Entry into the soul's dark night is an unpleasant affair, marked by a loss of the capacity to practise meditation upon spiritual themes, an inability to enter into the mood of spiritual ecstasy, and yet a repulsion toward giving his mind over to anything else. Although he does not know it, although he feels bereft and forlorn, this is actually a result of the Overself's working within the subconscious regions of his being. It is intended to carry his development to a further stage which can appear only when the dark night comes to an end. And although it may seem useless in his own view to impose such seemingly unprofitable suffering upon him, it is bringing him more and more out of the clutches of his ego. Quite often, he fears that this is some punishment fallen upon him for his own errors or omissions, but he is wrong.
-- Notebooks Category 23: Advanced Contemplation > Chapter 3: The Dark Night of The Soul > # 55