What is a “Dark Night of the Soul”? How is it Beneficial and How Can You Recover?

“A dark night of the soul” can be a time when nothing in life feels meaningful. There are times when, no matter how normal or good things are in a person’s life, they feel hopeless and abandoned and without love. The suffering can seem to be never-ending, and the person can feel completely alone. Nothing makes them feel better, not prayer, not friends, not hobbies. This state of mind can sometimes be directly triggered by a specific difficult life event, such as losing a job, or it can simply appear to come out of nowhere.  Often it happens as a result of suppressed feelings and unfinished emotions from the past (abuse, abandonment, or other emotional challenge)

From a spiritual perspective, the dark night often happens after significant progress toward higher consciousness and spiritual growth. It can be seen as a preparation for the happiness of progressing to the next level of spiritual growth: a purification, a cleansing.

Although usually temporary; it can last for extended periods of time. Some people may find

Life presents them with more than one dark night. Many reject and resist their dark nights throughout their life, under the understandable belief that pain and difficulty are to be rejected and resisted rather than accepted and even, odd as it may sound, welcomed and embraced.  True transformation can be a painful process and takes time.

Symptoms can include depression, loneliness, loss of energy, anger, a sense of abandonment, and frequent crying seemingly out of nowhere. These symptoms mimic ordinary clinical depression. However, there is a major difference. The dark night is where deep, rich spiritual growth is occurring.

There is a beneficial side to a dark night as there is to everything.  After successfully passing through, you may have let go of many things that were holding you back, and sometimes it takes a dark night to face those fears or demons and truly move beyond. The dark night is also a place of beauty and grace. Humility and surrender live there, the willingness to do anything, to be open, to consider possibilities that have not been considered before.  It is sometimes hard to forget that shadow and light are linked, that light cannot exist without shadow.  Whilst the shadow side often has been press, its appearance is an invitation to set more into love of yourself.

How can you recover from a dark night of the soul? The key to this is by simply surrendering to what is happening. This means that you are not endlessly worrying “why is this happening to me” or “what can I do to fix this” – these types of thoughts create strain, and they just serve as blocks. These worries can actually make you feel worse, because you will likely struggle to find the answer.

The answer is not in what you do; it is what you stop doing. You stop resisting. The best thing to do is to just allow yourself to feel everything that you are going through, without pushing your feelings away or trying to figure out what everything means. It might help to do something practical by taking good care of yourself by exercising or going out for a walk. But it is important to let the pain pass through you so at the other side you will be rejuvenated. It can help to focus on the fact that your dark night is temporary, and that when you have recovered, you will see the value in it.

If you’d like to grow your confidence, enhance your well-being, feel empowered and be inspired, join one of retreat programmes.  Find out more here!

These suggestions have a track record of working for people in this situation. We recommend that you try these tips and see which ones are suitable for you. You may find that other approaches work for you too. Depending on your circumstances, a consultation with your GP may be advised.


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