I was recently watching a video dealing with fear and in it this women stated, “We really really are our own worst critics and quite cruel and mean to ourselves. We start to question ourselves, doubt ourselves. I think that was me. I couldn’t go on any further. It was really quite painful to come up against a lot of self-criticism and judgement, felt like a dark night of the soul”.
This intrigued me. It was my introduction. I wrote it down. What is the concept of dark night of the soul? Many references point back to the poet and mystic St. John of the Cross of the 16 century who wrote a commentary titled The Dark Night. It describes a spiritual crises in the journey toward union with god.
Others describe it as:
“The dark night of the soul is when you have lost the flavor of life but have not yet gained the fullness of divinity. So it is that we must weather that dark time, the period of transformation when what is familiar has been taken away and the new richness is not yet ours.”— Ram Dass
“There can be no rebirth without a dark night of the soul, a total annihilation of all that you believed in and thought that you were.”― Hazrat Inayat Khan
“The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time. Yes, I have also experienced it. It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression. Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything. Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level. The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies. Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.”— Eckhart Tolle
“The dark night of the soul is a stage in personal development when a person undergoes a difficult and significant transition to a deeper perception of life and their place in it. This enhanced awareness is accompanied by a painful shedding of previous conceptual frameworks such as an identity, relationship, career, habit or belief system that previously allowed them to construct meaning in their life.”— Joshua Press. I came his article, The Dark Night of the Soul: Understanding Amidst the Absence of Meaning. I highly recommend reading it to learn more.
This is obviously a very personal experience but here are some commonalities I could relate to when researching futher:
- A spiritual depression
- Questioning your existence, your life
- Seem lost or stuck
- The feeling of suffering is overwhelming
- Not living your own life; living what was instead prescribed by our collective consciousness
- An event occurred that turned your whole world upside down
- A literal surrendering to your higher power; a pushing away trying to ignore your higher power
- Desire to shed things, to get quiet, listen, reconnect (to be still)
How many times have you tried to explain this process to someone or even yourself and just couldn’t find the words? Even the words above can’t fully give it justice because words can only help point us toward an experience. This perfectly describes my experience after my divorce. It took much internal work and battles and 3 years before the light started cracking through. Knowing your not alone on this journey and that many others have rediscovered a new path that shines for them is priceless! You too can soldier through this with Faith.
One last interesting note. In Joshua’s article, the graphic he used was the same one I used a few posts back when writing my blog post titled BE STILL see below… I began to feel like I was being lead along a bit or more like a light was starting to shine in an area I never noticed before. Just prior to this I had also started going to bed listening to this meditation I AM by Wayne Dyer, My BE STILL post was a a quote from Wayne. Notice the capitals. Did Wayne guide me? My goosebumps say yes.
This is the key to remember:
Much light to all of you,