Given all that has happened this year, I couldn’t bid adieu to 2020 without a single post. I have had urgings to talk about this. When the thought first crossed my mind, I wasn’t sure if I’d be up to it but the idea kept popping up and so here I am. I will share my lived experience on the subject and hopefully you will find it useful.
What is Dark Night of the Soul?
The term ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ was derived from an untitled poem written by a 16th century Spanish mystic and priest of St. John of the Cross . The premise of the poem is about spiritual crisis which the soul faces in its journey to be aligned with God .
The journey is a period of confusion, exhaustion, desperation and disorientation which leads to the birth of our consciousness (or awareness). Through increased awareness we get to dive deep into our inner being where happiness, love and peace dwells. Some call it a spiritual depression and some say its the beginning of our journey to enlightment. For me, it feels like coming home.
It started 4 years ago. The beginning was very intense because I think it started off as depression for me. I was crying all time, from the moment I woke up to the moment I fell asleep. This was an everyday affair. My soul felt so heavy as if I was fighting doomsday. In short, I didn’t have any motivation to live. I was constantly asking myself what is happiness, and why I still don’t seem to have it. They convinced me that if I studied hard, got good grades, finished my degree and found myself an amazing career, I will be happy.
I had nailed one half of the ‘human blueprint to a happy and fulfilled life’ yet I was not happy.
What causes it?
Dark night can be triggered by a cataclysmic event which occurs on a personal or global level or both . It can be set off by catastrophic episodes such as losing a loved one, a life altering accident, chronic illness, losing one’s family and possessions to a natural disaster, even the effects of COVID pandemic (i.e.losing job or business, being isolated from friends and family etc.) and so on.
In my opinion, the size of the incident is irrelevant. I have seen people experiencing a series of crisis, one after the other, before they are catapulted into the journey of the dark night. For me, it was a fall out with a sibling 4 years ago. We both share traumatic childhoods from a dysfunctional family and this fall out was just the last straw. Days following the fall out, I was depressed and experienced a lot of things including suicidal thoughts. This continued for months.
If you do have suicidal thoughts, please seek help or talk to someone. It can be difficult reaching out but you have to at least try. You owe that to yourself. I know the pain and suffering can be extremely unbearable but I promise that if you hang in there you will come out on the other end of it knowing yourself and your life purpose. Life will be worth living again.
Signs of the Dark Night of the Soul.
Everyone’s spiritual journey is different. Most of the feelings which I experienced were very similar to what I could find from other blogs and YouTube videos. Apart from feeling immense sadness and malaise, you will also experience the following:
- Feeling very lost and/ or stuck in life. All the things which you once used to enjoy doing may become pointless to carry on with. You will start questioning everything that you used to do. You will also experience a huge resistance towards your usual activities.
- Confused over your purpose in life. You will start looking for your purpose in life. Everything you knew and were taught will no longer make sense. For me, the human blueprint for life had become obsolete and I was questioning my existence.
- Disconnected from your friends and family. You will find that you can no longer communicate with them the same way that you used to. You enjoy being in solitude. You might lose friends but further along the journey you will gain new friends who will understand you better.
- A sense of being in pain all the time. The pain is caused by the birth of our consciousness and the death of our ego. Ego never really dies. It has a purpose in our life – to protect us. However, the moment we witness our ego, its control over us ceases. While this is happening you can feel very emotional watching a part of you disintegrating.
- Drawn to metaphysical and spiritual subjects. Over the years, I became increasingly interested in such topics. I was able to communicate with my angels more effectively and with awareness I was able to see the signs much more clearly. I still have a lot of work to do but I have definitely progressed from being scared to accepting that I am surrounded by loving Angels. We all are.
- Internal conflict between keeping up with material world and a strong desire to dwell in the spiritual world. This was true for me when I was a new follower of Eckhart Tolle. I became more and more frustrated as I struggled to stay present. At some point, it seemed like I had to give up everything in order to achieve eternal peace and happiness. Then there was the fear of instability and unknown. I did quit my job once to move to a different city. During that period, I was jobless, didn’t have much savings, was living between backpackers and a friend’s place while trying to relocate to different cities but I felt so much at peace and happy. This experience has helped find a balance between both worlds. I recommend this if you are willing to try it. It really does wonders. It helps to declutter our material life and restart with the right intentions.
- Finding your true purpose in life. When we become awakened and trust in the messages given to us, we can discover our true purpose in life. It will take time but it will happen. This is a journey, not a destination and patience is our best friend.
How to navigate through it
Find a spiritual teacher whom you can resonate with. Please be careful of spiritual teachers who are still attached to their egos. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut feeling and keep looking till you find the right one.
The best thing that happened to me during this journey was discovering Eckhart Tolle. You will find a plethora of YouTube videos on his teachings and his books are a good start as well. I particularly recommend the webinar series which he did with Oprah. This is available on YouTube for free. I have never attended any of his events and I don’t really see the necessity as I feel I have gotten everything I need from those videos and his book. He is a good teacher and sometimes less is more.
Through listening to his teachings, I was able to cultivate awareness. It didn’t happen for me immediately. I was impatient and got more depressed whenever I couldn’t practice being present. Now looking back at it, I have accepted that its a journey and not a destination. I have learned that we won’t stay in consciousness forever after realising it for the first time. We will oscillate between presence and thinking. It will take time to undo the old conditioning of incessant thinking and to be in present moment without thoughts.
It is important to listen to your needs. If you need to be in solitude, then respect that. Its ok to be alone for some quiet introspection, journaling or communicating with the angelic realms.
Lastly, like I said this is a journey. It started for me 4 years ago. It happens in phases. During that time I have been in and out of balance. Losing my balance and finding it again has been a big part of my evolution in this journey which is still continuing.
I hope this post was useful for you. Please feel free to share your experience and thoughts on the matter 😊💛.