Everyone of us has some low periods in life, but some of them stand out. These are usually the ones that start very suddenly and bring with it the biggest changes in our lives. Sometimes it can be such a big change in life circumstances that it ends up changing our personality and general direction in life. These periods feel like hell and there seems to be no way out.
This period in one’s life is called the Dark Night of the Soul (DNOTS) or in traditional zen spiritualism, it is also called the Ego Death. The last actually describes it better – it is death before death. Your identity dies. Your brain short circuits because nothing makes sense.
And even though it does feel like death for the brain, it is actually good for your Soul. I know, you do not want to hear it when you are in hell, but retrospectively, you’ll get it.
What is the Dark Night of the Soul?
Your mind has an actual experience of death and it feels like you go through the gates of hell and all rings of it one by one. I have had many of these experiences that have mostly lasted 2-5 months. The last one that lasted over a year and it was the king of all of my Dark Nights of the Soul for me.
Every single time it has started with some sort of a shock in my physical world. When I was younger my soul actually left the body when that happened and remained floating high above my head in a safe proximity for me to stay alive. I cannot recall much from these periods. Even under hypnosis, all I can see from these periods is me looking down as if through thick fog to my body going about its life. No emotions or sensations can be recalled at all.
The last one was different because now I have a daughter and I had to force myself not to switch on my usual zombie/survival mode. So this time all of me had the full exposure to the whole experience.
So how do you know you are going through a Dark Night of The Soul? What do you feel?
I guess anyone who is going through it would describe it differently but what is common in all is that you are exposed to the maximum level of pain – emotional and physical – that your body can take without you passing out or dying physically.
I felt like every cell in my body was on fire, every breath was so painful that I was praying it would be the last, every heartbeat hurt so much that I wanted to scream and rip it out to stop it. My thoughts were racing a thousand miles per hour. My brain did not understand anything, there was no way out, it felt like it would never end. My daughter’s existence was the only thing that stopped me from killing myself. She is such an angel and I cannot imagine hurting her in any way.
Why does The Dark the Night of The Soul happen?
Your Soul decided to have this experience before you were born. You chose this to start your ascension process, your awakening to your true Self, your Soul essence and overcome your Ego. In this process you will have to dissolve at least some of your Ego or pain body as Eckhart Tolle calls it.
The trigger for Dark Night of The Soul can be anything from long term depression, sudden death of a loved one, a painful breakup, job loss, bankruptcy, Twin Flame activation or whatever shocks you deeply. Some people also have a spontaneous awakening, but this is more uncommon. Or maybe people just do not talk about it as much.
In all of these cases you are forced to dissolve at least some of your identity and to start living more from your Soul.
How do you get out of it?
The only way to get out of the Dark Night of The Soul is to start inner work. Some say that you have to do a lot of inner work. In a way it is true. Because your brain is trying to figure out what you have to DO to get out of it, it can be in some ways comforting to do something. Like healing your Inner Child or clear some karma etc.
In fact the purpose of the Dark Night of The Soul is for you to collapse your false identity – your EGO – and return to your true self – your Soul. Your Soul does not feel pain, it does not think something is right or wrong. It exists outside of duality. Once you get into BEING, then you experience who you really are. And there is no more pain.
Teachers like Eckhart Tolle have all emphasized how easy it really is to just be. But your brain makes it hard, because it is impossible for it to understand that there is no doing involved and all it has to do is slow down. There are many techniques to reach the state of being.
In my experience, I could not get into being unless I was in unbearable pain. And once I reached the state of being, I couldn’t manage to stay in that state for long. My brain was going thousand miles per hour with all the thoughts. So the first thing that I had to do was to slow down. I slowed down everything in my life and then finally my thoughts started to calm down as well.
I also did a lot of energy work – sound healing, shamanic journeys, chakra healing, SRT, SCIO healing, Inner Engineering course, cold therapy, Shambhavi Mahamutra Kryia practice for 40 days etc. Just because my brain still felt that I have to do something to ease the pain. It has all been very useful, of course.
You start to “heal” and your reality changes to the positive. In case of using these practices it depends on the amount of your pain body’s negative wired material you are prepared to confront and release. It is helping your Soul to get on the driver’s seat in your life. All of this works as an increasingly powerful energetic transmitter that will force you towards a new positive reality, release old negative patterns from your current reality, and allow you to step into “creator” mode over time.
