From a spiritual point of view, the attainment of reaching the level of a Dark Night of the Soul is nothing to be sneezed at – in order to get there you’ve certainly had to earn your spiritual stripes.
However, hardly anything in life comes easily and without effort, and the price for reaching this level of spiritual achievement is the difficulty and complexity of the lessons that will populate your Dark Night of the Soul.
Responsibility = Power
While it’s true there is no ordering to spiritual lessons, it has been my experience that for many people the first lesson of consciousness is usually responsibility=power.
Simply put, the responsibility=power life lesson says: what I take responsibility for in my life I can control and move in any direction I want, because when I take responsibility for having created it, then I have all the resources and abilities I need to create something different.
In a Dark Night of the Soul, this belief is going to be challenged to its utmost limits.
You will push and push and all doors will be closed to you. The things you normally do to get stuff working won’t seem to work at all – until you give up hope and stop doing them, when everything in your life will fall apart. You’re going to be pushing ten times as hard for 10% of the results, if that much.
Eventually there’s going to come a point where you understand that responsibility does not always equal power, and if you don’t realise it, you are going to burn yourself out trying to get stuff to move and work.
So the responsibility and power lesson for you this time will be: you are not responsible for everything, you cannot control everything: you have to surrender and let go and wait it out patiently.
After years and years of monitoring your mind, choosing every thought and action carefully, and driving things in the direction you need and want them to go, surrender and patience are going to be bitter pills to swallow.
Loving Person, Loving World
As Ken Keyes Jr says in his Handbook of Higher Consciousness:
A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world.
This is usually true: what people around us show us is a reflection of ourselves. Until you reach a Trial by Fire that is. Now for no reason at all you’re alienated, isolated, alone and abandoned.
The people you would usually reach out to aren’t there; the people who would usually reach out to you, don’t. Those you can normally rely on for help won’t be around or available, and come the time you really need someone to reach out to, your communication systems and devices will just suddenly stop working: emails won’t send, wifi will die, cell signal will be non-existent.
Nobody can go through this for you – and nobody can actually go through this with you. You will be isolated and removed from help – the very point of this lesson is to allow you to see yourself without consolation or help or assistance.
This lesson’s going to hurt, because it’s going to attack your self worth. You will question whether people like you, whether they want to be around you, whether you have anything of any worth to offer the world.
When everything gets broken down that often includes the good we think about ourselves, and in order for us to challenge and change those beliefs we have to see even our good opinions from the opposite point of view. So very often, you come back around to believing in those qualities and characteristics you hold again, but first you have to face a period of incredible doubt.
Where it Hurts Most
There are two ways that a Dark Night of the Soul hurts you where it hurts most: first by attacking your hopes and dreams, and secondly by going straight after what is most important to you in the world.
Hope is an amazing human ability, because it enables us to forgive, release, move on, be tenacious, be resilient, try and believe again. A Dark Night of the Soul will challenge your faith and hope by holding you down for a very long time period of time – often measured in years.
When you’re held down for a long time and you just don’t see movement or results, and you’re plagued by incident after incident of bad luck, it challenges your very sense of hope. Take this far enough, and you will stop hoping and dreaming altogether, because you lose faith that you will ever see results; you almost become to scared to reach out and dream, for fear of being rejected and overlooked yet again.
The second way that a Dark Night of the Soul attacks you where it hurts the most is by attacking you in an area of your life that is really crucial for you.
For some people success is everything, for others wealth is at the top of their pile. Others see the pinnacle of success as a happy romantic relationship, while some are desperate to have a family. Whatever your area of real importance is, you can rest assured that your main lesson will be in that area of your life.
The point of this lesson is to break us down completely, so that all the old is gone: the simplest way to do that is by attacking us where we are most vulnerable, the places that are most important to us, so that the most damage is done and we have the greatest opportunity for revelation and insight.
The last really big challenge for many spiritual peeps is now time – a concept that we’ve all worked hard to make reality in our lives.
Yes, when you get it right, now time is amazing. All your energy and effort is pulled out of the past and future and your focus is right here, right now. It allows you to do amazing things with your mind and time and resources. In a Dark Night of the Soul however, now time can be your worst enemy.
The thing about now time is that all your focus is right here, right now: so it almost feels like this is the only moment in time. You forget that things were good in the past, that things can and do change, that the wheel will always turn.
If you’re experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul, then just hang in there.
It’s an honor to be where you are, and recognition of what you’ve achieved on a spiritual level – it just feels like hell because you’re so completely invested in the moment. This too shall pass – and when it does, it will feel like the happiness has been there forever too.