Daily Motivator for December 11th – Think highly of yourself

Think highly of yourself

Very often, your biggest limitations are the limitations you put on yourself.  What you expect has a profound effect on what you actually get.

If you think of yourself as too old, too inexperienced, uninformed, dull or  ordinary, those negative expectations influence the way you live. When you think  of yourself as creative, passionate, interesting, valuable, unique and genuine,  those positive expectations will be expressed in your life.

Thinking highly of yourself doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant or elitist.  When you truly think highly of yourself, you’ll end up living your life so as to  genuinely prove those thoughts accurate.

You can be held back by your expectations, or encouraged forward by your  expectations. Make the choice to be encouraged, inspired, motivated and  compelled by the positive things you expect of yourself.

Sure, there are many difficult challenges you’ll face in living a fulfilled,  successful life. Don’t add your own negative expectations to those  challenges.

Instead, expect the best of yourself in every moment and in every situation.  And ride those expectations forward to a life of true fulfillment.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

The Dark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night of the Soul

Fra.: Apfelmann

“The Dark Night of the Soul” is the name given to that experience of spiritual desolation that all students of the Occult pass through at one time or another. It is sometimes characterized by feelings that your occult studies or practices are not taken you anywhere, that the initial success that one is sometimes granted after a few months of occult working, has suddenly dried up. There comes a desire to give up on everything, to abandon exercises and meditation, as nothing seems to be working. St.John of the Cross. a christian mystic, said of this experience, that it; “…puts the sensory spiritual appetites to sleep, deadens them, and deprives them of the ability to find pleasure in anything. It binds the imagination, and impedes it from doing any good discursive work. It makes the memory cease, the intellect become dark and unable to understand anything, and hence it causes the will to become arid and constrained, and all the faculties empty and useless. And over this hangs a dense and burdensome cloud, which afflicts the soul, and keeps it withdrawn from the good.”

Though the beginner may view the onset of such an experience with alarm (I know I did), the “Dark Night” is not something bad or destructive. In one sense it may be seen as a trial, a test by which the Gods examine our resolve to continue with occult work, and if you are not completely whole-hearted about your magical studies, it is during this period (at its beginning) that you will give up. The Dark Night of the Soul should be welcomed, once recognized for what it is (I have always received an innate “warning” just before the onset of such a period), as a person might welcome an operation that will secure health and well-being. St.John of the Cross embraced the soul`s Dark Night as a Divine Appointment, calling it a period of “sheer grace” and adding;

“O guiding Night,

O Night more lovely than Dawn,

O Night that has united the lover with his beloved

Transforming the Lover in her Beloved.”

When entering the Dark Night one is overcome by a sense of spiritual dryness and depression. The notion, in some quarters, that all such experiences should be avoided, for a peaceful existence, shows up the superficiality of so much of contemporary living. The Dark Night is a way of bringing the Soul to stillness, so that deep psychic transformation may take place. All distractions must be set aside, and it is no good attempting to fight or channel the bursts of raw energy that from time to time may course through your being. This inner compulsion to set everything aside results in the outer depression, when nothing seems to excite. The only thing to do is obey your inner voice and become still, waiting for the inner transformation, (which the “Dark Night” heralds), to take place. You may not be aware for a very long time of the results of that inner change, but when the desire to work comes again and the depression lifts, the Dark Night has (for a moment) passed. No one can help during this time, and in many cases there is hardly anyone to turn for advice. One must disregard the well-meaning advice of family and friends to “snap out of it” this is no ordinary depression, but a deep spiritual experience which only those who have passed through themselves (in other words to a magical retreat) but for many, as the routines of everyday life prohibits this, all you can do is cultivate an inner solitude, a stillness and silence of heart, and wait, (like a chrysalis waits for the inner changes that will result in a butterfly) for the Transformation to work itself out. There are many such “Dark Nights” that the occult seeker must pass through during the mysterious process of mitigation. They are all trials but experience teaches one to cope more efficiently. With fractalic greetings and laughter * Fra.: Apfelmann *

Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

Author: caity

Often, sinking as low as I can sink comforts me. Hitting the bottom. If I can feel the floor, then at least I know that’s as low as I’ll ever go, and I do not have to fear falling down or sinking any deeper than this. It’s a sobering, numbing, and leveling feeling. I have found myself curled up in fetal position upon the black depths of the ocean floor more than a few times. I am safe there, because I know that I can go no lower. I can sleep there, because I am not filled with hopes or expectations to distract me or fill my mind with the fear of not attaining them. My nerves can rest, because once living in the state of my fear and dread confirmed, I have nothing to fear any longer.

