|Posted on October 12, 2015 at 12:35 AM|
We understand that the world is full of polar opposites—good and bad, yin and yang, light and dark—and that as part of the human path, we have chosen to experience both sides of life. I don’t think any of us actually wish for the bad or the dark, but it is a part of what we must go through in order to be who we fully are and to appreciate the opposite of that.
It is during our most painful, confusing, and fearful times, which is referred to as the “dark night of the soul”, a term coined by the 16th century poet and mystic St. John of the Cross, that we not only experience the depths of despair, but we have the greatest opportunity for transformation.
It’s not something we plan on or relish once it happens to us, but how we handle it will make all the difference. We may be able to work through it in a matter of days, or even months. In the case of Mother Teresa, it may be years. According to her letters, her dark night lasted from 1948 up until a short time before her death.
Coming out of the dark night is a tricky thing, because usually what we need to bring us out of it is the one thing that brought us to it in the first place. We need love in all its expressions—compassion, kindness, respect—and when we are in lack of it, whether in reality or in our imagination, we begin doubting ourselves and our existence.
St. John of the Cross saw it as containing two phases—the purification of the senses, and the purification of the spirit. We have to get to a point where our ego is totally out of the picture and we realize that we are the offspring of the Creator, whatever we perceive that to be, and we begin to realize that our spiritual connection is great enough and strong enough to help us up and out.
At this point our ego will begin resisting. We always encounter resistance when we are making a shift “upward”. Think back and you will see that is true, whether we’re talking the dark night of the soul, a new relationship, learning a new skill, or any other time we are desiring to make an improvement in our lives. But when we truly hit bottom, the only way possible to move is up.
If we will just BE with our new positive thoughts and feelings and allow them to become stronger than the negative ones, we will be brought out of the dark and into a light so bright we would have never thought it possible. The shackles will fall away and we will have hope in our lives once again. I believe that without the dark times, we won’t have hope, faith or love. How can we have one thing without also having its polar opposite?
Next time you are outside at night, look at the stars and the moon, and as you appreciate the beauty of them, remember that just as there are dark times in our lives, the light and the beauty is always right there, waiting for us to embrace it.