I am going through another dark night. I feel this oppressive vibe crushing down on my mind. I am trying not to take it personally. It felt like some people were being a bit off with me today, but I am determined not to let other’s moods affect mine.
If other people judge me, well that’s their problem. I know I have been far from perfect in the past, but that is the past. It is not who I am now, I am not the same person I was back then.
I have done my best to learn from past mistakes but
reliving them over and over is not going to help anyone. The best thing I can
do is resolve never to make those same mistakes again and move on, keep persevering
on the noble eightfold path. Turn something bad into something good. That’s how
I make amends and put right the bad kamma from the past. But I won’t punish
myself anymore for mistakes I made when I was younger. I was ignorant and didn’t
know any better. It is cruel to punish oneself for the past. Noone can go back
and change it. What good does it do to continually relive it. I am not that
person anymore. I’ve changed.
I will just allow myself to be misunderstood by others without worrying about correcting them. I know what’s in my heart and where I am in my spiritual development, as do my deva friends. What others think of me is their business. I don’t have to take on board anyone else’s negativity. I am not responsible for what others think. I am only responsible for what I think. And I don’t want to think negative thoughts or feel ill will.
I remember something a Buddhist teacher said once, that when difficulties like this arise, remember it is just the Buddha testing you, to see how far gone you are (-:
I have been here before, and the dark night usually happens just before I am about to make a sudden transition and make progress. It often feels darkest just before the light returns and becomes brighter still.
The dark night can be a sign one is making progress
on the spiritual journey. I am getting familiar with this pattern. What I must
do is try very hard not to react to it. No matter how uncomfortable and
agitated I feel. I must not say or do anything I will regret later. Try to find
some stillness and equanimity.
The truth is that I am the cause of my suffering, no one else is. It is the craving within me that causes my problems. The greed, hate, delusion, ignorance, and conceit. It isn’t something outside the mind, it is something within it. And that means I have the power to change it.
If I react to the dark night, it will only increase the tendency of the mind to react negatively to it again in the future. But by choosing not to react, to patiently endure the unpleasant feelings and practise the four right efforts. That negative tendency of the mind gets weaker, and the power of right effort and mindfulness gets stronger.
This world can make you feel ashamed to be alone. But it is okay to be alone. I can be my own best friend. My own teacher, my own refuge. There’s great power in seeing that.
The noble eightfold path goes against the stream of this modern world, and the further one gets on the path, the lonelier it can feel.
It has always been that way though, only the minority of people search for the higher paths and fruits. The majority just want the world and are content to spend their days chasing after sense-impressions and never going beyond that. But I no longer find excitement in the world. The things I used to enjoy; I have lost interest in now. I hunger for higher things. For nibbana, for liberation from craving, relief from the pain of wanting.
And this spiritual hunger is not a bad thing. Some people criticise me for having the desire to liberate the mind. But the Buddha encouraged it, he talked about right desire, he called it chanda. If one does not aspire to realise nibbana, one will never make effort, and if one never makes effort, one will never realise the paths and fruits of enlightenment. Effort is fuelled by desire. It’s what keeps you walking. It is only when the work has been done, that one lets go of the desire for liberation.
Do not be afraid to be alone. Sometimes solitude is
the wisest course of action to take when the world is on fire with greed, hate
and delusion. Sometimes solitude is the only way to make progress on the path.
In the words of the Buddha:
“ If you find an alert companion, a wise and virtuous friend, then, overcoming all adversities, wander with them, joyful and mindful.
If you find no alert companion, no wise and virtuous friend, then, like a king who flees his conquered realm, wander alone like a tusker in the wilds.
It’s better to wander alone, than have fellowship with fools. Wander alone and do no wrong, at ease like a tusker in the wilds.”