Sunday, March 22, 2009

46. Dark night of the soul, eighth installment

We were talking of the near completion of the first night

The soul has, “the yearning to serve God, which is a thing very pleasing to God”

Although purgation of the first night is complete, still three problems often occur at this stage. First, violent temptations for fornication. There may be vile and graphic scenes which are thrust on imagination. Second, the thoughts of blasphemies. And the third, the scruples that perplex the soul. These trials and temptations are sent by God, to those, who are selected to go to the second night. Their purpose is to keep them (the future travelers) ever on the alert.

As mentioned earlier, not everyone who completes the first night goes to the second night. Why? Only God knows.

There is a waiting period after the completion of the first night to entry into the second night. This period varies. In weaker spirits it may last into years.

Second night. Or purgation of the spiritual and sensual parts of soul.

One would think that the purification is complete after the first, miserable, violent and dark night. The traveler is now at peace. He is in love with God. His impurities have been removed. He is now once again getting sweetness and joy with his spiritual practices, even more than he used to have before he entered in the first dark night of purgation. Now he does not need formal meditation because he remembers God all the time.

Is he ready for union with God?

No, he is not. He still has impurities and deficiencies. He needs further purification. And that is performed during the second night.

The method of purification is the same that was used during the first night; aridities and trials.

There are several differences between this night and the previous night

1. Second night is harsher and more bitter than the first night
2. It is performed by God, without any participation of the soul. That is why it is called “infused contemplation” ( God infuses His boons directly in a secret way)
3. There is variable suspension of faculties during contemplation. There is gradual loss of will, imagination, memory, and understanding. In some states, the soul neither sees nor hears or feels. In deepest states, person is motionless like a dead body (but pulse is present)or statue. These states occur near the end of the second night.

Now the details of the second night.

To start, let us mention the defects in these travelers. First is that now they get spiritual sweetness so easily and so abundantly that they tend to see too much of actual or false visions and feelings (the receiving apparatus has become too sensitive). They may have false prophecies. Some are sent by the devil

The abundance of these benefits may fill them with pride which may become a huge concern because it affects their motives, and that may tarnish the purity of the soul.

The other imperfections are their old habits, which, like old stains on a fabric, come back.

To be continued

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