This is one of the most amazing diagrams I have ever come across…
St. John was a poet and an artist as well a great spiritual teacher, and I love this mysterious diagram he drew to illustrate “Mount Carmel”.
The middle section near the bottom has the words “nothing nothing nothing….”, which inspired this short poem…
Nothing, nothing, nothing
on the way
Yet on the summit
a clear cloud of light.
A better-known concept that St. John of the Cross wrote about is “the dark night of the soul”. He wanted people to realise that spiritual growth does not occur just through ecstatic experiences. It is not just joy and happiness that leads us to God. The mountaintop is a fantastic place to be – but our journey goes beyond into darkness and the unknown, where we have to lose our way to find our way. This is sometimes called “apophatic” thinking, or the “via negativa” (negative way).
I began in darkness with no guide but faith
and I longed for the love of God
I started to break from my habits of being
and my feeble capacity for love
I rejoiced in the blessed moments of peace
that came upon my soul
And now, in moments of clearness,
I see visions
The drives and the desires of my soul are being transformed
by the drives and the desires of God
I started my journey in darkness
now I travel in the dawning light
May I end in that brightness
where God shall be both day and night.
The poet R.S. Thomas wrote a poem with the title “Via Negativa” and you can read it here.
You might also be interested in this post on St. John of the Cross on an interesting blog called Anglican Carmelite Spirituality here.
Maybe he will inspire you?