During the "dark night of the soul," as it is called by Spanish mystics, the abrupt yet brief joy of the first awakening to existence of a diviner life is succeeded and thrown into vivid contrast by the long melancholy years of its loss. There will come to him terrible periods when the quest will seem to have been lost, when his personal shortcomings will magnify themselves formidably before his eyes, and when meditation will be dry sterile and even distasteful. Not only will it seem that the Divine is saddeningly remote, but also that it is impossible of access. Let him know this and be forewarned, know that even its seeming loss is actually a part of the quest's usual course. Hope must sustain him during such dark periods, and time will show it to be neither a groundless nor an unfulfilled feeling. Those years may be bitter indeed for the ego, may even seem wasted ones, but they have their meaning. First, they bring up to the surface and into kinetic activity all hidden faults, all potential weaknesses, all latent evil, so that they may be exposed for what they are and got rid of--often after their resultant sufferings.
All the aspirant's latent wickedness (as well as virtue) is actualized by degrees; all of his dormant tempting passions are aroused in turn; all of his animal propensities are brought into play against his worthier ideals; all his insincerities and greeds, untruthfulnesses and vanities sprout quickly from the seed stage into full-grown plants. The good qualities show themselves too at the same time, so that there is a terrible struggle within him, a struggle which the laws of the quest ordain he shall endure and complete alone. He becomes a dual personality. No master and no God may interfere with this momentous testing of a human soul at this critical stage of its evolution when the relation between the lower and higher selves is sought to be entirely changed. For it may not pass over into the new and higher life forever unless and until it is really ready for such life. All this happens through events and circumstances both ordinary and extraordinary by a natural law which governs all efforts to rend the mystic veil.
-- Notebooks Category 23: Advanced Contemplation > Chapter 3: The Dark Night of The Soul > # 56