The dark night of embodiment

Most of us experience some kind of a dark night in our life, a time when our old ways of relating to life don’t work anymore. During these periods, we may come face-to-face with painful beliefs, unhealed parts of ourselves, unexamined priorities, living in an inauthentic way in some area of life, and so on.

A specific type of dark night is what I (as of a few minutes ago) like to think of as a dark night of embodiment.

This is a not-uncommon phase of the awakening process.

We notice what we are, and we may notice it more and more often. It may even become familiar and a new habit. We explore how to live from this noticing.

We may also notice that parts of our human self still operate from separation consciousness (beliefs, emotional issues, traumas), and that this colors our general perception and life in the world. When they are triggered, we may also get caught up in them and identify with and life from these painful places in ourselves for a while.

We recognize that an important part of embodiment, living from noticing what we are, is to find healing for how we relate to life and these painful parts of ourselves, and also invite in healing for these unhealed parts of ourselves.

Life knows this too, and independent of wheter we want or not or understand what’s going on or not, life may set in motion a process of bringing all this unprocessed material to the surface.

Whatever is not aligned with the awakening comes up to join in with the awakening, And it comes up with an invitation for us to heal our relationship to it, and invite in healing for it.

The more unprocessed material is in us, the more can come up. And the more overwhelming, intense, frightening, confusing, and disorienting it can be.

And, in general, it’s a process that tends to bring us to our knees. We get to see where we are still stuck, and we come face-to-face with anything in us that want to hold on and sometimes struggles with the unsticking-process as if it was matter of life and death.

The more we join in with this struggle, the more we’ll struggle and the more difficult this process will be for us. (And the more we get to learn about that facet of this process.)

It’s a deeply human process, it tends to be messy and unglamorous, and it’s often deeply humbling. It brings us back to being a beginner, we need to befriend things in ourselves we would rather avoid, and we get to see things about ourselves we would rather not see.

The general process is very simple, and it has a lot of facets and things to discover.

How is it to heal my relationship with what’s coming up? With discomfort? Strong emotions? Unsavory parts of myself? Holding onto beliefs and identities for comfort and a sense of safety?

How is it to befriend what’s coming up in me? How is it to welcome it? Listen to what it has to say? Notice and allow it as it is? Allow it to transform, in its own time and in its own way?

How is it to see that these parts of me came from a desire to protect me? That they are innocent? Come from a childlike way of looking at the world? Come from love?

How is it to examine the scary stories behind these unhealed parts of me? What’s the perception, choices, and life that comes out of holding them as true? What’s more true for me than these stories?

How is to to notice this, even the most uncomfortable, as a flavor of the divine? As having the same true nature as I do? As being part of who and what I am?

For me, this process has been – and still sometimes is – immensely difficult. It’s the most challening I have ever experienced. (Anything challening is really a part of this process.) It’s been messy, unglamorous, humbling, confusing, disorienting, scary, embarrasing, and much more.

And it is a kind of dark night of embodiment. It happened after an especially significant awakening shift, and it’s a process of aligning the rest of my human self with the awakening – with reality, love, and oneness.


We can go through dark nights in life, where life brings us face to face with things in us we haven’t quite processed and are not quite clear on in ourselves. It can be old wounds, painful beliefs and identities, unexamined priorities, areas in life where we don’t live from what’s authentic for us, and so on.

We can also go through a variety of dark nights in an awakening process, and these are essentially the same. Life and the awakening process brings up whatever in us that’s not healed or examined or seen quite as clearly as we need to in the phase of the process and situation we are.

In life in general, as well as in an awakening process, life may in periods bring up a lot of unprocessed – unmet, unloved, unexamined – material in us. And this can feel overwhelming, confusing, and scary. It can bring us to our knees. What we held onto – in terms of ideas, identities, and beliefs – don’t work anymore. What used to give us a sense of safety and comfort may now be the very thing creating pain and distress.

This is a process of finding healing for what’s coming up in us, inviting in healing for it, finding more clarity, finding a more real humility, and maturing as a human being.

When it happens as part of an awakening and embodiment process, we can see it as a dark night of embodiment.

We notice what we are. We may make this noticing into a habit. We explore how to live from it. And we notice that unhealed parts of our human self distorts living from what we are. These parts of us color our perception, responses, and life in general. And when they are triggered, we may get re-identified with them, at least for the moment, and perceive and act from these unhealed places in us.

In this process, these unhealed parts of us tend to come to the surface so they can join with the awakening. It’s a natural part of the process. And it tends to happen whether or not we consciously want it or are aligned with it or feel we are ready for it.

In a sense, life wants us to heal so we can live more clearly and consistently from reality, love, and oneness. These parts of us come up so they can heal, find liberation from their suffering, and join in with the awakening.

These parts of us also come up so we can befriend life and the different ways existence shows up in our experience. We are invited to notie that even the most painful parts of us are a flavor of the divine, they have the same nature as we do, they happen within and as oneness, and they come from and are expressions of love. At a human level, they are here to protect us, and they come from care and (confused) love.

It’s not an easy process. Depending on how much trauma there is in our system, it can be by far the most challenging we have ever experienced. It can be deeply confusing, disorienting, frightening, and overwhelming.

And the process itself is love. It’s life inviting us to find a deeper and more thorough healing at our human level, so the awakening can be lived from more clarity and in more areas of life and more situations in life.

We can see it as a dark night of embodiment since it can be scary, challenging, and confusing. It can bring us to our knees. It’s a deeply human process. It can be messy in a very human way. It’s not always elegant or pretty. And it’s a vital part of the process of living from the awakening, of embodiment.


The dark night of embodiment
Awakening process, brings up anything in us not aligned with itself
Can be the most challenging we have ever experienced, overwhelming, scary, confusing
Brings us to our knees


  • Dark night of embodiment
    • Dark nights in general
    • Awakening, supports embodiment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.