Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Coping with the Dark Night of the Soul Episodes

I saw you standing in the middle of the thunder and lightning.
I know you're feeling like you just can't win, but you're trying.
It's hard to keep on keepin' on, when you're being pushed around.
Don't even know which way is up, you just keep spinning down, 'round, down
(Every Storm, Gary Allan)

There is a German fairy tale about a goat that causes havoc by always telling the goat minder after a good day of eating that he is stuffed, only to complain to the owner later at night that he didn’t get anything to eat. I use this story to tease our youngest boy when he proudly announces at night that he will get up at 6 am to do his homework, but when morning comes nothing can get him out of bed. “How are you any different from the annoying goat in the fairy tale?”, I ask him.

A ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ episode brings out a character that we don’t recognize ourself. It is a pain body buried in the depth of our subconscious that pops to the surface scaring us as much as the people who see us self-destructing. So what is going on here? There is so much about our feelings body that we don’t understand. There are inner conflicts we have to awaken to, and there is the repressed the pain of the past. Like a volcano, on a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ moment it all comes out.

Naturally, many of us ask how can we stop this! How can we be our old familiar self instead? Sure, there are ways to prevent these outbursts, or at least minimizing the negative repercussions. The other question though, which as important but much less frequently asked, what can we learn from the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ episode? Why are there conflicting programs running through us? Why haven’t we yet faced the pain of the past? What can we do differently to resolve our inner conflicts?

The demon inside always holds a present for us. There is always a changed behavior that brings us a step closer to our true Self and the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ merely shows us that something in our life has to change. We think the guy in the day is us, but it is our ego that is looking down on the demon inside, not our true Self. The ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ forces us to be honest with ourselves and often gets the Self-discovery started in earnest.

If you suffer from these dark episodes, do something new this year. Besides mustering the will-power to cope with these soul-wrenching pain, and besides adjusting your life-style to minimize these out-breaks, learn as well to read the message of the demon inside. There is a present hiding in the dark corner of your Soul. It takes guts to look, and it takes wisdom to side-step the judgement, but after all the pain you have been through, you might as well take that additional step to discover your true Self.

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