Dark Night of the Soul
The pathway to peace, and healing
Book1 - Night of Sense - Chapter 10: "During the time of the aridities of this night of sense, spiritual persons suffer great trials, by reason not so much of the aridities which they suffer, but, as of the fear they have of being lost on the road, thinking that all spiritual blessing is over for them, and that God has abandoned them, since they find no help or pleasure in good things. Then they grow weary, and endeavor as they have been accustomed to, to concentrate their faculties with some degree of pleasure, upon some object of meditation, thinking that when they are not doing this, they are doing nothing. These souls turn back at such a time, if there is none who understands them; they abandon the road or lose courage. Thus they fatigue and overwork their nature, imagining that they are failing through negligence or sin. (CHB editor: often leads to anxiety and depression). But this trouble that they are taking is quite useless, for God is now leading them by another road, which is that of contemplation, and is very different from the first; for the one is of meditation and reasoning, and the other belongs neither to imagination nor reasoning. It is well for those who find themselves in this condition, to take comfort, to persevere in patience, and to be in no wise afflicted. Let them trust in God, Who abandons not those that seek Him with a simple and right heart, and will not fail to give them what is needful for the road, until He brings them into the clear and pure light of love. The way in which they are to conduct themselves in this night of sense, is to not devote themselves to reasoning and meditation, since this is not the time for it, but, to allow the soul to remain in peace and quietness, although it may seem clear to them that they are doing nothing and are wasting their time, and that it is because of their weakness that they have no desire in that state to think of anything. The truth is that they will be doing quite sufficient if they have patience, and persevere in prayer without making any effort. 73 What they must do, is merely to leave the soul free, disencumbered, and at rest from all knowledge and thought, troubling not themselves about what they shall think or meditate upon, but contenting themselves with merely a peaceful and loving attentiveness toward God. And in being without desire to have experience of Him or to perceive Him. For all these yearnings disquiet and distract the soul from the peaceful quiet and sweet ease of contemplation which is granted to it. 5 And although further scruples may come to them—that they are wasting their time, and that it would be well for them to do something else, let them suffer these scruples and remain in peace. For if such a soul should desire to make any effort of its own with its interior faculties, this means that it will hinder and lose the blessings of peace and ease of the soul that God is instilling and impressing upon it. It is just as if some painter were painting or dyeing a face; if the sitter were to move because he desired to do something, he would prevent the painter from accomplishing anything and would disturb him in what he was doing. And thus, when the soul desires to remain in inward ease and peace, any operation, affection, or attentions it may seek to indulge, 74 will distract it and disquiet it, and make it conscious of aridity and emptiness of sense. For the more a soul endeavors to find support in affection and knowledge, the more will it feel the lack of these. 6. It behooves such a soul to pay no heed if the operations of its faculties become lost to it; but rather desire that this should happen quickly. By not hindering the operation of infused contemplation that God is bestowing upon it, it can receive this with more peaceful abundance, and cause its spirit to be en-kindled, and to burn with love. For contemplation is naught else than a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion from God, which, if it be permitted, en-kindles the soul with the spirit of love".