10 Things I Learnt from My Dark Night of the Soul

‘The realization of that which is there when consciousness is no longer tangled in form, because the consciousness is formless.’ ~ Eckhart Tolle

According to non-duality, the dark night of the soul is an intense experience of our inner narrative or tangle of thoughts that make up our self perception.

This intense experience of the narrative is chosen on one level or another as it precedes an experience of pure consciousness, and it is perhaps the suffering brought on by that intensity that triggers the complete deletion or surfacing of pure consciousness from the tangle.

As Eckhart Tolle says, this experience of being intensely entangled with memories and narrative reflects the ego’s fear of dying and the dark night of the soul could be seen to be the final death throes of the ego before it gives way.

Eckhart Tolle: The Dark Night of the Soul

According to law of attraction, the dark night of the soul would be more of a conscious or subconscious choice for a physical being to experience the extreme negative polarity of contrast in order to be able to surf the wave to bliss.

This would explain why living in small contrast brings more contentment but less spiritual growth and a life of bigger contrasts brings more risks but more spiritual growth and expansion; therefore the need to experience deeper contrasts somewhere along the path is inevitable.

Whatever the explanation, I have recently experienced (and am still going through the final dregs of) what would appear to be a dark night of the soul. I thought I had completely lost my-self, not to mention my sanity.

It was a complete flair up of the ego because someone was trying to tell me – psychological warfare-like – what my reality was. This happened whilst I went through two pregnancies and was vulnerable and unable to defend myself in the usual way.

I experienced cognitive dissonance because this person was the only person I had daily contact with (I went months without speaking to anyone else) and they made me believe I was actually going crazy.

Anyway, I won’t go into too many gory details, but believe me when I say. It was dark. I’m not sure if it was a dark night in the black-and-white sense of the word, as life to me seems much more to be a non-linear montage of moments, but it has certainly taught me a lot.

Here are ten things I learned from my dark night of the soul:

1. People’s reaction to their experience is neither right or wrong

Everyone is fighting battles you can never understand, and to take a stance of non-judgment is to accept that without question. Even an addiction to drama should be respected because that person is just as capable of everything you are, they’re just choosing to discover it in their own way.

The experience of extreme suffering ironically teaches you that there’s no such thing as right and wrong, and the more we respect each other’s path, the more we will find peace internally too.

2. Your emotions are your guide

If something feels wrong, it is. Don’t let anyone tell you what is what, and don’t let them belittle you for feeling upset about something.

3. People are good

They’re also the same across the globe, and the human spirit is really beautiful. In being the light for each other, we can remind ourselves and the collective conscious that there are no borders. People just want love.

4. I trust myself should be everyone’s daily mantra

Even when you don’t understand what the hell is going on, even when you feel like you’re going mad, trust yourself. Trust your higher self if nothing else.

Then, when you’re feeling lost, just this mantra will help those who want to help, to find you (whether they’re physical or not). Raising your vibration is the most important thing, and only you can be responsible for that. These words alone can transform everything.

5. Fun and laughter are where pure consciousness can be found

This is why anyone who wants to control you will first starve you of these two things. A happy person is not easy to control, and this is also the reason our media thrive on discontent.

Avoid people who bring you down, avoid news and entertainment that bring you down, find something that makes you laugh, and you’ll be fine.

6. The worse the experience, the more you’ll be able to stand on your own two feet

No matter the appearance, it WILL make you stronger. Sounds like some tired out expression, but it’s TRUE!

This eradication of relying on others to save you applies to parents, friends and very importantly to ‘the one’. There is no-one who can save you but yourself, and that’s true freedom.

7. There’s no need to draw it out unnecessarily

Sometimes you’re just beating up on yourself, and your dark night of the soul can be a punitive measure to punish you for perceived mistakes passed. Seeing as you are probably creating your own reality, this is nothing short of true, and more than a little hard to swallow, especially when pride has been thrown in to the mix.

It’s hard to realize that you’re perpetuating the critical or abusive parent when in these situations, but if you face it you give yourself the gift of completely rewriting your narrative before it becomes completely dismantled.

8. Enjoy the darkness, because it won’t last forever

There is an art to enjoying the moment and this is it. It’s a bit like giving birth. You’re so focused on the intensity of the pain that it shocks you when you’re suddenly presented with a new little life.

You had forgotten that that’s what it was all about! Some moments in life require that we be present and just survive, and the more we swim in this presence, the better we shift our focus anyway.

9. A little bit of reality goes a long way

One day you get to the point, especially if you’ve had a lot of experience of emotionally manipulative people, where you realize that the most helpful thing is to cut the bullshit and realize that you’re not helping anyone by staying small.

By understanding your reality (and not denying or making excuses for someone), you’re able to clearly perceive what you need to do to change it. This sounds simple, but when you’re living with a sociopathic partner or manipulative parent to do so is to move mountains.

10. Self-love is all that matters

It really is the foundation of everything, and the dark night of the soul can be the literal untangling of the whole web of narrative that has held you fast for so long. This also applies to stripping back the layers to discover who you are before they told you what to be.

Self-love comes about when the horrors inflicted on you by the outside world become so awful you can’t even get up in the morning. It is survival and beauty all mixed up in a self-love sandwich.

Self-love can be the ladder lowered to you for you to climb out of depression, or the steadying hand when the going gets rough. It’s a wonderful language to learn.

If anyone has a different list, it’d be great to hear it. Meanwhile, check out this video which is a poetic reflection on dark night’s of the soul:

YOU DONT GET OUT OF THE DARK NIGHT, you get IN. Music by bensound.com

Image Sources:

Art by Cameron Gray

Please share, it really helps! :) <3

Lauren Simpson-Green, who has had quite a few life-affirming spiritual experiences already, now passes her days trying to master one of the most challenging and rewarding spiritual experiences of all; being a mother to two children. Based in Devon, UK, she spends the rest of her time working on a children's book, practising yoga and making wool fairies and gnomes for her daughter's school fayres.
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