From 2016 to 2018, I went through an intense and transformational dark night of the soul. The time between 2018 and now has been spent healing from the experience and integrating its lessons. I am working on a book about the experience but, in the meantime, I feel called to share some of what I’ve learned. So many are struggling right now and, if that’s you, I want to
reassure you that this process is painful, but normal and necessary. You will get to the other side and the results of the transformation will be better than you could have imagined.
First, some background on what the dark night of the soul is...
The dark night of the soul was a term first coined by St. John of the Cross in the 1500s and has become common vernacular for one of the most difficult and transformational periods of a person’s life. Few want to discuss it; it’s much more pleasant to focus on love and light and positive affirmations than to dive into the deep mysteries of the little-understood spiritual process of the dark night.
But times are different now. We can’t ignore it and hope it will go away. The pandemic’s continual presence in the world is forcing us to SEE because this is no longer just a personal dark night; it is the dark night of humanity on Earth.
What is the purpose of the dark night of the soul? Its reason for being is to create profound transformation. I call the process Spiritual Catabolism - the breaking down of limiting and outdated structures and belief systems in order to rebuild from a higher vibrational plane. Personally, it means letting go of who we think we are and have been programmed to be, in order to become who we really are – beautiful divine souls. Collectively, it means breaking down detrimental social systems in order to rebuild those that are beneficial for our entire world and all its inhabitants. The chaos of the pandemic is unearthing a power structure that few were aware of before. That’s the thing about the dark night...it puts us into uncomfortable positions so we can no longer ignore the truth.
We humans crave comfort, safety, and security and will avoid change at all costs, so, as long as something doesn’t affect us directly, we can usually explain away unpleasantries or judge and condemn those we believe caused them. The media is always there with a narrative for our egos to adopt as our own and help us feel that we are somewhat in control of the situation. So, in order to break the spell, life puts us in a pressure cooker of sorts. Pressure comes from all sides until we can’t ignore it anymore and the ugliness is finally pushed to the surface and we’re forced to see, like a gross puss-filled pimple. Only when we know it’s there can we release it. The shock of it results in a dark night of the soul and forces transformation.
We, as a collective, are in the process of transformation, and every one of us is challenged to decide what this personally means for us. Will we adopt the narrative being fed to us from the outside? Perhaps. But by adopting someone else’s perspective as our own, we are giving our power away. Everyone has an agenda – you, me, politicians, doctors, scientists, teachers – everyone. We are all unique individuals with unique life experiences that result in us taking certain actions in our life. None of us truly know or understand where another person is coming from. Even identical twins can have very different perspectives. They share a womb and grow up with the same parents but they can still perceive the world in very different ways. By adopting another’s narrative, we are trusting that they somehow know better and that’s seldom the case. But that’s the programming of our society. We are told that we shouldn’t trust ourselves, our intuition, our hearts, or souls. Because if we did, we wouldn’t be so quick to adopt their agenda and they wouldn’t be able to control us so easily.
What the dark night and Spiritual Catabolism are asking us to do is to step away from the societal mechanism of control and go within and search our hearts and souls for answers. Why? Because when we remove all of the layers of societal programming, we will eventually find that we are a divine soul living this human experience. Every one of us is light. When we discover this, our whole inner world changes and, consequently, our outer world changes in profound and beautiful ways.