Friday, June 03, 2011

Dark nights of the soul are meaningful events

Today "Curious" in Atlanta, Georgia writes about Thomas Moore's book, Dark Nights of the Soul for the Empathy Community. She includes, "just wanted to share my notes ..." however it is difficult to separate her responses from Moore's actual text. One direct quote should be Moore's distinction, "Depression is a label and a syndrome, while a dark night is a meaningful event. Depression is a psychological sickness; a dark night is a spiritual event."

Moore also writes, "Many people think that the point in life is to solve their problems and be happy. But happiness is usually a fleeting sensation, and you never get rid of problems. Your purpose in life may be to become more who you are and more engaged with the people and the life around you, to really live your life. This may sound obvious, yet many people spend their time avoiding life. A dark night may appear, paradoxically, as a way to return to living. It pares life down to its essentials and helps you get a new start." Unfortunately, "Curious" doesn't indicate Moore's words in quotation marks.

Her last reference is from page 117. Moore writes, "Perhaps the dark night comes upon you from inside to wake you up, to stir you and to steer you toward a new life. I believe this is the message of most religions, and certainly the gist of Christianity and Buddhism. Your dark night may be a bardo, a period of apparent lifelessness that precedes a new birth of meaning. Maybe your dark night is a gestation, a coming into being of a level of existence you have never dreamed of. Maybe your dark night is one big ironical challenge, just the opposite of what it appears to be – not a dying, but a birthing."

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