Along the self-growth journey, you’re going to experience moments where it feels like your life is falling apart. These feelings might be triggered by certain events in your life, and there may be no clear cause for why you’re feeling this way either.
This intense period of suffering is known as a dark night of the soul (DNOTS), and signifies a shift in your state of consciousness. Think of it as a spiritual growing pain. You need to let go of what’s not serving your growth in order to recalibrate with the evolution of your consciousness.
But within this process of shedding the old, people tend to feel completely lost while they’re finding their new selves. It’s disorienting to say the least. Usually, you’ll dredge up a lot of emotional junk because a dark night of the soul is a purge of sorts. You’re purging everything that no longer serves you, so that you can level up to higher states of consciousness.
A dark night of the soul is a spiritual crisis and a natural part of the awakening process. It’s characterized by an intense, but usually short-lived period of suffering, confusion, and grievance. It’s the process of shedding untruth which makes you feel disillusioned, but it’s necessary to align more deeply with your soul nature to achieve a more fulfilling life.
If you’re currently going through a dark night of the soul, I know it’s difficult, but it’s actually a good thing. Let’s work through this together, and look at some things that you can do to smooth out the process
If you’re going through a spiritual awakening, I suggest reading the article below too.
What is a dark night of the soul?
During one period of my life when I was living in the US, things were fine on the surface level, but I was swept with a feeling of complete hopelessness. I’ve done a lot of spiritual homework in my life and thought I was well prepared for anything, but this felt different, almost like my consciousness was retracting.
Suddenly I couldn’t see the light anymore. It’s like my life had just led to a dead end and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried all the tricks in the book to rekindle these positive feelings that I usually have, but no dice. It was like there was a blanket of oppression over me that lasted for weeks.
It wasn’t until I left the country and moved towards something that I resonated with, that I felt my consciousness expand again. I realized that my dark night of the soul was because I was out of alignment with my soul. My life at the time was completely uncalibrated with my heart. I saw that the universe was pushing me in another direction by showing me just how unfulfilling that life was.
When I’m on my path and moving towards goals that feed my soul, that’s when I feel good. It doesn’t matter how many challenges I have or what I’m going through, as long as I’m aligned with my heart, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as I go off track, that light disappears and I feel completely lost.
For me personally, I’ve learned to pay very close attention to these feelings and use them as a compass. If I’m going through a dark night of the soul, I know I’m not calibrated with my soul journey, and it’s a way to realign me.
This is the position you need to take. I’m not sure what has happened in your life, or if you thought you were on the right track. But if you’re going through a dark night of the soul, it’s calibrating you. So continue searching for the light in your life, and trust that you will find it.
What causes a dark night of the soul?
Think of a dark night of the soul as an exam you need to pass before leveling up along your spiritual journey. It’s best to look at a DNOTS as hitting a vibrational low as you peel back layers of your ego (the false sense of self). As your identity is attached to that false matrix of beliefs, there is a great sense of loss and disorientation that accompanies a dark night of the soul.
A dark night of the soul tends to come on rapidly, and can leave just as quickly. It may have been caused by an event that destabilized your sense of belonging (such as a divorce or loss of your job) or happened spontaneously.
This can be confusing because there isn’t a clear cause and effect. That’s because the dark night of the soul is a spiritual phenomenon. It’s not something that comes as a result of poor mental health, trauma, or an unpleasant experience. Sure, certain events can trigger it, but they wouldn’t trigger it if you were perfectly aligned with your soul.
How long does a dark night of the soul last?
The dark night of the soul ends when you have made the inner transformations. This period of suffering will gradually intensify until it forces you to surrender to the lessons that you need to learn.
DNOTS can last anywhere from a day to years, depending on how quickly you align with your deeper soul nature, and discard the layers of ego that you’re shedding.
You can have multiple dark nights of the soul. People who are quickly growing spiritually often have many dark nights of the soul in quicker succession. That’s because they have many big lessons they need to learn to grow quickly. They’re shedding all the different layers of ego, and every time they shed another layer, they need to recalibrate. For more resources to help you through this stage of your life, follow this link:
The difference between a dark night of the soul and depression
First off, depression is an issue with your mental health. A dark night of the soul is a stage of your spiritual growth. Even though you feel like the spark is missing when facing depression, a DNOTS is usually more intense, and characterized by different feelings.
Look at it this way. Depression eases on and can last for a long time. In most cases, you can still function fine with depression and live with it. A dark night of the soul usually comes on very quickly. A DNOTS is akin to an existential crisis. It’s a different energy that leans more towards feelings of dread, distress, and overwhelm, while depression is usually a numbing feeling and loss of hope.
