I keep returning to this.
I have gone through what we can call a dark night of the soul for the last few years. I won’t go into much detail here since I have written about it in other articles. But what keeps coming up is what seems like a central invitation. And that invitation is to see, feel, and love even what’s most difficult to see, feel, and love – as the divine.
In my teens, the divine revealed itself to itself as all there is. It was easy to see and love all – or almost all – as the divine, and even feel it as the divine.
I said “almost all”… Some things were not so easily recognized as the divine, especially what this human self strongly dislikes, and especially strong emotional pain, and – to a lesser degree – discomfort in general.
My dark night phase has been a series of losses – of health, relationships, money, opportunities, belongings, identities, ideas about the future and more. And that has brought up things in me. It has brought up what hasn’t yet been seen, felt, and loved. And what hasn’t yet been seen, felt, and loved as the divine. It has brought up emotional wounds, trauma, and cherished beliefs and identities created for protection and safety (as all beliefs and identities are).
When unprocessed psychological material comes to the surface, it’s often painful. And there are often reactions to it. If I get caught in my reactions, it’s even more painful. And if I relate to it is with kindness, respect, and patience, it’s easier. It’s a relief. It can even bring a bittersweet feeling, a sense of wholeness, and a sense of returning home.
Meeting it with kindness, respect, and patience is the portal to seeing the unseen, feeling the unfelt, and loving the unloved in me. And that, in turn, is the portal for the divine to recognize itself as even that, even the discomfort, even the pain, even the reactivity to it. To see, feel, and love itself as all of it.
There are different types of dark nights, and even within any of our mind-created categories, each one is unique. And yet, they all seem to be about removing veils. Wearing off identifications, beliefs,
In my case, one of the many beliefs life seems to wear out in me is the belief – held deeply in me and not aligned with my conscious view – that some things in my experience are not the divine. That this emotional pain, this dread & terror, this discomfort, is not the divine. That it’s somehow inherently wrong. Alien. A mistake. The child in me still reacts to it as if it is all of these things.
There are no shoulds here. But there is an invitation to see what happens when I get caught in the reactivity to what comes up (amplifying the discomfort), and what happens if I instead remember to meet it with kindness, respect, and patience. And perhaps see the unseen, feel the unfelt, and find love for the unloved. And perhaps then, allowing the divine to recognize itself as what’s here – the emotional pain, the reactivity to it – as itself. As a local and temporary expression of itself.
Note: I’ll add a few things that I have addressed in other articles.
What happened for me where two distinct things that somehow has come together. One is an inability to any longer suppress unprocessed material. The lid was removed. The other is life setting up situations (loss) that triggered this material and made it come alive. Both of these were needed for me to go through this very humbling process, which is hopefully a healing process as well, and also supports embodiment of whatever clarity (awakening) is here.
When I say “the divine” I could say life or consciousness. It’s life recognizing even the emotional pain as itself. Or – to make it more immediate and accurate – it’s consciousness recognizing even the emotional pain and discomfort as itself, as it happens. It’s not alien. It’s not a mistake. It’s not wrong. It’s an expression of itself.
There are a few other stepping stones or supports in this process. One is that emotional discomfort has a survival function. It has helped my ancestors and the human species to survive. I wouldn’t be here without it. It’s built into us through evolution. It’s an expression of care and even love from life to itself.
Similarly, when emotional pain comes up in me, and reactions to it, I can recognize that all of it comes from care. They are parts of me wanting to protect me. They are, in a very direct sense, an expression of love.
And when we face buried emotional pain, it can make all the difference to have the support of someone else. Someone who can model relating to it with kindness, respect, and patience. Someone who has gone through it themselves.
Also, when I wrote “almost all” above, it means that the divine (or God, consciousness, love) recognized all as itself most of the time. Even any experiences of being a separate being
I feel a little embarrassed that this has taken so long for me. It seems so simple and obvious, and it is in a sense. It’s not new at all. And yet, for us very human and flawed humans, it can be challenging. At least for some of us. At least for me.