THE HOPES AND FEARS that we all feel from time to time strike most stirringly in the middle of the night. This is especially noticeable if we happen to wake and consciously recall what is most significant or going on in our life at that particular moment. If we’re hopeful and excited about something, for example, we can barely contain ourselves and, as a result, sleep can elude us for hours on end. Conversely, if we’re fearful about something, sleep will definitely elude us and that worry can have us languishing in a state of unease and dread, and sometimes deep despair.
The phrase, “the spiritual midnight” came to me in a dream. In its fullest expression, however, it came through as “the forensic spiritual midnight”, which added a curious twist to the message.
I knew, at once, upon coming fully awake exactly why the Universal Mind impressed this particular expression on me. I was being told, despite the complete change of life which the coronavirus pandemic had forced upon me, to continue examining the subject of “spirituality” with microscopic intensity, for what could be more important than cultivating deep insight when the chips are down and events of a dramatic nature are unfolding with a shocking rush? What could be more vital in such a time than acting wisely and striving hard to keep one’s peace of mind?
As the Zen master, Hakuin, once put it: “Should you desire the great tranquility, prepare to sweat white beads.”
In essence, when truth is laid bare in the midnight hour, one sees reality in the raw. At that moment, one is made to face one’s hopes and fears in the very starkest of terms, and one’s mortality even.
More formally, this inner battle between hope and fear during a period of great upheaval might be called, “the spiritual dialectic”.
The word dialectic, which derives from the Greek word for “debate”, has many interesting meanings. It refers, first and foremost, to “the art of investigating the truth of opinions”. It also refers to “logical disputation; enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions; and the existence or action of opposing social forces”.
Since we are all social beings, it means that we are never alone in our efforts to come to a greater understanding of spiritual issues. After all, we are all profoundly influenced by the opinions of others, but this actually dovetails perfectly into the “art of investigating the truth of opinions”, for an “opinion”, of course, is just that. It is not necessarily a statement of “fact”.
In the realm of spirituality, as most of us know and agree, “fact” is essentially impossible to obtain.
In any case, emotion is far and away the more powerful persuader in this arena. Strong emotion can easily hold sway over the opinions we each adopt and can keep them firmly in place for decades. What this tells us is that emotion – how we “feel” about a matter – is without a doubt the more critical catalyst in determining the way we reach whatever beliefs to which we ultimately choose to subscribe. Spiritual beliefs, after all, are based on subjective choices, not objective ones, and so if a belief emotionally satisfies the soul, then that pretty much makes it game over.
While a spiritual dialectic goes on within almost every person and facet of society, the passion that attends this debate is quite simply more appealing than those arguments which have been presented via philosophical treatises. Billions of people do not adhere to certain religions because of logic or the intellectual forensics which have been presented over the centuries, but due to the emotional punch that goes with feeling passionately about a specific perception of a higher dimensional power and a more eternal domain.
This is probably why Universal Mind impressed the notion of a “forensic spiritual midnight” upon me. The emotion that underlines that phrase leapt out. It certainly intrigued me enough to set me wondering.
In truth, I am not sure, even now, if this phrase relates in some lateral way to the idea that we are mere minutes or seconds from some apocalyptic conflagration that might end the world as we know it or if the notion simply references that raw, emotional nakedness which truth lays bare in the middle of a long dark night of the soul.
Either way, there is great power in it. And so the quest, the art of investigation, continues… It continues in such a profound and subtle manner that I can only recommend that we all pursue it with a metaphorical magnifying glass or, as mentioned, with microscopic intensity and a laser-like focus, and get deep down into the detail of what spirituality is and what it personally means to us, for in all probability, it is the most significant and important work we can ever do.
In my humble opinion, if the spiritual forensics uncovered thus far are to be believed, it truly seems to have eternal consequences for each and every one of us.