Something seems to be very much missing in my life, and that something appears to be related to what I have supposed to be a 'dark night of the spirit'. It tells of a kind of aridity, but also a loss of desire for that which I was doing up to the point when the 'night' seemed to begin. Amongst those desires must be included the desire to study, to write, to take part in this or that activity which at some time in the past, near or far, gave me pleasure and a sense of fulfillment. Yet the strange thing is that in this seeming desert in which I now find myself, there are streams flowing that are bringing certain understandings to the surface.
One of the most important questions that arises in this state is why am I continuing on my present path? Is there a desire to so continue? The immediate, and mildly shocking answer is that there is no desire in me to continue, yet nevertheless I must do so! Why must I? I cannot answer that question, because there appears to be no satisfactory answer. In short, there is no discernible reason that drives me forward, at least not a reason that I can determine. If there were a reason, then I could latch onto it and sense desire once again. But the focus would then be, to use Maester Eckhart's approach, a reason that is a 'thing of God', but not God himself. So, odd though it would seem, so long as I do not have a reason to continue, I cannot have an associated desire. If I have no desire, I cannot feel the need that says I am 'here' and the path or its goal is 'there'. In other words, the path and I are one; the sense of duality that is the hallmark of my ego, my virtual self, disappears.
The more closely I observe my present state, the more I realise that this apparent inner desert that appears to be devoid of life, is becoming full of life. I cannot help but examine my inner surroundings and see that somehow the 'noise' of my spiritual life has been stilled, and I am sensing the gentle breezes that get hidden by the noisy gale of 'spiritual activity'. That is not to say that all activity has ceased. It is rather that the activity is more gentle and subtle, but is at the same time quite profound. What a realisation it is that I have no reason to continue my spiritual path because a reason isn't necessary. I do not need a reason, any more than I need some carefully thought out, intellectual assessment for my continuing to breathe, or to live. I simply do these things because I do them. I must repeat, I do not breathe in order to live, I breathe because I breathe. So I continue to follow my spiritual path, not always efficiently, not always without stumbling, falling or becoming distracted, because following the path set out before me is what I do.
There is no cajoling, no being spurred on by inner, spiritual whips, no more guilt if I lose my way, although there may be some sadness, but that only reminds me of my human-ness and my well-practised art of making mistakes. It also reminds me constantly of my vulnerability and powerlessness over so many forces in life which could, if I allowed them, drown me as my obsession with those forces once did, long ago. In those days I needed a reason to follow my chosen path. Yet over the years, as I have indicated already, that reason has disappeared. That is not to say good reasons do not exist, only that they have slipped into the realm of unconsciousness. There is still work to be done, or perhaps more appropriately, there are still necessary activities to be undertaken in order to maintain and continue my journey. That may even include some re-examination from time to time, lest life takes on the aspect of dogma. I must never forget that, because my life is my responsibility.