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Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?

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I used to do music and art for a living about a decade ago, before all the Spiritual Experiences began to happen. Eventually I went through a 3-4 year Dark Night of the Soul. When it ended, I was left in a state of Detachment, Dispassion, and Equanimity.

What seems to have gone with the Dark Night is all the talent and Fire I once had and was able to make a living out of. I now again have various lucrative opportunities in the Artistic fields, but it feels like the artist in me is dead. The fire and motivation is no longer there. Everything, besides a regular 9 to 5 and as much time possible for "practice" seems to be pointless and illusion based temptation.

I reckon I can still do the "art", however there is no "soul or oomph" to it like there used to be......

I'm just wondering if it's at all possible to regain those artistic and fiery aspects of myself that were once there prior to the DN.

Thanks .......

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
1/29/13 4:31 AM as a reply to racecar backwards.
You said it yourself, that 'oomph" is tension relieved somewhat by attainment. When dustin Hofmann arrived on set saying he didn't sleep for two days to get into character, Laurence Olivier said "you could try acting". As a person who does the arts, I can say technique is 99%, it is a convient myth that if you put your heart into something it's especially good. This is my opinion learned through unpleasantness

I suspect if you really crossed the a&p event and stayed in Dukkha nanas, then how do you know you left it for sure? Equanimity nana is a different beast to Dukkha nanas, I'm not sure one hangs out there for a year if you get sick of the dukkhas.

If you are accurate about your position, with your cutting edge being equanimity nana, then stream entry is a centimetre away. Then get to the next a&p and you'll be laughing and firey in no time. If you want a kind of inspiration regardless of nana, try formless realms of concentration.
On a deeper point however, it is possible you cannot ever mimic the enthusiasm of a deluded person about something...mundane again, that is part and parcel of this whole deal. The arts are concerned with 'content' and fashions and reactionary ideas.

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
1/29/13 6:35 AM as a reply to racecar backwards.
Hi,

First, what joshua said.

About his last comment:
On a deeper point however, it is possible you cannot ever mimic the enthusiasm of a deluded person about something...mundane again, that is part and parcel of this whole deal. The arts are concerned with 'content' and fashions and reactionary ideas.
In my opinion-- just in case you read it so-- Joshua is not saying that after SE your art will seem trivial or mundane and be lost forever--- though there can be some period of "can any worthwhile actions be taken and what?" And then all that seriousness and flummoxing slides away again: one has the ability to enjoy/do again but with less drain of DN/perseverating and a different proximity in "doing" and how (more pleasure, focus).

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
1/29/13 12:52 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Well I can say I do see the arts as mundane, seeing everything as Mundane and as (Buddha's 10,000 things). SO while I could honestly care less about art and doing any of it anymore, we all still have bills to pay, the body needs food, etc ...and I have opportunities awaiting me in these categories.

I think that's perhaps one of the Big issues ...everything is pointless ad mundane except practice and further letting go, surrender, SE, etc.

Everything I once was, is all gone, stripped away ...just a basic shell of a former self...... nothing left but to continue in practice.

Thanks Joshua and Katy for some deep insights on this. Well noted!!!!

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/1/13 10:23 AM as a reply to racecar backwards.
I don't know if I would call that state of "nothing's worth anything" accompanied by a fear of making money a "state of equanimity." Every time that I've experienced that state, it has come with a sense of fulfillment, completion, and metta. Granted, of course, everyone's experience is their own, but, as an artist of sorts myself, I would say this: If you want to feel that same passion and fire and aggression, then you might be looking to backtrack. But, if you are just looking to feel something that you feel is worthy of your art, or that your art is worthy of your time (from the way that you said that it seemed useless and mundane) try to create something using the gentleness of compassion. Try implementing more metta into your practice, and truly watching those around you. If you work with compassion, it is a much calmer form of emotion, and the creation may be quite different from what you are used to. But I assure you that it will be worth your time, to capture what wisdom you feel in your heart, in a way that the world may learn from it. Think of what you want to give of yourself, to others, through your art. You just got through the dukkha nanas- do you maybe think that you could create a piece that would show those that are still suffering that there is a peacefulness at the end of the tunnel? Just a thought. You may also find that the mundane-ness of life is its own wonder, and relief.

Love and Happiness,
Jazzi

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/2/13 4:00 PM as a reply to Jasmine Marie Engler.
Every thing is impermanent... and not really satisfying at all. There's no point really doing anything because I no longer really have preferences. I might as well just sit and get through this dark night of the soul.

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/3/13 1:14 AM as a reply to The Xzanth.
The Xzanth:
Every thing is impermanent... and not really satisfying at all. There's no point really doing anything because I no longer really have preferences. I might as well just sit and get through this dark night of the soul.


