The restless hollowness which surfaces into our consciousness when we reflect in silence is already the nearness of God, who is like the pure light which, spread over everything, hides itself by making everything else visible in the silent lowliness of its being. The Incarnation urges us, in the experience of solitude, to trust the nearness -- it is not emptiness; to let go and then we will find; to give up and then we will be rich.
The emptiness of the dark night is a yielding emptiness that gives way to the fullness of all possibility... If all your spiritual activities have grown empty and you are compelled to walk away, tie yourself to one practice only: contemplative silence. Abandon discursive prayer if it has become mechanical and meaningless. Let go of holy images if they no longer evoke the sacred. Refrain from spiritual discourse if it tastes like idle gossip in your mouth. But do not turn away from the silence.
~ from DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL by Mirabai Starr, translated by Fr. Iain Matthew
The rooting (of trees, of our selves) is as important and as necessary as the rising. We have the opportunity to sink roots into soul and rise up with branches in heaven...
Our spiritual growth is meant to go in both directions, toward the fertile darkness and the glorious light, each of us having the opportunity to bridge earth and heaven—the underworld and the upperworld—through the trunks of our middleworld lives....
There's no conflict between spirit-centered being and soulful doing, between transcendence and inscendence. Each supports and enhances the other. Like Rilke, we discover we can have both:
You see, I want a lot
Maybe I want it all;
The darkness of each endless fall,
The shimmering light of each ascent.
"Sit quietly and contemplate," said the Lama. "Get to know your anger, your fear, all your emotions. Dissect them and speak with them. Accept yourself and know every part of your own being. To understand oneself is to have compassion for everything."
The dark night of the soul refers to an extended period of acute purification that a spiritual practitioner undergoes immediately before making the final transition to deep spiritual awakening. It emphasizes purification and the act of letting go of what no longer serves after many lesser trials have been navigated.
~ from "Stepping into the Fire" by Chris Bache in IONS REVIEW, Mar-May 2002
The spiritual function of fierce terrain (in the apophatic tradition) is to bring us to the end of ourselves, to the abandonment of language and the relinquishment of ego. A vast expanse of jagged stone, desert sand, and towering thunderheads has a way of challenging all the mental constructs in which we are tempted to take comfort and pride, thinking we have captured the divine. The things that ignore us save us in the end.
~ from THE SOLACE OF FIERCE LANDSCAPES by Belden Lane
The ancient mystery of the "sun at midnight," symbolizes the spiritual light that lies hidden within the dark. The Celts knew that light emerges out of darkness and so their days began at dusk, as if the sun was seeded in the black earth of night.
~ "Tir na Sorcha" by Mara Freeman in Parabola, May 2001
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