High chair tyrants

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I love how RR translates faith into what-can-it-mean-to-me-now. He lays it out there---where the rubber meets the road. It's how a higher level of thinking, feeling and believing can connect right back to the dirty, messy, chaos of our daily lives.

    It helps me.

    Today he is talking about "being in the now". Living in right now---not the past or the future. Not the what ifs? In the very real right now.

    Most of us don't do this---living in the now---very well or very often. As we work on ourselves, hard, this is a new state of being that becomes very relevant and very desired.

    Why? Because as we learn that we can't do one single thing---one single thing---to change another person, we have to learn how to let go, and to turn the laser light focus on ourselves, and to accept ourselves with compassion and love, and then that leads to living in the moment. Right now. It is such a wonderful state of being, when we can achieve it.

    One time I was in a bible study when we started talking about "ministry of presence." It means to simply be present with someone who is in pain or going through a hard time. Not to talk, not to try to fix it, or just have the right combination of words, but to just be there. It was a wonderful thing to think about and contemplate.

    Now, remembering that, it sowed some seeds for me about the whole idea of patience, being silent, letting time take its time, waiting. Which is something I work on today. Good stuff here today. If you aren't a believer, you can still get a ton out of this---let what doesn't work for you roll past and see the concepts here. They are immediately applicable to our lives today, we Warriors.

    Open Heart, Open Mind,
    Open Body

    Being Present to The Presence
    Monday, August 4, 2014

    By some wondrous “coincidence,” the mystical gaze happens whenever our heart space, our mind space, and our body awareness are all simultaneously open and nonresistant. I like to call it pure presence. It is experienced as a moment of deep inner connection, and it always pulls you, intensely satisfied, into the naked and undefended now, which can involve both profound joy and profound sadness, and often at the same time. At that point, you want to write poetry, pray, or be utterly silent.

    I call contemplation “full-access knowing”—not irrational, but pre-rational, rational, and trans-rational all at once. Contemplation refuses to be reductionistic. Contemplation is an exercise in keeping your heart and mind spaces open long enough for the mind to see other hidden material. It is content with the naked now and waits for futures given by God and grace. As such, a certain amount of love for an object and for myself must precede any full knowing of it. As the Dalai Lama says so insightfully, “A change of heart is always a change of mind.” You could say the reverse as well—a change of mind is also a change of heart. Eventually they both must change for us to see properly.

    Before communion, I always tell the people that there is no prerequisite of worthiness or understanding to come to this table. (Who is worthy? Who understands?) The only prerequisite is a capacity for presence. The work of spirituality, which makes presence possible, is keeping the heart space open (which is the work of love), keeping the mind space in a “right mind” (which is the work of contemplation), and keeping the body living inside this very moment (which is often the work of healing). Those who can keep all three open at the same time will know The Presence. That’s the only prerequisite. Present people will know the Presence. Adsum we said in Latin, “I am here!”
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  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good thoughts this morning COM, thank you.

    A therapist I had many years ago told me when I asked her what she believed spiritual awareness/growth was, said, "living within all the paradoxes of life and not going crazy." I never forgot that. I have referred to it often in my own journey. It is also what therapy is about, integrating all the fragments of ourselves that are blown apart by fear, bringing them all together to form a whole and complete self capable of withstanding all of the uncertainty and chaos life brings.

    An amazing mystery.
  3. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Hi COM & Recovering, it is I, Tryagain.
    I have been absent for a while for various reasons, but I always return because of the strength I draw from my friends here.

    I loved the meditation above, COM. Thank you for sharing. I needed it tonight in my quest for calmness and serenity in the midst of difficult child's crazy-making antics.

    I won't go into detail, but she continues to do "just well enough" that I will foolishly become too hopeful & forget to keep my expectations low. Those cruel glimmers of how life could be for her are elusive and pop like soap bubbles. Those visions of a happier life for her tantalize and torture simultaneously. She does just enough that I don't give up, but poorly enough that I cry in frustration.

    This must be what purgatory is.

    So reading about just being, just striving to be present in the moment, is a wonderful centering exercise. I feel my blood pressure dropping as I write.

    Pleasant dreams to you both.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Try and I'm glad to see you.

