Keeping the Dark Night of the Soul in Perspective

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So I continue with my Lenten process of surrender and renewal. This intentional period of self-reflection has brought up so much stuff for me, … stuff I thought I had dealt with, … stuff I thought was forgiven, … stuff that I hadn’t expected. In yesterday’s blog entry, I mentioned that the first step towards Transformation is a profound acceptance of current reality.

Yet, at this stage of the journey –  the beginnings of what the “dark night of the soul” most closely associated with St. John of the Cross – there is a tendency to want to wipe the slate clean. Either, we seek to invalidate the past, beating ourselves up for things long done: “If I had only done this, …” or “I should have done that. …” Or, we think the only way to evolve the Self is to rid ourselves of any and everything that has the appearance of not working in the present moment: We begin to cut out relationships, purge our homes of photographs and old letters, erase contacts from our smartphones and Facebook.

Neither of these approaches is wrong per se, so long as we remember that it is all in the name of creating space. Forgiveness isn’t about rewriting the past or the present; rather, it is about letting go in the present so that there is space for a new future to be birthed.

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