Well, I could probably take an hour or so and collect at least a dozen examples of occultists, yogis, meditators, alternative analysts, and esoteric investigators who evidence all the signs of chronic dark night insight cycles. Myself included, incidentally.
Now why would that be? The answer is quite simple actually. Once a particular person passes the threshold of what they call ‘penetrating the object’ in terms of investigating reality, they’ve essentially ruptured a dam holding back the sum total of ultimate reality, and from that point on, are engaged in a progressive process of death-rebirth, carried out at the basic sensory level on up.
That is, once you have the experience of knowing, not thinking, but knowing, that things are slippery, inconsistent, not as they appear to be, subject to definition or re-definition, fundamentally not satisfactory, or any number of other ways of experiencing the fundamental nature of reality, the mind is forced into a crisis of reorganisation that has only one real end.
The problem comes on two fronts: one is where people want to arrest the process of the mind in some final resolution, and the other is where people fail to reverse the figure/ground relationship of the mind to it’s object.
What I mean is, insight is, by definition, finding out something you didn’t know before, and that’s impossible unless you relinquish partial or incorrect perceptions in favor of more comprehensive and correct ones. That’s all well and good when it’s something trivial or with no personal significance, but nobody really wants to overturn their perceptions of self. This is akin, psychologically, to death. That means that the would be enlightened chronically either dig in and try to reify some view of what’s going on with them, or they focus too much on stuff out there, instead of looking inward at the sense of the observer.
You combine that with the ever intensifying sense of anxiety that I mentioned before, and you hve a recipe for all kinds of embarrasing flame outs, paranoid episodes, manic pronunications, manichean schema for interpeting reality, reversals and re-reversals of opinion, ecstatic bouts of relief from terror and confusion, and other increasingly desperate efforts to either arrest the process or redirect it from oneself and one’s deep sense of that self.
One of the most pernicious aspects is thinking that there is nothing else to do, nothing that can be done, or no way to do anything. Internalising the perception of impermanence means knowing that the mind is constantly reinventing and reorganising itself. Any section of belief or understanding that appears static is a delusion. The mind is a door that opens and opens and opens, forever. The moment it appears to not be opening in the slightest, is a sign that delusion has taken root. This is a hard thing for anyone to cope with, and especially for anyone who builds their self image around being enlightened or awakened. This is where the syndrome of the perpetual dark night basket case comes from.
You develop profound spiritual convictions or ultimate insights, but they’re always, always, unfinished. The part that can be finished is not the part that thinks, feels, or expresses itself. The self that has come this far must in turn be discarded. To actually finish this process requires that you let go of the exact thing that you’ve been leaning on up until that point, and most people can’t or won’t or don’t know to even do that. So you end up with a kind or relapsing sequence of near misses at true understanding. To make sense out of that cycle of being profoundly right, followed shortly by being profoundly wrong, requires a certain kind of deviant psychology that unfortunately infests the occult scene in general, and the occult internet, quite specifically.
PS: if any of you deviant scum use twitter, I’m now parading my psychosis there as well.