First off, I need to make something very clear. This article is about a highly spiritual transformation process that doesn’t happen to everyone. Many times people just go through major depression, but this isn’t that. This type of situation isn’t resolved by seeing a mental health professional and taking medication for it. This is a spiritual problem and it is a journey you will have to take in order to be healed in your soul. Just know that there is a difference and if you need to seek help for depression, there is nothing wrong with that. This article isn’t to take the place of a professional if needed.
The Dark Night Of The Soul is best described as a process of transformation in which cognitive systems are rebooted. This usually happens to highly spiritual people or those who are on a seeking path for true meaning of their lives. An obscuration of the true self. Many times it is triggered by cognitive dissonance, wherein a belief system is challenged by new facts or information not part of the current belief system.
Simply put, it is being in a space between who you were and who you will become when it is all over. Where you will be when you come out the other side of this dark place.
A very traumatic event can cause this. An example of this is what happened to trigger my Dark Night Of The Soul. It started back in 2007-2008, between the horrific 35 day suffering of my infant daughter who eventually died as a result. She never got to come home with us from the hospital. We practically lived in the NICU for about five weeks.
At that time, I had been a Christian for almost 30 years, and this didn’t even change everything for me…yet. Trying to be strong for my wife, I didn’t realize that holding my feelings in would lead me to having a heart attack eight months later in April 2008. It was a week later, my first night home from the hospital, when I had an Earth shattering event that would forever change my world. That night I slept out on the couch, it was sometime in the night, don’t know the time as there was no clock around and it was very dark in my living room. I could barely see the large portrait of our daughter, hanging on the wall in front of me. I cried out to the Universe. Here is what I said in these exact words, “I don’t know who or what can hear me right now. I don’t know if it’s the God I have been serving for the past 30 years or aliens, or whatever, but I need answers and I need them right now!” Well, I no longer got the word ‘now’ out of my mouth, when I suddenly had the perception of being the entire Universe and nothing at the same time! At least that is what I perceived to have happened. My consciousness was no longer contained within my own mind, but had instantly expanded to encompass everything. This shattered everything I thought I knew about ‘reality’, what I thought was ‘real’. When I came back to awareness of my body, it was still dark, but since there was no clock, I have no idea how long I had been there. It could have been hours, but it could have just as well been seconds. Time and Space no longer existed for me until I was aware of my surroundings again.
What happened to me is called cognitive dissonance and it can be extremely traumatic. Another example would be if you don’t believe in UFO’s and aliens and suddenly all over the news they are covering an event that shows alien craft landed on the White House lawn! It would go against everything you thought you knew about their not being such a thing as aliens. Your mind can’t comprehend between what you believe and what you are experiencing at the moment.
Well, this experience messed me up big time. For the next 6-8 months I was a bit squirrelly in the head. I thought my wife was going to leave me, but for her wonderful character and love for me, she didn’t and for that I am grateful. We had gone through the death of our child together and really had no one else to lean on but each other. She knew that I was struggling as much as she was, but that I wasn’t showing my feelings and it was destroying me.
Anyway, over that time I did a lot of soul-searching, trying to figure out what had happened to me and in the end found out I had an awakening or some would call a spiritual awakening. Well, I thought as a Christian I was already awake. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was asleep in the Dreamtime, caught in an illusion, a prison of my own egoic mind. It was only a story I was telling myself.
Over the next two years, I questioned everything I thought I knew. Everything I had been taught. It was a time of being brutally honest with myself. Why did I believe what I believed? Even Christian scriptures told me I should give an account for why I believed what I did. Study and know why I believed. Well, at the end of that two years, I came to the conclusion that there was no evidence (for me) as to the existence of a deity that I could prove. I had to just take it on ‘faith’, because someone wrote about it in a book. After my experience of everything being interconnected as One, that just wasn’t my experience. This doesn’t mean this is what will happen to you. Everyone’s journey is different. You may even be the opposite of me and not believe in God and then suddenly you do. It’s your process, your journey. Never let anyone tell you what is right or wrong for you.
