'St. John of the Cross
(1542-1591) St. John is one of the most highly regarded Christian mystics
. Part of a movement to reform the monastic life
of his time, he was incarcerated in the Carmelite
monastery of Toledo in a cell so small that he was unable to stand upright. It was in these terrible conditions that he came to deep awakening
. His book The Dark Night of The Soul
is a classic throughout the Christian world.'
Similarly, the Buddha came to a state of enlightenment through direct experience and faced trials akin to the "Dark Night of the Soul"... Key was separating oneself from Maya, or illusion. There is also considerable physical discomfort assoicated with sitting zazen, the form of meditation used in Zen Buddhism. Rather than having some merit in itself, pain can sometimes clarify the senses. Notably, being truly awake, or clear-sighted is a virtue in both Christianity and Buddhism, as is demonstrating compassion for fellow beings.
Low, Albert. Zen and the Sutras. 1st Edition Vermont : Tuttle Library of Enlightment, 2000.