It is impossible to create or manifest a positive reality from a negative energetic state. You use all your energy for creation and will end up creating more of the same pain unless you are able to change your energy.
You are doomed to fail If you try to skip the first step of confrontation of your shadow and go straight to trying to be the “creator”.
The mechanics of The Dark Night of The Soul
When we go through the Dark Night of the Soul, we dissolve our pain body, we change our thought patterns and effectively change our brain. In order to become more awake, we have to change the way we use our brain. Instead of leading our life, it should be our best support system in this world. But very often it restricts and sometimes even hurts us instead of providing support.
During the Dark Night of The Soul your brain runs into total shutdown because your logical mind is unable to explain what is happening, why it is happening or how to stop it from happening. This is extremely painful because your body chemistry is governed by your brain and the brain is totally dysfunctional and firing at all cannons. If this extreme state of stress continues on the body, our body will get very sick and we might even end up really dying. You can read about the mechanics of getting sick in here. For the brain, we are already dying, that is why it is behaving like this.
So the only way to get out of this pain is to somehow get out of your head and allow the brain to restart. This can happen naturally in the process of Dark Night of The Soul , but it is better if you understand what is happening to you, so you can help yourself.
The best way to get your brain to work for you is to slow down the automatic uncontrollable and often unconscious thought trail. The best way to do that is to meditate or practice presence. All meditative practices work very well. In extreme cases I also found that cold therapy (dipping into 5C water for up to 5 minutes) also helps.
Neuroscience – train your brain as a muscle
Recent advances in Neuroscience also support these meditative practices. Many practitioners who have studied the subject, like Joe Dispenza and Maxwell Maltz proved in studies that when human beings learn a new skill, plastic changes occur in the brain by strengthening existing neural connections, or by creating new neural pathways and connections.
These studies have shown that those who do a short sharp burst of study or practice, such as trying to manifest, will feel some initial gain as the brain channels that skill through existing neural pathways in a plastic way. However such gains are quickly lost and the skill does not stay embedded as the neural pathways used are not “dedicated” to that task, but are “guns for hire” in that moment that accomplish the task, and then go on to some other task.
Real change involves slow and regular committed practice that actually signals the brain to create new pathways and new connections, which will test the person as they feel inertia, resistance, and slow progress while the neural reorganisation is undergone. This is the basis to change existing neural pathways of our mind distortions and to create new realities. Sustained practice solidifies learning and “rewrites” existing neural circuits with new connections (conclusions and associations). Thoughts create the basis for material changes in our brain.
For example, people who did visualization practice of playing a piano or doing gym workouts, when compared to people who did the physical equivalent of those same practices, showed the same brain changes in the same regions of their brains, and developed competencies similar but not as great as those who did the physical version of those exercises. When the visualization group then did the physical exercise they only needed one-third of the time to reach the same physical aptitude as those who relied solely on physical means.
In an activity that is solely about our mental and energetic impact on the quantum field then the visualization method is the beginning and the end of this type of process. From a neuroscience point of view, imagining and acting and doing an act involve the same motoric and sensory areas of the brain.
Visualizing an object tricks the brain into thinking you are really seeing the object. This is the start of manifesting. Create the image or intention and let the brain change “your experience” of reality so you feel that it is real. All change must firstly come from inside us before it can objectively start to be manifested “out there”.
Similarly we can cultivate positive or virtuous states of mind via meditation which actually create the emotional brain neural connections for us to embody and become that virtuous state in real life. We also can direct the mind to heal the body or itself via visualizing this action to be done as studies have shown the brain directs such physical changes to occur via neurotransmitter triggers or nervous system signals arising from meditation states.
All you can do to get out of the Dark Night of The Soul is to be. And in order to get into the state of being you may do many things. You can help yourself to follow the process of the ascension that has been triggered. It cannot really be sped up in any way, but it can be easier to tolerate. Soul has its own pace for your development and this cannot be rushed.
Even though during the period of Dark Night of The Soul it feels like it will never end, it does. If you fight it or try to numb it using drugs or other substances, you can extend it, but eventually it always ends. As do all things external to us. The only constant in our outside life is change. The only constant in us is our Soul. And the only thing constant in your physical life is your breath.
If you are conscious and allow the process to unfold, you will learn a lot and you will also begin to trust your Soul and your life journey.
Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you have been planted.– Christine Caine