In my personal spiritual evolution I turned first to the eastern traditions because I had seen the corruption of the western traditions and the eastern traditions offered me a way to find inner peace and not just some nebulous concept like salvation.
After finding some degree of inner peace and the clarity that comes with it I turned to the western traditions and read about Saint Theresa’s “Dark Night of the Soul”, which I was now more prepared to deal with because of my skills developed via the eastern traditions. Because of my study and seeking I was getting very depressed as I saw though the ideas and beliefs I had had from childhood and seeing that they were just my wishful thinking and not reality. This depression was really a ‘dark night of the soul’ in which I truly felt abandoned by God, Consciousness and/or life itself. There did not seem to be any real reason to continue living.
Around this time I read a book titled, “The Experience of No Self” by a former Catholic nun who was documenting her own spiritual evolution and process. In this book she talked about how she spent twenty years in the Dark Night of the Soul. Since I was experiencing what she described I was even more depressed as I pondered that I might be stuck in this dark place for twenty years.
Yet, at the same time I was also studying Zen and it was showing me that all the negativity I was experiencing was just thoughts in the mind. When it finally dawned on me that my depression was just a product of my thinking, just thoughts in my mind, I laughed at myself for making the thoughts so important.
With this laughing I realized I was immediately out of this dark night experience, my laughter being the light that was shined on my reality for me to see again.
Of course I would fall back into my negativity and fall back in to that pit of darkness, but eventually I would realize what I was doing to myself and again laugh at myself and my thoughts thus popping me out of that dark pit and depression and back into the light.
Every night I would set and watch what was coming up for me in my mind and in my body. When I would go into this thinking that produced depression or negativity. I would sometimes get caught up in for a while in the thinking and depression until I would catch myself seeing what I was doing to myself and would laugh at my silliness. The laughter would feel so good I just dwelled in that feeling until I was tired and there everything would drift back into rest, equanimity and a deep inner peace.
This process made it easier to get to equanimity than if I was just trying to get to equanimity, for the very trying itself worked against my intention. The more I tried to get out of negativity and into equanimity the more resistance and negativity I experienced. I realized later that it was my effort or will that was creating the tension within my body/mind that I was experiencing as negativity, pain and suffering and keeping me from the equanimity and clarity I was seeking.
I realized that by going beyond equanimity from the negative into the positive emotional states and then resting in that positive state thus allowing the body/mind/human instrument to relax and drift back to a place of equanimity and inner peace allowing clarity which enable one to see the truth that permanently sets them free to enjoy and love ALL that life has to offer.