"You cannot find the Light unless
you enter the darkness"
ancient mystical insight
Dark night of the soul,
holy madness, spiritual
emergency, spiritual crisis, spiritual madness, and spiritual emergence are
various phrases that have been used to describe a unique experience - a profound test of
faith, endurance, inner purification and surrender - that is a necessary part of walking the path
Because of these
experiences, one rises to a higher state of divine beingness and
becomes much closer to All That Is. Sooner or later, this lifetime or next,
everyone will journey through the dark night.
people on this planet are searching for a deeper meaning and purpose to life. Struggling
for survival and happiness in the material world just doesn't seem to satisfy the human
More and more we're becoming bored and frustrated with the routines of
everyday life, whether it's with our careers, our personal lives or our relationships
with other people. It seems that the average human consciousness is so
bogged down with the pressures of daily living, it takes an intense,
emotional upheaval to jar it awake even a slight degree.
Deep inside we're
beginning to realize that our hunger for the material comforts and
pleasures of life eventually leaves us feeling empty and incomplete. We then begin to
suspect that lasting peace and happiness is an inner thing. As a result, many
individuals are looking into the spiritual or mystical realms for a greater sense of purpose,
direction and meaning to life. In the process, we find ourselves asking "who am
what am I doing here, or what is the real purpose of life on this planet?"
If we're ready,
these kinds of questions will awaken a yearning deep within that inspires us to look for
answers. Other times a serious life crisis or a profound mystical event can have the same effect. Its
purpose is to open our eyes to the physical-world dream we've
been trapped in for a very long time. In the end, we find
that we're really searching for God.
we don't find answers to these questions, we'll continue going
round and round on the wheel of karma and reincarnation with many births,
lives, deaths and rebirths until we do. One of the purposes of the
night is to help us break that cycle so that we no
longer attach to or anchor ourselves in the physical world of planet
search for the truth helps us to awaken spiritually. More importantly, it
helps us remember who we really are. This is part of the divine calling
that some have heard, but many have yet to respond to. This new
awareness can be the most profound experience of one's lifetime; an
ecstatic rush of joy and enlightenment that is difficult to describe to
those who have yet to reach this point.
an awakening or
shift in one's awareness occurs, we begin to look at the old ways and
beliefs of our lives with less interest, while that which becomes clearer
and feels more natural is our re-connection with the divine. The old way
simply doesn't interest us anymore, while the new way is all that matters.
Somewhere along the journey of remembering who we really are we may find
ourselves in a very uncomfortable space or no-man's-land. In that place, we realize that we haven't totally let go
of our old belief systems, which are breaking down, while on the other hand we have yet to fully plug into
the new spiritual truths we have discovered.
This awkward place of mind,
between the death of our "previous life" and the birth of our new
one, can bring on an internal crisis of uncertainty, instability, confusion,
frustration, and a most unspeakable despair, as the dark night of the soul
sets in and makes its presence felt.
length of time it takes to "die" and the time required for
rebirth varies with each individual. The entire experience might last
days, weeks or years. In
the process, you experience ego death and it's control over
you begins to dissolve and lessen, as it returns to its rightful level of
influence in your mind.
are also other ways to bring on a spiritual crisis. Sometimes it can begin
with a profound mystical vision, near-death event, serious illness,
reading a spiritual book, childbirth, a serious loss or even the use of a
mind-altering drug. Either way the net result is an abrupt and radical
change in one's belief systems and one's way of being. All of it creates
the opportunity for profound and lasting inner transformation and a shift
dark night is part of the spiritual journey. It will take us into the
hidden areas of our nature and bring to the surface many of our ego-based
imprints and imperfections. Then their presence can be acknowledged and
cleansed from our personality and makeup. All of this can be quite
demanding and may leave the individual in a state of emotional drain and
helplessness. Functioning normally in everyday reality can become very
is ironic that along with the rapture of remembering our divine connection
there can be intense feelings of depression, madness, detachment,
hopelessness, and an extraordinary loneliness that is not only relentless,
but may last for months or years on end. That's what happens when we
go through this purification experience and our
ego begins to lose its influence over us.
