The meaning of the Dark Night of the Soul takes us on a spiritual journey.
Usually, it’s about change. It’s about transformation – and of the painful kind.
Feelings of loss, loneliness, and failure bear down upon you.
Despite the darkness, you go on – bettered, purified, and reborn.
So, here’s what it means to experience the Dark Night of the Soul.
What Is the Dark Night of the Soul?
The Dark Night may descend upon you when you lose someone you love.
Or it may poison the soul when trust is broken and promises are abandoned.
It’s different for everyone – but it arrives all the same, sooner or later.
Although a challenging period, weathering the storm tempers and purifies the soul.
You learn invaluable lessons. You emerge as a beacon of wisdom and resilience. But only if you confront the shadows within and withstand the onslaught on your suffering spirit.
Even in the densest of darkness, there is a light to hold on to, guiding you forward.
The Dark Night of the Soul is a challenging period in a person’s life.
And it’s filled with challenges that can either break or make your journey.
This spiritual crisis has defeated many. And it can defeat you if you’re unprepared.
Now’s the time to rise above and tap into your inner strength.
As you face your deepest fears, remember that each painful step in the right direction brings you closer to growth and enlightenment. You’re rising to a higher state of being.
Try not to lose hope as the Dark Night reshapes your soul.
There’s much you can do to stay firm and unwavering. And we’re here to help you.
You can navigate this dark, stormy sea and find the light with our guidance.
But how do you know if you’re going through the Dark Night of the Soul?
How to Recognize the Dark Night of the Soul
It can be hard to tell what’s happening when you’re lost, confused, and dazed.
Is it the Dark Night – or are you just feeling down on an ordinary Tuesday?
“If you’re going through Hell, keep going.”
– Winston Churchill
There’s an inner turmoil within you, unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You feel like the pieces of your soul are rearranging. And it hurts. It’s a soul-wrenching process.
You feel empty, disconnected from the spiritual realm, and blind to the divine powers.
It’s like you’re alone in a world that seeks nothing else but to agonize you.
The Dark Night makes you question more than faith – it makes you question your purpose and meaning in an attempt to transform you from a believer into a doubter and a skeptic.
Since you feel abandoned, you feel compelled to return the favor. You abandon everyone and everything that cares about you. And you plunge neck-deep into an existential crisis.
So, that’s how you recognize the Dark Night; it sucks the life out of you.
Hobbies no longer bring you joy. Work doesn’t feel hard and tedious – but soul-draining. And you go about life an empty shell, devoid of passion and a stranger to fulfillment.
It’s an inner struggle that pushes you to the very limits.
Some people break. Others prevail. But all people are changed in the end.
How do you prepare for such a tempestuous turmoil?
What can you do to lessen the effects and discover your strength?
How to Prepare for the Dark Night
The phrase ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’ comes from a poem by St. John of the Cross.
This 16th-century spiritual classic describes hardship as a catalyst for personal growth.
But it does more than describe. It offers guidance to help you brave the Night.
So, what should you do to prepare for when the Dark Night inevitably comes?
First, it’s about understanding what Dark Nights really mean.
It’s not just pain or suffering. It’s transformation – a stress test for the soul.
For most people, the Dark Night resembles a trigger for spiritual awakening.
Even while the storm rages, you must tend to the garden within.
Embrace change. It is an inevitable part of life. Like time, nothing you do can stop or slow its march. One way or the other, it comes for you. And you must be ready for when it does.
Resisting change means resisting growth and intensifying the challenges you face.
Embrace it as a key that opens the door to transformation.
Preparing for the Dark Night means knowing what you’re going to face.
It’s never easy for anyone – and it won’t be easy for you.
The differences can be subtle, but the spiritual journey is the same for all of us.
Even though you may feel the true weight of fear and doubt, the Dark Night also helps you discover your inner resilience. From within, your strength comes to light and flourishes.
You discover that you can handle anything life throws your way.
The Symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul
What can you expect to happen when a Dark Night begins?
What will change, exactly? What are the symptoms?
Well, it varies from person to person – but there are recurring themes and patterns.
For example, a Dark Night invokes a deep sense of emptiness.
The world echoes in silence, both within and around you. You feel alone when you’re by yourself. Somehow, you feel even more lonely when surrounded by a crowd of people.
Slowly, you fall into a pit of isolation, suffering from spiritual depression.
It’s like shackles have been cast on your soul to prevent growth.
When the Dark Night of the Soul begins, the past may resurface again.
Things left unresolved come back to haunt you, forcing you to face your demons. Only, this time they’re more threatening. You feel like you don’t have what it takes to beat them.
You feel stuck in perpetual madness, and nothing makes sense.
The Dark Night forces you to contemplate the meaning of life – only to find nothing.
The things that make you happy no longer cause your soul to shimmer in delight.
With a bruised purpose and a suffering spirit, you struggle to see a way forward.
It’s like you’re suspended in air, incapable of planting your feet on the ground.
However, not all Dark Night of the Soul symptoms are confining and discouraging.
