A Saint in the Darkness

Jeane: This dream seemed rather strange. A woman teacher from the school has arranged a trip to Africa. The first day we are there, the teacher explains that we have to make sure to use certain bathhouses because most of the water is not very safe.

I go to the first bathhouse. There are three shower stalls, but they’re all occupied by other women. It seems like they’re going to be occupied for a while, so I go a little further down the road to another bathhouse.

There’s a line at this one, so I’m just not sure when I’m going to be able to get a turn. I see myself carrying my toothbrush around and I’m not even sure if the water is okay at this particular bathhouse.

The next thing I know, I’m back with the group. I’m not sure if I ever got a chance to wash up. I’m then talking with the teacher and she is telling me about a person who has died who was a friend but also like a servant to the teacher.

This friend had also been on the trip. I’m not sure if this friend died because of the bad water or not. I remember feeling badly about it, but I’m suddenly back to wherever it was that we set out from in the United States.

We are talking to someone there who thinks going on such a trip would be really glamorous. I’m not sure what to tell them because they don’t understand what happened on our trip.

John: Wow! You’re describing the feeling that occurs when you become estranged from a certain sensibility about yourself. That estrangement is shown by you finding yourself in a foreign country.

In this foreign state, the waters seem dangerous, even poisonous, so you are unable to get a good handle on how you’re supposed to feel about things. It actually describes a type of dying that you’re coming to recognize.

In this scenario, dying is not necessarily a bad image. You feel alienated and estranged, unable to wash yourself for fear of the water. It makes you unable to comfortably settle to this foreign environment.

This is describing a stage that one goes through in development, and what’s amazing is that it’s like a dark light of the soul. You are with a teacher and have been told of the problems, so you do have some protection and safety. And you are able to stay within yourself in the strange environment. You are functioning.

But there is a sense that you aren’t able to trust anything in this condition. You don’t even completely trust yourself. You’re describing a condition that’s not so different from the descriptions of what Mother Teresa was dealing with in her work. It’s a type of darkness and, in this case, you are not able to get clean with it.

It’s a peculiar state. Christ made the statement, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?” That implies a state of being unable to hold a sense of things. In the case of Mother Teresa, she had a certain calling, or ecstasy, which went through her in her work, but then it disappeared and was gone for a long time. As far as she was concerned, after that the work felt dry and empty, yet she continued to do what she felt was needed.

Other people got tremendous inspiration from her, yet from her perspective something was missing. Little by little, the Archbishop figured out what was happening and tried to describe it to her. It was a condition that was experienced by Saint John of the Cross, and Saint Teresa of Avila went through it for a long period.

During this condition, they all thought that something was wrong until they realized that it’s a part of a process – it’s a stage one has to go through. Saint Teresa of Avila reconciled it for herself by realizing that she didn’t want to be a saint in heaven, she wanted to be a saint in darkness.

To be a saint in darkness, she ultimately had to reach a type of emptiness, of light, within herself. Your dream seems to be describing a journey in yourself that is something like that.

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