Having a crisis of faith is a very traumatic event and it is not easy to make that transformation, especially when so many people in your life are still very religious and they don’t like it when someone upsets the apple cart, as it were. There was a great example of this in the animated movie, A Bug’s Life. The main character, an ant, wandered a bit too far and climbed up high one day and found there was a whole larger world out there beyond the life of the ant colony. He comes back and tries to tell the other worker ants about this ‘other’ world, but they ridicule him and tell him to just keep his head down and shut up and keep to his work. You know, like a good worker ant. Isn’t that the way it is? When someone sticks their head up out of the crowd, the rest of the herd polices each other. We do the same thing in our society. Keep your head down. Follow the rules and only believe what they tell us to believe. Man, we do need to wake up.
Sorry, if I riled up any feathers with that last paragraph. We all should be honest with ourselves and search our own hearts. No one can answer for anyone else. Just respect people for the right they have to believe what they want to believe. Many think I have lost it and that I am wrong and who knows, I am probably still wrong about many things. I can only be authentic with the information I have and use the brain I was born with to reason things out for myself. That’s all any of us can do.
Well, back to the Dark Night Of The Soul. Like I had said before, not everyone goes through this, but there are some of you who know that what you are going through is deeper than just simple depression. You just know there is something more going on. For me, this 12 year journey culminated with the sudden and unexpected death of my wife, the love of my life, the one I always knew was there through good times and bad. We could always lean on each other and we had always been there for one another. She was a beautiful soul. She believes she is reunited with our daughter in Heaven, and that is okay, as she still believed that. She had said she was angry with her God for the suffering our daughter had to endure, but much to her credit, she never stopped serving her God.
My Dark Night lasted a good 12 years plus, and frankly, I wonder if maybe it isn’t completely over. Things are coming more into clarity of late, six months after losing my wife, but there are still days I cry my eyes out. But my soul is healing and I am in a much better place emotionally than I was six months ago. I didn’t care if I died and almost did so on the highway at 80 miles an hour in a torrential downpour. It is amazing the car didn’t flip over about 7-9 times that day. Part of the reason for being in a better head space now is that I took the time to understand my place in the Universe and what my purpose is in the time I have left. My purpose, you might ask? To serve people. To be a healing light in the darkness in whatever capacity I can. If I only help one person, that would be a good thing. It is no longer about me, no longer about material possessions, but it is about love. Loving brothers and sisters in the human race. We will only survive as a planet and as a species on this planet when we realize we are truly One.
Usually when someone comes out the other side of the Dark Night Of The Soul, they end up having a great awakening. So, how can you know if you are going through this? Let me give you a list of some things that could mean you are going through it yourself.
- Extreme sadness and not knowing why
- Loss of motivation in things you love
- Insomnia or sleeping all the time
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Feeling of emptiness
- Irritability/mood swings
- Lack of desire for sex
- Sudden outburst of crying
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Poor personal hygiene
- Withdrawing from social interaction
- Headaches or problems with digestion
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide
If you do have any feelings of suicide, know that you are worth more than that. Please seek help. You are more important than you realize right now and there are many people who love you and will help you through any of these feelings you may have. You may just be going through depression, but if you also have any of these experiences listed, you are probably going through a Dark Night Of The Soul.
