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The Mystic's Life Lesson #27
The seeker who doesnít have an enlightened teacher needs to be warned about two experiences along the way. This knowledge may not be necessary for everyone to know. However, when you donít have a teacher, it is essential to be forewarned. These two potential threats to your advancement are called the Terror of the Threshold and the Dark Night of the Soul.
If youíve been progressing steadily and are deeply honest with yourself, you may bypass both of these events. You may not need them in order to overcome your blind spots. Your journey, because of your painstaking steadiness and continual growth, will likely spare you from these emotionally jarring times. It is especially true that you will bypass these events if you develop your whole being evenly. That is:
Having made it clear then that you may never know these two frightening experiences personally, and may wonder why some people are going through them, letís explore "The Terror."
Pretensions of Goodness
Usually you embark on the path to higher consciousness with some very good opinions of yourself. You know youíre not perfect but youíre certainly as good as others ó perhaps a little better. Youíve often observed many times in life that you were the correct one or did the right thing. Perhaps youíve been misunderstood but youíve generally, nevertheless, been in the right. Most often, you feel, people have hurt you, or outraged you, far and away more than you have hurt or outraged them.
Proceeding for a few weeks or months down the road toward higher consciousness, you may begin to get the hunch youíre not as okay as you first thought. In fact, there are times, you now recognize, you behaved like a creep. At other times you did the right deed but for the wrong reason. Your motivation seemed to be kindly but it was ó you know within your heart ó covertly selfish. You recall you often tried to take the advantage, even with your friends. Indeed, you begin to see you have pretensions of goodness at times without the substance of goodness inside.
Becoming more thoughtful, you easily observe during your daily life that there are times youíre ashamed or embarrassed by your old feelings of jealousy or unreasonable anger toward another person. "No," you tell yourself, "perhaps Iím not as great as I like to think."
Your reflections and observations intensify in the cold light of truth.
Terror of the Threshold
Suddenly, in the middle of the night or during meditation, you, in your search for truth, have a frightening experience. Itís called the terror of the threshold, and the word terror is apt. Striving to enter into a higher realm of consciousness ó striving to enter the portal of greater love, truth, and beauty ó you, all at once, in one total impression, find yourself gazing into a horrifying sight. You perceive your evil. There, ever so vividly, your cruel and thoughtless actions stand revealed to your inner sight. You see these ghastly images, while feeling deep pain. Remorse wells up; but in your terror you cannot stop the sight of such selfishness, such foul thinking, such egocentricity. Your emotions seem so base, you feel youíre looking at an animal. Yet, in all the terror, you know, inescapably, you are seeing yourself. Thatís the terror of it.
You clearly see yourself, in myriad examples, as an enemy of Light. You have, for your own purposes, limited or denied goodness. You have hurt others. You have, for some personal gain, conspired against good people ó or blocked them. You have spoken ill of others. You have tormented people with your insults. With tears you realize you have often been given a choice of light or darkness and you have, sometimes eagerly, sometimes slowly after great pondering, chosen the darkness. Oh, the revulsion of it all! You see your evil in such detail, with so many proofs.
"Oh, what a horrible person Iíve been!" you say from the agony of your soul. "So manipulative! So conniving! How like a cunning animal! How unlike a human being. How unlike my dreams and pretensions of my true nature have I behaved! In thought, word, and deed I have stood against life and goodness itself. It is undeniably evident.
"Oh, Iím terrified," you cry. "A thousand years of remorse will still not relieve my guilt about what I have done to others, to myself, to my Lord. How silly are my pretensions to goodness. How foolish to conceive of myself entering higher consciousness. I tremble in shock, convicted."
Much weeping happens. Your whole body sobs. You have a growing sense of helplessness due to the acknowledgement of your allegiance to evil thoughts, words, and actions. You feel you stink at every level, and oh, how putridly.
Convicted and Purged
Then morning arrives and you go about your daily life smiling, doing your job, but feeling empty inside ó empty and very clean. In your terror of the threshold and your profound remorse, many longtime personal blockages and obstacles are released. In your admissions of self-centered evil and insufferable pettiness, your inner cleansing is so great that a new life can begin. Through the terror of the threshold, months, perhaps years, or even greater time spans of limitations within your mental and emotional nature are released. You become able to think and feel love at extremely subtle and satisfying levels. Your remorse and terror make you very humble and ever so appreciative of that grace or goodness which sustains your life ó even though you have been an opponent of life.
Convicted, and also purged, you vigorously turn to a higher life. Your condemnation of others is totally gone. Your reliance on higher mercy and a new way of life is readily enforced.
You become, through the terror of the threshold, humbled and all the readier for the pursuit of higher consciousness, even if it should take you forever to find it. Abhorring what you have seen in yourself, you actively seek healing. You will do anything you can to become a better person each day.
Sometimes men and women are not capable of beholding the whole terror in a two or three-hour period. In these instances, the terror experience occurs five or six times perhaps, over a period of several weeks with the process fulfilling itself in specific stages. Each stage relates to a general area in which you have denied yourself and others the fullness of life.
The terror experience is so powerful that your hair seems to stand on end. You have to be in a very healthy state of mind for such a powerful event to occur. Those who are suffering some degree of mental illness are denied this experience because it would be too crushing. Instead, they live with the sense there is an explosive guilt welling up within them. They need the tender lancing of a professional counselor.
A Cleansed Heart
Through your personal terror and remorse, your emotional nature becomes so free of condemnation of others that you are capable of a greater fellowship with all people. The heart, often so full of negativity, deeply needs to be cleaned out if love is ever to dwell in it for any length of time. Certainly, if your love is to be ongoing and a constant state of relationship is to occur, a clearing away is absolutely essential.
The ordeal of your private terror brings renewal. You are mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and often physically refreshed. Through the Terror of the Threshold a new, humble, and eager seeker steps from the dark way, from old tendencies, into the light, and into a life of light.