Spiritual awakening doesn’t happen because you master some spiritual technique. There are lots of skillful meditators who are not awake. Awakening happens when you stop bullshitting yourself into continual non-awakening. It’s very easy to use disciplines to avoid reality rather than to encounter it. A true spirituality will have you continually facing your illusions and all the ways you avoid reality. Spiritual practice may be an important means of confronting yourself, or it may be a means of avoiding yourself; it all depends on your attitude and intention. -Adyashanti
The phenomenon known as the Dark Night of the Soul is something which many spiritual seekers experience on their journey to re-enlightenment. It can be a painful and frightening process, but it can also be liberating and empowering. It all depends on your perspective and your ability to remain detached.
Peeling the Onion
The word ‘night’ is misleading. This is a process, and thankfully so. I doubt you would want to experience the purification process all at once.
As we awaken from the shadows of our dream life on Earth to the limitless, formless, eternal nature of the Soul, the form and thought-based illusions of our life begin to dissolve. The very foundation of one’s human existence crumbles, leading to an existential crisis of faith. Symptoms Include:
Deep introspection and angst
Questioning the meaning and purpose of life
Feeling that life is meaningless
Isolation; feeling alone, cut off from others
Feeling empty, devoid of joy
Your existential crisis can cut you off from others. The battle you’re fighting is internal. It’s akin to depression, except that it is spiritual rather than mental in nature. The ego is fighting for its life, and thus it resists the purification process. Remember though, these symptoms stem from the ego’s perspective on life. The soul knows that everything has meaning, pleasure and beauty. Once you supplant your ego with your soul, life becomes vibrant again.
Purification by Fire
As your ego’s domain is dismantled, your external world will reflect this internal process. That which does not serve your highest good falls away. While this stage may seem destructive and painful, it is actually helping to break ego’s hold over you by forcing it to surrender everything it holds dear. It’s like the old adage says: “Beware the man who has nothing left to lose”. That man is absolutely fearless. When you lose everything your ego values, its fear-based hold on you shatters. Please note, I’m not advocating that you must lose everything. I’m just explaining what sometimes happens during the process. For instance, if you find yourself facing loss (i.e. divorce, job loss, and bankruptcy) know that this has helped to shatter your ego’s hold over you. The more dramatic the loss, the more rapid the purification process. As you empty yourself of ego/fear, you create more room to house your soul’s love, light, wisdom, beauty and joy.
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