Dark night of the soul symptoms
Since the dark night of the soul is a spiritual crisis, you can usually recognize if you’re experiencing one due to particular symptoms. Below are some common symptoms people experience when they’re going through a dark night of the soul.
For more resources to help you out, here is an article to read:
What you can do to get through a dark night of the soul
Even though they’re anything but fun to experience, a dark night of the soul is actually a good thing. It forces you to really go inwards and clear out energies which don’t serve you anymore. It’s a crucial part of the spiritual growth process, and pushes you to do deeper healing work.
In order for the dark night of the soul to end, you need to learn what it’s trying to teach you. Here are some things you can do to help you overcome a dark night of the soul.
Realize that it's temporary
No matter how hard it gets, no matter how long you’ve been suffering for, remember – it’s all temporary! A dark night of the soul does not last forever. If it seems to be dragging on and you just can’t get out of it, it’s probably because you’re missing the point.
The DNOTS is forcing you inward to look at something. It is there to serve you, to show you something deep inside that will change your life for the better, and to direct you towards a deeper spiritual pathway. But it’s really going to force you to dig deep (and usually the deep work isn’t fun!).
The dark night of the soul isn’t going away until you find that key, which will take you out of the darkness and bring even more light into your life than you experienced previously.
It’s important to remember that even if you don’t know what it is you’re looking for, or how to do it – sooner or later you will. So find solace that this is a temporary process, and sooner or later, you’ll be looking back as a better version of yourself, thanking this dark period of your life.
Go inwards and do the inner work
There’s really no way around this one. The dark night of the soul is happening because you need to visit a block, wound, or part of yourself that is holding you back from evolving. Distracting yourself and trying to outrun those painful feelings aren’t going to do any good.
You MUST go inwards. Look deep into who you are and what this time of darkness is pointing towards. Ask yourself WHY you’re feeling this way, and really dig deep into the inner work to flush out the core lesson of the DNOTS.
Listen to the teacher within
The dark night of the soul is an initiation. Look at this period in your life as a teacher. This teacher comes into your life to help you align deeper with your soul nature, and level up along your spiritual journey. The DNOTS forces you to do the healing work so that you can progress to the next levels of your spiritual journey.
In order to level up, sometimes you need something to shake things up enough that it forces you to look at those deeper wounds that are preventing you from expanding. This is why you experience it because the DNOTS is signaling a period of inner transformation that you’re unlikely to pursue without it.
Surrender to what you're feeling
Try not to fight the thoughts and feelings that are coming up. It’s just going to be an uphill battle. Instead let it happen. Surrender to the DNOTS and allow it to mold you how it wishes.
Sit there, lie there, do nothing for as long as you need to. Really give in to the feelings of the DNOTS, because that’s how you learn from it – When there’s nothing preventing you from experiencing it fully.
When you stop resisting the DNOTS and allow it to teach you, that’s when you actually learn, and the period of darkness will ease.
Discover the spark
When you’re going through a DNOT, usually it feels hopeless. Nothing makes sense anymore, and everything that once provided joy has been stripped away. It an alienating feeling, because your creature comforts no longer provide that safe space. But this isn’t a bad thing.
What this means is that you need to find a new direction, and part of the DNOT is pushing you to find things which provide a deeper sense of fulfilment. Watching movies and having drinks with friends can be fun for a while, but it’s time to find real substance in your life.
So I encourage you to rediscover that spark by exploring your reality. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. Find new hobbies and avocations that provide a deeper sense of meaning in your life than the mindless pursuits you have been caught in.
If you’re doing something that works towards bigger goals in your life, you feel passionate about it, and it also benefits other people in some form, this is going to provide a deeper sense of joy than creature comforts ever could.
Discover a new path
Sometimes, when a DNOTS happens, it’s indicating that you’re on the wrong path. This is the universe’s way of snapping you out of it, and realigning you with something that nourishes your soul.
Usually, this occurs when you’re abandoning your spiritual path in pursuit of material things, or superficial values. You’re barking up the wrong tree and suddenly, you might feel like the switch has been turned off.
If this is the case, you’re not going to feel good again until you find a better path. So start looking inwards and go deeper into your journey. Really think about where you’re heading in life, what your beliefs are, your perception, your values.
If you’re experiencing a dark night of the soul, this might be the reason, and solution. Realign yourself with your spiritual nature, start moving towards things that nourishes your soul, and find a more prosperous path.
If you’re experiencing a dark night of the soul, remember, it is here to serve you. This isn’t happening because something is going wrong, it’s happening because something is going right, and you’re evolving your spiritual body.
So don’t let a spiritual crisis go to waste, because this experience is a goldmine of valuable wisdom in disguise. If you feel like you need support throughout this process, or perhaps some reassurance, feel free to book a session with me for some guidance. You can book below.