The dark night of the soul is a process many spiritual seekers go through at some point in their lives, I being one of them. The dark night is not mentioned that much in spiritual texts and teachings. A lot of the times, we are being told to be happy, raise your vibration, look to the light, but none of this will be lasting until you have loved the dark.
The dark night of the soul is an overall beautiful experience where a person’s ego/false self is “dying” to their true Self which is LOVE or in other words one is realizing the ego self is false and never really existed. This process can occur at any point in one’s life, but it usually emerges after a spiritual seeker has attained 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 grips on you to hide you from the light that you are.
Even though this is a very beautiful and sacred process, it can be perceived at the time as 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 a dark century of the soul to some lol). 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 ontop of that it is not talked about often in spiritual texts. This is because a lot of us look for the light only and try to run away from the dark, not realizing that the dark will only grow larger the more you ignore it.
Many think they have done something wrong when the symptoms of the Dark Night appear. Especially if they just went through so 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 a sort of rites of passage or a spiritual detox. The pain you feel is the pain you have tried to suppress for years, decades, and even lifetimes. It is now finally bubbling up to the surface to be healed with the love you give it. Even though it seems painful to face this pain, you should feel honored that this pain is finally flowing out of you. We don’t even realize the heavy baggage that we have held onto for so long.
For whatever reason, you are in a position right 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 really exist, this pain is only a feeling we attach stories to. This pain you feel is collective and felt through-out 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, 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 a 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 loved ones and friends that don’t understand because they either think you are crazy and need help or their own fears arise about it and make matters even worse. If you could snap out of it you would, but you barely have any energy or even many interests anymore. All your energy is going to the ego through resisting the inevitable or trying to protect the false self. Things that don’t serve you anymore.
You feel totally stuck! The funny thing is, you truly want to be stuck or you wouldn’t be in the Dark Night anymore. This was a realization I had during the Dark Night. 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 this suffering and allow this change to occur. And this is one of your deepest fears! Your ego self is deathly afraid of finally coming out of the Dark Night because it knows that it won’t be the “ruler” anymore. LOVE will shine its light on ego and it will dissolve it since ego never existed. 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 as the ego would drop and what then? The fear of losing control that I never truly had and 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 life to work through you. At the time you are so 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. This was me!
We are addicted 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 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 territority is LOVE. This is our true nature.
We are human BEINGS and this means that we are always seeking the Being or LOVE to fill this void we feel as humans since humans are seekers. 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 this 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 at any time, you can accept this process as inevitable. This will speed up your process because you are embracing it and not resisting it anymore.
The next step is to do NOTHING. Now, this may seem simple, but coming from an ego’s point of view this is imposible and symbolizes “death” for the ego. The ego will make so much noise telling you lies and trying to get you to worry and be fearful or to “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. Tight and compacted right?
So doing NOTHING in this context means to simply BE. Be the LOVE and awareness that you naturally are. The Dark Night seems very miserable because we are resisting so much. The ego’s fearful grip is so strong at this point because it wants to stay “alive.” We have forgotten that we are LOVE and if we are LOVE, we embrace everything because we realize the inevitability of doing so and because we know that nothing can harm us. Nothing can touch you. Nothing can shake you. The light that you are shines on anything so that it would turn it to its natural state of light also. We are all ONE.
Since all we have is NOW, you won’t get out of the Dark Night tomorrow, you will only get out of it NOW! The key to getting out of it is…LOVING- the only reason we are on Earth. The great thing is, just like our egos, the Dark Night is an illusion. We have always been HOME and we have been the LIGHT the whole time that we were looking for it in the Dark Night. Of course we have been the LIGHT, how else would we have been aware of the dark? If we were dark too, we wouldn’t be able to observe the dark.
Take this beautiful time to finally face and embrace the dark once and for all. Let the light of LOVE shine on it and dissolve it. You are awakened NOW. You are LOVE NOW. There is no other way it could be. Anything else is merely a dream! 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 a great transformation and rebirth. Any transformation in life has had to go through some pain right before. Birth is most painful right before coming out of the birth canal. Caterpillars, snakes, and crabs are a few animals that go through a transformation where the old self ”dies” to the new self. Be like the phoenix and rise above the ashes of your old false self just by Being the LOVE that you are! Life is all about cycles. NOTHING lasts forever. View this process as a rites of passage for a remarkable rebirth. You will finally be free from the baggage you have clung onto for so long through resistance.
Just like Spring always comes after Winter, you will see the light! Just like dawn always comes after the darkest hour, you will see the light! Just like the sun is always there behind the clouds, your light is always illuminating your way through the Dark Night. Trust in this process and know that it is just that-a process. This too shall 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
BY LARA STARR