    I so understand. difficult child is out of jail now, back on the streets again, since June 26. I am doing better with it now, having NOT done better at all with it when he got out.

    He is talking the good talk, but not walking the good walk. I don't think he is using drugs (what do I know, and what does it really matter, anyway?), but he says he is drinking "some" and smoking cigarettes. Well. Okay. Whatever.

    Most importantly, he has no place to live and no job. Cautiously, I see him doing some things to change that but as I said Sunday, when I dropped off some shirts he can wear to interviews, let's take a break from talking for a few days. It sounds like you have some good plans, and that is great. Let me know when you get some traction on some of those plans.

    He does seem different, but oh, Try, who knows?

    I am trying to turn---and focus on myself and my life----right now. It is crazy-making for me to be too engaged in his everyday life, a life that is hard for me to grasp, but it is becoming easier to grasp.

    I want him to be happy. I want him to be safe. Outside of those things, what will be will be.

    Just for today, Try. Just for today.

    One time someone said: Stop. Look at yourself. Right now, right this minute, you are doing okay. Right? Lean into that. Welcome it. Notice it. Let everything else go. I think if we can string enough of those minutes together, Try, that is called a good hour and then a good morning and then a good day.

    Let's work on doing that today. Warm hugs.
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    OMGosh. How does this man know what we are all living through here? It's almost eerie.

    I think loving greatly and suffering greatly is part of making us closer to what we were designed to be, in the beginning. But I so wish we didn't have to suffer so much!

    Think about our own journeys here. It is through loving someone so greatly---our own child----and suffering over their lives so greatly---our own child----that we are brought through the storm and to the other side of it all, where we begin learning how to let completely go and let go of our intense need to control. We start accepting. Not just our adult child and his/her choices, but all people, places and things.

    And it is such a blessed relief when we can do it---even if only for a minute or two, then a bit longer. It is so wonderful that we want it more and more. And then we are motivated to do the work. And through the journey we find our true selves. That is the silver lining to this awful dark cloud.


    Opening through
    Love and Suffering
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Great love has the potential to open the heart space and then the mind space. Great suffering has the potential to open the mind space and then the heart space. Eventually both spaces need to be opened, and for such people, non-dual thinking can be the easiest.

    People who have never loved or never suffered will normally try to control everything with an either-or attitude or all-or-nothing thinking. This closed system is all they are prepared for. The mentality that divides the world into “deserving and undeserving” has not yet experienced the absolute gratuity of grace or the undeserved character of mercy. This lack of in-depth God-experience leaves all of us judgmental, demanding, unforgiving, and weak in empathy and sympathy. Such people will remain inside the prison of “meritocracy,” where all has to be deserved. They are still counting when in reality God and grace exist outside of all accounting. Remember, however, to be patient with such people, even if you are the target of their judgment, because on some level, that is how they treat themselves as well.

    Non-dual people will see things in their wholeness and call forth the same unity in others simply by being who they are. Wholeness (head, heart, and body all present, positive, and accounted for!) can see and call forth wholeness in others. This is why it is so pleasant to be around whole and holy people.

    Dualistic or divided people, however, live in a split and fragmented world. They cannot accept or forgive certain parts of themselves. They cannot accept that God objectively dwells within them, as it states in so many places in Scripture, including 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. This lack of forgiveness takes the forms of a tortured mind, a closed heart, or an inability to live calmly and proudly inside ones own body. The fragmented mind sees parts, not wholes, in itself and others, and invariably it creates antagonism, reaction, fear, and resistance—“push-back” from other people—who themselves are longing for wholeness and holiness.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    There was a time when I lost my faith. I don't necessarily mean in God, because I have never been formally religious. I mean that I lost faith in my belief that there was some purpose, some higher beneficence, some meaningful spiritual evolution that unified and gave meaning to the way things happen, whether we can understand it or not.

    I lost that.

    I read this three or four times., trying to get it. I think there is no one who has not suffered, no one who has not loved. So the key phrase here has to do with brokenness and mercy.

    And acceptance without faith in higher purpose or even in healing.

    How could RR know this to this degree, as you said, COM.

    So, here is the question.

