The Dark Night of the Soul
by Louise Peacock
The dark night of the soul – a term thrown around so much; what does it mean? My understanding of this term matches the definition of world renowned medical intuitive, Dr. Caroline Myss. The dark night of the soul is a spiritual crisis that shows up in our lives as a crisis of the mind, body and emotion. The symptoms are very real, often disguising or mimicking depression. The symptoms are of the physical (mind and body) realm, yet the root is completely spiritual.
The Dark Night is a wholistic crisis that brings us to our very knees. Many people experience these ‘breaking points’ as physical ill-health and utter psychological and emotional turmoil. It feels like the rug is quite literally ripped from under us - only that’s not all. When the rug is gone we realise the rug wasn’t supported by anything solid, it was floating in space. As we go into free fall, we frantically search for ground; anything, anything at all to grab on to.
Even though it feels like we’re alone, we’re not. There is always Grace to link into. Grace is given the meaning here of divine energy. It seems to me we are only given a couple of opportunities per life to really step up. The Dark Night of the soul is exactly that, a rare and precious opportunity where we can take responsibility and step up. Of course it’s no picnic and is best undertaken with guidance. The guidance required though is of the spirit, not of the mind. Once this experience was solely the domain of religious orders; not really available to outsiders. Within the security of the order, spiritual guidance was provided and the whole environment was geared towards member’s wholistic growth.
The closeted religious orders are of a past era now and the Dark Night of the soul is - out and about. Seen through a purely psychological lens, the Dark Night of the soul is nothing more than a category - chaotic cognitions and dramatic emotions which require control, reinterpreting and reprogramming. However, the basis of the break down, separation from true or observing self, is not even considered. Treated solely with psychological strategies, the opportunity for ‘break through’ is lost.
Seen through the lens of spiritualism, the Dark Night of the soul is an absolute gift although it is certainly not gift wrapped. The darkness asks us to do nothing more than ‘be’. To be with ourselves, our pain, our grief and to watch compassionately as our delusions crumble. The Night demands that we hand over control. The journey she then takes us on guarantees, we will never be the same again.
The Night is the hardest work (for giving up control appears counter intuitive) we’ll ever undertake but the rewards are like nothing else. There is an old saying in India that goes along the lines of – pain, truly felt, doesn’t last long. It has been my experience (both observational and personal) that the Night truly felt lasts around three months. Kept in context, three months in a life time is but a snippet. Once the grief and pain is experienced and processed and lessons are learnt, life takes on a completely new lease. A bit like labour pain (which really should be called labour agony!), within no time at all the memory of the experience, softens and fades.
When the Night comes knocking, she isn’t to be feared. If feared and resisted she’ll simply go underground again and manifest in totally inappropriate and sometimes destructive ways. Emotions and thoughts are by themselves, simply emotions and thoughts. Trust in yourself and open up to Grace. It is a journey only you can take by yourself; yet it is not taken alone for Grace is present. Guidance and if at all possible, preparation, is a good idea.
I offer (w)holistic spiritual, mental and emotional Counselling, featuring lifestyle. I have a special interest working with clients who wish to assimilate and integrate the experiential wisdom associated with The Dark Night of the Soul. As a fully accredited Mental Health Clinician, I chose to bulk bill clients so there is no out-of-pocket expense with a GP referral. Minimal conditions apply. Louise Peacock 0435 469 123 Fax: 08 8398 0194. Medicare Provider.