It is assumed that those spiritually inclined are more susceptible to depression, yet the concept of ‘The Dark night of the Soul’ differs from clinical depression. There is little written or theorized on the topic, not everyone goes through the experience, some do not complete it those that do may not be able to articulate the nature of their experience and others struggle. I don’t believe we are supposed to understand everything that happens to us, but that there is a reason for it.
The Dark night of the Soul should be called the dark period of the soul as it rarely lasts a night, it happens with no warning and despite all the spiritual gifts and faith you have, suddenly you are filled with pain, loneliness, despair and confusion. Ironically it appears to occur when you have achieved a substantial level of spirituality, maybe so in that you will be able to cope. I theorize that to understand the light we must experience the dark, whilst they exist to maintain the equilibrium, it is for us to control that balance. We can all have dark moments, the aim of the dark night period I see as a mini reincarnation–to purge the conditioning accumulated over time, to get back the innocence and simplicity that we had as a child.
For me, a sign to not go back to the life I had, but to have the faith to move forward and not use the past as a crutch or safety net. We are taught indeed to have back up plans; spiritually we are to have infinite faith and trust. On the material plane we need back up plans as we cannot predict the actions of others that affect us. Anyone that says otherwise is being unrealistic in my opinion.
Experiencing this ‘stage’ is complex, you want to understand, but there is no reason or answer to find. To find oneself in the dark, unable to function and despite looking for the light, you cannot see anything but despair is confusing after all the usual ‘remedies’ have been tried. It is not my first time; it appears we will keep reliving it until we achieve complete faith. Some will not or want to reach that level for it is life changing and painful. The material becomes irrelevant, nothing is important. I went shopping and did not come back with any chocolate or chips (which usually was the bulk of my purchases) nor do I crave what I would eat daily. It is a shock to my system and me. I lack the ability to do what I want to do. There is no advice to be sought, each person will have different experiences, varying depths and you cannot explain what you do not fully understand. In some ways it is similar to becoming monk or nun like. It is humbling and the antithesis of the globalised world we live in. You take only what you need, no more even if it is offered to you freely.
This differs from clinical depression, having survived 8 years I can differentiate. Clinical depression, there were triggers, there were answers not necessarily solutions. With Clinical depression you have good days and bad days.. the dark night soul period is continuous. Some say there is no time limit and that indeed Mother Theresa spent 50 years in this state. Whilst she was a remarkable woman, my first dark night period for 6 months was a huge test of strength and faith and I struggled each day to survive. I believe it is a transitory stage, if it persists too long it can destroy the spiritual faith and weaken the soul, so the period will end and if and when one regains strength is may resurface again. Why do I believe it can only be sustained for a period of time? The pain and suffering leads to despair, in human form there is only so much one can endure. If this is to be a test, then the test can be retaken. There must be a balance between the realms, to exist spiritually on the material realm, one must understand and be part of it.
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