Introduction and Mini-Biography...
am currently going through a Dark Night of the Soul; however, I feel that
most of my life has been a Dark Night of the Soul experience.
This has included dealing with family problems, having career and
professional difficulties, and having difficulties relating to others.
I am sharing my experience with you to provide insight as to what a
contemporary Dark Night of the Soul is like and how I am dealing with it.
I hope my situation helps you. Before
I describe my Dark Night of the Soul to you I want to summarize my life
until now and how it relates to my current experience.
was born nearly fifty years ago. For
many years I thought I came from a normal nuclear family with the usual ups
and downs in life. As
the years passed I realized my family was dysfunctional.
My father was an alcoholic, my mother was submissive, and my brother
and sisters turned out to have many problems.
As of this time I am estranged from my family for various reasons.
I love them and wish them well, but apparently we were not meant to
be a happy family forever.
experiences of my initial family life have manifested into how I deal with
my own wife and children and our family life.
We have to deal with the dysfunction that has affected me as I relate
to them. My current Dark Night
of the Soul experience has exposed our problems and other issues. Hopefully God will help us to solve them.
frustrations with my career and professional experiences have been
manifestations of the Dark Night of the Soul.
It has been bittersweet. Even
though I have attained a high level of education and knowledge, I have never
had great success in life. To
this day I have been struggling with nothing to show for it. With my education, background, experience, and talents I
should be extremely successful, but this has not come to be. At this point in my life I consider myself to be a failure.
This has affected my relationship with the family and friends I have
left. I would say that
something in my life has been missing.
studying about the Dark Night of the Soul it appears that many of those
going through it have had various degrees of spiritual experiences including
those with adverse circumstances. Apparently
I am no different. Throughout
my life I have always had spiritual tendencies and interests. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. In my youth I was very religious and pious.
I was an altar boy and for a time considered being a priest.
As the years passed I drifted away from organized religion yet I
still have a deep faith and belief in God.
This faith and belief in God in addition to my love for my family
have prevented me from committing suicide (Note: No matter how tough your
Dark Night of the Soul is never even contemplate committing suicide.
You will be interfering with your growth and happiness. It is also a very selfish act.)
Concerning the popular areas of mysticism and metaphysics, I have
always had a deep belief and wonder about natural law and our world.
For many years I was an active member of a well-known mystical
organization and attained a certain degree of knowledge.
When I ended my active affiliation with this organization I never
have stopped studying. To this
day I am a voracious reader of anything having to do with spiritual matters.
One would say I am a student along the path.
my knowledge about the Dark Night of the Soul I had known about it from my
studies but did not think it applied to me.
I always thought that the Dark Night of the Soul just applied to
members of the clergy, saints, adepts, and avatars.
I never thought a Dark Night of the Soul applied to “regular” and
“average” people as well. I
am glad I am wrong.
My Dark Night of the Soul
My current situation
began in late 1998 and early 1999 when I faced major career and professional
problems. Prior to that time I
was gainfully employed by a major company close to eight years.
Although I had a steady income and was relatively secure in my
position I became dissatisfied with my career and employer and left the
company for another employer. This turned out to be a disaster because I was terminated by
my new employer after only one month. Since
that time I have been unemployed, under-employed, and struggling to find
professional level employment. For
a time I had an excellent job after my termination, but the position did not
last long due to corporate issues/events like mergers and re-organizations.
Financially, my family and I are coping and just getting by.
We have had to draw on our savings to survive.
It has been tough and painful. Prior
to my current situation I have been out of work before, but this time it has
been extremely difficult. Despite
my background, experience, and talents, it has been very challenging and
difficult to attain the kind of professional and career situation I have
been used to. It has been
my current situation has been devastating.
At certain times I have contemplated suicide and at one point I
became so depressed that I needed medical help and for a time was taking
anti-depressants. For a time
this medication worked but did not solve my problems.
I felt numb. Finally,
due to an intuitive feeling on my part and a loss of medical insurance I
stopped taking the medication and deal with my bouts of depression by
getting back to God, meditation, and physical exercise.
months of soul searching and struggling I realized that my situation had not
been a typical setback in life compared to the other life struggles I have
faced. This was different.
Finally, in late July 2000 I completely broke down and asked God for
help. Shortly thereafter events
started to manifest of a sublime and wonderful nature.
The first thing that happened was that I came across a magazine
article about the Dark Night of the Soul and this led to my studying about
this phenomena. I then became
aware of the Dark Night of the Soul and its application and effect on me.
After much soul searching and meditation and confiding to others who
have empathized with me, I realize that I have been experiencing a Dark
Night of the Soul. This has
caused a sense of hope and calm to come over me despite what I have been
How I am responding to
and coping with My Dark Night of the Soul...
my realization of experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul and asking God for
help I am hopeful, excited, and fearful.
I am hopeful and excited that my situation will work out for the
best, especially if I follow the guidance provided to me.
