It was a long time ago, but insofar as time will allow, I remember the experience well. Yet it seems to be a part of a different life, and one which involved a different person. And in a real sense that is true, because my awareness of the 'me' living in time comes through a series of mind images that are only approximations, if that, of a timeless, inner reality. That long-ago experience, at a time when I came to realise how badly messed up I was, that I had allowed myself to become as a result of living with another's alcoholism, was like waking from a nightmarish, dense fog into a genuine spiritual awakening. I would not have described it as such at the time because I was too caught up in the events of the moment and, in any case, I did not have the experience to understand what was happening. That was to come later. Beyond that I need say no more about that time. I wish now to skip through time to the present moment.
I love the life I lead with its unhurried, thoughtful way of leading me towards I-know-not-what. But the daily excitement, those odd little lurches in the pit of my stomach that seem to indicate something wonderful is working its way through at a level that seems to be far beyond my consciousness, yet at the same time seemingly in the next mind-like room, cannot obscure an insistent longing as once again I find myself figuratively walking through an inner mist. But before my meaning should be misconstrued, let me say immediately that this is no nightmare I am experiencing, but the experience is certainly dreamlike.
The spiritual awakening to which I referred earlier was all part of the process which has been described as the "Dark Night of the Senses." As St. John of the Cross said, it may take many years before one is ready to experience the "Dark Night of the Spirit." In my eagerness, or more correctly impatience, to get on with the job and get everything fixed and sorted, I spent a long time watching for the signs that would indicate the onset of that final stage of spiritual embattlement. Such foolishness. Time passed, and as it did so that eagerness waned, and I proceeded to deal with life, including my inner life, as it came on a day-to-day basis. I continued to listen, at least as best as I was able, to those inner promptings that indicated the way I needed to travel. I read as widely as I was able because this journey, in all its manifestations, fascinates me beyond measure. When one loves, one wishes to know all about that which one loves. It's as simple as that.
Earlier this year I began to experience the new psycho-spiritual heights that I reported as faithfully as I was able. It seemed as if I were being lifted to ever new heights, only to be left like the Fool*, teetering on the edge of a cliff. I could imagine neither any higher point to which I could be transported, nor any depth to which I could be cast. Thus it was that I found myself to be uncertainly prepared for the beginnings of this "Dark Night of the Spirit."
Rather than the black fog that was part of my earlier experience, this current part of my journey is more like living in a white mist. Another major difference between the two 'nights' is that unlike the earlier night, there is no pain here, but there is an intense longing. Back then I was assailed by guilt and an awareness of great inner, insane damage, but here there is the sense of a great, guiding love. Just at the moment when I least expected it, just at the moment when I had forgotten about my earlier hopes and spiritual aspirations, it began to happen. In a sense I feel totally unprepared for what I am going through, and I see that that is how it must inevitably be. The very last place to which my inner journey must be entrusted is my own hands, because I never did know what was in my best spiritual interests. I could never know that. If I had been prepared, I would have tried to control the process, and in the end ruin it. How could I have known just how difficult this stage in my life would be? Could I have maintained my commitment if I had had prior warning of what it was going to be like? I don't know. But there is a spiritual power in my life that appears to deem it appropriate that I should pass this way at last.
It may be a long time before I can write with any degree of assurance about what this stage of the journey entails. I just wanted to write about where I am now, that I appear to be ready for this encounter with the Divine, that everything is going to be just fine.
* A reference to the blind Tarot figure.