How To Get Through A Dark Night Of The Soul

A dark night of the soul is a period of intense existential dread that accompanies the process of spiritual awakening. Here's what you can do to get through it!

Along your spiritual journey, you will experience periods when it feels like reality is crumbling beneath your feet. Your life will destabilise as the things you once took solace in disintegrate into sentimental extremes.

Here, you find yourself in a space where nothing seems to provide the same comfort it once did. You may feel disoriented, deflated, and existentially bankrupt. All you want to do is return to your old self (and the things that once provided comfort), but during this period of disillusionment, there is no going back.

A period of change has commenced without any clear cause, and all you can do is step forward into the unknown while your sense of self dismantles.

This intense period of existential crisis is known as a dark night of the soul (dnots) and signifies a shift in your consciousness. It represents a period of spiritual maturing, marked by the transition from an old paradigm of consciousness that no longer serves your evolution, to a deeper embodiment of soul.

People tend to feel completely lost during this process of shedding the old self to discover a deeper alignment with the soul. Think of a dark night of the soul as a spiritual growing pain where you’re pushed to let go of everything that’s binding you to illusion (identity, beliefs, perceptions) to create space for the expansion of your consciousness, and the conception of spiritual truth.

What is a dark night of the soul?

dark night of the soul

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 typically short-lived period of suffering, confusion, grief, and existential dread. It’s the process of shedding illusion that makes you feel disoriented, but it’s necessary to align more deeply with your soul’s nature.

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.

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 it’s here to serve your highest interests.

What causes a dark night of the soul?

Image a dark night of the soul as an exam you need to pass before leveling up along your spiritual journey. It feels like you’re hitting a vibrational low as you peel back layers of your ego (the false sense of self). As your identity is attached to a false matrix of beliefs, there is a great sense of loss that accompanies your transition toward spiritual truth.

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 dnots 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

Dark night of the soul vs depression

First off, depression is an issue with your mental (or emotional) 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 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.

Since the dark night of the soul is a spiritual crisis, you can usually recognize if you’re experiencing one due to particular symptoms.

Some common symptoms of a dnots include:

Getting through a dark night of the soul

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Even though they’re anything but fun to experience, a dark night of the soul is a good thing. It forces you to go inwards and clear out energies that don’t serve you anymore. It’s a crucial part of the spiritual growth process and pushes you to do deeper healing work.

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 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.

Do the shadow work

Imagine a dark night of the soul as your protective armor dismantling from your body. You feel vulnerable and exposed while adjusting to this new version of yourself. During this process of letting go of the excess, you will be forced to confront aspects of yourself that have long been hidden behind this armor.

Your insecurities will come out in full swing. Your dysfunction will be illuminated, possibly for the first time. Because a dark night of the soul allows you to see yourself, as broken and flawed, it makes a period of intense shadow work – letting go of what no longer serves you, and integrating the previously disbanded parts that do.

This period of spiritual turmoil is occurring because something within you needs to change. Perhaps you need to visit a block, wound, or program that is holding you back from stepping forward into the light. Here, there is no escaping your darkness. No switching on the TV and letting it pass with time. 

You must go inwards, you must confront everything that is not pushing you forward, and apply these changes to your life. As a dark night of the soul is a catalyst for heavy shadow work, this is the time you must take on the challenge, despite how hard it is.

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.

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 dark night of the soul and allow it to mold you how it wishes.

Sit there, lie there, do nothing for as long as you need to. Give in to the feelings of the dnots, because that’s how you learn from it; when nothing is preventing you from experiencing it fully.

When you stop resisting the dnots and allow it to teach you, that’s when you learn, and the period of darkness will level out as you discover a deeper sense of self without the layers of illusion attached to it.

Discover the spark

When you’re going through a dnots, usually it feels hopeless. Nothing makes sense anymore, and everything that once provided joy has been stripped away. It is 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 dnots is pushing you to find things that provide a deeper sense of fulfillment. Watching movies and having drinks with friends can be fun for a while, but it’s time to find real substance in your life.

Therefore, I encourage you to rediscover that spark by exploring your consciousness. Try new spiritual practices. Get out of your comfort zone. Find new hobbies and avocations that provide a deeper sense of meaning rather than the superficial 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 nourish your soul, and find a more prosperous path.

1 comment

Betty mcneil 10 May 2024 - 10:59 pm

Thank you so much,I found this very helpful

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