    Are we all broken open in this way? Can there really be this much pointless, unremitting, unredeemable pain all around us, this much loss?

  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I know people who have not grown from their love and their suffering. Instead they deny it or become bitter or use their own addictions to cope or any other number of reactions.

    I think what he is talking about here is allowing that great love and that great suffering to enter into us, for us to accept both of those states of being and then to become transformed by them.

    I think this is the essence of the 12 steps. They are a pathway to this.

    So yes most people will experience both states of being in their lifetimes but it is what they do with it or what they allow those states to do to them...that makes the difference.

    At least that is what I think.

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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, I think we probably are all broken or wounded in some way, and I would venture to say that not all of us have loved or been loved, so there are differences in the way we experience life and love and suffering.

    It sounds to me as if he is saying that those of us who grow from the suffering, who learn to surrender to it and allow it to teach us, rather then fight, control, blame, judge.........the alternatives.........then we have the opportunity to become whole, to become real, to know grace and be able to touch our own divinity.

    I believe COM hit the nail on the head.

    'The dark night of the soul' is that experience of walking through our greatest fears and coming out the other side, changed......some folks lose all their money, some their coveted careers, some their standing in life, each having that as an opportunity to find that grace, that wholeness........or not. Free will allows us to rail against it for the rest of time...........or not.

    I see this last two years with my daughter as the darkest time in my life, and I've had some pretty dark times before, but nothing came close to this pain...........

    I agree. Well said COM.
  9. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    COM, Recovering, and Cedar, peace to you this day. Reading RR's most recent meditation causes me to give pause to the powerful insights of this gifted writer. The paradox of being broken in order to become whole is a very deep concept to ponder, but I believe that most of what is most meaningful in life consists of these types of paradoxes.

    Thank you, COM, for continuing to share these powerful and profound writings.
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    RR is talking about Intimacy. I think this is our heart's desire, intimacy with each other. But very risky. Hard to achieve. Hard to maintain. Requiring incredible vulnerability.

    We are all the same. We are not different from each other. This is a universal truth that is hard to remember. Even our difficult children. They have the same fears, insecurities, et. al.

    Realizing our commonality is the great equalizer and can open us up to greater intimacy. This board is a wonderful tool for that.

    I love RR talking about how people hate to change. We hate it, and our difficult children hate it. Think about that. It takes incredible work to change. And it's very hard to do.


    Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation


    Saying Yes
    Friday, August 15, 2014

    The soul defines itself by expansion and inclusion—not by saying “no,” but by offering a kind of courageous, risky “yes”: “Yes, I am like everybody else, capable of the same good and the same bad. They are all my brothers and sisters.” The soul knows that we are all equally naked underneath our clothes. Can you feel the scariness in that? When you allow the face of the other, the opinion of the other, the worldview of the other, to break through your barriers and boundaries, there is always a bit of fear, as in the first moments of nakedness or intimacy.

    I can see why Jesus said, “For the gate is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14). He is talking, first, about life in this world. On the unconscious level, I know that true intimacy with anything is going to change me. And if there is one thing that the ego hates more than anything else, is to change. I know that if I keep meditating, it is going to change my worldview, my priorities, and my preferences. It will be a new world, and I am comfortably hunkered down in this old one. It is a wonder that anyone continues the dangerous journey of prayer, step-by-step, into divine and soul intimacy.

    Gateway to Silence:
    The gaze of God receives me exactly as I am.
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  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thanks, COM.

  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    There was a time, just after difficult child's beating, when nothing made sense.

    I've described it as a loss of faith.

    It is interesting to remember that there was nothing for me in that time but to say yes to any helpful thing I was presented with.

    It wasn't a defiant yes or even a decisive yes.

    There was no higher purpose, no sense of calling, no particular sense of reward, or of a job well done.

    It was just an Intentional yes, when I might as easily have said no.

  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    More good thinking from RR...Underlines and boyfriend are mine...RR talks again about the first half of life---we are "doing and becoming"---here he talks about lots of action. And then the second half of life---we learn who we really are, and how to "be"...the period of contemplation. And then he talks about how we must grow and I think that is what many, many of us on this site are trying to do---to become who our Higher Power really intended for us to be. Hard hard stuff to live and to do and to even think about. But it feels very true to me and relevant on this board and on this journey.


