Darkness Visible

The 16th century Spanish Mystic John of the Cross was most prolific when it came to spiritual writing that focused upon “All-Created-Things” that could hinder the path to Union with the Imageless purity of the Unborn. Although catholic in expedient form and using language that needed to appease the religious authority of the time, one can still discern the hidden “arcane” reason shining through to help the adept on the road to full Recollection of the Unborn Buddha Mind. If read in light of the Unborn, then his writings can prove to be of help for those adepts who struggle with their own “practice”. His classic poem, The Dark Night of the Soul, can be read as a loving process that depicts the movement from created obstructions to the very heart and development of the bodhichild. (Bodhisattvic Child of Light)

One dark night,
Fired with love’s urgent longings
–Ah, the sheer grace!—
I went out unseen,
My house being now all stilled;

This “night” is darkness to the senses; in a very real sense, the adept is now “free” of their bewitching influence by way of the “Turn-About” and, fired with the urgency of the antecedent vigilance, invokes the recollective-power of the Unborn. The effects are very grace-filled indeed! The volatile mind is now silenced as the “I” evaporates in the ecstasy of the recollective vigor; “My House” meaning the presence of the Five Skandhas (form, sensation, thought, motion, mortal consciousness) are no longer effective and hence “stilled”.

In darkness, and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised,
–Ah, the sheer grace!—
In darkness and concealment,
My house being now all stilled;

The luminous darkness of the Buddhic Light enhances securement from the former skandhic hold as if by a “secret ladder” ascending and descending right in the very midst of phenomena itself. The effects are very grace-filled indeed! The last two verses are a loving repetition of the recollective vigor.

On that glad night,
In secret, for no one saw me,
Nor did I look at anything,
With no other light or guide
Than the one that burned in my heart;

A further loving repetition of the recollective resolve; “In secret, for no one saw me”—meaning the gnostic and grace-filled moment cannot be understood nor recognized through the lens of skandhic perception; which, by the way, is an indicative reminder that phenomena is too ill-equipped and therefore void to the illuminating encounter; “Nor did I look at anything”—once again the “I” is absent since there is no phenomena for it to behold; “With no other light or guide Than the One that burned in my heart”—Indeed, the marvelous illuminating dark principle is all one needs since it is the authentic guide that is the constant pilot-light of the heart.

This guided me
More surely than the light of noon
To where Christ waited for me
–Him I knew so well—
In a place where no one else appeared.

IT alone is the guiding Light “More surely than the light of noon”—indeed! “To where Christ waited for me”—Christ—the anointed One of the Unborn, the great Bodhisattva Bringer of Light; “Him I knew so well, In a place where no one else appeared”—meaning, the “gotra”, the seedbed of the dormant Christ-bodhichild—a place where nothing else “created” appears.

O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
The Lover with His beloved,
Transforming the beloved in her Lover.

A very significant and highly mystical verse; after the first two lines that sing further praise to the dark wonder bestowed within the recollective resolve, the verse depicts the actual “union” of the bodhichild with the Unborn. The marvelous moment of consecrated ecstasy occurs as this mystic child becomes transformed within Unborn Light Itself.

Upon my flowering breast
Which I kept wholly for Him alone,
There He lay sleeping,
And I caressing Him
There in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

After union, the language depicts the loving intimacy and careful nurturing of this Self-Actualized Child and future Tathagata.

When the breeze blew from the turret
Parting His hair,
He wounded my neck
With His gentle hand,
Suspending all my senses.

The opening line of this verse is reminiscent of a line from the Flower Ornament Scripture: “The pure light does not shine in vain–Any who meet IT, IT will cause to dissolve heavy barriers…” The purity of the bodhichild bespeaks intimacy with the Light; when one is attuned with this gentle Child of Light, a “spiritual wound” occurs–meaning the dark night of spirit now overshadows the garish light of the senses; thus dissolving and suspending them.

I abandonded and forgot myself,
Laying my face on my Beloved;
All things ceased; I went out from myself,
Leaving all my cares
Forgotten among the lilies.

This final verse depicts the total abandonment of the false-self through the abiding and total attentive care of the bodhichild; nothing else matters now but this persistent and vigilant attentiveness. ALL one’s cares are now forgotten among the lilies…

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