DISSOLUTION – 5th Stage of Insights


So begins what is called the “Knowledges of Suffering” or

“The Dark Night of the Soul” (to use St. John of the Cross’ terminology)

The Dark Night spans stages five through ten in this map, namely:

5. Dissolution

6. Fear

7. Misery

8. Disgust

9. Desire for Deliverance, and

10. Re-observation.

Once we have crossed the Arising and Passing Away

we shall enter insight stages five through ten

regardless of whether we want to.


It doesn’t matter if we practice from this point on; once we cross the A&P,

we are in the Dark Night to some degree and become what is sometimes called

a “Dark Night yogi”, or simply “darknighter”,

until we figure out how to get through it.

If we do get through it without getting to the first stage of enlightenment,

we will have to go through it again and again until we do.

I mean this in the most absolute terms.

It appears to be a hardwired part of human physiology as far as I can tell.


The center of our attention becomes the least clear area of experience,

and the periphery now predominates.

Just as listening to discordant, chromatic jazz with lots of jarring harmonies and instruments

playing more at odds with each other than in synchrony

takes some getting used to,

the quality of attention in the Dark Night is an acquired taste.

The sensations that arise tend to be very rich, complex, broad, and unsettling.

It tends to make us feel very buzzy and edgy in a scattered, diffuse, ungrounded, restless, irritated way.


The fact that the background is beginning to shake is a good sign of progress,

as this needs to happen for the cycle to be complete.

The goal is to see the three characteristics of the whole field.

This is a truly essential, if often painful and confusing,

…step towards that happening.

On the other hand,

 it is exactly the fact that the background has begun to

shake, crumble, and dissolve that can cause people to freak out.

Things were all fun and games when the primary object was shaking,

but when the sense of the observer, subjectivity itself, starts to fall apart,

that can be creepy all the way to utterly terrifying.

There are two basic challenges that occur during the Dark Night:

one emotional, the other perceptual.

The emotional challenge is

that our most disturbing and difficult psychological issues

tend to come bubbling up to the surface

with an intensity that we may never have known before.

The perceptual challenge is that we also begin to experience directly

the fundamental suffering of duality,

a suffering that has always been with us

but which we have never recognized with this level of intensity,

never mind ever clearly comprehending its deeper existential implications.

We face a profound and fundamental crisis of identity

as our insight into the three characteristics begins to demolish part of

the basic illusion of there being a separate or permanent “me”.


DISSOLUTION – 5th Stage of Insights

View on YouTube with inspiring Hawaiian Sailing Photos

From my


This song is performed in the ‘Dark Side’ of Hawaiian slack key of D Wahine.

 The Progress of Insight

Inspired by Daniel Ingram’s book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha,

With this section “The progress of Insight”

Inspired by Mahasi Sayadaw