Home Discussion Forum Is a "dark night of the soul" an essential aspect of "spiritual...

Is a "dark night of the soul" an essential aspect of "spiritual progression" (as many refer to transcendence)?

What has your own experience been as the veil is lifted? Are you addicted to or convinced that struggle is the only method of purification? How much influence does the personality (or karma) have on one’s experience in awakening to Reality? Is a higher intellect more inclined to suffer due to “creating” a higher mountain to climb? Do we choose whether to suffer/struggle, and if so, then is recognition of this choice part of the experience?
Len Ben…i would phrase it differently: Life (Source/The Divine/All That Is) flows through us as us, an unstoppable river in which we are existing. We can resist the flow (what is as it is) from the stance of an egoic false self seeking control (pushing the river, so to speak) OR we can choose to “go with the flow” in elegant agreement to Its twists and turns without resistance. Thank you for your insight.
THINK…i “think” your perspective has merit. The only free will we have (as you allude to) is the “choice” to awaken from the illusion that we ride like a dead horse, going nowhere.
Naughty…indeed, yet the “illusion” held in the phenomenal world of imagination contains the seed of reality.
WillRogerswannabe…and i share that same Love with you, brother. i concur that we are addicted to forgetfulness through our blinding/veiling conditioning that adds and adds and adds to the complexities we attempt to navigate. Simplicity is the key….Well said. Namaste
yogiraj…we are not all blessed with the right guru. Some of us have experienced the wrong garu and been misled, perhaps ab-used.
Jon…”dying to self” is the key…whether suffering is “attached” is unique to the individual. Thank you.
Thimmappa M.S…yes, witnessing/observing the unreal ego self and its concomitant conditionings is essential and, as you imply, suffering/struggling can be avoided by remaining in this neutral perspective, which allows the unveiling of one’s true nature. After all, it is our attachments that reprise suffering over and over and over again.


  1. Good question.
    The short answer is this: GOD chooses our circumstances, … including our sufferings. … WE choose HOW we go through it.

  2. The dark night to the soul describes an existential crisis. I have never had one and pity anyone that does. It must be scary.
    Personality is the product of the individual’s past learning and experiences – free will is an illusion, but a persistent one. You will either inflict suffering on yourself or avoid it based on how you have learned to behave in the past
    Very few people recognise the fact that you are in (or think you are!) in control of your feelings. Struggle is universal to nature and is inevitable, however certain experiences and circumstances make us more disposed to cope with life’s challenges.

  3. No, it is not essential.Why is the Intelligence/Knowledge/Awareness/Consciousness ( jnana yoga ) is given for in the Human? It can see through things, evaluate experiences of self, others and the recorded history/culture and pull oneself out to march ahead without suffering and without ‘dark night of the soul’. Even the personality make up/karma are of two types:1. Past, which is not in my hand and whose effect I bound to reap and I am reaping and 2. Present and Future actions that is fully in my control provided I am aware, discover that freedom in me and act.The act that actualizes my inner potential that is unique and that is endowed by nature already in my birth and that is needed in Creation(that is why we are born, it is for nothing He sent us here!) on the one hand and relate that unique talent to the good of society(to the needed thing in creation) and through it find the self-fulfillment.Then there is no ‘dark night’/struggle.
    See the light, it will lead us, dispelling darkness.Yes, intense suffering sometimes kindle that light within us and we may wake up. But we can avoid that costliest travel if only we awaken and remain in that Witnessing Awareness!(Sakshi Bhav – Upanishad), in that Choiceless Awareness (JK).
    In my case too, apparently suffering triggered avalanche of that awareness but on a closer look I realized that the light was there already and all through, I only grabbed it now!

  4. Personally i have experienced it, so I would say it was necessary for me but not all. Just as Zen has to be experienced first hand and no one Koan works to awaken all beings there must be a certain situation for all to pass beyond their conditioning. My experience was like falling into a deep abyss of doubt, confusion, anger, sadness and joy. It was like every single emotion forced into one moment, but i came through the other side unscathed. Now i see reality as thus. And can understand why people cannot.
    Struggle is not the only method there was no struggle with me i chose the path of non-doing where you only sit in meditation no koans, no God, no one to help. Only you let go of all those things and use nothing.
    Your expereince in life relates to awakening to reality in that your entire life you have been conditioned, the awakening is the falling away of all those conditions. Every last thing that people have forced on you, every idea, all of those beliefs you had fall away they are like sunglasses stoping you from experiencing the fullness of light.
    I am not sure about the intelect and suffering but im sure they are most likely equal in that everything has a balance to it.
    Yes you choose as i said i chose my path, just as each being has to choose their own. The Christian path is the opposite than that of the Tao, Zen, Buddhism and all of the meditation forms. It is a path of doing, and it is the path of doing everything that you can possibly do. And when you can do no more when your last energy and will is spent that is when the trancendence occurs. In the paths of non-doing you do absoloutly nothing you only wait for it to happen, it is just as difficult as its complimentary. There are a myriad of difficulties, a few of them are thinking, moving, talking, understanding, loving, hating, anything that you can do outside of just sitting and letting your thoughts pass without disturbing you is a difficulty.

  5. So many questions!
    Do you know anyone that has transcended, that is still in body?
    Which of the 18,000 veils are you referring to, that is to be lifted?
    We have indeed become much to complex. When will we all learn that simplicity is the key?
    We all have an addiction, and it is called forgetfulness.
    We are addicted to forgetfulness!
    We live in reality when we remember.
    We live in illusion when we forget.
    Purification as you call it, is a simple process, but we so often forget it.
    Purification begins within man, when man visits the local neighborhood dumpster and gets rid of his or her negative qualities.
    Negative qualities create karma.
    To burn karma one must discover the dark qualities within them-self and visit the dumpster and unload them.
    The soul of man is “Pure Light”.
    It soul is indestructible, changeless, formless and has been created from the essence of pure love.
    It’s man that must change before his allotted time has expired.
    If man takes on the qualities of God, there will be no such thing in mans life known as karma.
    The height of the mountain that man has to climb remains the same.
    There are seven of them, and as man errors, he simply falls to the bottom and has to start the ascent once again.
    So many questions!
    My love to you always.

  6. I went through one last year and through the suffering and dying to self I came closer to Christ. It lasted about 7-12 months and it was very difficult. After it was lifted off I changed quite a bit. I am more humble, not too worried about money, my faith has increased a lot, motivations are different. I would say the main thing is my faith increased a lot and I am completely turned over to God for his purpose. Through the whole thing the Holy Spirit taught me a lot and kept showing me he was right there. I questioned about everything and answers were given to me in great ways. I didn’t really understand what I was going through until the end. I think God wanted it that way. Then I started reading a random chapter in the book “Wounded by Love” and it described exactly what I went through. St. John of the Cross has written quite a bit about it as well. Its very difficult but so so happy I went through it

  7. If only the perception deepens beyond the sensory levels, these doubts, that ‘divide’ our mind further rather than unifying, would resolve conclusively! It also happens that the reference to darkness has some significance, in that it unifies what we see around into a uniform dark vastness!

  8. There is no such thing as a dark night of the soul.Soul is eternal light.Yes Karmas’ play an important role on the timing of the awakening. If it has been done before, it is easily awailable to the person seeking it.No there is no mountain to climb or sufferings or struggles.These are only excuses for people who do not want to come out of their shell of material things, attachments etc to pursue the spiritual path.The only requirement is the ‘right guru’ who can really guide you on this path.If you go all out to seek a ‘real’ guru, you can find one.Best wishes.


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