Explaining Mysticism’s Dark Night of the Soul

In their book, Buddhism and Jungian Psychology, analysts J. Marvin Spiegelman and Mokusen Miyuki (who is also a Buddhist priest), mention the danger of "stagnation" following the integration of unconscious contents. This sounds a lot like the stage on the journey to enlightenment the mystics have famously called "the dark night of the soul." It…

Gnosticism Is Freelance Religion

Gnosticism is the practice of spiritual inquiry independent of established religious dogma. The term derives from the root, Gnosis, which refers to intuitive knowledge of spiritual truths or mysteries as originally possessed by ancient Gnostics. An essential aspect of Gnosticism is the confirmation of spiritual truths through reflection and personal experience. We might think of…

Exploring the Sufi Concept of Nafs

Many religious beliefs address the discrepancy between the ego and the unconscious mind, although not all of them fully understand what they are dealing with. Sufism’s adherents claim that the sect represents the inner mystical dimension of Islam. As in so many mystical belief systems, the aim of the individual Sufi is direct experience of…

Monotheism Ends Religion

Monotheism inevitably leads to agnosticism, and then atheism, because it cannot adequately explain the origins of evil. As Christians became increasingly better educated and more sophisticated they realized that the concept of an incredibly powerful evil spirit (the Devil) with a domain of his own (Hell) gave their religion a distinctly dualistic air. Since dualism…

Slicing the Life of Pi

The Introduction These are irrational times. Subjectivism (noun: the doctrine that knowledge and value are dependent on and limited by your subjective experience - WordWeb) is something I believe in myself, but the idea is being misused to justify some highly questionable moral and spiritual positions. We see this in Yann Martel's novel, Life of Pi.…

Outrunning the Hound of Heaven

There are philosophers and psychologists who claim that we can never be truly happy without some sort of spiritual (meaning religious) life. Writers eagerly turn out books about the human mind having an innate religious impulse, or explain how we all carry the “God gene.” In their view, irrationality is entirely justified. They summarily dismiss reason…