Oh, the dark night of the soul, what a perplexing and nourishing state of total agony. Nothing is better than a deep dose of despair. Let’s learn why.
As I child, I encountered my first dark night of the soul. Of course, I wasn’t familiar with this state of being, and enduring this state set me apart from others. In fact, I was mistreated by other children because I was different. Many children experience this not understanding what they are going through.
Did you enter this darkness?
I spent countless hours as a teen, lost in angst, and learning what lurked in the corners of my mind. Every time I emerged from the dark night of the soul, I had grown a bit more. The truth is, the dark night of the soul is the existential crisis. It’s the hidden places that most of us travel in order to learn spiritual truths and the truths of self.
While it may be hard to understand for some, many of us have lived this way for a long time. Here are a few signs that you may be experiencing the dark night of the soul.
1. You are choosing solitude more and more
Within solitude, you can find togetherness. Although this may sound contradictory, it contains great meaning. It sort of mirrors the effect of learning to love others by loving yourself first. So, in order to understand how connected we all are, we must first be alone.
During solitude, we can start to learn how each and every person is a solitary unit, a unit which makes up an infinite number of others. So, with this being said, we make up one microcosm…one existence. If we are choosing to enjoy what we learn in solitude, we may be experimenting with our dark night.
2. You should be happy, but you’re not
Maybe you have every possible thing to be happy, but those materialistic things still aren’t enough. This is because you are starting to realize that it’s not about those things at all, and they could never make you happy. Your materialistic view is dying, and this is a good thing. When this part dies, something within you grows. You will only be truly happy with what you learn about what’s within.
3. You’re struggling with compounded negative experiences
Have you noticed that sometimes multiple things go wrong at the same time? I am sure we’ve all been through this, right? Well, when you are going through the dark night of the soul, this will escalate so fast that you will feel like something in the universe has cursed you. I have been through a couple of these this year and thought I might have to just lay down and die, but I didn’t!
Well, what’s happening is that the universe is trying to point you in the right direction. All your failures and mishaps are pushing you up and onto the path, you need to travel. Maybe you are going in the wrong direction and it takes a few negative experiences to set you straight. The important thing to remember during this time is to not give up. This is happening for a reason.
4. Strange gifts are emerging
We all have gifts or what I sometimes like to name, “callings”. We often have no idea what we are capable of until we enter the dark night of the soul. We often just write it off as depression or hallucinations.
The truth is, some of us have gifts to heal, while others have almost supernatural abilities to lead large crowds of followers. The gifts are many and various. The best way to realize your gifts is to let the dark night do its work and listen to what it says to you. It might not have an audible voice, but your struggles will help you see what’s meant to be.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.”
5. Cognitive dissonance is transforming you
Have you noticed that you are fighting between ideas from two separate worldviews? You have yet to decide your enduring morals and ethics. You sometimes find yourself lost in self-discovery. Your world views are actually changing so much due to your actualization of what really matters, like losing certain aspects of your ego.
As one thing changes, others things follow. This is why the dark night is seen as an existential crisis. So many things are transforming that you may see what’s happening as a terrible condition.
6. You are no longer scared of self-annihilation
Remember when you were younger and falling apart seemed devastating? Well, let ’s be honest, it can still be pretty severe, huh. Well, if you really pay attention, you will notice how calm you are when things seem to be falling to pieces. I mean, you even surprise yourself by how well you can hold it all together when life tries to rip things to shreds.
I believe that this is because you know some things have to fall apart to be put back in the right way. You also recognize that every time something happens, you learn things and you become stronger.
Your strength and experiences are wonderful tools for others too. If your friends and family are going through tough times, you can help keep them calm as well. If you are seeing these strengths in yourself, you may well be going through the dark night of the soul.
Rising like a Pheonix
Now, if you know you’re going through the dark night of the soul, then you know what’s next. You are headed for something truly otherworldly. Enlightenment is often found as a result of existentialism because understanding life’s true purpose is a major key. So, let these happen to you, don’t force it, don’t rush it, and then you will reap the rewards of a truly dark night of transformation.