What is the dark night of the soul spiritually?
Describing a challenging and transformative spiritual experience, many ancient mystics and modern-day spiritualists have used the term "dark night of the soul" to represent a period of deep spiritual pain and uncertainty. But what is the dark night of the soul spiritually? It is a difficult process of soul-searching, a type of inner purification that leads to overcoming spiritual obstacles and gaining a greater understanding of one's life and purpose.
The dark night of the soul is a period of inner struggle that is ultimately necessary for spiritual development. In this period, one's ego and sense of self is stripped away and replaced with a deep spiritual understanding, usually through personal pain, struggle and doubt. This process can be both agonizing and humbling, as it leads to the realization that traditional values, beliefs, and expectations of the world no longer have the same significance.
The term "dark night of the soul" was popularized by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet, St. John of the Cross. According to St. John, the dark night of the soul is a multi-faceted spiritual experience that allows one to be directly connected to God. It is a process of purification and inner transformation, and St. John wrote the poem "The Dark Night" to illustrate the process.
The dark night of the soul can be divided into two stages. The first is Discontentment or Spiritual Betrayal. This stage is characterized by feelings of disappointment, hurt, and betrayal—often resulting from unexpected losses such as the death of a loved one or the end of a important relationship.
The second stage is Spiritual Desolation, which is marked by intense feelings of despair, sadness, and grief. This may lead to depression, self-loathing, or suicidal thoughts. This stage is often accompanied by a profound sense of loneliness and emptiness, as one begins to question the meaning of life and their purpose in the world.
Although the dark night of the soul can be a difficult experience, it is ultimately beneficial, as it leads to inner growth and transformation. During this process, many difficult lessons can be learned, and deep insights into one's true self can be gained. Spiritual connections can be made, and a greater understanding of life and its meaning can be achieved.
Another important aspect of the dark night of the soul is the feeling of connectedness to a greater life. It is a kind of re-birth in which a deeper sense of purpose is awakened that is no longer based on one's beliefs or concepts. The egoic sense of self—or the story one has created about themselves—is also stripped away.
Finally, the dark night of the soul is a period of karmic transformation. As one goes through this process, their karma is purged and their spiritual understanding deepens. The lessons learned in this period are essential for one's spiritual growth and the realization of the truth of one's being.
In short, the dark night of the soul is a period of spiritual transition and learning, a time of inner purification and karmic release. It can be difficult and painful, but ultimately it leads to greater understanding and connection to the divine. For those on the path of spiritual awakening, the dark night of the soul is an essential part of the journey.