The dark night of the soul, as any dark night, is a period of reorganization.
There are several types of dark nights, and what I mostly write about here is the dark night of the soul. The phase that typically comes after the initial awakening (illumination) and before equanimity, an ease independent of content of experience.
The reorganization of the dark night of the soul is largely hidden from our view and understanding, which is why it was initially called a dark night. It also involves many apparent losses. Old wounds and trauma may surface to be healed. And there is an invitation to wear out, soften and lose identifications. This reorganization is also similar to what a larvae goes through in the pupae stage. It’s unfamiliar, the old structures and patterns dissolve, and we are unable to see where it leads. The combination of all of this can be very challenging. For me, it’s been the most challenging thing I have experienced in this life, by far.
So what can we do? I have written about this before, so I’ll just mention a few things that come to mind now. And these really apply to any perceived challenges in our lives.
Find love for what’s here – for the inner and outer situation. Recognize that all the different parts of me – including the confusion, pain, anger, regret, sadness etc. – is love.
Inquire into my stories about what’s happening, the labels and what I take them to mean. And inquire into the stories triggering my responses, the sadness, grief, anger, despair, pain, hope, fear and more.
Feel sensations as sensations. Inquiry into the associated stories can make this easier.
Ask /pray for help. Ask for guidance. Support. Ease. Love. Conscious alignment with the reorganization.
Shake it out. Neurogenic tremors. Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE).
Spend time in nature, use your body and senses in nature.
Find mutual support. Find people who have gone through something similar, or are going through it.
Take care of your body. Eat well, get plenty of sleep. Use your body. Exercise.
Seek out some basic understanding of what’s happening. Read about the dark night (Adyashanti, Gerald May, Evelyn Underhill and others.)