The Dark Night Of The Soul: Transcending Depression And The Self.
The event which triggers the process of the dark night of the soul in this story is a surgical procedure in that part of the body which is man's most delicate. The most important body part for a human being is the heart. It is with the heart that we make the wisest and also the craziest decisions. But this is not the case when I cannot longer feel it. Surgery is necessary to repair the damage caused during the same operation I had when I was 6 years old. It is intended to stop the pain, and it does, but the post-surgery recovery takes longer than anticipated and there's pressure to go back to work. Weeks later I leave that job to never return. I am exhausted.
The symptoms are similar to depression, but it is not. I recognise an existential need that has to be fulfilled, although the energy to do something is simply not there. My girlfriend at the time plays an important part in this process. It is her who suggests I should visit a GP and get treatment. I am too weak to find solutions and this is where the next step of the dark night takes place. So far I have never listened to anyone in my life. I believe I have all the answers within. Listening to others eventually takes a toll on me. Life is unbearable. I know it's not depression; that whatever it is goes deeper and beyond it, but circumstances oblige and the support of a doctor is necessary for legal and financial reasons.
This is a part of the journey that extends for two years. During this period I tried everything there is to try. Therapy, medication -which only makes it worse and I stop after a week-, exercise, fasting, diet, hypnotherapy, a different therapy, shamanism, healing, meditation, writing, gardening and an endless array of activities. Nothing seems to work. The main problem is of course myself. I am trying to find the solution with my mind, which only leads to thinking and over thinking. Intellect has taken me this far and I've done very well with it, so why not. To come out of this state of mind, alcohol seems like the only plausible solution. I know it's not, but I do need a break sometimes. Eventually the magic potion stops working and it only serves to make me more miserable, so I also give it up.
My body clock goes haywire. I spend all nights awake and don't sleep during the day. I know what I want, but I don't. I know who I am, then I don't. The feeling is unbearable and exhausting, as this knowing and not knowing happens both at once. It is not as if one minute I know and I don't the next. It is a constant, as if two difference forces, two parallel realities where pushing against each other and I was squeezed in the middle. I no longer want to live, but at the same time I have so many plans for the future. I know there is still so much I have to do in life and I am not prepared to surrender. I forget to have fun and I'm definitely not fun to be with.
The sensation that I am alone in the world is overwhelming and yet I do not want to be with anyone. My relationship of course suffers and it seems to reach the point of no return. I cannot recognise myself and ego is resisting, which makes the experience even more painful. There's a willingness to end it all, but at the same time there is also a strong belief in myself and an incredible faith in the journey.
In the dark night of the soul, time does not move, as if I am trapped in limbo. Every minute of the day seems eternal. An overpowering feeling of emptiness is all there is. Nothing makes it better. At the same time there's is a strong sensation of knowing, as if the universe was whispering the answers to my ear, but ego is very strong and anything that cannot be rationalised I cannot accept. I feel a prisoner in my own body and there is neither exist, nor escape.
The longing to return to the full expression of the soul is powerful, but I am behind invisible bars and I cannot find a way to break free. I know what I want to do with my life, but I am trapped in old ways of thinking. I'm inclined to do something good, but it seems impossible. Love is out of the question. There is no joy and everything is a struggle. And yet, I can feel the soul calling, but I don't know how to answer. It is incredibly frustrating, as I know how beautiful and healthy is what I can offer to myself and others, although it seems impossible to tap into it. It is there, but it's not. I can see it, then I don't. I'm beginning to believe that I am going mad.
Self-belief keeps me going, as it always has. I know I am learning an invaluable lesson, though the feeling of emptiness doesn't allow me to appreciate it. Others can see what is happening, but at this stage I know I have to find my own answers. Listening to others has taken me away from my purpose. I am lost, so it's all a matter of finding myself again. I am alienated from the world. Nothing is what it seems and of course I am still trying to rationalise. I am paralysed.
There is a moment in which I separate from the mind, trying to escape from any sense of rational intelligence. I know it's not the answer to anything. I don't want to be intelligent, as I don't want to be anything else. I just want to forget everything I've learned and everything I know. My relationship ends. I feel nothing at all when it happens. There's no emotion. I know that nothing is real. Somehow I am still functioning, even though I don't feel my soul or my heart. I keep going out, mixing with people, coffee and a drink or two and meeting a new girl, then another and another. It's just another trap, another distraction from the real purpose. There is no pleasure in the physical touch either, so I stop it. The fact that I don't feel anything, does not mean that others feel the same way. I can see feelings and emotions in others. How do they do it? Why do people cry? I don't understand what I can't feel or do.
Life gets better for a while. Everything seems to be going well and I meet the woman I have been looking for all my life. In love we both seem to have reached everything we ever wanted, but it's also an illusion and a painful awakening. She's my identical mirror. I see all my flaws reflected in her, only that I know they are mine and this time I stop and cannot blame her for who I am. But it is too much for us to handle, as we're both going through the same process and of course the relationship ends. This is the first time I experience heartbreak, and if there have been any doubts before, now it is clear that I don't recognise myself. I don't know who I am anymore. I wallow in sorrows for one night only. It is then that I cry. With every tear I see a truth I did not dare to see before. Now I know why people cry.
The next morning the sense of isolation turns into insufferable loneliness. Now I know I'm definitely alone. Heartbreak is the turning point; a blessing in disguise. That is the day I begin to listen to myself and God. The first thing I hear is that I have to let go. I know this to be true. I recognise truth, as it comes from my higher self. I stop questioning and begin a new journey. I recognise heartbreak also. I have felt this before as a child. The longing to go home is no longer there. I know I cannot go back to her, as this is not the answer and it's obvious I have to do this alone.
As the old ways have not worked, I learn new ways by taking baby steps. Heartbreak has weakened me enough to stop any resistance. Ego is still there, but willing to listen now. Letting go is an epic journey. I don't know where to go or what to do. All I know is that I have to get there. And this feeling of knowing is what makes the difference. Letting go finally happens within five months and by then there's hardly anything left of the old me. Perhaps the most incredible realisation is that two days after I recover my smile I seem to have lost my identity. I am no longer identified with anything and recognise identity as something that I do now and here. There's nothing else. Everything is now and here.
I don't believe that the dark night of the soul is something everyone has to go through and many will not experience it during this lifetime. There are softer ways to get in touch with the higher self. We all have a different purpose in life and not everyone has the same experiences. However difficult and desolate this period may seem, one has to realise that there are two different forces working at the same time and that one of them is the soul coming through. This is the strongest force, it is hopeful and it is love.
Once we come out of the dark night of the soul we realise that the person and character we used to be, was neither right, nor wrong, just lost in the noise of the world and at reaching this stage, we also know that we can forgive ourselves and others. Traumas heal and our perception of the world and others changes. We no longer hold grudges against others. Instead we are grateful for every experience we had in the past. For some of us is a necessary step to bring a new dawn to our lives. And this new dawn is love, only love. It might not be easy while we are going through it, but it's definitely worthwhile waiting until we see an end to it. There is not one solution to all, and we have to go through it. Then, everything makes sense.
If you are going through the dark night of the soul right now, know that once you come out of it, you will never be the same again, and neither you would want to. Life gets easier; much easier. Be patient, trust and believe.You are neither going mad, nor depressed. You are about to meet with your higher self and it truly is worth the wait.
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Posted by Manel Blanco