She describes her dark night of the soul as “entering into that territory where the practices that have sustained us no longer can guide us in the terrain we are in. It takes some major spiritual cohones to navigate that terrain because it’s so vulnerable, there is nothing to cling to, no familiar reference points.”
With those words, she’s got my rapt attention: I am there, have been since December 2018, when a fresh blast of grace lifted me, like the tornado that abducted Dorothy, out of the known landscape of what had become a stale awakening of 7 years, and into a territory where what sustains me must be utterly new because nothing looks the same.
This dark night of the soul is not the grabby muck of every day travails, nor is it even the psychology of despair. It’s a darkness that comes from the kind of spiritual awakening that lands you at the doorstep of a reality where you exist as everything and nothing yet you are asked to walk the world as if you are discrete and real.
As I listen to the You Tube video of this awakened woman on the morning of a day where the moon will totally eclipse the sun, the perfection unfolding right now strikes me. Right in this moment, coffee in hand, a friend’s black lab curled in a comma at my feet on the opposite side of a long grey sofa, I have managed to click on a link to the very message that matters most for me now.
She says, “And I would pray in those moments, even though I didn’t know what I believed in, I would just say ‘help, help” to what I don’t know, but just help. And I heard this soft voice, “Keep opening, keep softening, keep allowing.”
What she needed help with was this: Earlier in her life, she had an awakening that catapulted her into the awareness that she was everything and that everything was love. Then, later, an awakening in a cave in India lead her to know herself as the no-thingness that is uninterrupted silence and peace. “Wisdom tells me I am nothing, love tells me I am everything.” ~ Nisargadatta.
And then one day, all at once, she knew herself again as just an “ordinary human” with the feelings and reactions that come with being human. She worried that she’d lost it, botched her divinity.
And in prayers for help, she heard what she would call the “soft loving voice of wisdom.”
It would tell her that “Non duality did not mean ego amputation, it didn’t mean cutting out the parts of ourself that don’t let go easily, it didn’t mean aggressing on our humanity in the name of enlightenment or becoming a non dual fundamentalist. It meant opening in and through absolutely everything, the full spectrum, raw animal humanity and transcendent divinity and the ticket price for that is feeling everything.”
But here’s the catch: This awakening intersection where ego-amputation is no longer a goal and where our humanity is asked to become the consort to our divinity, must have a vector. This integration does not happen without some kind of mechanism for guiding us. The tendency to pretend to rise above our humanity is how we get gurus in downfall and non-dual teachers getting caught behaving badly.
That vector is “the living edge of surrender” that allows the divine to occupy us, for the vastness to fully and completely inhabit our being.
“When we accept I can’t do it, I can’t push myself into this non-dual condition, I don’t know how to live it, I don’t know how to stand across from my beloved when they are doing that thing I find so hard, and just be there. I don’t know what to say that is real. i don’t know how to be real. Then all of a sudden we are ripe, we are here, we are nakedly spontaneously available for the living presence to fully take up residence.”
This divine infusion happens probably differently for each of us. For this woman, she mentions over and over, hearing the voice. In my own story, the 2011 awakening to myself as everything and the 2018 awakening to my myself as nothing, have lead me to a new threshold: It is one in which the navigational device for surrender is hearing that VOICE.
Beginning May 23, 2019, I began listening daily. Taking diction. Trusting it. There is book coming from this voice, called The Coming Age of Miracles. But book aside, this voice now speaks to me continually — whenever I stop to listen, it is there.
It’s not a cloying “dear one” voice nor it is stern and alien. It’s the voice of God, I suppose, but it’s also the voice of All of Us. It’s the voice you hear when you call for help. It’s the voice you hear when being nothing and being everything has landed you back where you started: back at being human.
I end with these beautiful words by Miranda MacPherson, the woman who sparked this article. (And of course, in the way of synchronicity, the same last name as the friend’s house I am staying in while I visit Vancouver Canada right now).
“Every single one of us are window panes of the absolute. We are interconnected window panes as if part of a great infinite matrix with no beginning and no ending.”
PS A caveat: Feeling everything while you still firmly believe you are land locked into a singular separate me, is purgatory. Feeling everything when you know yourself to be everything, and nothing, is heaven.
PPS: Miranda speaking below.
This article first appeared in The Awakened Dreamer
Lama Tsomo teaches us the ancient Tibetan compassion practice of Tonglen, one of the Four Boundless Qualities
Everything in the universe is shakti and spiritual life is the discovery of shakti.
Zaya Benazzo interviews Mark Dyczkowski on the history of Tantra
It vibrates in every thing and every not-thing, right off the tip of your nose.
What seems to be your inner reality and what is apparently happening out there in the world is actually one thing.
The Yamabushi in northern Japan practice a once forbidden ancient religion. While their tradition is at risk of disappearing, it offers a way for those seeking a different path in Japan‘s society.
Creativity can be seen as a state of natural flow...
When even the sense of being collapses into the utter simplicity of what is.
This book is the first translation into English of what purports to be the complete Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
What does it mean to be yourself from a nondual perspective?
"It is not a person that is waking up, it is consciousness."
"There are so many teachings on the internet today – How am I to choose?"
Francis Lucille answers questions from the audience at SAND 18, bringing his intelligence and wit to a variety of topics
In a rare meeting of minds, and a rare exploration of whether there is a predilection for spirituality, Gabor Mate asks Adyashanti to expand on passages from his recent book My Secret Is Silence.
Francis Lucille answers questions at SAND19 US.
It’s when we lose the illusion of control—when we’re most vulnerable and exposed—that we can discover the creative potential of our lives.
Asking a question is being the most active you can be. It means being humble. Humility is the most active attitude.
Aisha Salem talks of being willing to let go of our limitations, of keeping ourselves small, and of living our individuality
Awakened living realizes that the absolute and the relative dimensions of our Being are simply “not-two.”
To think of the human stage as simply for enlightenment shortchanges the potential of humanity.
Silent awareness is mostly drawn to light, sound, color, beauty, movement, patterns and contrast.
Dzogchen, the bardo, sleep and the yoga of dreams
In most spiritual traditions, love is seen only as universal or cosmic love.
Is it possible to live a life of activity while holding the perception of unity and fulfillment?
Yoga does not bring us to truth, truth expresses itself through yoga.
Sam Harris speaks with Roland Griffiths about the current state of research on psychedelics.
Nonduality and Healing from Trauma - The Realization Process
At the core of Layla’s teachings is the process of releasing judgment surrounding sex
It is said in Bengal that the Baul tradition originates from a time unknown, beyond what human history can trace
Eric answers questions from the audience at his Amsterdam retreat
Exploring, Understanding and Applying Advaita Vedanta
Eric Baret explains clearly that there is no need for the self to appropriate achievement
An immersive visual meditative journey with Rupert Spira
Ellen Emmet explains her understanding of the role of the body in our exploration of truth...
While we have unlocked the potential of a single atom we have yet to unlock the full potential of wise, loving and compassionate action
Rupert explores the perennial, non-dual understanding that lies at the heart of all the great religious and spiritual traditions
Please enter your email and we’ll send you instructions to reset your password