Friday, June 06, 2014

13 - The Dark Night of the Soul

In spiritual traditions, we are often reminded that we, as human souls, go through a serious tension that is referred to as “the dark night of the soul.” This is when we feel that we are in utter darkness, and we see no way out of our current condition. It can be physically challenging, emotionally traumatic, mentally confusing, and overall, it can feel extremely serious and debilitating. We lose hope and faith, and have no sense that we can ever come out of it in one piece.

The good news is that it is temporary and it is an important part of our growth process. We as human beings do not know how to grow through joy, happiness, faith, and optimism. We often need a dose of heaviness to get us to learn anything in life.

We learn our lessons through pain and suffering. The day will come when we will learn our lessons in life through the release of joy. Until that happens, we need to learn how to handle that all too familiar “dark night….”

I believe one cannot help but go through this utter depth of the soul. When we feel this darkness enveloping us, we need to remember that this experience means we are moving, growing, and experiencing life. Going through these dark nights, we appreciate so much that life offers us. Our life grows because we learn to respond to the crises that arise in every aspect of our life on a regular basis. Everything in us gets a push. We want to survive, so we do what it takes to survive. But experiencing such a crisis and thrashing about does not necessarily mean we learn something from it. Our life has to change as a result of the experience. We have to show more depth and breadth.

The crises are “scheduled” to arrive to our doors in some form or another. How else do we learn anything? How else do we experience the real meaning of life? How else do we mature and find the core inside of us, the state of equilibrium inside of us that no one, and nothing can shake? How else do we see the beauty of life and the underlying meaning of life? How else do we learn that life is not just about us, our mothers and fathers, our culture and our belief systems?

The dark night of the soul has some important elements:

a.      we feel genuine sorrow for what we have done and not done in our life We suffer just enough to compel us to take genuine action.
b.      Our true friends help us by encouraging us, supporting us, forgiving us, letting the past go for us.
c. We make an important contact with something much higher than ourselves. That contact may come from our Solar Angel, or a reminder from the Higher Worlds, an important spiritual experience that removes the pain and debility from our hearts. We are reminded of the path available to get us out of the rut. And we breathe!

Experiencing these dark nights multiple times are an important part of our growth. At some point, we will welcome this intense experience and use it to re-focus ourselves and to re-calibrate our purpose, direction, and meaning of our life. When we “get” the process of the dark night, at that point it may change in meaning and be called something like “the re-aligning time of my soul.”

So what to do? Many times people contact me for guidance. But they do not hear me. It does not matter what I have to say; they are not listening because they are still talking, blaming, looking for excuses, and so on.

Make yourself receptive to guidance. Still yourself. Close down the emotional fumes. Quiet the mind. Come down to rest.  Be like a bear hibernating. In a restful position, you will be able to hear what life is telling you; you will hear the inner voice of guidance; your real friend will be able to say to you what you need to hear; the voice of your Solar Angel will come to you loud and clear. If in that silence you do not hear, keep listening; it will come.

·        Truly want to move out of the darkness and be convinced that you do not need this condition in order to get attention from others.
·        Still all the emotions that inflate and suck the wind out of your life.
·        Still the mind and all the false logic and reasoning.
·        Stop blaming others and self-blaming.
·        Face yourself.
·        Take responsibility; only you can heal yourself if you really want to be healed.
·        Rest so that you can find a space to heal and gather strength.
·        Put down the phone; turn off the emails; turn off the news and the computer. Get unplugged.
·        Keep yourself sober and alert on the inside so your “ears” can hear the sound.

Stop talking, stop obsessing, and stop complaining, stop posting silly nonsense on the internet and stop worrying in endless self-analysis, condemnation and the like. The heat is turned down, everything cools down, and we can feel being in a cave-like atmosphere to renew ourselves.  

Silence is difficult and comes in many layers. In silence, we can separate ourselves from our external world and tune in to the internal voice that we need to hear. This involves the capacity to admit, to make amends, to forgive and ask for forgiveness, do good deeds to build a good “bank account”, and also more importantly, to change the very culture that gave rise to our dark night.

The benefits of overcoming the darkness are huge: we grow in a real way, we find the inner voice, we quiet the outer noise, we shift the energy pattern of our centers, and we mature.

We also prepare ourselves to mentor and guide others who are right now going through the dark night. The dark night of the soul is real and we can mentor others on how to live through it when we learn how to live through ours.

Thank you,
Gita Saraydarian is the Founder and President of TSG Foundation. For events, classes and services, please visit our website


Catriona said...

Gita, as ever you present the realities of life in a loving, understanding and no nonsense way. Worrying, anxieties, insecurities and endless self-analysis and condemnation are pointless. It took me many years to grasp this important lesson and I am grateful to say it was you Gita who changed my perspective. Now I view the process as a quest for meaning during life's darkest hours which may be the loss of someone you love, the end of a relationship, physical, the challenge of being a carer, psychological or mental illness, work disappointments or just an ongoing dissatisfaction with life. It’s a challenge to restore and strengthen ourselves for sure but the dark night gives us greater perspective and makes us a deeper more thoughtful and capable person. If we honour the crises within the human experience as part of a soul journey rather than pathologising, It will completely change our perspective. Thank you Gita..

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