Some have said that I needed medication or therapy for depression at these times. I used to try both until I realized that, despite what society believes, my soul needed these experiences. Now, I gladly choose depression, if that is the direction my heart is taking at a given time. When it wants to come back to me, I open the door, and say, “Welcome back, old friend. Come in, and sit with me. Teach me something new.” For one who walks in the dark gains excellent night vision, and can navigate through darkness much more easily than one who only goes out in daylight. So I’ll let the sad or dark times tether me down to the floor for at least a little while. If I can make it to the floor without drowning, then I shall never drown.

The dark night of the soul must come upon all of us, especially those of us who are deeply aware of our own spiritual quests. For how can we live in true, natural balance if we have not had our own personal struggles, sufferings, and sorrows? If we are never faced with total aloneness or even neglect, how and when will we ever learn to introspect and look solely to our own selves (or Higher Self) for comfort, love, wisdom, and guidance?

I am grateful for the era of the dark night in my life, for it was in this time that I discovered Wicca. Without the dark night of the soul, I would have never wanted to look deeper. Without the dark night, I may never have felt the need to seek for answers. Without my aloneness, I would have had others to look to, and would have never had to face myself, to look to my own heart, and learn to introspect and find my true spirit. My true face would not have shown its light to guide me through. And I’d still be living on the surface, trying desperately to block out fear of the unknown depths of the ocean, never finding my true face at the floor of my spirit, nor discovering my own capabilities and potential.

The dark night of the soul taught me how to hold and soothe my own self. And perhaps most significantly, the dark experiences of my past made me who I am today. Truly, I would not be half the person I have become if it was not for my wounds and sorrows. This realization has taught me to believe that every experience, even what we perceive as the darkest or most negative, is actually yet another learning experience, an experiment of our existence, and something through which we can gain knowledge and wisdom. There is truly no such thing as objective negativity; all is subjective.

In the Christian theology, and indeed within our mainstream society, we must never transgress over into darkness, for darkness is always “evil.” But to me, and to most practitioners of Earth-based spirituality, darkness is just as necessary as light, and is a healthy, natural, and educational component of the human experience. As well, balance and moderation are the keys to enlightenment. The dark is there to balance the light, not necessarily to be at war with it, thus the dark itself can still bring about enlightenment. And besides, in every great tale of mythology or lore, the great hero’s journey always includes descending into the underworld. It is my belief that we all must descend into our own underworld in order to get the most out of our journey here. I truly believe that darkness and pain is not an evil monster or devil to be feared, but instead a force that has an alternate method of helping us, of blessing us, and of teaching us some of life’s most important lessons.

And strangely, I have even found now, after my journey through deeper waters, that even though I have come out and into bright light again, and all is fairly well in my life, I somehow still seek aloneness. I somehow still wish to retreat to myself, to remember my sorrows, and to find my bed in darkness. I want to curl up in the fetal position on the lowest, most numbing floor of my pain, deep down where I am entirely by myself, just to feel and remember the sensations of sadness. Sadness is a universally shared aspect of existence and humanity, thus I will embrace it as a testament to my aliveness. And when I see it this way, it actually feels good to me when I hit rock bottom. It’s comforting to level myself with the lowest of sorrows and wallow in them for a while. It is part of the natural range of human emotions, part of the human experience. It even gives me a strangely sickening feeling, which somehow paradoxically alleviates my fears by confirming them.

I once read that to be a Witch is to be alone. Indeed, my loneliest times were when I was most attracted to the idea of being a Witch, and the most involved in seeking my own spirituality through Wicca. I find Wicca and Paganism so refreshing for their non-resistance to the range in human emotions, including the ones that may not feel as “good, ” with the understanding that aliveness and life itself is to be embraced and felt with the senses, and for their stressing of natural objective balance over subjective human judgment. A Witch understands that experiences are not objectively “good” or “bad, ” but depend upon one’s perspective. Both sides of all dualities (light and dark, yin and yang, male and female) are equal and necessary, not to be fought against one another nor made into a “versus.” I could not agree with this philosophy more.

In conclusion, I believe that dualities can, do, and must coexist… and that we can learn to not only deal with, but also be comfortable with and even benefit from both sides of every coin, both ends of any spectrum. So while although the light is usually seen as what’s “good, ” this does not make darkness “bad” by default; darkness is simply a necessary part of one’s spiritual journey, a balancer to the light. Like everything, it can be used for positive growth and for drawing inner-strength and spiritual enlightenment in an entirely new, different, and challenging way.

This is what the dark night of the soul has taught me… because I did not fight it, I let it in, and I let it teach me. What has the dark night of your soul taught you?