Quote of the day: DEPRESSION

April 8, 2010


The phrase “dark night of the soul”…was originally used by St. John of the Cross, a Carmelite monk who wrote in the sixteenth century…By John’s definition the dark night of the soul is not something that happens to spiritual beginners. He is fairly indulgent of novices, allowing for a spiritual honeymoon period in which you have glimpsed a goal – such as enlightenment or “union with God” in the Carmelite context – and you have focused your life more or less on the pursuit of it. There is a feeling that you’re improving and that, with enough hard work, you will achieve your goal. But then the dark night comes along and changes that.

John breaks down the dark night into two parts: the “dark night of the senses” and the “dark night of the spirit.” The dark night of the senses hits at the point where you have milked your initial enthusiasm for all it’s worth, and you’re starting to realize that reaching your goal is going to take a lot more work than you suspected. You’re going to have to renounce habitual ways of thinking and doing. The dark night of the senses is about living with the dryness of that, living without the traditional pleasures. Again, John of the Cross is assuming a level of austerity that’s daunting to any contemporary reader; it might even sound morbid and anti-life. But if you’ve ever wrestled with the issues of distraction, then you know what he’s talking about: how do you get your mind to stop running after meaningless desires and come home to what actually serves our ultimate happiness?

Tim Farrington, interviewed in The Sun

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