- You have no idea what is happening to you or why
- If you are religious or spiritual and you feel you are losing your faith
- Or if you are an Atheist or Agnostic and you feel that maybe there is a God
- You start becoming very philosophical, questioning the nature of existence
- You feel certain people or situations no longer ‘serve’ you
- You feel the connection of all humanity and have compassion for complete strangers
- Questioning why you are here, what is your purpose
- Feelings of wanting to be alone all the time/separate from people
- Thinking about your own mortality
- Realizing material possessions don’t matter as much as relationships do
- Feelings of unworthiness or that you are a bad person
- Feeling you need a change of career, that you are not doing what you were supposed to be doing
- Questioning everything you ever believed in, could be anything
- Feeling the need to downsize your life and get rid of ‘things
- The feeling of rebelling against institutions like the government, corporatism, etc
- Feeling like you have no control over your own life
You may only have a few of these experiences. No two people are alike and their journey is different. Like in grieving, there is no right or wrong way, or any length of time this should be happening. Just let it happen, again, you will get through this process and be better for it in the end. If you feel like this isn’t something spiritual in nature, then you may very well be suffering from clinical depression and I would tell you to seek a medical professional. Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with that. You are worth getting the help you need to sort through your feelings. You do have people who care about and love you.
Know that you may feel like there is no way out of this darkness, that all is hopeless, or that you are cursed, but know that this is only temporary. There may feel like no end in sight, but having come through it myself, I am assuring you as painful as this process is, there is light on the other side of this. It will be like the Sun coming up on a clear morning after a violent storm. Morning will come. Your tomorrow will come.
So, what are some of the things you can do to get through this journey? Research more on The Dark Night Of The Soul. Learn more about ego death and about higher consciousness. Trust in the process you are going through to get there. You will want to fight this, but do not do so, you will just cause yourself more pain. Allow yourself to experience it for what it is, a spiritual awakening.
Work on staying positive, learn about positive and negative vibration and how it affects your reality. Love yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. And don’t let others’ tell you that you need to get it together or get over it. You need to go through this and it is your journey, not theirs. Do what you feel is right for your well-being, for your inner healing. You will heal.
Allow yourself to feel the pain you are going through. Don’t try to fight it. This is part of accepting the process or the journey of your soul. You need this healing process and you will be better for it in the end. You are becoming a new person, it is like the birthing process. The old you is dying and you are being ‘born anew’.
Stay in touch with people that love you and care about you. They are there in your life, even if you feel like they aren’t and you feel you are all alone in this. I assure you, you are not alone. If you feel you have no one else to talk to, reach out to me. I will be there. I mean that.
Pray and/or meditate. Whatever your beliefs or non beliefs are, prayer or positive intention and meditation are good things and will help you along your journey. I no longer believe in a deity, but I do speak to the Universe itself which I feel resides on the inside of me. You may believe in a particular being as God, that is fine, know that that being resides on the inside of you as well.
Please stay away from drugs and alcohol while going through this dark time. Not saying you can never have a drink again, just know that right now, if you are going through a deep dark valley of night, it will not serve you. It will only hinder your growth and healing.
Exercise if you can, moving the body is a good thing and try to eat sensibly and eat as healthy as you can. Also, sleep when you need to. Many times I couldn’t sleep in the night, but when my body said sleep, I would pass out. Try to sleep when you can, if you have insomnia. If all you do is sleep the whole day and night away, try and get up and do something. It is healthier on your mental and emotional state. And finally, put on some of your favorite music. Music does heal the soul. Allow it to do so.
So, what happens next? Well, the darkness always comes before the dawn! You have to experience this for yourself, and although it doesn’t feel like it now, you will come out the other side of this whole and new. You will have a peace that passes all understanding. You will be filled with a love and compassion that knows no bounds. Like a phoenix, you will rise again!
As painful as my journey has been, I do feel I am better for it in the end. This in no way lessens the pain of losing my wife and daughter, and I would give anything to have them back, but I have to know I would not be where I am now without going through all that pain and suffering. I don’t understand it all right now, but I have to believe that after I am done and gone, there will be answers to these questions. I have to be honest in that I don’t have all the answers. Anyone who says they do are providing you a disservice. All we can do is live our best lives and be kind and loving to our fellow humans on this planet. We are all we have. I love you. If this resonates with you and you believe you are going through a Dark Night Of The Soul, feel free to contact me.
Love and Light