What is the Dark Night of the Soul?

The Dark Night of the Soul is a phrase used to describe reaching a low point in life. There is little joy in this phase, and an overwhelming sense of meaninglessness to everything you perceive.
From the outside, the experience looks similar to a depressive state. Energetically drained, not seeing things as they are, and lost about how to get out or even where to go if you could emerge.

Dark Night of the Soul most common signs are:
• Feeling negative emotions: anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, hatred, etc., without knowing why or being able to identify a cause.
• You have tried methods and techniques to shake off the negativity, loneliness, and confusion, but nothing works. In fact, it might sometimes be made worse.
• You have memories or an intuition that of childhood pain that you cannot seem to shake.
• You feel alone, even isolated from the Divine, a previous source of comfort and inspiration. When you try to talk to others about what you are experiencing, you have a sense that they do not or cannot fully understand.
• You feel fatigued and listless; your energy is spent trying to resolve these negative feelings.
• You feel abandoned. This can be from society, your family, your friendships, romantic partner, and community.
• You don’t feel worthy or deserving of anything good in your life. You feel ashamed of your existence, feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, and unable to love yourself.
• You feel at loss, like you’re grieving for humanity, or for a place you long to call home.
• You feel sad because your ego and your beliefs have been shattered.
• You ask yourself philosophical questions like, Who am I? What is the meaning of life?
• You experience an incredible void, and sense that “something is off”.
• You’re experiencing physical, emotional, and spiritual detox symptoms. This could be a sudden food intolerance, pain from an old injury that resurfaces, buried memories resurfacing, hot and/or cold energies and tingles moving through your body.
• You experience intense dreams, nightmares, and past life memories.
• Because of some unresolvable differences in beliefs and values, you lose your support system of family and friends, or by choice you distance yourself from them.

Many times a dark night is triggered by an external event. If you experience any of these situations, they often foreshadow the beginning of a deep spiritual transformation:

• The death of someone close to you, especially an “out of order” death, like losing a child or a young spouse, is often a trigger.
• Any crisis or disaster which renders the meaning you’ve given to your life invalid can be a catalyst.
• Some report experiencing a dark night after an intense or sudden period of spiritual growth and realization.

Discover your true self

The first writings about the Dark Night of the Soul come from Saint John of the Cross, a Spanish mystic and Carmelite monk in the 16th century. A man who was a spiritual “out of the box” thinker for his time, he was imprisoned for eight years due to his beliefs. During this time he wrote Dark Night of the Soul which recounts his experiences of consuming spiritual darkness. Other great saints, like Teresa of Avilla and Mother Teresa experienced a loss of faith.
Trust that you will make it through, because just as is the case in the cycles of the earth, when there is the experience of a dark night, the light of day is always sure to follow.
Allowing yourself to feel whatever you are feeling this during the challenging times of the dark night will help you move through this time gracefully, expanding your consciousness, and anchoring you closer to your true self.
All of the symptoms that you feel are there to teach you love, surrender, trust, connection, and acceptance. In other words, they have come to teach you about your true self.
The conflict comes when the ego fights to maintain its control over your life. Do not attempt to struggle with the ego, let it relax and through the lessons you are learning, you will see your true Self emerge. As humans, we fear the unknown, and moving through a Dark Night of the Soul, when we cannot see ahead, beyond the control of the ego, is a huge unknown.
Through the ego, most of us are addicted to suffering, attachment, fulfilling desires. The longer you let the ego rule, the longer and more intense your dark night is likely to be.

Just a rite of passage
In essence, the dark night is a rite of passage. Those who move through it can come to a profoundly different and more peaceful life.
The pain you feel during this low point is often a lifetimes worth of repressed emotions, finally coming up for release and resolution.
Know that there is no punishment or persecution from the universe here. You may have experienced a tragedy, or a life time of stuffing emotions (a tragedy in itself) and the universe has made a move to shake you up, help you release, and help you come into your full spiritual potential.
Get out of your own way, being extra gentle, loving, tuning into the inner voice of compassion and allow this process to unfold! Make space for whatever is asking for some face time.
As part of the Universal law, the greater the darkness, the brighter the coming light. See this phase as an incubation as a period of shedding the layers to the unfolding, true you.

By Melanie Beckler

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