    The Evolving Journey

    The Dance of Action and Contemplation
    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    I believe that the combination of human action from a contemplative center is the greatest art form. It underlies all those other, more visible art forms that we see in great sculpture, music, writing, painting, and most especially, in the art form of human character development. When the external life and the inner life are working together, we always have beauty, symmetry, and actual transformation of persons—lives and actions that inherently sparkle and heal, in part because they can integrate the negativity of failure, sin, and rejection and they can spot their own shadow games.

    With most humans, the process begins on the action side; in fact, the entire first half of life for most of us, even introverts, is all about external action. We begin with crawling, walking, playing, speaking. We learn, we experiment, we try, we stumble, we fall. Gradually these enactments grow larger and more “mature,” but we remain largely unaware of our inner and actual motivations or purpose for any of it.

    Yes, there are feelings and imaginings during this time, maybe even sustained study, prayer, or disciplined thought, but do not yet call that contemplation. These reflections are necessarily and almost always self-referential, both for good and ill. At this point, life is still largely about “me” and finding my own preferred and proper viewing platform. It has to be. But it is not yet the great art form of the calm union between our inner and outer lives. We must go further.

    You cannot grow in the integrative dance of action and contemplation without a strong tolerance for ambiguity, an ability to allow, forgive, and contain a certain degree of anxiety, and a willingness to not know—and not even need to know. This ever widens and deepens your perspective. This is how you allow and encounter Mystery and move into the contemplative zone.

    Adapted from
    Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer,
    pp. 1, 2, 4

    Gateway to Silence:
    Show me your ways; teach me your paths.
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  14. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Ah. This is so relevant to me right now. Knowing and not knowing. We don't like to "not know." We like to know. That is the root, along with fear, of our compulsion to fix, manage and control, I believe.

    Yesterday in an Al-Anon meeting, the topic migrated to fear. People shared about their innate fears. Fear of being alone. Fear of lack of financial security. Fear of not being liked.

    For me, this started way, way before I started dealing with alcoholics and addicts. It started for me as a child. My dad was a rageaholic. I believe that contributed to me not feeling safe, and, along with my sister's genetic disease and the subsequent very fast growing up I needed to do, contributed to my being "strong", not needing any help, and being able to "help" (i.e., manage, fix and control) everybody else. "Just listen to me, and your life will be great."

    The other day, during all of this crisis my difficult child said to me: Mom, all my life, if I didn't do it your way I was doing it wrong.

    Wow. He was absolutely right. I told him that, and I told him that I had worked hard to change that. He said, well, you are a lot better about that now. I said: well, it's due to the awful Al-Anon, that you say is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. So you can thank Al-Anon for any change in me in that regard.

    Today, more and more, I am realizing that I know very little. I can only do the best I can do, one day at a time. And that best will be filled with lots of mistakes. And that is okay.

    Yesterday in the Al-Anon meeting, a comment broke through to me. Someone said: "It's all being taken care of." They meant by our Higher Power.

    In other words: relax, you don't have to do anything. God has it. It's all being taken care of. You're off the hook. Let go. Live and let live. Relax into this. Lean In. Get comfortable with not knowing. It's all being taken care of.

    That gave me such comfort many times yesterday, and still today.


    Balancing Knowing
    and Not Knowing
    Monday, September 1, 2014

    The great spiritual teachers always balance knowing with not knowing, light with darkness. In the Christian tradition, the two great strains were called the kataphatic (according to the light) or “positive” way—relying on clear words, concepts, and ideas—and the apophatic (against the light) or “negative” way—moving beyond words and images into silence, darkness, and metaphor. Both ways are necessary, and together they create a magnificent form of higher non-dual consciousness called faith.

    The apophatic way, however, has been underused, under-taught, and underdeveloped largely since the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment. In fact, we became ashamed of our “not-knowing” and tried to fight our battles rationally. Much of Catholicism and most of Protestantism became highly cerebral. God (who is really Mystery) became something you perfectly observed, a service you attended, words you argued about, or worthiness you worked for. But God was never someone you surrendered to.

