When we are in a dark night of the soul, or what seems like it, it can be helpful to have some information about the dark night of the soul.
It’s easy to think that something went wrong, so information about the dark night of the soul may help us see that it’s OK. I didn’t do something wrong. Life didn’t go wrong. It’s a natural phase of the process, for some of us. Others have gone through it and are going through it. I am not alone. This reframing what’s going on with us can be a relief. And we may also get practical pointers for how to relate to it.
Feel sensations as sensations, as much as possible. Notice and inquire into associated images and words, to make it easier to feel sensations as sensations.
Inquire into any stressful beliefs and limiting identities.
Find kindness for what’s here. Find kindness for the emotions, distress, sensations, wounds, trauma, suffering. Find love for it.
Rest with what’s here. Notice. Allow. See it’s already allowed.
Rest in a conventional sense. Take time to rest.
Be in nature. Go for walks. Garden.
Eat well. Drink plenty of water.
Nurture nurturing relationships and activities.
Find guidance from someone who has gone through it.
These pointers are helpful for anyone going through something challenging, or who is just living an ordinary human life. They are quite universal.
At the same time, it’s possible to create another (limiting) identity out of being in the dark night of the soul. It’s possible to make the dark night of the soul into a “thing”, something that seems real, solid, and “out there”. I may also identify myself as someone going through a dark night of the soul, and make that into something apparently real and solid. (It may be another inflated self, compensating for the deflated self this phase of the process tends to trigger.) I may get invested in it ending at some point in the future, and expect something to happen when it ends. (Awakening. Light where the darkness now is. A stable nondual realization.)
All of this is understandable. The mind wants to understand and conclude, in order to find safety. At the same time, it can be yet another way we limit ourselves and life. It comes with some drawbacks. It can even create more stress and suffering.
I can inquire into these dark night thoughts and identities as well:
What do I hope to get out of it?
What do I fear it means (about me) if this is not a dark night?
Is it true it will end? Is it true I need it to end?
Is it true [….] will happen when it ends? Can I know for sure?
I can see if I can find some of these things as something real and solid:
Can I find the “dark night of the soul”? Can I find “my process”? Can I find an end to it? Can I find [what I imagine is there when it ends]? Can I find me, someone in a dark night?
Can I find a threat? (In the dark night. In it not being a dark night. In it not leading where I hope it will.)
I can also rest with all of this. Meet it with kindness. Hold it in kindness.