Thoughts come from people, people don’t come from thoughts.
Even the “saints” felt spiritual darkness. The term “dark night of the soul“ was used to describe the doubts experienced by a man now seen as an exemplar of his faith. It’s been expressed in a lot of art also, but people don’t seem to think about it. The poem “Footprints in the Sand“ says in your darkness it’s very possible that you are more close to the divine than when you perceive yourself to be walking in the light. What makes the difference is not pain or peace, fear or enthusiasm, though these do matter. What makes the difference is acceptance, awareness, and acceptance isn’t attachment. You don’t have to be in love with your pain, nor in hate with it, but you only gain in acceptance. Doubt is a reaction, acceptance is the opposite of doubt. Doubt is recursive thought. In Buddhism it’s the great wheel. You just go round and round until you realize you don’t have to. With acceptance you don’t stop having pain, pain stops having you.
To gain center there is an element of giving up that euphoria state, because you can’t free yourself of the pain without also letting go of the other extreme. I don’t think people see that, when in fact they loose nothing. True, they do loose nothing.
The center is more joy than the euphoria they grasp at. Yes, but for some of us letting go is not in our temperament. There is a mirror to letting go. The “tantric” way. What it involves is fully having everything. Not being moderate in your euphoria, or strong in your pain. No crucifixion of the passions. In this way you fully accept the glowing brand, and fully embrace it.
They are complimentary paths reflecting the same truth. If you are troubled by your pains, I might say that you are clinging to them. I might say you haven’t taken to them enough. Ultimately what makes one suffer is the fighting, the “maybe”, the “if only”. I say if you are sad, be sad. If it’s just a nagging sadness, then be more sad. Really embrace it, and let yourself truly suffer. You will be done with it one way or another.
What of an addiction? Actually even twelve step programs say this, you won’t stop till you hit rock bottom, but maybe this will illustrate my point. One woman is a very reasonable person. You will meet none more reasonable, and very broad minded. Her heart is big enough for the world itself. One man is the opposite. Perhaps the most unreasonable person you would care to meet. He will not agree with your views. He will not endorse your choices or beliefs. Neither know nor care how you feel, and yet he sees how the world breaks. He sees the flaw in every paradigm, the glitch in all logic. You are all wrong, and he is wrong also. Now I ask you, are these two opposites?
No. How can yin and yang be opposites? They can’t, and yes I have described the yin and yang. Now here is where peoples thinking goes off. Who between them is yin and who yang? Directions and behaviours are complimentary, so they do not do the same things. How is yang described? How is yin?
Yang is the more masculine. The one that affects things through direct action. Outgoing, positive, aggressive, engaged. Is the man I described yang?
Yin affects things through indirect action. Isn’t the sexist view that men are yang and women yin? You can be yang in a female body. Is the man a less worthy male for being yin?
There is a point to this. If you find yourself often “unenlightened” and in the “dark night of the soul”, are you different from those who seem to know bliss? Can there be no bliss in darkness? It can be peaceful at the bottom. You can live even if the world is dark. You can love even if you are not “hopeful”. You can “abandon all hope” and yet still be integral to your values, and true to yourself. Is this a bad life or unworthy?
No, but how does it feel? Depends. Fighting still kicks in, but in bottom line it’s very clear. There is a comfort in it, if “cold”. A certainty, and a permission to have your own life.
Lonely? Well, yes and no. It’s actually “saints” that go into seclusion. There is a common ground in the darkness even if people are afraid to see it. I have to admit that when I see someone crying I am comforted, but don’t jump the gun on me, because it’s not joy in their pain. It’s reassurance in seeing a truth manifest, and from living in my darkness I can speak to theirs.
Joy in their ability to express themselves. Yes, exactly! But people overlook that.
The person who just puts the fake smile on their face is someone to cry for. The fake smile is insufferable to me, and I am very good at making people cry, or making them afraid. Once when I was a young boy about ten years old, I was very close emotionally to a young friend of mine. We were in the school playground, and I was talking to him when he was on a tire swing. He was sort of “inebriated”, almost panicky though behaving in a giddy way. After a bit I snapped, I walked up to him and began spinning him in the tire swing. At first he was whiney about it, but for some reason I didn’t understand I didn’t stop. Then he got his fingers stuck in the chains and pinched, I recognized physical pain in him and I stopped. Then he asked me why I did that. I was ten and not really equipped to explain, but it was and has always been an instinct. I can elaborate now, and he and I did talk. I got to talking with him about his mom, because in general he was a very sad little boy. He talked to me about it for a bit, and then I noticed he relaxed. End of story. What do you think of this behaviour?
Like pressure building in a balloon or water line, the strain of our emotions is occasionally a lot to handle. Your actions helped “pop the balloon” as it were. So, though society may perceive what you did as “mean”, upon further inspection it was exactly what he needed. It is the definition of “polite” and “good mannered” and not your actions which were wrong. In my opinion, you perceived he needed a psychic shock to open up about his trouble, and you provided it for him. This is a great kindness that is misperceived in society in general.
I have many of these stories, not the least of which was confronting my best friend and now ex wife on their sexual relationship. The former friend was in a foetal position afraid I would murder him. I had to talk him out of his panic.
There is a truth in darkness, and those who dwell there are not necessarily your enemy. How do you feel about that?
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.