For example, you’re more open-minded to spiritual exploration.
The longer the Night lasts, the closer you are to awakening.
Little by little, your strength and resilience break through to give you gilded wings.
It’s all about the awakening process. Never forget that.
It may take a long time, but nothing worthwhile can be achieved overnight.
The Stages of the Dark Night of the Soul
If you don’t know anything about Dark Nights of the Soul, they can catch you off guard – and that’s putting it mildly. With a trial by fire, the soul is reshaped, reborn, and recast.
And it usually goes through stages, from the initial shock to the eventual rebirth.
The first stage of the Dark Night marks the beginning of your spiritual awakening.
Something within you stirs from slumber to cast your world in darkness.
Inner conflicts take place. Your emotions run haywire. The past resurfaces to haunt you, and you’re sent back from the shock, reeling. The soul is reshaped violently and abruptly.
In this phase, inner work is required to stay in control – but it’s never enough.
Despite your best efforts, you fall into an all-consuming spiritual depression.
The symptoms vary from one person to the next. However, it takes a tremendous amount of inner work and patience to weather the storm and restore balance and harmony within.
But what happens next? What’s the second stage of the Dark Night?
Everything happens all at once, and it sucks the life and passion out of you.
You begin to feel hopeless, confused, and unsure of where to go and what to do.
Things spiral out of control rapidly – and you may even consider giving up.
Yet, you still try to navigate the encroaching shadows and come out on top. It may feel like an endless struggle destined to break you, but you cling to hope and inner strength.
This is when most people hit their lowest point: rock bottom.
From there on, there’s no way to go but up.
The third stage of the Dark Night relates to surrender and self-realization.
After your darkest hours, you perceive the truth and open your eyes.
You understand that this has done nothing but strengthen and empower you.
So, you rise from the ashes with a reborn and renewed soul.
You’ve faced challenges and mastered the lessons brought to you.
It’s time to move forward and wake up to a more profound meaning of life.
The final stage of the Dark Night implies a newfound self-awareness.
Spiritually, you’re at a high you’ve never reached before. For many, this is the point where they realize their spiritual awakening. Peace, balance, and harmony resound from within.
The Dark Night has changed you forever. Now, you reap the rewards.
How Long Does the Dark Night Last?
The length of the Dark Night varies from person to person.
It’s like a book that keeps on writing itself, each chapter stranger than the last.
There’s no way to tell how long a Dark Night may last. It’s your experience. So, it’s unique to your spiritual journey. It can pass in a day. Or it can persist for years to come.
Usually, it’s a brief yet intense period of emotional turmoil and spiritual discord.
Nothing guarantees a brief Night, though. It can be a prolonged self-exploration.
For some, it’s a temporary storm. For others, it can be a long journey of ups and downs.
There’s only one way to find out how long the Dark Night will last for you.
And that’s to walk the steps with a resilient, unbending mindset.
Either way, it’s up to you to weather the storm. It’s up to you to make the most of it.
No matter the length, the Dark Night forms a path of change and transformation.
Each challenge you face and overcome is a positive step in the right direction.
Your mental health wavers. Your emotions suffer an intense upheaval.
But what happens when the Dark Night of the Soul draws to a close?
What Happens After the Dark Night?
When the Night is through, a sense of calmness and serenity washes over you.
The storm subsides, and the light breaks through the clouds, illuminating the way forward.
Everything you went through now makes perfect sense.
It’s death to the old you and birth to a new you – a soul spiritual and transformed.
After the Dark Night, you become more mindful and self-aware. The trials you faced – the ones that caused you to suffer and experience depression – now make sense.
You’re reborn into the dawn of a new spiritual awakening.
With clarity and a rediscovered sense of direction, you march forward. You’re thankful for the help you’ve received. And you’re proud of your strength and your resilience.
You feel more aligned with your true self, closer to your core values than ever before.
Now’s the perfect time to cultivate self-compassion and engage in self-reflection.
Think of each experience that tested you – and be thankful for it.
You emerge from the Dark Night of the Soul as a better person.
You recognize the strength it took to undergo such a transformative journey.
Take the time to reflect on the lessons and incorporate them into your life. With newfound wisdom, you can make better choices and decisions. You can live your life in harmony.
Let go of everything that no longer serves you, and embrace your new, weightless self.
Most importantly, don’t forget what it took to get here.
Stay spiritual. Keep practicing meditation and mindfulness.
After a Dark Night, you’re more ready to take on another. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating it. Stay connected to your true self and keep your mind and soul open.
Many people experience the death of the ego after a long, arduous Dark Night.
Make the most of what you’ve achieved and live your life purposefully.
The meaning of the Dark Night of the Soul lies in growth and transformation.
The challenges may blind you, but that’s the underlying purpose.
When the Dark Night of the Soul ends, the dust settles, and you can perceive it.
Until then, find solace and comfort in knowing that we all face Dark Nights.
The pain and suffering are temporary. Brave it, and let your soul be reborn.
Painting and writing – these are two passions that I have been perfecting for a decade.