A Dark Night of the Soul is a period of time or season that many of us on the spiritual journey find ourselves in once or more in our life. The Dark Night comes unexpectedly through some change or experience that causes us to question all that we’ve known to be true. It is a time where we find ourselves feeling disillusioned with a temporary loss of faith. What we trusted appears in a new light to have been temporary and incomplete. The foundation we’d built our perception of the world on shifted and in that shift we found ourselves unsettled. What felt meaningful feels meaningless, what seemed solid looks unreliable, what we thought we knew to be true comes into question.
Walking through a Dark Night of the Soul period requires intense resilience. It pushes our edge, uses every ounce of our psychological capacity for survival. The Dark Night can be triggered by things like divorce, loss of a job, loss of a role or identity we’ve identified with or physical illness. Where it takes us is a profound void that may feel like depression, hollowness, hopelessness, emptiness and doubt.
How do we endure this mental and spiritual struggle? What gets us through the void and back to a point of inner-peace? I’ve found that, an essential aspect of the healing and growth the Dark Night has to offer comes through the following conscious choices:
- Acknowledging that the cycle of living in the unknown has purpose.
- Calling on our inner-guidance with much more frequency and consistency.
- Moving our body to allow the cycle to stay in motion on the physical level.
- Seeking support through the council of spiritual mentors who have walked the path before.
These paths of self-care give us strength and help us see that we will make our way to a season of light again.
The Dark Night may feel like a stuck place in our external life or a place where everything is in chaos. However stagnant it feels or looks in the physical form it is an active season for the soul. The soul is in chrysalis. It has gone within and on certain levels may require us to go unconscious about some of the work underway. Transformation, upgrading our soul to integrate all the bits-and-pieces we’ve been encountering in our self-awareness and growth at the deepest level.
Some of these levels of processing are beyond what we can or are ready to consciously “see” as they transform. We have to be patient and trust the inner activity. We have to ask our mind, as it seeks to fix what appears to be broken, the mind that wants a solution, wants answers, to be patient while the Dark Night chrysalis is evolving us from the caterpillar to the butterfly.
The void has us fear a loss of Self. It has us feel alone and as if we may have lost all of the ground we had gained through our conscious growth and commitment to self-awareness and health. In reality there is no loss, at the other side of this deeply challenging soul searching cycle we find ourselves renewed, more mature, with an inner radiance that transcends our prior light.
The Dark Night is a soul crisis. It pushes us to the full extent of what we feel our soul is capable of handling. It may temporarily break our spirit but the Great Spirit/God never gives us more than we can handle. The discovery of our inner strength, the renewal and appreciation for what generates inner-peace for us, makes the journey through the void, the rebirthing of our higher Self, well worth the battles we face when staring at the unknown.