Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Many of my friends (and doubtless others as well) are currently reporting intense bouts of depression, pain, grief, disturbing dreams, and the like. Given the current state of the world (especially for those of us living at present in this country), such disturbance of the psyche is clearly understandable. Anyone who reads the news will know that things are not good, here or elsewhere.
The various symptoms being reported also remind me of Evelyn Underhill's description of the "dark night of the soul." The dark night comes, according to her, not before awakening, but after illumination. It is then that the soul experiences the sense that God has turned "his" face away, that the joy and exaltation of the earlier stages of the journey have fled, leaving the subject in despair and darkness. What have I done to causes this? he or she may ask. Why has the sense of divine connection left me?
Evelyn Underhill, herself a mystic, is recognized as one of the great writers on the subject of the inner journey. Her classic work is called "Mysticism," and it details in comprehensive fashion the various stages the soul must pass through before it reaches its goal of final union. She is writing about the Western mystical path, but the description applies equally to any deep spiritual transformation, be it East or West, and hence includes the profound transformation brought on by kundalini awakening.
The following excerpt is taken from Wikipedia, and seems to me to be true to her original writings on the subject.
Finally, one wonders whether or not the earth itself is now undergoing such purgation, to prepare it for planetary initiation.
Author and mystic Evelyn Underhill recognizes two additional phases to the mystical path. First comes the awakening, the stage in which one begins to have some consciousness of absolute or divine reality. Purgation and illumination are followed by a fourth stage which Underhill, borrowing the language of St. John of the Cross, calls the dark night of the soul. This stage, experienced by the few, is one of final and complete purification and is marked by confusion, helplessness, stagnation of the will, and a sense of the withdrawal of God's presence. It is the period of final "unselfing" and the surrender to the hidden purposes of the divine will. Her fifth and final stage is union with the object of love, the one Reality, God. Here the self has been permanently established on a transcendental level and liberated for a new purpose.