Excerpt About Hell

Count on the Arising of the "Dark Night"

Our understanding of the conditioned mind supports the revelation of new aspects of being. We see that even though the causes of suffering keep becoming more subtle, one thing runs through all of them: ignorance. We just don’t know what is real. As our exploration and inquiry deepen our
awareness, understanding, and knowledge, we begin to penetrate the ignorance. The new understanding might inevitably make us aware of much more suffering than we were conscious of before the exploration. We might even begin to experience our suffering in a previously unimagined but actually beautiful way: the sense of the “dark night of the soul,” the sense of being in hell. Everyone who does the work goes through this. If you haven’t been through this dark night yet, you can count on its happening if you continue on this path. The time will come when you will have to struggle with deep suffering as you confront deep beliefs about yourself and about reality. And there is no one you can blame for this suffering; it is not a matter of history. It is a matter of beginning to see reality and beginning to confront your ignorance. This is a great struggle because the mind is deeply habituated, and it is hard to let go of those entrenched beliefs and attachments. Suffering and conflict will become intense for all of us. Although there is no way around the suffering, it helps somewhat to know that it is a normal part of our work.

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