On my home screen I have a quote from Anthony de Mello:
There comes a point in your life when you become stark raving insane, commit suicide, or become a mystic.
I tried insane. In fact, I find that a little insanity may be helpful. But the death by suicide thing really doesn’t appeal to me…except in some very wierd moments. Becoming a mystic is the way I seem to have gone.
My first experiences of mystic life came when I was a child. I’ve mentioned some of this in previous posts. When I came out of seminary, I had more understanding than before. I had focused in seminary on crisis counseling and conflict management. But at the end of my seminary career I took a class in Christian spiritual traditions and resources. That’s when I met John of the Cross and began to understand the Dark Nights.
I had already walked a bit through the Dark Night of the Senses. When I showed up at my undergrad program in Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry, everything I owned was literally (I mean literally) in a box that I could easily carry. This included a frying pan, a plate, a knife and a fork, an extra pair of underwear…you get the point.
I was not seeking meaning in the accumulation of things. I knew then that life and true love, the love that we can share only with God, could not be found in money or things. I did not seek God via things, not even religious things. Nothing. The Dark Night of the Senses. God’s unitive love, the Dark Night of the Soul, cannot be found through the things we can see, touch, taste, feel, hear. Even so, the Dark Night of the Senses is a deep mystical place in its own right.
John of the Cross speaks of the Dark Night of the Soul mainly in The Living Flame of Love. John says:
The soul’s center is God. When it has reached God with all the capacity of its being and the strength of its operation and inclination, it will have attained its final and deepest center in God, it will know, love, and enjoy God with all its might.
More on this later. This post is already too long.