How to Survive a Dark Night of the Soul

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I was drawn to learn how to do readings and energy healings because of the immense amount of pain and suffering I went through and learned from.
My childhood was very difficult, and even when I was very little, I had this feeling I would lose my mother. It was a sort of internal knowing, one that I didn’t WANT to know. In fact, I remember reading a book when I was 7 or so where the kids’ mom died, and they called her “Mama.” I decided then and there that I’d never call my mom “Mama” and maybe that would save her. I’ve written in another post you can find here about how long she suffered before she died of cancer at 39, leaving me all alone at 15.

The thing is, my suffering didn’t stop there. It wasn’t like my mom died, and that was the worst thing that happened. Other not-so-great things happened, too; a myriad of unfulfilling jobs, a feeling of being abandoned and unloved, misunderstood by friends and family, and, until I found the spiritual path, a feeling that I didn’t know what I was here for or what the whole point of life was. I was depressed for a long time, and I turned my back on God because what kind of God would let my mom suffer in so much pain, only to die – and to leave me all alone without her?

Meditation and healing work really helped me grow in leaps and bounds, and I am dedicated to continue on the path of self-healing. However, being committed to the path to grow spiritually is not easy. There are always roadblocks and chances to grow my soul, situations that force me to stop and remember the point of things, to not fall prey to the illusion that I’m an abandoned orphan who will never have it easy.

I’ve had many a dark night of the soul, and I’d like to present some tips that have helped me through them:

1. If you’ve been hurt by your parents, try not to blame yourself or them.
It’s hard not to think of our parents as these people who should be perfect. They’re not. Some parents treat their kids like toys, loving the GI Joe doll but not really knowing how to play with the Barbie. As much as your parents say they know you and can point out all your flaws, it’s not necessarily true. Try to think of them as little kids on the playground, and don’t make them so important when it comes to your identity. To read more about healing the relationship with your parents, and how to forgive, click here.

2. Go to someone for support. 
A lot of clients and friends feel that if they’re down, their friends don’t want to have to listen to them complain. But everyone goes through rough times. Reach out, and don’t suffer alone. If you don’t have friends or family who will listen, go to a spiritual counselor through your church, to a good therapist (don’t stick around if they’re bad) or a support group.

3. Meditate, and pray, and read uplifting books.
Nothing beats meditation. You can listen to guided meditations if it’s hard to focus. Find one you like and listen to it over and over until you feel better. Some of my favorites are the ones by Sonia Choquette, Brian Weiss, and Colette Baron-Reid. Spiritual books are very helpful too. I love all of Sanaya Roman’s books. Sonia Choquette’s books helped me through a lot of painful times, and Esther Hick’s Law of Attraction books are amazing. My aunt recently gave me a copy of a book called “The Impersonal Life” and that is incredibly helpful too. Some people swear by “A Course in Miracles.” I love books by Louise Hay. There are so many great books out there – just see what you are guided to, and read it. IT WILL HELP SOOTHE YOUR SOUL.

4. Try not to take ANYTHING personally.
When you’re having a dark night of the soul, you’re probably feeling like life is hell, you are worthless, there’s no point, everyone hates you, nothing’s going to get better, and you might even want to hurt yourself (or think you wish you were dead). The thing is, if you practice detaching a little, you’re going to feel better. Pretend that you’re not you. Pretend you don’t even exist. That the people who have hurt you don’t exist. That nothing matters. You might not be able to be in that zone for long, but if you try just a bit to get into that space, it will help give you some relief.

5. Write it down, and let yourself cry.
Rather than keep the pain bottled up, just journal it out, get it out on paper, identify how you feel, and cry while you’re at it. If you feel inspired to write a solution, that might help. If you don’t, don’t worry about it, just write out the pain, and release it.

6. Escape.
Don’t be a prisoner to your thoughts. Go away, take a trip that distracts you, look for something to get your mind off of your sorrows. Go for a long walk in the woods or on the beach or by the lake. Do some volunteer work for people less fortunate (or as bad off) as you. If you’re too sad to do that, rent some good movies just so you can get out of your head.

7. Let art, dance, and music heal you.
Throw yourself into creating something beautiful, or even something ugly. Dance. Listen to music. Make music. Your spirit is a creative life force energy, and by doing and being and creating, you’re giving your soul space to breathe and shine through your body. When your spirit shines, your ego (the part of you that’s in pain) takes the back seat.

When was the last time you suffered a dark night of the soul? How did you get through it?

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  • Willow Woman   

    This is wonderful and honest advice. Having been on a roller coaster of dark nights all my life, I can say that the only permanent way out was to change my values and beliefs – with commitment. Self-love, love of others, and love for all events, no matter WHAT we do, no matter what happens, is all that matters. From that commitment to love comes peace, patience, compassion, optimism and freedom from materialism. Sure my ego tries to derail this commitment, but even my ego is starting to appreciate the payoff for this commitment: enjoyment of the moment, pleasure in all the marvelous things I receive effortlessly: sunshine, moonshine, smiles, flowers, good books, hugs, music, cats, long, sweaty walks… you get the picture! It takes courage to rise above the values of our judgmental and materialistic culture, but the spiritual peace and emotional relief make the rebellion worth it.