dave432 wrote:Next time I have a Dark Night experience, this detailed description will really help because I will be able to explain to my ego what is happening while it is happening. There is another layer of stress added from not knowing what is going on.
Also, "not knowing" is what generates fear of the unknown
, which is why people fear change--and growth.
I started to consciously walk this path, called the Magnum Opus
, some 24 years ago. And I've been through a lot on that path. Those trails left by the ancient philosophers through this virtually unexplored terrain are, for the most part, covered up, overgrown and lost these days, as the context
in which those philosophers wrote no longer exists. It is not an easy path; I've made a lot of mistakes, fallen into traps, got stuck at dead ends and at times, ended up completely lost--that darkness of the dark night, where you believe there will never be light, again.
Fortunately, I had the help of a single, reclusive mentor that constantly encouraged me to document what I was going through--both the good and bad--because "it will probably be useful, later in life." And it is my reflections on that journey that I tend to post here. And I suggest that you, and anyone else that wants to pursue an evolution of consciousness, document it. Back then, I just kept a written journal (well, 14 of them!) since there was no Internet and PCs were just coming out. Whatever works for you--but DOCUMENT IT. A quarter of a century later, and I'm still documenting my journey, but a bit more publicly... "sharing my map" as I call it, on here and on RS2. Write, draw maps, symbols... and make sure you DATE IT--with a YEAR, which I often forgot! When you're just a few years from an incident, it is easy to remember the year it took place--but a couple of decades later, after one journal has become a dozen, it gets a lot tougher! (I'm a "scribbler" in the sense that I don't tend to be good about writing in my journal, just any piece of paper that happens to be handy, so I end up with a bunch of loose papers stuck in a folder.)
dave432 wrote:I already had the basic idea by telling myself I am integrating new information but having some terminology to use takes some of the emotional juice out of the situation, like applying a salve. I think the role of "religion" or some type of system for helping the spiritual seeker is to offer this type of information and I think deep down people know this, and may be why religion has failed.
If you really want to understand what religion is about, ignore anything written from about 1AD, on, and focus on the stuff "Before Christ." Look at the pagan religions, gnosticism, hermetics, etc., but understand the context
in which you are reading them--society, then, is NOTHING like it is now.
Context, Text and Subtext...
And since I brought up "context" a couple of times, there is something that I have noticed which may be an important factor to consider: many people these days, particularly the under-35 age group, seem to lack the ability to determine both "context" and "subtext" when reading. All they read is "text," (perhaps from "texting" so much) and all they appear to comprehend is that single layer
of communication--the words, as written
. Having a strong technical writing background (started as editor of the school paper in 5th grade!) I include all three layers in what I present, in papers, posts, comments and blogs--not always as a choice, but because that is the way I learned to communicate.
is "what you see, is what you get." For example, "The car is blue."
is the set of assumptions being made about a particular concept. It is what is loaded into your mental image, prior to considering something, much like the scenery and props on a stage, before the actors come out and start talking. For example, if I mention "mercury," am I talking about a planet, an element, or a Ford car? That is what context establishes. (Text
would be what the actors are saying to one another.)
is an undertone or hidden meaning in the text, through the use of metaphor, allegory, motif, hyperbole or simile. Subtext will offer hints, suggestions, moods, emotions and other subtleties that are not expressly stated. For example, facial expressions on the actors to determine if what they said was serious, or done in jest. In written text, these are slipped in with the literary techniques mentioned.
The very first sentence I wrote in this reply has context, text and subtext. I always try to keep the context as it was initially defined by the topic (first post of the thread), which is why this is a forum instead of a blog. Topics set the "context." In this case, homo sapiens ethicus
--evolving towards the ethical man. That is the stage being set.
is what I said--""not knowing" is what generates fear of the unknown
, which is why people fear change," which has to be understood within the context
. Someone that makes a statement such as, "Well I've never seen gnocci pasta, so you mean I'll be afraid of it?" has taken the text
out of context
. (A favorite technique with religious preachers and lawyers--the word
of the law, versus the intent
of the law.)
If you notice, in the quote I omitted the last 2 words, because that text was included as subtext (I've been trying to be a little more explicit, since I realized that people are usually missing subtext, based on the blogs and fora I read). The quoted quote refers to the psychological barrier created by fear. The last two words, "--and growth," uses a conjunction to combine "change" with "growth," because if you cannot change, you cannot grow. The subtext here is essentially reading it backwards--if you want to grow, you will need to change by eliminating fear through "knowing."
Now, how many people caught that?
One must always consider context, particularly when reading very old material. Another example; below I refer to "western man." If you consider the context in which it is written, does that include women? If so, why?
dave432 wrote:Is the process of creative incubation similar to the Dark Night but on a lesser scale? You learn new information and after a while a flash may come when you feel like you have compiled various bits of information into a coherent whole and now you comprehend?
Yes, you are correct. What I would recommend for "creative incubation" is called in psychology, "active imagination." Years ago, I read a book by Roberto Assagioli called Psychosynthesis
. If you are a western man with an interest in psychology, it is a very informative book. There is a Wikipedia entry on the concept, here: Psychosynthesis
Active imagination is a technique where, knowing that your mind is going to do a reorganization sometime soon, you "jump the gun" and get a head start on it, by deliberately bringing up the concepts under question, examine them, and make a conscious determination as to their disposition. The technique I used was sitting in the audience at a play (on a stage--something you don't see much of these days), letting the concepts "play out" in front of me, to explain who and what they were, so I could understand why they were there to begin with. And when that play is over, you applaud the actors for telling their story and then they depart--since their work is DONE. There is no judgement or act of repression here. You allow the system to express its "energy" and make the effort to understand what it is trying to tell you, consciously. Once you have done that, play is over and it's time to go home and see what's on next week.
My process was simple enough; I had my "meditation chair," which was a comfortable chair in the living room next to the fireplace, which was a bit darker than the rest of the room but always felt really comfortable. And I would never fall asleep in that chair--I would always go into that half-sleep state, not quite hypnogogia, but almost a hypnotic state where I was still fully aware and conscious, but the barriers were lowered enough (because I was feeling safe and comfortable) to allow unconscious content to make its way up into the subconscious--and sitting on the conscious/subconscious border allowed me to set that "play" in motion. Me, as the audience in the conscious seating, watched the unconscious actors performing the play on the stage of the subconscious. (I used the 3-level model of conscious--subconscious--unconscious from Assagioli's books.) For me, the play would run for about 30-40 minutes, on the average, then I'd "wake" because the play was over and it was time to leave. (Of course, never actually going to sleep.)
And I have found that physical location makes a HUGE difference in meditation ability. You have to find that quiet point, similar to Doctor Who's "zero room," where all the noise and distraction seems to cancel out resulting in a null point. And it is depended on where objects are placed in a room--move something, and that null point also moves. You could probably use Feng Shui to assist, but I have found that people tend to put chairs at these locations, unconsciously, so I just try out the chairs when visiting somewhere to find that spot. Each chair tends to have an "energetic purpose" for its placement.
This process of active imagination is analogous to taking "cat naps" for the psyche, so it doesn't need that long sleep of the dark night to do a major reorganization. I found it to be a very useful technique, that I still practice today.