A Turning From Inner Darkness to Inner Light

In my lowest depths of being lost, a meaninglessness of life and myself weighed heavy on me. I felt emptied out, neither happy or sad, just nothing. Every task, every day big and small was an annoying little burden. Nothing felt particularly challenging or painful just meaningless. Effort in any direction felt like too much effort. “What’s the point?” was the common mood. But somehow lost within these dark thoughts and feelings my true self remained unconvinced. She was somewhat afraid and kept reminding me “something is wrong, these thoughts are not you”. She sensed how far astray I had wandered from myself, how attentively and deeply I was staring into darkness and delusions, into meaninglessness.

In this state one of my favorite books, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, started popping into mind. Looking back, it seems my real self was trying to turn my attention to the light. Specifically it was the a character’s final realizations that kept arising within my mind: (Big Anna Karenina SPOILER below, so skip following quote if you want to avoid spoiler)

“but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it.”

When I had read Anna Karenina many years before those words, that character, Tolstoy, had caught my attention and showed me a glimpse of the beautiful and good meaning within me, within us all, and within the world. I had been too lost within delusions (of myself and the world) at the time to see any truth to Tolstoy’s words though. I recognized how profound it was, but couldn’t see how it had any relevance to my “real life”. So my attention quickly moved back to the many distractions of “true” life.

Yet my heart must have stored away Tolstoy’s words. For when the many delusions/darkness (which I had been staring into for as long as I can remember) started to feel meaningless, suddenly I was free to turn my attention elsewhere. I started encountering my real self more often. This idea from Tolstoy, my “power” to add even a small “positive meaning of goodness” to life, was one of the earliest beautiful and good ideas I kept encountering. Others followed as she poured out the beautiful and good (sacred even) thoughts, feelings, and dreams, etc. which I had gathered through life and protected away in my heart.

Finally I was back to myself and the world. For the first time in my adult life I was facing the beautiful and the good with enough freedom from delusions/darkness to have FAITH. Faith that there was truth in beauty and goodness It wasn’t a truth I could immediately see, but I was determined to no longer reject it outright as false. The old life long beliefs had finally shown their real face, paths of emptiness and meaninglessness to an empty and meaningless destination. They no longer had any appeal. I was determined to find and see the goodness and the beauty everywhere. It felt my heart already knew it was there (maybe it remembers what we can not from childhood). I started seeking out others’ visions and understandings throughout history on the beauty and the goodness (on that which they love).

The World Inside.

When the old ego scripts were failing to find contentment for me day after day. I was lost. I had identified with them for what seemed/seems like forever. I do not remember a time before them. Though I do suspect I remember, often in a wordless way, the original/real me (the “I am”) and maybe earlier ego scripts I’ve identified with.

Looking back it appears ego scripts have been suggested to my mind (ego system?) by people around me or people’s ego scripts expressed and preserved (through books, music, movies, video, etc.). Some ego scripts others showed me my “I am” loved, it wanted to flow into them/live them, but it didn’t know how. These beautiful, good, and true ego scripts were stored inside me (my ego system) in my memory. There was a vividness to them, a pull. Through life when they would pop up internally before my “I am” they never appeared ugly or bad, but my faith in the scripts being possible to be lived in for me or for anyone was always quite low. Quickly they would be deemed a beautiful, good, impossible dream and “I am” would turn attention to something else. When I look back those ego scripts I feel appeared before me very end goal laden. While my “I am” loved that end goal picture before me, my “I am” didn’t yet seem able to see any of that goal already before me in the present or any paths (steps) in the present moment that could be smoothly taken that would be a path to that end goal (while at the same time having the good and beauty of that goal already within it). This feels difficult to express. I am still learning how to express how my inner world seemed and is, and how I interacted and now interact with it.

It feels an important shift happened within me when my old ego scripts I had been flowing into/living (as opposed to just storing and sometimes studying) started commanding, it felt like, my “I am” to do things so powerfully against what the “I am” loves. It’s as if alarm bells went off. I couldn’t yet ground “I am” (couldn’t find myself), but I was staring into those ego scripts which I had picked up each morning and flowed into effortlessly for so long and the flow was suddenly being stopped as my “I am” seemed to be saying “NO” run it again this output (these actions) you suggest do not reflect who I know i am, run it again, and over and over ugly, un good, untrue outputs, run it again!. And exhaustion set it. My “I am” had no distance yet to understand what was happening. But the journey to that understanding was hitting a point, important times of accelerated growth were right ahead. Though in that time, in the moment, I felt I was in one of the darkest places of my life. It seems to have been the dark night of my soul. But within my ego system sending out the old ego scripts over and over(the one’s I had been choosing to flow into/live all my life), but outside my attention in the moment, lay the ego scripts “I am” loved. Their moment was near.

Dark Night of the Soul and Science of Enlightenment

These words from Eckhart Tolle brought me a sense of clarity in some of the darkest and confusing days in this journey back self.

https://www.eckharttolle.com/eckhart-on-the-dark-night-of-the-soul/

https://www.eckharttolle.com/power-of-now-excerpt/

I also found this Q&A with the neuroscientist Andrew Newberg incredibly helpful in making sense of my experiences on this journey back to self:

https://www.haverford.edu/college-communications/news/qa-andrew-newberg-’88

I hope these resources bring understanding, peace, or hope to others.