I am not certain if others will agree with me on this or not. I've dealt with my fair share of suffering, though, and am still dealing with it. And, after a long road, I must say that I sincerely believe it is a choice. Yes, you are correct, nothing holds any permanence. The world is always shifting. Doesn't that hold a hope all its own? That there will be an escape within the next few moments from your suffering, if you so want it? I spoke with a man once, who said that he was unhappy because it was so sunny. I said something about how he must love cloudy days, and he said that he disliked the rain. Or something to that degree, anyway. You can choose, at any moment, to change the scenario that you are in. If life has no permanence, then go with that! Embrace what is now, now, and then move freely onto what is next, next. Forget, for an instant, why it is making you miserable. So you haven't attained enlightenment. So, life is kind of mundane. It is LIFE!! YOU are living it. You can choose to go outside, and raise your face to the sun. You can choose to sit next to a stranger, and find out why their life is mundane, or unique. You can CHOOSE. In the end, you may never get whatever it is that you think you want. That DOESN'T matter. I may be contradicting everyone else on this forum by saying this, but breathe in, as hard as you can. FEEL the painful sensation as your lungs fill with too much air. Feel the relief of letting the breath go, and the painful sensation of having no air left. Within those ten seconds, you may find the truth- that there is joy in that pain. A small, tedious, painful joy, but the joy of life, nonetheless. You NEED breath, or you will die. That is a fact that you cannot change. But too much, and you hurt. You NEED to release that muscle. But no breath inside of you, and you hurt. So the joy is in realizing this. That you can choose to breathe, and live. You can choose to breathe out, and live. And with this, you may only get a little joy, my friend. But you might also feel that that sensation of pain is joy, as well; a reminder of your life continuing, and your courage to continue on.
You see, it is about perspective. You can choose to see that impermanence is depressing. You can choose to go out, constantly looking for new highs to get you out of the monotonous continuity of change. Or you can choose to enjoy each day, with its pain, and its sorrow, and its love, and its happiness, and its fear, as proof that you LIVE!! I find that every event that I have expectations for lets me down, immensely. But maybe, if you come at it with no expectations besides the joy of whatever you see, you will find that life is quite incredible in its simplicity. It is possible, I assure you, to greet each moment with happiness, knowing that it will never come again with quite the same experience. It is quite possible to love the quiet, monotonous moment, freed from the scope of movement, and equally possible to love the streaking movement of hundreds of movements all at once, cars and people moving all around you, with too much variety for the eye to focus on.

I sincerely suggest that you try to volunteer, or to help a friend. Or to listen to someone. It is very difficult, for me at least, to be unhappy with life when I am living in the service of another. It may change your perspective. Misery tends to come from an internal source, and, I would also say, usually (whatever form its surface takes) fear. Maybe, in this case, the fear that you don't matter? Or that life doesn't matter? Or that nothing really matters? That could be very scary. But very, very tiny things within the day could matter. You have no influence on somebody else's mood. But the joy of your smile may change their perspective enough to make them smile, or think. You have no influence over another's pain. But it might be that their pain is telling them that they need an ear, and that compassion will be enough to allow them to feel seen. And it may be that that stray smile will change your mood, or that, in your compassion for a stranger, you'll find compassion within yourself for yourself, as well. Just watch, and see, and do not expect anything, monotonous, changing, worthy, unworthy. Expectation is so deceptive an emotion. It belies hope, which truly means it secretly hides fear. Just accept.

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/3/13 9:10 AM as a reply to Jasmine Marie Engler.
I suspect that you are reading things into those words.

I am well. :-)

Hope is irrelevant. Depression is irrelevant. Everything is in constant mutation. Nothing is ultimately satisfying and there's not really anyone home at all.

I feel liberated by the acceptance of these simple truths. There is no need for hope for despair is not present in these realizations.

I will not cling to it,
Nor shall I hide from it,
I will only sit with it until...

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/3/13 11:24 AM as a reply to racecar backwards.
I too suffered for my attachment to music and the arts while in the dark night. I am finding that by accepting that that 'artistic fire' was never mine to begin with I am allowing, paradoxically, it to come playfully back to me.

If I may make a suggestion it would be to sing your despondency and to sing it like you don't care what it sounds like.

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/3/13 1:28 PM as a reply to racecar backwards.
I think that's perhaps one of the Big issues ...everything is pointless ad mundane except practice and further letting go, surrender, SE, etc.
Okay that "everything is pointless and mundane..." -- that is a diagnostic bit o' information. Without being a pompous know-it-all ass (or maybe really being one?) lemme say that that is a natural understanding, a natural occurrence, a natural lens for the mind to take up as present reality. That lens also transforms, changes, and that "pointless" understanding of things arises whether or not there is a deliberate meditation practice: it is part of being alive and self-reflective. It does naturally change in an sincere practice -- it just does -- there's no ability to "change this" and "manipulate" that sentiment into another form, butif a person continues sincerely and honestly to themselves and the conditions they are contributing to around them, that sentiment naturally changes/passes. Also, the practice (whatever it is, even if it's baseball, though maybe comic book illustators learn this first because people often think their work is useless) also usually gets subsumed into the "pointless" lens. Onward ho, though. Sincerity, honesty, practice everywhere.

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/3/13 6:30 PM as a reply to The Xzanth.
I too suffered for my attachment to music and the arts while in the dark night. (...) I am allowing, paradoxically, it to come playfully back to me.

If I may make a suggestion it would be to sing your despondency and to sing it like you don't care what it sounds like.
I love this advice. Showers and cars should be rated for their singability...

RE: Some talents and gifts gone because of Dark Night. Can I get them back?
Answer
2/4/13 1:03 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Well put, Katy. Wish there was a like button. ;-)

Jazzi