Then comes the
required period of waiting
and humble perseverance, as our
old self dies and we constantly wonder when the dark night will
end. Ultimately, it feels as though we have lost control over our lives
and, most importantly, that God has truly abandoned us.
St. John of the Cross
described the dark night of the soul as "an inflowing of
God into the soul, which purges it from its ignorances and
Because of its profound challenges, the dark
night has also become a reference point for an experience of intense, spiritual
struggle, and a passage into the wilderness that is
filled with utter hopelessness and isolation.
In Dr. Jack
Kornfield's book, First the Ecstasy, Then the Laundry, he
cites the following description of someone who had been on the spiritual
path for more than 20 years and became a guru because of it. Then, just
when things in life seemed to be going perfectly, a dark night of the soul
had always worried about my students, how unstable their wisdom seemed.
After the first profound realizations of emptiness and freedom, the
painful tendency of many people was to become caught again in separation.
But then it happened to me!
received a crash course in confusion, panic and depression. It started
when I became very sick with leftover parasites from India. Then all the
money I had saved for years and invested in two thriving businesses was
lost through bankruptcy and betrayal.
of the sudden the 'guru' was sick and poor. I became terribly frightened.
My family life became a place of conflict. We had to leave our home, to
struggle with money, to worry about ordinary things. I had difficulty with
my mother. And all the while I thought I shouldn't feel these things - I'd
been to the peaks, after all. I thought I knew the whole game.
I had to stop teaching. I lost all control. I reached a childlike stage
were I wasn't trying to understand things; I was just broken down
completely, living moment to moment, and in some way that's when my
spiritual life really became genuine for the first time."
should not be confused with personal karma that an individual chooses to
confront and deal with during a given lifetime. For example, if one is in
a difficult relationship, handicapped, abused, involved in a serious
addiction, and so on, these circumstances usually reflect personal karma
rather than the presence and symptoms of
John of the Cross went through it, Edgar Cayce spoke of it, several recent
books and tapes have described it. And, throughout history, various
indigenous cultures provided special care and loving support for their tribal members
in spiritual crisis.
Sometimes the dark night can be a slow, steady, and
repetitive process. Other times it can be intense, radical and very rapid. Either
way it is a very profound experience that strips away our false beliefs
and earthly attachments.
The key is to trust what your inner knowingness keeps telling you that in the end the
priceless reward will be God-centeredness and spiritual enlightenment, as the real you emerges from
the material dream.
If the dark night has entered your life, please don't give up!
When the madness is over, when one finally lets go in an act of surrender, acceptance and trust in what God is accomplishing with you -
without resignation and with gratitude for the experience - the spiritual
madness will end.
When the madness
ego will have
far less influence in your life and a Light will shine through bringing with it a new
spiritual adventure and purpose. Your path will then be guided by a series of
divinely influenced synchronous events and your real mission for this lifetime will unfold
and fall into place, as if by magic.
But don't get
too comfortable with your newfound way of life. The dark night is all
about surrendering to the will of God. When a certain degree of letting go has finally been achieved, one needs to live that
surrender each and every day. While that is happening, the following question
still needs to be asked: "how can I know I have surrendered unless I am tested from
time to time?" What this means is that we will be tested now and then in order to answer that question.
Below is a mantra of mine that I say on a regular basis. Surrendering is
not an easy process. Perhaps it will help you.
Father/Mother God for I am one with your consciousness.
And thank you Father/Mother God
for I am completely and totally surrendered to your will
with love and joy and gratitude in my heart
and I completely trust and accept all that you bring into my life
because I know that it is perfect for me.
If you would like to learn more about the dark night experience please click
on the following:
Carolyn Myss' Inspiring Story
Marnie's Dark Night
Personal Dark Night Experiences
Visitors to This Page
My Dark Night Crisis and
Surrender and Detachment