    In the capitalist West, the very word “surrender” is not to our liking. We are all about winning, climbing, achieving, performing, and being the best. In that light, contemplation and non-dual thinking (I use the words almost interchangeably) are about as revolutionary and counter-cultural as you can get.

    When you don’t balance knowing with not knowing, you get into the kind of religion and politics we have today which is very arrogant, falsely self-assured, can never admit when it’s wrong, and can never apologize because “I know!” According to the great spiritual teachers, ignorance does not result from what we don’t know; ignorance results from what we think we do know! Anybody who knows knows that they don’t know, especially when they’re talking about God! Medieval Catholic theology called this docta ignorantia or “learned ignorance.”

    Gateway to Silence:
    It is what it is.
  15. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    another good one...


    Non-Dual Consciousness

    What Is Non-Dual Consciousness?
    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

    Non-dual or contemplative consciousness is not the same as being churchy or reflective or introverted. Unfortunately this is the way the word is often used even by people who should know better. Contemplation is a panoramic, receptive awareness whereby you take in all that the situation, the moment, the event offers without eliminating anything. That does not come naturally. You have to work at it and develop practices whereby you recognize your compulsive and repetitive patterns.

    It seems we are addicted to our need to make distinctions and judgments, which we actually call “thinking”! Most of us think we are our thinking, yet almost all thinking is compulsive and habitual. And educated people are just as bad as the uneducated, sometimes even worse.

    That is why all forms of meditation and contemplation are teaching you a way of quieting the dualistic “thinking” mind. After a while you see that this kind of thinking is not going to get you very far, simply because reality is not all about you and your preferences! And frankly, the universe is not all about any one of us, but only all of us together and with God.

    Non-dual consciousness is about receiving and being present to the moment and to the now exactly as it is, without judgment, without analysis, without critique, without your ego deciding whether you like it or whether you don’t like it. It is a much more holistic knowing, where your mind, heart, soul, and senses are open and receptive to the moment just as it is. You are not dividing the field of the moment (and eliminating anything that threatens your ego), but holding it all together.

    The non-dual, contemplative mind is a whole new mind! With it, you can stand back and simply observe the self and the event from the standpoint of the “stable witness,” or what Christians would call the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16). Now you can laugh or weep over your little dramas and dances, without being attached to them or hating them. You can look at yourself and others calmly and compassionately because you are able to see things as they are in themselves and not from the viewpoint of how they affect you.

    Gateway to Silence:
    It is what it is.
  16. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Do you remember the issue on the suffering of the Mary?

    And the learning there for each of us was in the Mary's acceptance and response, as her child was crucified.

    She did not run away, she did not turn away or rail at fate.

    Somehow, today's issue keys in to that, for me.

    In times of loss, when I am caught, ttapped In the chaotic, pointless horror of what is happening
  17. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Darn phone.


    Where I was going with this is that in the real place that is all I know when some new and horribly unforeseen thing has happened, is over, can never be undone, I can remember that place of balance and non-judgment, but I cannot get there.

    I keep coming back to that piece on the Mary's response...but I don't know how to know how to do that, how to accept it as though there were some meaning or purpose to it.

    So I don't.

    But that changes nothing.

    I sound depressed. I am not. I am present, but in a different way, now.

    Still vulnerable, still scared.
  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I don't truly know how this man---Richard Rohr---knows how to talk about things that are so truly relevant to the struggle and the journey that all of this on this board are traveling. It is a holy coincidence. (underlines are mine below). The Einstein quote---No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it.


    We MUST change in order to solve our own problems---otherwise, we will be stuck in them forever. I am just thinking on that one statement this morning. It is profound.

    And then---when we change, we take with that change all of the previous "us" that comes with it. We don't eliminate the earlier "us"---we just package it up with the new "us" and take it along. This is forgiveness for ourselves. We roll into our new "who we are and how we act" all of the old stuff and we just accept it. Then, we did the best we could, until we knew differently. Now, we know differently, so we do differently. There is no shame, no guilt, no need to wallow in should have, could have. It just was, and today, it just is.

    Don't let your spiritual beliefs and differences---whatever they are--- block you from the truths that RR is talking about here. This stuff is profound and it is grounded in tradition and truth, I believe.

