How a man’s love is wonderfully transformed in the interior experience of this nothingness and nowhere.
How wonderfully is a man’s love transformed by the interior experience of this nothingness and this nowhere. The first time he looks upon it, the sins of his whole life rise up before him. No evil thought, word, or deed remains hidden. Mysteriously and darkly they are burned into it. No matter where he turns, they confront him until after great effort, painful remorse, and many bitter tears he has largely rubbed them away.
At times the sight is as terrible as a glimpse of hell and he is tempted to despair of ever being healed and relieved of his sore burden. Many arrive at this juncture in the interior life but the terrible, comfortless agony they experience facing themselves drives them back to thoughts of worldly pleasures. They seek without for relief in things of the flesh, unable to bear the spiritual emptiness within. But they have not understood that they were not ready for the spiritual comfort which would have succored then had they waited.
He who patiently abides in this darkness will be comforted and feel again a confidence about his destiny, for gradually he will see his past sins healed by grace. The pain continues yet he knows it will end for even now it grows less intense. Slowly he begins to realize that the suffering he endures is really not hell at all, but his purgatory. Then will come a time when he recognizes in that nothingness no particular sin but only the lump of sin itself, which though but a formless mass is none other than himself; he sees that in himself it is the root and pain of original sin. When at other times he begins to feel a marvelous strengthening and untold delights of joy and goodness, he wonders if this nothingness is not some heavenly paradise after all. And finally, there will come a moment when he experiences such peace and repose in that darkness that he thinks it must be God himself.
Yes, he will suppose this nothingness to be one thing and another, yet to the last it will remain a cloud of unknowing between him and his God.
From The Cloud of Unknowing, Chapter 69
Osho says about The Cloud of Unknowing:
“One of the most important statements about mysticism in the Western hemisphere is the book called The Cloud of Unknowing. The name of the author is not known; it is good that we don’t know who wrote it. It indicates one thing: that before he wrote it he had disappeared into a cloud of unknowing. It is the only book in the Western world which comes close to the Upanishads, The Tao Te Ching, The Dhammapada. There is a rare insight in it.
First he calls it a cloud. A cloud is vague, with no definable limits. It is constantly changing; it is not static – never, even for two consecutive moments, is it the same. It is a flux, it is pure change. And there is nothing substantial in it. If you hold it in your hand just mist will be left, nothing else. Maybe your hands will become wet, but you will not find any cloud in your fist.”
From Theologia Mystica, Discourse #11