Here I am about to go through another round of Dark Night of the Soul. Earlier when it happened, I had published a post titled “I can only cry…” and in it, I had confessed that I kept crying for no reason and awful feelings had plagued me. And to try to understand what was happening to me, I had done a lot of research and found out that thing I was going through was called “the Dark Night of the Soul” and that it comes again and again in waves until all past hurts, pains and emotional blocks are totally removed from our system.
And these days another wave of Dark Night keeps knocking on my door and I have been trying my best to block my thoughts and feelings from it. But deep down I know that I am supposed to open my door wide open and let it wash over and transform me.
So what is the Dark Night of the Soul? And why does it happen?
Here are great short explanations of it.
So to equip myself to face the Dark Night once again, I listened to the video shared in my post “I can only cry…” and wrote down the key points to remember and soothe myself. And here they are.
“A lot of the times we are told to be happy, raise your vibration, look to the light. But none of these will be lasting until you have loved the dark. The Dark Night of the Soul is in overall a beautiful experience where a person’ ego or false self is dying to their true self, which is love, or one is realizing ego self is false or never existed. This process can occur at any point in one’s life, but it usually emerges after a spiritual seeker has obtained a lot of spiritual knowledge or growth. This is because the ego is now being called out for what it is and it tightens its grip on you to hide you from the light that you are.
Even thought this is a very beautiful and sacred process, it can be perceived at the time very difficult, especially when you are in the thick of the fog. This is why it is called the Dark Night of the Soul. It may feel like the dark century of the soul to some, you feel as if you are stuck in the dark with no hope of seeing the light again. You already feel totally alone due to this process and on top of this, it is not talked about often in spiritual texts. This is because all of us look for the light and try to run away from the dark, not realizing that the dark will only grow larger the more you ignore it. Many think that they have done something wrong when the symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul appear. Especially if they just went through some much perceived spiritual growth. This is furthest from the truth.
When you find yourself in the Dark Night, show gratitude because you are going through sort of right of passage or spiritual detox. The pain you feel is the pain you had tried to suppress for years, decades and even lifetimes. It is now finally bubbling up to the surface to be healed with the love that you give it. Even though it feels painful to feel this pain, you should honor that this pain is finally flowing out of you. We don’t even realize the heavy baggage that we had held unto for so long. For whatever reason, you are in a position now where it is inevitable to heal your pain. Suffering and feelings of separation from Source. This pain is not personal pain even though it definitely feels like it when you are in the Dark Night.
Since our ego selves do not exist, this pain is only a feeling we attach stories to. This pain you feel is collective and felt throughout the world. We feel this due to our belief that we are separate entities, cut off from Source. When you accept and heal this pain, you heal the world’s suffering automatically.
When you are in a Dark Night, you feel as if you are in a depression though you are in a spiritual depression. This is different from clinical depression because the symptoms do not come about due to a certain external situation. You are not depressed because of someone or something, it just naturally emerged. You feel miserable to say the least and you don’t know why. You try everything to break yourself out of it and nothing works. The more you try to get out of the Dark Night of the Soul, the more it will persist.
All types of emotions you have tried to suppress for so long haunt you day in and day out. Guilt, shame, frustration, helplessness, anger, sadness, self-pity, loneliness–these emotions are trying to get your attention, but we keep ignoring and resisting them. Think of these emotions as a child that only wants your love. They are trying to get your attention until you finally face them and accept them for what they are. Emotions. They are not your emotions. They are just feelings in the body that we tie story to.
During the Dark Night, you feel totally alone. You don’t know many, if any, people that have gone through this or are currently going through it. You don’t feel like being bothered with being with loved ones and friends that don’t understand because they either think you are crazy and need help, or their own fears arise and make matters even worse. If you could snap out of it, you would, but you barely have any energy or many interests anymore. All your energy is going to the ego through resisting the inevitable or trying to protect the false self.
You feel totally stuck. The funny thing is you truly want to be stuck or you wouldn’t be in the Dark Night anymore. On one end, you are miserable and suffering, but on the other end, you know that to leave from this Dark Night, you have to let go of the suffering and allow this change to occur. And this is one of your deepest fears. You ego self is deathly afraid of finally coming out of existence. Even with all the suffering I felt during the Dark Night, I still did not want to let go of it. If I did, this meant my identification with the ego self will drop and what then? The fear of losing control that I never truly had and the fear of the unknown kept me stuck in a very uncomfortable spot. Sometimes the external circumstances during the Dark Night can get so uncomfortable and overwhelming that it pins you into a spot where the only way to get out is to surrender. There is no way that the little personal self can fix these circumstances anymore and you need to allow light to work through you.
At the time you are very frustrated with this situation, but when you remember the big picture, this is definitely a blessing. The reason why we find ourselves in a Dark Night is because we are learning trust, acceptance, love and surrender. This is our true nature and the ego knows this and puts up a fight, a very strong fight.
The ego is unwilling to give up its control and fearfulness, and this is perfectly normal because this is ego’s nature. When you see it as ego’s nature and not your nature and that it is inevitable, it gives you the power to allow. Now to get out of the Dark Night, it is up to you.
How fast you pass through this depends on how willing you are to let go of your addictions. The tighter the ego’s grip, the longer it will take. We are addicting to suffering and attaching to pain because we love to fight ourselves. We are in a constant battle with our ego. This battle is what keeps the ego alive. So we then believe that we have an identity. Without this battle, we don’t know what we would be. We fear this unknown territory and being vulnerable to this. But this vulnerability and unknown territory is love. This is our true nature.
So the catch 22 is that we fear the one thing we want more than anything. These are all the reasons why one would find themselves in a Dark Night. The first step of getting out of this process is to realize that this is a natural and inevitable process for you to go through since you are in it right now. Once you realize you are in a Dark Night, you will realize nothing is wrong with you and you can start to step out of the way and let the spiritual detox work through and for you.
When we are in the Dark Night, we want to get out of it so much because we cannot take the pain and suffering, but when you realize that you are in it because your Soul truly wants to be in it and that you can let go anytime you can accept this process as inevitable. This will speed up your process because you are embracing it, not resisting it anymore.
The next step is to do nothing. This may seem simple, but coming from an ego’s point of view, this is impossible and symbolizes death for the ego. The ego will make so much noise telling you lies, trying to get you to worry and be fearful or out of control. But you are not these thoughts or feelings. You are far greater since you are aware of these thoughts and feelings. You are love or awareness itself. So when these thoughts come up, simply watch them or if a feeling comes up, simply feel it. Love and embrace every thought, feeling and situation you are trying to resist. Acknowledge when you are resisting something. Just be aware of it and feel how it feels in your body when you resist. Doing nothing in this context means to simply be. Be the love and awareness that you naturally are.
The Dark Night seems so miserable because we are resisting so much. The ego’s fearful grip is so strong at this point because it wants to stay alive.
Take this beautiful time to finally face and embrace the dark ones once and for all. Let the light of love shine on it and dissolve it. The more you resist the Dark Night or the stuck place you are in, the more you keep repeating the lessons you need to learn. Accept and embrace where you are now. Embrace this pain and suffering. Know that you are helpless in this process and surrender to love. Use your pain as the catalyst for greater transformation and rebirth. Any transformation in life has had to go through some pain right before. Birth is most painful before coming out of the birth canal.
View this process as a right of passage for a remarkable rebirth. You will be finally free from the baggage you have clung unto for so long through resistance. Trust in this process and know that it is just that–a process. This shall too pass!”
“Like a lotus flower that grows out of the mud and blossoms above the muddy water surface, we can rise above our defilements and sufferings of life.” Buddha