What is the purpose of this painful spiritual journey, you may ask? This extreme life-altering time affords a new ability to go beyond conditioned consciousness and morph into a new way of being. Welcome to the Dark Night of the Soul, and as painful as it can be, life has to remove all unwanted and unsupported structures in order to create an opening so you can rise above your conditioned thought forms and programmed behaviors.
One of my favorite spiritual teachers has said: “Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”
There is a purpose for the apparent collapse of your life as everything you thought you knew, particularly about yourself, falls away. You no longer know who you are as you are living in the dark. You are not who you used to be and not yet who you are becoming. Lonely times, akin to being in a row boat in the dark ocean with no oars.
Did you know that when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly it actually morphs into liquid before it is reborn? Thus, is the story of the ‘Dark Night’… You are in the dark and in a process of awakening.
Questions like, “who am I?”
“What is important to me?”
“What do I want?” are necessary questions to ask. You no longer identify with who you were. You are asked to surrender control and to create a life based on new emerging values.
You will witness the disintegration of how you have understood your world, often times with much fear. You can no longer rely on life remaining stable and predictable. Many of your responses to life will feel uncomfortable as you no longer resonate with the choices and actions that up until now have supported you.
You are being directed by a ‘higher intelligence’
Your soul is speaking and has taken wings. The “small you” is along for the ride. Many aspects of life fall away, although it can often feel as though your life has been taken from you. It’s easy to fall into victim mode, but keep in mind that there is a purpose and a reason for this time in your life. You are gaining the necessary wisdom to fly higher than you can even imagine.
The phrase “To Thy Own Self Be True” (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet) speaks to you being in alignment with who you are, your heart and soul. But what happens when you no longer know who you are, then what? The soul decides when it is time to expand, and life seems to fall apart from many directions.
When it is time to open your consciousness and shed the skins of your past, the universe sets in motion all that is necessary for you to birth a new you. The cosmic alarm clock rings, and you begin to dissolve your outworn and outdated conditioned structures. Much you have known about yourself becomes a distant memory as you ‘birth’ a new you.
Allowing your “death” rather than remaining in the comfort and security of who you have known yourself to be is a courageous decision. What makes it so interesting is that the journey begins without conscious choice. You have entered the spiritually gifted program. Your soul says “time to wake up,” and your life is forever changed. You are riding a huge wave without instruction, and you learn to develop a trust and faith that you never thought possible.
Is there any other choice?
Experiencing the ‘Dark Night’ is not a fun journey, but a necessary one and the reason for living, in my opinion.
This period is often accompanied by big life changes… many “losses” are associated with this time. At the same time, to make it even more interesting, you do not have a clear vision or sense of direction to who you are becoming… so an existential crisis ensues.
You want so much more now, and to live in integrity with your new desire for expanded consciousness requires you to surrender to a higher calling. You grow and you transform.
At a deep level, you are no longer satisfied to live in the stories and illusions that you adopted throughout your life. You want the truth of you, and you can no longer live with the lies you have told yourself in order to fit in, be accepted or loved.
Perhaps quietly at first, growing louder and louder, your heart says it’s time to be authentically you… “No longer can I hunger to live a harmonious life in alignment with my purpose, passion, and joy.” I must be in integrity with the life I am living and no longer willing to settle for less than what I know I can be.
A Total Transformation
Thus the Dark Night begins without much warning and, for me personally, I had to remind myself over and over that I am coming face to face with the intention of my soul to grow and expand. A tremendous opportunity to transform becomes available, and nothing can really stop the process (although there will be moments when you pray for it to end).
During this momentous time, you cannot assume to know anything really. You develop a humility that shakes you to your core. It is as if you are transported to an entirely new way of being that requires a devotion to life, which requires more from you than you believe is possible. In time, you will begin to see the beauty in surrendering to a power greater than you.
This rite of passage takes you deeper into yourself than you have ever known. Your awareness is elevated. Your old life has fallen away and it is time to build up your spiritual muscles and allow yourself the invisibility you may need to make the transition.
Welcome to the gift of transformation, the Dark Night of the Soul.
You can find more from Robin Jillian @RobinJillian.com. Her memoir “Hugging Trees in the Dark… Finding the Courage to Free the Heart” is now available on Amazon and her podcasts and blogs can be found at www.robinjillian.com and awakenradio.net.