Dark Night Of The Soul

Dark Night Of The Soul

Juan Esterhuizen Transformation Psychologist & Life Coach

Dark Night Of The Soul

"Dark Night of the Soul" is a phrase that is often used to describe an extremely difficult and painful period in one’s life, for example, the death of a loved one; a break-up, a divorce; diagnosis of a life-threatening illness or some other traumatic life event.

A Dark Night of the Soul and the Discovery of Meaning

Anyone may go through a period of sadness, hardship or challenge that is so intense and tenacious that it qualifies as a dark night of the soul.

The expression dark night of the soul is attributed to an experience that is truly life-shaking and touches the foundations of our experience, the soul itself.

Many people treat a “dark night” as an illness and take medication. In my experience, however, the best way to deal with it is to find the concrete action or decision that it is asking for. I view a dark night as a wake-up call to elicit personal transformation. An opportunity to transcend the mundane and enter into an era where ordinary consciousness can be transcended. This reason is why I view a dark night as a gift.

A dark night of the soul can be a kind of initiation, taking you from one phase of your life into another. We may experience several dark nights in the course of our life because as humans we are always in a state of flux, evolving…a state of becoming. This, in my view, is one of the primary purposes of life…to evolve. The deeper the dark night, the more the potential for extraordinary transformation. An evolutionary shift in how we view ourselves, others, God and life.

I view a dark night as a sign of a higher calling. A time when your immense pain and loneliness have locked within it the potential to catapult you to your destiny…to become the person who you were ultimately meant to be.

Finding the Gift in Darkness

There are many examples of people who have endured unimaginable ordeals and yet contributed in a striking way to humanity’s progress. One such person was Nelson Mandela. Mandela was in prison for 27 years. Even though he had to endure the harshest conditions at times, he never lost his vision and sense of destiny. One of his fellow prisoners said of him: “The point about Nelson is that he has a tremendous presence. He always remains conscious of the significance of what he radiates.”

One of Mandela’s dark nights was his imprisonment and how he handled this ordeal should serve as a lesson.

During a dark night, it is not the time to place your attention on illusions and wishes. You need to be strong and retain your sense of self-worth and power. It is a time to keep your vision intact and allow the darkness to speak to you and guide you to a new heading.

As strange as it may sound, there is hidden within a dark night the temptation to slip into the enjoyment of the pain and to identify with the emotions and moods. The juice people get when they say: “I’m so lonely… I’m depressed… Please feel sorry for me…Help me please

Mandela decided to take control of his reactions and behaviour. He didn’t succumb. It’s important to live through the dark night, acknowledge it, notice the qualities it conceals and rise above it. Do not get attached to it or let it dominate who you are. You need to call on all the strength you can muster. You can acknowledge your darkness and still find joy.

How do we move from a dark night to a place where we have a positive impact on the world and where our life has a purpose again?

The first step is to embrace the darkness, take it to heart and remove any subtle hints of resistance. Then find any images that are trapped in the thick dark mood that accompanies the situation. Those images may just hold the clue to release you from the clutches of the dark night. If you tone down the dark elements because they are painful and discouraging, you may also hide the gifts that are there for you. Rather unmask the demons that hide behind the veil of the dark night.

If you need help navigating through your dark night of the soul, click here. It would be a privilege to help you!

Dark Night Of The Soul

Juan Esterhuizen

Juan Esterhuizen Transformation Psychologist & Life Coach is a published psychologist, integrative life coach and stress & trauma release therapist with offices in Hermanus and Caledon. Juan Esterhuizen wants you to know that despite how broken you may view yourself to be, you are whole and resource...

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