Did you have a spiritually awakening experience recently? Are you facing a difficult time in your life these days? Relax, take a deep breath.
Not all, but many people on the spiritual path often encounter such a difficult phase in their life, which is known as the dark night of the soul. Although challenging, yet this phase in life can be incredibly transformational. It helps you learn the art of seeing hope in darkness and accepting the fact that everything which appears in the soul (fear, loneliness, anxiety etc.) will fall and rise again. You just need to embrace and be compassionate towards what life is throwing at you while witnessing its struggles. If you are taking RASA Shaktipat Transmission, for example, you may face this dark night of the soul when you are transversing through LOC 800 to LOC 900 (Level of Consciousness calibrated at 800 to 900), although I must admit, most of my students had a rather smooth ride while they were at these particular states of consciousness.
I also had periods of dark nights. Basically, in my early teenage years and throughout my late 20s, I had experienced a particular kind of depression. This was not a clinical depression or psychological depression.
This was a depression resulted from what I call "stagnation of soul". If Consciousness is like free flowing river, then my consciousness was like water from a pothole, completely isolated & stagnant. During these times, I felt like a Zombie. My body is animating, but my consciousness isn't alive.
My state was characterized by an intense prevalence of Tamasic living. If you don't know what Tamasic means, you can look at this link. Most people who was under the influence of long period of "Tamasic Depression", doesn't know that they are in fact spiritually depressed. This types of depression can't be cured by clinical or psychological counselling. It can only cured by God. In other words, since I was like stagnant water of a pothole, the only thing I could do is to pray: Pray to nearby river to create a flood, so that the stagnant smelly water can get a chance to be washed by the river water.
Many great spiritual leaders have even described this phase as a transitional period between the ego and the Heart. The ego is referred to as a small kid, who fears darkness and is making his first steps towards the unknown journey of darkness. On the other hand, the heart refers to as compassion which is there to comfort the little kid in the darkness. When the kid realizes compassion, he surrenders to this timeless call of nature, knowing that everything will fall into place at the right time. This is how a person becomes spiritually mature. In simple words, if you are going through the dark night of the soul and have no idea what life is turning into, simply have faith.
Listed below are some potential ways that will help you get through this phase in the most positive manner. But, before that let’s have a clear understanding of what this phase actually is.
The Dark Night Of The Soul: Basic Definition
The dark night of the soul is a phase when people experience a loss of meaning in their lives. They feel as if there is no joy left in life and everything that they perceive is meaningless. The experience looks somewhat similar to depression, as you tend to lack motivation and nothing seems to make sense for you. However, it is not. You can rather term it as spiritual depression, experiencing which, one becomes strong enough to sail through the despairs in life.
In most of the cases, a dark night is experienced due to an external event, for example, the sudden death of a loved one.
When this happens, the framework of your life crumbles and you start experiencing spiritual pain. You feel as if you are left in a dark place, feeling isolated, lonely, misunderstood and painful. These emotions can leave you broken, but, if you welcome them with open arms, you move to a higher level of connection with the Divine. For some, this phase completely kills the ego.
Signs And Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of the dark night are different for different individuals. At the very beginning, these experiences may be confusing for you, i.e. you might wonder as to why you are experiencing such depressing emotions or why life has suddenly become so rude to you etc. However, once you understand that these are the symptoms of the dark night, you will know how to deal with them. Here are some of the major symptoms to watch out for -
You seem to lose motivation in activities which were once exciting for you
You begin experiencing a feeling of emptiness
You become extremely sad without knowing why
You tend to lose your appetite
You sleep too much
You tend to cry continuously without any control
You begin experiencing a desire to isolate
You often experience mood swings, nightmares, body aches and headaches
Effective Ways To Get Through The Soul’s Dark Night
The more you let your fear rule your soul, the more painful or intense the dark night phase will be. Hence, it is advised to keep a brave heart and face the Unknown. Since you cannot see what’s ahead, you must not fear that and simply walk the path.
Listed below are some of the positive ways through which can turn this dark night into a blessing -
1. Recognize And Accept
First of all, it is important to accept as well as recognize the fact that this phase is a part of life. You need to understand that this period is no punishment to you; you are not a victim or a prey who is targeted upon. Its just a way of the universe to help you explore your full spiritual potential and make yourself feel more connected to the Almighty and oneself.
2. Do Nothing
You need not to be very conscious about finding out ways to come out of your situation. Do not push your limits unnecessarily; it will leave you in a more stressful situation. All you must do is to observe them and not react to them. Allow them to be. Face all the challenges they are bringing up for you and make space whenever needed. During this course, there may be many instances where you might feel running away from reality. But, you need to get a hold on yourself and stay calm.
3. Gain Knowledge About The Dark Night
As mentioned above, the dark night is not a curse, but a blessing, because it commits awakening to the person experiencing it. Hence, the ideal way to move through this phase is to learn more about it. Talking to people, who have been through this transformational phase in real or learning through other resources, you will find the right answer about what is happening to you.
4. Love Yourself
While you are in this phase, you may tend to be very rude to yourself. You may feel as if something is wrong with you or end up doing things, which you do not prefer otherwise. This why you must try to love yourself. No matter what happens during this period, you should remain patient and be kind.
5. Uplifting Music
Music is the biggest therapy of sorrow. Hence, while you are dealing with this phase, listen to soothing songs that uplift your mood. These songs help you keep faith and see hope even in times of distress. Often such songs help you realize that suffering and pain is an indispensable part of a human’s life. Hence, they help you accept the reality in a better way. Also, try to sing along.
6. Positive Thinking
Staying positive all throughout the dark night phase is very important. Although this is very difficult, yet not impossible. At this time, there may be many instances where you would revisit past traumas and other negative experiences. Hence, it becomes very important to stay positive and keep reminding your soul about your qualities as well as inner strengths.
There are endless other ways through which you can get through the dark night and turn this phase into a blessing. Hence, choose whatever path you want to choose, keeping in mind that this pain is the medium for the biggest transformation in your life. Yes, you will suffer a lot. But, you have to try to keep your heart open and let your love overpower your pain. Remember that this phase of hardship too shall pass and the days of blessings await you.