Ray Campbell: Confronting the ‘Dark Soul’s Night’

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Often times in the face of challenges, we will be frantic to find a solution. “Catching the straw” until the last straw as the proverb “breaks the camel’s back” and pushes us into a dark abyss.

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Saint John of the Cross calls this the “dark night of the soul.” He tells us when we enter this abyss:

What we need more

In order to make progress

is to be silent

In front of this great God

with our appetite

and our tongue

for language

It’s better to hear

It is silent love.

– John of the Cross, sayings of light and love, trans. Mirabai Star

To be still, to be silent, to be, is not what we want, and is not encouraged by society. We want to just act, and do anything to bring about change quickly so that we don’t feel anxious and anxious.

However, this frantic activity, exhausting effort, broken thinking, and way of being only increases our anxiety when our plans do not create relief or solve our dilemma.

We continue in vain with frantic actions that lead to further turmoil, and in the depths of our soul we feel that we have lost our way and become weary.

Mirabai Starr translates from John’s classic Dark Night of the Soul what we really need to do:

“Instead, the soul should surrender in peace and quiet, even if it is convinced that it is doing nothing and wasting time. Simple patience and perseverance in a state of formless prayer, doing nothing, achieves great things.

“All that is really needed is to take a breather from thoughts and tame the ‘horse brain’ that is racing to find the next solution.

It is time to liberate and awaken the soul and take care of inner silence. To calm the mind and be present for the soul.

Yes, mindfulness may continue to worry because you are wasting time. I wonder if it would be better to do something else, something else!

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Mirabai contact:

“The best thing for the soul to do is not to heed the fact that the actions of its faculties fade away. It needs to get out of the way. In peaceful abundance, let it now say ‘yes’ to the meditation that God is immersed in it. Meditation is nothing but a mystical, peace, and God-loving flow. If you are given a room You will release the soul with the spirit of love.”

I must admit that this is a wonderful scripture for the Bible, “The Doctor Heal Yourself.” I must confess that I do not find it easy to be quiet inside, to stop bothering myself with overthinking, and to turn truly and sincerely toward God in openness, attention, and without excitement.

However, I have found that the key is to feel that excitement while carrying it calmly. To find ways to be present, grounded, connected, and open in this mess.

In this way we can go to pray, step within, connect with our core, and know as Julian of Norwich tells us, “In all sorts of things, all will be well.” Not perfect, maybe not as we would like, but it’s all “really good with my soul” with what’s out there at the moment.

There are two ways I find inner calm in difficult times. First, you know very well the APB of Inner Harmony. Create awareness, pause, and breathe.

The second is a deeper connection. It takes me about five to seven minutes a day. She uses Malachi’s “Circle of Hope” prayer wheels, adapted from the Labyrinth of Chartres, to stay “steadfast in prayer for an unshakable hope.”

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At Trinity United Church, on May 26 at 7 p.m., we’ll be revealing my Cloth Labyrinth. This will be the first time in 20 years that she returns to Trinity.

That evening I will share with you a practice that will calm the mind, reduce anxiety and stress, and awaken the soul.

We will come together as an inclusive loving community, creating connection and wild hope within the open board of the labyrinth, a path of prayer, and a sacred place of possibility.

Until the next time my friends breathe deeply the breath of God and be present, rooted and loving for all our relationships united as one. Many blessings, my friends.

John Cross, Dark Soul Night, trans. Mirabay Star (New York: Riverhead Books, 2002), 67, 68-69, 70.

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