THE FALL: The dark night of the soul
THE FALL AND THE RETURN: The soul’s choice
The dark night of the soul has become an expression used to describe a phase in a person's spiritual life, a metaphor for a certain loneliness, separation from virtuous living, and desolation.
There is no end to the bad a soul can do when our heart and mind has fallen from LoveWisdomGoodness and Self Realization. In truth, all badness is a product of the fall. When the world is in a fallen state then what is needed is more opportunities to attain Self Realization and an increase in purification, and spiritual living.
It is the height of ignorance for differing spiritual traditions to fight over prophets and techniques and this behaviour is the very opposite of enlightened spiritual awareness. It is completely against the will of God and is a number one sin.
- The soul uses its quality of freewill to reject/deny God and “go it alone.”
- Pride, arrogance, egotism, vice, and sin follow.
- Pain, misery, separation from "God, grace, and heaven", and holistic suffering (hell) are the results.
- Clinging to bodily life, attachment to the moods and musings of the mind, selfishness, narcissism, and the usual deadly sins follows.
- God is always present and trying to help the soul “see the light.”
- If the soul uses the quality of freewill to accept God then the process of redemption happens.
- Through redemption, confession, forgiveness, and understanding, the soul returns to live with God “on Earth and in Heaven.”
- God is “ever-present” to receive the soul back into the eternal and heavenly fold.
- All holistic discomfort and disease arises from the process of the fall which is entirely the choice of the individual soul.
- After the fall, the soul’s appreciation, understanding, and love for God are all the more meaningful and real.
The logical mechanics of the fall
Understanding what we are experiencing when we are undergoing the fall is the primary and fundamental spiritual realization of this experience. We need to understand why we are experiencing this deep misery, anguish, confusion, sense of ethical and moral evaporation, spiritual wilderness, abandonment, denial of conscience, anger, depression, and other psycho-emotional suffering.
The clearest explanation I have found is in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Book Two: Sutra 3:
It is very clearly stated in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
Yoga Sutras: Book Two.
AVIDYASMITA RAGA DVESABHINIVESAH KLESAH
Avidya = ignorance; asmita = egotism; raga = attachment; dvesha = hatred; abhinivesah = clinging to bodily life; klesah = obstacles.
Ignorance, egotism, attachment, vice, and clinging to bodily life are the five obstacles to Enlightenment.
Here are the five obstacles (klesas) that will now be explained one by one in the following sutras. The order is also significant.
AVIDYA: Because of ignorance of true nature of Self (God/Buddha nature/Self/Mystery Ocean), the Self misidentifys with the experience of being an individual (body/soul).
ASMITA: Because the Self is blinded by it's identification with Maya (Mind/Shakti/Creation) atheistic egotism arises (the belief that the Self is the body/mind/soul)
RAGA: Because Self forgets about being Self and believe that It is the body and worldly character, It gets selfishly attached to things in The Mind (Maya/Shakt/Creation)
DVESHA: Because Self misidentifies with the individual sometimes the things we (Self as the multitude of individuals) are selfishly attached to do not come or are taken away we experience psycho-emotional reactions and responses like fear, anger, envy, jealousy, and hatred for those who got in the way of our selfish (egocentric) atheistic desires and aversion.
ABHINIVESAH: Because we are attached to things and are afraid of death (due to ignorance of true nature AS SELF), there is clinging (attachment) to life in the body and all the experiences of this bodily human life. This clinging creates more suffering and makes the individual egotistical, miserable, narcissistic, and depressed. We fail to realize the vaster and immortal nature of Existence and our deepest identity with It.
Atheistic egotism is therefore the misidentification of the power and creative omnipotence of the Seer (God/Existence) with the Seen - the body, mind, world, objects, and universe of variety and multiplicity.
More about the fall
One interpretation of the doctrine of the fall is that it is necessary so that humans might benefit from God's grace. It includes the notion that, had mankind not been given the capacity for evil, our choice through freewill to either serve God or not would not have been as meaningful. For example:
"A fall it might seem, just as a vicious man sometimes seems degraded below the beasts, but in promise and potency, a rise it really was" (Sir O. Lodge, "Life and Matter", p. 79).
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a 19th-century French Carmelite, underwent similar experience. Centering on doubts about the afterlife, she reportedly told her fellow nuns, "If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into."
While this crisis is presumed to be temporary in nature, it may be extended. The "dark night" of Saint Paul of the Cross in the 18th century lasted 45 years, from which he ultimately recovered. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, according to letters released in 2007, "may be the most extensive such case on record", lasting from 1948 almost up until her death in 1997, with only brief interludes of relief between. Franciscan Friar Father Benedict Groeschel, a friend of Mother Teresa for a large part of her life, claims that "the darkness left" towards the end of her life
Rather than resulting in devastation, however, the dark night is perceived by mystics and others to be a blessing in disguise, whereby the individual is stripped of the spiritual ecstasy associated with acts of virtue. Although the individual may for a time seem to outwardly decline in their practices of virtue, they in reality become more virtuous, as they are being virtuous less for the spiritual rewards (ecstasies in the cases of the first night) obtained and more out of a true love for God. It is this purgatory, a purgation of the soul, that brings purity and union with God. Entering this dark night of the soul is commonly referred to in Buddhism as "raising the Great Doubt".
The Fall of Man, or simply "the Fall," in Christian doctrine refers to the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God, to a state of guilty disobedience to God. This happens because we have been given the greatest of gifts, that of freewill.
A deep and persistent sense of shame, persistent self-pity, guilt, and egocentric pride accompany the Fall, as the individual intuitively knows that to reject God is not a good idea. The soul realizes the folly of rejecting God, but the mind/personality makes the decision to reject God.
When the soul finally realizes that it has made an error (in rejecting God and Love) then it can begin to make the journey back to God awareness and Heaven by the process of purification and redemption.
In Yoga, this process is called "sadhana."
In Buddhism, this process is called "dharma."
The goal of redemption is to steadily return the soul back to God awareness, to God orientated living, and to citizenship in Heaven.
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