This has been manifested to me from my study of various religious
works and mystical and metaphysical sources.
My excitement is being caused by all of the changes I am going
through and the eventual good that will result from them. I am generally experiencing feelings of hope and peace.
I know that things will work out for the best, not only for me, but
also for everyone who is associated with me or knows me.
Finally I am fearful because the Dark Night of the Soul experience
involves many trials and tribulations even when help is forthcoming.
I still have doubts I can survive mine.
I feel that I am a coward. Still,
I am confident I will defeat this fear because it is ego based, and once the
ego is conquered there will be the happiness and peace I have always wanted
and deserved. I now have help
from God and other kindred souls.
I have become aware of my Dark Night of the Soul I have experimented with
various approaches for dealing with my situation. Some are working and some have not. What works and what does not depends on our individual
situations. The following is
some of what I am doing for my situation.
a Positive Attitude:
my Dark Night of the Soul experience started I always heard and still hear a
small voice within me say, “Always have a positive attitude no matter
what.” This has definitely
helped me. Developing a
maintaining a positive attitude counteracts the rages of the ego that we
will encounter as we go through our Dark Nights.
Besides, having a positive attitude is fun!
is a wonderful practice. It is
helping me to realize the significance of my life, my relationship to God,
my relationship to others and how to deal with my Dark Night of the Soul.
It is also very relaxing, stimulating, and a very healthy practice.
There are many avenues for meditation.
In my case I have found that centering prayer meditation where you
concentrate on a word like love or peace is extremely effective.
Sound meditations where you intone sounds such as “Aah” and
“Om” are also extremely effective.
The main thing is to meditate. Do
is the twin of meditation and the primary way to communicate with God.
At this point in my life I feel that I now know how to pray.
It certainly worked when I asked God for help!
The key to praying is not to beg or complain.
When you pray you do not ask God why something has happened,
you ask God how and what you must do to deal with a situation.
I now realize the significance of the free agency God has given us
and what we should do with it. Using
the tool of prayer allows us to help ourselves and help others.
Prayer works best when it is unselfish and expresses gratitude for
all of the blessings we receive. Prayer
works for the common good. It
manifests love. Try it!
my Dark Night of the Soul started I immediately lost all my energy and
physical fitness. This is also
a manifestation of the ravages of the ego on us.
This is dangerous because to effectively deal with the Dark Night of
the Soul you need all the strength and energy possible to deal with it!
Keeping physically fit is especially important for fighting the
depression that may occur along with the Dark Night of the Soul. In
my case, I have found that aerobic exercises are excellent to keep
physically fit and to avoid taking anti-depressant medication (Note: I am
not a doctor and medication is sometimes needed to deal with depression
related illness, however, you will know when you are experiencing the Dark
Night of the Soul rather than experiencing a clinical depression illness.)
I keep fit mainly by running, practicing meditative arts like Tai Chi
and Yoga, and lifting weights.) I
also find it worthwhile to combine running with meditation by cross-country
type running. It is always fun
to run in a park or on a trail. This
really gets you closer to God!
a Learning Attitude:
have always had a learning attitude. This
has particularly become very intense since my Dark Night of the Soul
started. I am a voracious
reader. I read anything and
everything that has to do with spiritual and related areas.
You will find that in your experience you will also want to learn all
you can. You will crave to seek
knowledge. There are many
wonderful works and sources to help you deal with your situation.
In my case I read many books about positive/possibility thinking,
manifesting and creative visualization, religion, mysticism, metaphysics,
history, and more. Concerning the Dark Night of the Soul, there are many sources
including those written by Saint John of the Cross. As far as how a modern person deals with a Dark Night of the
Soul situation there is one book I recommend that is wonderful.
It is Turning Hurts Into Halos and Scars Into Stars by Robert
H. Schuller. Without
specifically saying so, this book really explores the Dark Night of the Soul
we experience. It is excellent
reading. In fact, anything you
come across that will help you is reading.
The main thing is to be open, flexible, and willing to learn.
There is so much to learn!
what Love is:
During my Dark Night of the Soul experience I am beginning to realize what love is and how important it is. Love is what makes us one. It is the one force that brings us together. Love means that we should treat each other with respect and dignity, share with one another, and achieve the destiny that God intends for us. Realizing and knowing what love is the key to successfully experiencing and surviving the Dark Night of the Soul. At this point I do not have total realization of what love is, but eventually will. It is very sublime and wonderful.
I do not know what will eventually become of me, but I know that if I keep the faith, believe, accept, and be grateful for whatever happens, I will eventually find peace and happiness like you will to. One thing is for sure though, I must not quit and the same goes for you. In closing, consider this famous poem:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! If you must—but never quit.
Life is queer, with its twists and turn,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he/she might have won if he/she’d stuck it out;
Stick to your task, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with one more blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt –
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that You Must Not Quit.