Many of our spiritual greats have written about the Dark Night of the Soul, a troubling and often difficult spiritual phase.
Not everyone on the spiritual path experiences this challenging period, but for those who do, it has the potential to be incredibly transformational.
The first writings about the Dark Night of the Soul come from Saint John of the Cross, a Spanish mystic and Carmelite monk in the 16th century. A man who was a spiritual “out of the box” thinker for his time, he was imprisoned for eight years due to his beliefs. During this time he wrote Dark Night of the Soul which recounts his experiences of consuming spiritual darkness. For him, the dark night was a painful period that revealed deep truths to him – not all easy to look at or acknowledge. But he also shares that within the darkness, there is promise and hope. He came to believe that there was no better way to achieve spiritual transformation than through the gifts unseen in the dark.
Other great saints, like Teresa of Avilla, have written about this phase, but it is not a subject that many speak about. Mother Teresa, the Catholic nun who was called to minister to the sick and dying of Calcutta, India, wrote to her confessor about decades of spiritual darkness.
Many people feel that they must always work to raise their vibration, feel happy, and move forward on the spiritual path.
The Dark Night of the Soul is a phrase used when you experience a loss of meaning in your life. Usually prolonged, you see no joy and there is simply an overwhelming meaninglessness to everything you perceive.
From the outside, the experience looks similar to a depressive state. You lack motivation, nothing makes sense, and the compass that generally steers you is hopelessly malfunctioning.
The truth is that this dark night happens to many, I too experienced a dark night of the soul, and at the time, I was miserable, but now looking back it's clear to see that moving through this period of pain, darkness, and depression in my life aligned me with an incredible light and a beautiful gift.
Do you think you may be experiencing the phase that is the Dark Night of the Soul? Have faith, because just as is the case in the cycles of the earth, when there is the experience of a dark night, there is always a light day that follows.
The key, is to explore and embrace the phase you're in, learning the lessons of the moment in order to transform and move through them.
Many times a dark night is triggered by an external event. If you experience any of these situations, they often foreshadow the beginning of a deep spiritual transformation:
But just as regularly, there is no clear or obvious trigger. You are moving through your life with relative ease, creating meaning in your relationships, career, community, and suddenly, this meaning collapses.
I mentioned before that a Dark Night of the Soul looks, and feels, similar to a state of depression. Initially, the experience can be confusing until you learn to identify the symptoms and gain some understanding. A few things to look out for:
When this happens, through external or internal circumstances, the framework of life as you knew it, of life as you were comfortable with, crumbles; meaning is gone and is replaced confusion and spiritual pain. You feel that you’ve been left in a dark place.
Some have described dark night of the soul feelings of being stuck, with no hope of lightness or joy. Many talk about feelings of loneliness, isolation, and being misunderstood. Life feels pointless and painful.
Feeling this during the challenging times of the dark night will help you move through this time gracefully, expanding your consciousness, and anchoring you closer to your true self.
All of the symptoms that you feel are there to teach you love, surrender, trust, connection, and acceptance. In other words, they have come to teach you about your true self. The conflict comes when the ego fights to maintain its control over your life. Do not attempt to struggle with the ego, let it relax and through the lessons you are learning, you will see your true Self emerge.
The time of the dark night of the soul can feel interminable, but if you can learn to welcome these emotions, you can move through to a clearer and higher level. Over time, you awaken to something deeper that is not based on the ego’s perception of reality. Purpose returns and with it a greater sense of connection with the Divine and with your own soul. For some, it is as profound as the complete death of the ego.
While trusting your journey, this dark night of the soul process may feel destabilizing, therefore accept what rises within you. From this place of awareness, reflect what is coming up for you, and the purpose it serves for your transformation.
While it’s happening, the Dark Night of the Soul can make you feel miserable; as if you’ve been abandoned. Some people have a tendency to ask “Why me?” as if they’ve done something wrong. One of the most difficult things to do during this period is to embrace the difficult emotions and to express gratitude for them.
In essence, the dark night is a rite of passage. Those lucky enough to experience it can come to a profoundly different and more peaceful life. The pain that you feel is often a lifetimes worth of repressed emotions, finally saying “Enough is enough,” and allowing you the opportunity to experience them and then release them. Take some time to look at how new light is entering in you. Lean in:
Know that your search for meaning and healing will bring you closer to trusting the process that the dark night of the soul brings.
We fear the unknown, and moving through a Dark Night of the Soul, when we cannot see ahead, beyond the control of the ego, is a huge unknown. Through the ego, most of us are addicted to suffering, attachment, fulfilling desires. The longer you let the ego rule, the longer and more intense your dark night is likely to be.
Another unknown is what life will be like after the ego. You might fear that you will be a blissed out Zen shell, where nothing affects you and no emotions are felt. This is the ego trying to scare you. Your true Self is full of love and joy and is connected to everything including the divine. You remain very much a part of your life, and it’s more powerful and beautiful than ever.
The darkness is a quiet strength and learning from defeat is where courage emerges. The duality, the darkness and the light is part of life, where peace and freedom emerges from the rough times.
In this video you'll learn what transcending duality means to support your dark night of the soul process. Step into the higher vibrational experience of love and acting in alignment with the highest and greatest good of all now.
Observe only and you will find your lack of resistance to be your most powerful tool.
There is no timeframe or prescribed set of do’s and don’ts for a Dark Night of the Soul. Each path is unique.
Yes, there will be suffering. The dark night of the soul cannot and should not be avoided. It’s not necessary to try to rush through it, though that will be the ego’s instinct. It won’t always feel like a gift, you won’t always make the best choices. But when you can, let love shine on your pain; open your heart and feel what you can. Allow your pain to be the catalyst for the greatest transformation in your life.
This is the natural course to what is happening to you, as your breakdowns become your breakthroughs. Learn the ebb and flow, the push and pull that is happening in you and within the collective consciousness. The patterns and challenges that present itself are not happening to you, but for you.
However your transformation takes shape, most begin to experience the ability to observe the world around them without identifying with it. On the other side of pain and confusion is your transformation. Use this time to get a better understanding for how your dark night is there to move you towards a higher truth. People going through the dark night of the soul often describe their process like this:
In this way, concepts become meaningless, which is truly scary while it’s happening. This in turn tends to cause the ego to begin to cling to the past even harder, making the dark night feel even darker. Sticking with the intensity allows you to emerge on the other side with a deep sense of aliveness, which you apply to your interactions and experiences.
You are not separate from your life, but you are no longer attached to the ego and its desires. You feel all emotions, from good to bad, but you remain seated in the Self.
The great Sufi poet Rumi wrote regularly about the Dark Night of the Soul (though he didn’t call it this). Use his words as comfort and guidance as you make your way through this dark night toward your own true Self.
“Don't turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That's where the light enters you.”
“The cure for the pain is the pain.” -Rumi
Keep going. Let it be okay…. Know that although it doesn't feel like it, this too shall pass, and many days of love, light, and blessings await.
With love and light,
Melanie Beckler is an internationally acclaimed best-selling author, channel, and founder of www.Ask-Angels.com. Her books, Angel Messages, Angel Courses and CD's provide a direct link to the love, frequency & wisdom from the Angelic and Spiritual Realms for people around the world.
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