The grave of Tutankhamen displays crook and flail to symbolize the submission of our lower nature to evolve into Godhood. The flail was used for hitting, the crook for leading an animal, so combined they represent our more familiar carrot and stick method. The Pharaoh was considered enlightened, as represented by the ascended snake. He had left his lower nature behind.
Every spiritual traveler has a lower nature to deal with. Fail to cope with the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ and fear kicks in. Fear is the stick! Similarly, all of us know the ecstatic high of being in a harmonious and loving flow state. We want to experience it all the time. Being connected to the Way is our carrot.
In religion, fear is always present. We are afraid to be a sinner and we have no method of gauging whether the Heavens are on our side or not. The mind has nothing to cling onto, constantly swept from our selfish ego longings to the noble expectations of our religious super ego.
The spiritual path is different. We either experience the harmonious and loving energy or become aware of an interference. When we realize that we are missing a beat we have no time to beat ourselves up over it. Instead, we spend our focus on finding out what causes the interference and reconnect with the Way.
It is impossible to list what the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ issues are about for each of us individually. In a way, it doesn’t even matter since the solution is always the same. Trust that life leads you out of it, and trust that with every step along the Way your vibrations rise. Carrot and stick can soon be disposed of, and all that remains is the calling of the Way.