All the certainty that we collect in our day-to-day living and all the beliefs to which we hold steadfast will push our ordinary mind out of the way when we suffer the dark night of the soul. This dark night will push us, sometimes painfully, through a little door into an entirely different way of thinking.
It may come in the form of a disaster or life altering event for which we have no explanation. What we do know, is that it leaves us questioning everything we believe to have been true. Your life becomes devoid of hope. You keep struggling to stay busy, while waiting for something to happen. During this ‘dark night of the soul’ you are caught between your old way of living, your old tendencies and association, and this nebulous, unreachable realm where hope resides.
You are an exile in both realms. You read all the self-help books, or you may even talk to a counselor but nothing seems to be working. Your work suffers; your personal relationships may suffer, and still you remain in this place of darkness and all the while ‘hope’ and ‘happiness’ seem to remain just beyond reach.
This is a difficult time and a very private time. Speaking of this darkness to your friends seems counter productive so you remain silent. At some point you become profoundly aware of the suffering of others and you begin to identify with that suffering. You prefer total solitude. You have now reached the midnight hour of the dark night of the soul. And acceptance seems to be your only option.
Then subtle changes begin to occur. An overwhelming sense of peace flows over you, like a gentle flowing river brushing over the sedentary rocks beneath the surface. The fire of hope and joy slowly begin to permeate your soul. You have regained a sense of purpose. Your work begins to flow without much effort. Your relationships become far more meaningful; both the new ones and the older ones.
You have invested so much into who you thought you were, that at times this new you fits like a new shoe that is just not quite broken in. It is a little uncomfortable at first.
I do not profess to having the answer as to how this happens. But, I do know it happens several times during our lifetime. Sometimes it can be very chaotic and prolonged, and sometimes it can be fleeting.
These are transformative times that take us to a new and higher conscientiousness. Know this; a caterpillar will one day become a butterfly, the darkest midnight will soon become daylight, and there is, somewhere, a lighthouse that will aid the sailor in a stormy sea.