    I believe this is who we are meant to be---our highest and our best. It is the silver lining to the dark black overwhelming cloud that we have all lived under for so long---that is the pain of loving someone so very much and watching them continue---for years---to self destruct.

    We are gaining our own best selves through this awful journey. It is a paradox. I don't understand it at all, but it is the light that we need to all keep walking toward. It is hope.


    Non-Dual Consciousness

    The Change that
    Changes Everything
    Thursday, September 4, 2014

    We are living in exciting times. The broad re-discovery of non-dual, contemplative consciousness gives me hope for the change of religion and even for the change of politics. We are realizing that we have been trying to solve so many of our religious, social, political, and relational issues inside of the very mind that falsely framed the problems in the first place. And, as Einstein said, “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that caused it.”

    The contemplative mind can see things in a non-dualistic way, without being rebellious or enmeshed, neither reactionary nor hateful. Whenever you move to a higher level of consciousness, you always include the previous stages. That’s what makes it a higher level of consciousness! You do not hate previous stages, you do not dismiss them, and you do not split and say that the previous group or stage was all wrong, as was done in almost all reforms and revolutions until recently. Only in the 20th century did a few catch up with Jesus and re-discover the very possibility of non-violent revolutions and reforms (Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. being the most visible examples). The very word non-violence was not in our vocabulary because we didn’t understand it (despite Jesus’ clear teaching in his Sermon on the Mount).

    When you finally come to maturity, you can look back at your life and forgive every bit of it. You can let go of everyone who hurt you, even your first wife or husband. You don’t even need to hate the church that hurt you. Wisdom is where you see it all and you eliminate none of it and include all of it as important training. Finally, “everything belongs.” You are able to say, from some larger place that even surprises you, “It is what it is” and even the “bad” was good.

    These are the people who will change the world. These are the people who will transform history. We call them “larger than life” because they are living more than their own life. As Paul says, “I live no longer, not I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Non-dualistic people are able to be fully present to the now and trust God with the future and the past. God can use them because their small and petty self is finally out of the way.

    Gateway to Silence:
    It is what it is.
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, this phone posting!

    It is difficult to hold a train of thought!


    I finally got the quotes I wanted , accidentally hit "post"...and now?

    I can't remember what I was going to say.

  20. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Another masterpiece by Richard Rohr. He hits the nail on the head about where many of us have been and will go in this journey we are on to let go and let live. When we are completely without any resources---on our knees figuratively and literally---that is when we are sick and tired of it all. That is when a chance for us to do something new occurs. That is our bottom. Today, I am very grateful for this journey, this hard, hard journey.


    Luminous Darkness

    Surrendering in Stillness
    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Mirabai Starr, who will be joining us for CONSPIRE 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, writes of the dark night as one who has gone through it herself, like John of the Cross:

    “The dark night descends on a soul only when everything else has failed. When you are no longer the best meditator in the class because your meditation produces absolutely nothing. When prayer evaporates on your tongue and you have nothing left to say to God. When you are not even tempted to return to a life of worldly pleasures because the world has proven empty and yet taking another step through the void of the spiritual life feels futile because you are no good at it and it seems that God has given up on you, anyway.

    “This, says John, is the beginning of blessedness! This is the choiceless choice when the soul can do nothing but surrender. Because even if you cannot sense a shred of the Beloved’s love for you, even if you can scarcely conjure up your old passion for him, it has become perfectly clear that you are incapable of doing anything on your own to remedy your spiritual brokenness. All efforts to purge your unspiritual inclinations have only honed the laser of attention on the false self. Unwilling to keep struggling, the soul finds itself surrendering to its deepest inner wound and breathing in the stillness there.

    “The only action left to the soul, ultimately, is to put down its self-importance and cultivate a simple loving attention toward the Beloved. That’s when the Beloved takes over and all our holy intentions vaporize. That’s when the soul, says John, is infused passively with his love. Though his radiance is imperceptible to the faculty of the senses and invisible to the faculty of the intellect, the soul that has allowed itself to be empty can at last be filled and overflow with him.”

    From Mirbai Starr’s introduction to her translation of Dark Night of the Soul
    by John of the Cross

    Gateway to Silence:
    “Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover.” – John of the Cross