NB: I found this an interesting take. The AI did a good job explaining the enigmatic reference of John of the Cross to a "drying out" being an essential part of the higher spiritual life.

Alexander wrote:

What does John of the Cross mean when he refers to the dark night of the soul being a spiritual "drying out"? Try to explain it in mechanical terms. It's difficult and elusive to explain.


ChatGPT wrote:

When John of the Cross refers to the dark night of the soul as a spiritual "drying out," he is describing a profound and challenging phase in the spiritual journey where an individual experiences a loss of spiritual consolation and a sense of emptiness. While it is difficult to explain such a spiritual phenomenon in mechanical or scientific terms, we can explore it metaphorically to provide some understanding.

In mechanical terms, we can think of the dark night of the soul as a period of inner transformation and growth that involves a shift in the individual's spiritual dynamics. It can be likened to a process of purification or refinement, where the old structures, attachments, and illusions are broken down to make way for deeper spiritual realization and connection.

During this process, it may seem as if the individual's previous sources of spiritual nourishment and comfort, such as experiences of divine presence or feelings of connection, have diminished or disappeared. It can be a disorienting and challenging experience, leaving one feeling spiritually parched or dried out.

In mechanical terms, we could compare this to a restructuring or rewiring of the individual's spiritual and psychological systems. Just as a machine or system may undergo maintenance or upgrades, the dark night of the soul can be seen as a time of recalibration and realignment of one's spiritual framework. It involves letting go of attachments, illusions, and ego-based desires that hinder spiritual growth.

Similar to a machine undergoing a process of disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly, the dark night of the soul involves a dismantling of old patterns, beliefs, and self-identifications that no longer serve the individual's spiritual development. This disassembling process may lead to feelings of emptiness, uncertainty, and a sense of loss.

However, just as a machine or system undergoes this process to become more efficient, robust, and aligned with its purpose, the dark night of the soul serves a transformative purpose in the individual's spiritual journey. It invites a deeper surrender and reliance on the divine, a stripping away of the ego's control, and a cultivation of trust in the unfolding of one's spiritual path.

While these mechanical analogies provide a limited understanding of the dark night of the soul, it is important to remember that the experience itself is deeply personal, subjective, and transcends mechanical explanations. It is ultimately a mystical and spiritual phenomenon that involves a profound transformation and purification of the individual's inner being, leading to a deeper union with the divine.