“Each of you is aware of a threshold you would cross that leaves no route open for return. That threshold is often a happiness so fulfilling that once you have experienced it you say, ‘I will take this despair no more.’ For others this threshold is the opposite, an experience of pain so great that they would rather die than continue on in such a way. (A Course of Love, 10.21)”
1 – Dark Night of the Soul
When we reach the threshold that today’s passage proclaims, we are on our way to better times–that, or we choose to die (but normally not by suicide). We have often heard that it is darkest just before the dawn, and it helps me to realize this when I feel a dis-ease or discomfort, or agitation (any negative emotion, in fact). The turning point that is called the “threshold” is, though, an example of living in the midst of the dark night of the soul (a characterization by St. John of the Cross). Most of us choose to put one foot in front of the other, and to go forward. Very few choose to end their lives before the span of their years has run out. (I speak now of choice in regard to physical ailments rather than the taking of one’s own life, for the physical ailments, even unto death, are a choice.)
2 – Accept Despair No Longer
Choosing to accept despair no longer is a choice for life, and a choice for a healthier life, both emotionally and physically. It is also a better life spiritually, though we do not often think in those terms. Sometimes the despair drives us to our knees, and we have an experience of God that has not come heretofore in our experience. This is the blessing of dark nights of the soul.
3 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain
But we do not have to learn through pain (from A Course in Miracles). It is said in ACIM that learning through pain is temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting. Here in the threshold, though, I think we are dealing with something qualitatively different. We have reached the limit that we can withstand in regard to pain. And we choose pain no more.
4 – Eckhart Tolle
The experience described in the above paragraph hints at the experience that Eckhart Tolle so clearly has described as leading to his Enlightenment (i.e., The Power of Now and A New Earth). The way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not so extreme, but this very low point can and does come to students/teachers of these two works. We cannot predict the future; we can only ask that God be gentle with us. And then we need to cooperate in that gentleness. He cannot reach us until we open the door from the inside.
I would choose a happiness so fulfilling today that there is no turning back to despair. I would reach the threshold that is You. You are my goal as well as my Blessing. Be with me as I walk along the path that You point out today.
May we live through dark nights of the soul, but may we not linger there. They are teaching devices, but we are reaching the point that we come to know by observation, not learning, as A Course of Love tells us. Be with me today as I seek to “learn” in the old way no more.
I cannot change overnight. I need You to make the transition to a better life. Help me to thank You for the blessings that You give so abundantly. And may I never forget to thank my brothers and sisters who are also there for me.