Saint John of the Cross introduced us to the Dark Night of the Soul in his now famous poem. Through his work we have come to understand the Dark Night of the Soul as a spiritual crisis on the road to unity with The Divine.
The key is to not be afraid of the dark. We are so afraid of the dark “negative” emotions. We wish to be Joy and Light all the time which is great but not realistic as a human. For humanity by its very definition is an expression of at least five senses; touch, smell, sense, hearing, and taste. And as humans we will be asked to feel everything at one time or another in our life.
If I can impart anything to you it is to not be afraid of the dark. Embrace it. Welcome it as you would a friend in need and LISTEN.
Listen with all your heart. Pull all your tools out of your tool belt for it will require that.
A dark night of the soul is formidable if we believe that it is stronger than the Divinity that resides within us. But my experience is that when I surrender and trust Great Spirit, the Creator to have my back as I allow the darkness to wash over me, I am reborn. I come through to the other side. It is the struggle to deny the dark night of the soul that creates the existential crisis.
It would be disingenuous of me to sit here and portray to you this image of a woman happily drumming her drum, filled with Joy and Light all the time. While this is a true aspect of me there is also the me that can be triggered by a smell, a sound, or something someone says and I am in the fetal position begging for mercy and grace. That is truth!
I am all things. I am confident. I am loving. I am kind. I am generous. I am a generator of Light. I am a cheerleader for the Divinity within. However I am also human. I am also frightened. I am also angry. I am also petty.
The thing is when I find myself being those so-called “negative“ emotions or qualities, I choose to dig deeper. There’s a reason I’m succumbing to a baser aspect of myself. I look at me. I look to the Divine within me to show me how to love myself in this less than desirable space.
And it’s work people. Doing family of origin work is hard! For me it often manifests as self-loathing and isolation. It’s not as simple as reciting an affirmation or praying it away. All those things are helpful but my experience has been that I have to be willing to look at whatever it is I’ve been subconsciously suppressing.
I have to repeat to myself, I know I’m angry, I know I’m sad, I know I’m in self-loathing, I know I’m afraid, I also know I’m Birthing the Light (first blog post). ( https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?rinli=1&pli=1&blogID=6581560385965286902#editor/target=post;postID=1249090737562032802;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=14;src=postname ) And if I keep going through this most uncomfortable place, I will come out the other side wiser, softer with more space to hold and embody the Divinity that I truly am when it is not masked by triggers from old events coloring how I see and feel what is occurring in the now.
I used to hate dark nights of the soul. I judged myself as less than for having them especially since I’ve had such close encounters with the Divine.
And now, while I don’t necessarily like them, I have enough experience with them to know that they are just aspects of me that need to be invited into the Light of who I am. They hold nuggets of wisdom if I am willing to admit that I am not afraid of the dark. The Divine is present in ALL things. ALL things!
Whether we choose to embrace our darkness and temper it with our Love or give it full expression in a harmful way to ourselves and others is our free will choice. Do not kid yourself into believing that this darkness is some outside force controlling you, absolving you of your choices. It is but an aspect of you, perhaps implanted by another’s cruelty, but still yours to accept into the light or to reject. That is at the core of humanity, our right to choose. It is not that the dark or the Light are good or bad. It is our choice whether to act from a place of Love or to act in a heinous manner that determines our level of acceptance of the Divinity within.
I listened to lots of podcasts and watched YouTubes, and read lots of inspirational words from spiritual teachers this past week to help me address the darkness that had arisen in me. And someone said, I can’t remember who, that we are undergoing a collective release of fear with this COVID-19 crisis. That so resonated with me. It makes sense that a collective release of fear might just bring up in me whatever fearful, dark thing I may still have buried down deep inside. This is their opportunity to come out of the shadows and be loved and accepted into the wholeness of who I consciously know I am and choose to be.
The Art: Death
The Death Mask. Death. Such a scary word. I believe it is the thing of which we are most afraid. Most of us can’t have a conversation about death with those we love. My personal beliefs have taught me that my Soul will discard this beautiful vessel that is housing it at the moment and return to the Wholeness of All That Is.
The death I speak of today, or through this mask, is not that death. The big one! I speak of all those little deaths we go through throughout our lives and especially with each Dark Night of the Soul we are privileged to experience. Each Dark Night of the Soul allows us to release back into the Light and Love of the Divine that which no longer serves just as we do at the end of this physical embodiment. Dark Nights of the Soul are practice for the ultimate surrender. It is a form of life review while still in the body. It’s an opportunity to choose who we are, who we’ve been, and who we choose to Be.
One of my favorite hymns is Be Not Afraid, “I go before you always. Come follow me and I will give you rest.” I’ve included a link to a YouTube video of this song recorded during this pandemic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF0DIpFOoBg&t=20s It behooves us to remember that we are never alone and our Soul knows exactly what we need in each moment. May we all walk each other home acknowledging our fear yet transcending it and returning to the Love we know ourselves to be.