Embracing the Dark Nights

The dark night of the soul can never truly be called pleasant or enjoyable, but we can come to a place where we accept and even embrace it, relaxing into it, seeking it’s purpose. The realization that it is Spirit at a deep level, stirring us to move forward, creates an opening for internal peacefulness, colouring the seeming chaos of our external world. Thomas Moore writes, "A dark night of the soul cannot be sought out or acquired. It is a gift we’re given. Our job is to sift it for it’s gold."

However, I don’t find myself doing a whole lot of sifting, just a whole lot of resisting. I’ve judged my life situation as negative, labeled it as "bad", filing it under REMOVE IMMEDIATELY. The natural outcome of this is non-acceptance, gives birth to stress, anxiety and turmoil, all because of not accepting the situation as it is in this moment. I’ve allowed my mind to attach itself to a memory of more pleasant times, or to project into the future, when life will be better.

It generally takes a week or two of aimless wandering through that hazy maze of confused stubbornness before I surrender into a willingness to let go of my own agendas and the idea that I know better than Spirit, what is best for me. Then I become teachable and there is an opening for healing and growth to take place. The chest muscles loosen, the breathing gets deeper and the frantic thinking slows down.

There’s a beautiful verse in the Tao te Ching that describes this state of trust perfectly. "Can you be patient enough to wait for your mud to settle, and the water to clear. Can you be still without using force, and allow the movement, to arise of itself."

This is the let go and relax point, where we open ourselves to the higher wisdom and allow the Universe to do what it will for highest and brightest good of all concerned. It is where the pendulum begins to change direction and balance is restored.

A dark night of the soul is about letting go of the old, to make way for the new to emerge. My personal observation is, that what invariably happens is the internal blockage, which has created the discomfort, rises from the depths into awareness, to be revealed in a clear light. Gradually, as this "issue" or "area of life" is tended to, my internal Being is realigned and a new, external situation is born. This may be a job, living situation, relationship, or financial circumstance. The external landscape always matches the internal environment, creating the climate most conducive for spiritual growth.

I’ve noticed, in my own journey, as time marches on, the dark night experiences become fewer, shorter, and much more intense. I’ve come to appreciate the mysterious beauty of the darkness, realizing these aren’t seasons to be figured out intellectually, as much as they are seasons to be immersed in and rejuvenated by.

St. John of the Cross, who coined the phrase Dark Night of the Soul, sums it up wonderfully when he states: "The dark night of the soul isn’t called dark because it is to be feared, dreaded or escaped from, it is called this because change is taking place in the deepest part of our Being, in a place beyond our capacity to perceive. It is kept hidden from us because otherwise we would attempt to grasp it, figure it out, and then control it’s outcome."

A student of the Tao, Brad uses a combination of the sweat lodge, Reiki and the ‘cards’ to do energy/soul connection work. You can contact Brad at (250) 202-1207.