Losing what we relied on during the initial awakening.

During that phase, which she calls illumination and I tend to call oneness, reality is revealed although it often includes flashy side-effects of awakening and identification as an “I”. It’s easy to form beliefs about these side effects and states. For instance, I may believe that I need it and that’s understandable since they tend to be very pleasant and feel like a compensation for the smallness and drabness of my previous perceptions. It’s also common to mistake states for the real thing, even if there may also be a recognition that God allows any and all states and experiences.

For me, all of that happened. I had beliefs that I needed the side effects of the initial awakening, and I mistook states for the real thing – even if it was also clear that God allows and appears as any state.

And I lost just about everything I relied on, as seems so common in this phase, and not only lost it but much of it swung into its reversals.

I relied on perceiving all as God, insights, passion, engagement, an easy appreciation and gratitude for whatever happened, flow, everything falling into place, rewarding friendships, great expectations for the future, stable attention, easy and powerful meditation and prayer and much more. All of that went away, one after another, and most of it into their reversals.

It will inevitably feel like it’s all going in the wrong direction, that something somehow went terribly wrong. And yet, what’s happening is all love – it’s an expression of love as anything else.

It brings remaining beliefs – about life, God, myself etc. – to the surface so it can be seen through or, equally often, wear off.

And it’s all an invitation for reality knowing itself within, as and throughout any state and experience.

It’s a process of going from the perception of an “I” awakening to reality, to reality awakening to itself.

Note: It doesn’t have to look this way. It happens all different ways, and really in as many ways as there are people. Sometimes, it goes directly to reality awakening to itself. Other times, the dark night of the soul is brief and relatively easy. I suspect that for people who are more strongly caught up in fear (more wounds etc.), the process may be more difficult and perhaps longer. There is more to clarify and more of the human that needs to align with reality.


  • losing what i relied the most on
    • oneness – all as God, insights, flow, everything falling into place, synchronicities, friends, health, hopes for future – going into its reverse
    • necessary so beliefs around it can surface and be seen through/wear off
    • recognize the temporary and initial side-effects of awakening as just that, side-effects – bells & whistles, flashy, shiny,
    • reality knowing itself within/throughout any experience – more mature
    • going from realization, unity to being it
    • ….

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