The dark night of the soul is a confusing, unsettling, and often tricky phase of inner transformation.
When we’re in the midst of it, we feel like we’re in the dark woods with limited visibility.
The truth, however, is that the dark night of the soul is not some random experience that happens to us. It’s a spiritual process intended to develop new capacities and awaken our true nature.
It’s part of the transformation process that, when navigated wisely and compassionately, becomes a threshold for a new, more integrated, and authentic way of moving through our lives.
In a previous post, What Is The Purpose Of The Dark Night Of The Soul?, I provided an overview of the dark night of the soul (DNOS) and included an interview with a Psychologist who shares her journey. You may want to start HERE if you haven’t read that post or listened to the discussion.
I share my journey through the DNOS in the book, Awakening A Woman’s Soul: The Power of Meditation And Mindfulness To Transform Your Life.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing folks who have gone through the DNOS. A number of the dark night of the soul truths have emerged from these way-showers, and I’d like to share them with you here humbly.
By sharing the dark night of the soul truths, I intend to help you see the bigger picture of your dark night of the soul journey.
For some way-showers, their DNOS was triggered by a crisis; for others, it was a slow withdrawal of energy and a sense of something missing. It was common for people to question, Is This Depression Or Am I Experiencing a Spiritual Awakening?
If you’re in the midst of it, I sincerely hope that hearing about the dark night of the soul truths, as shared vulnerably by the way-showers, will give you hope and leave you feeling that you’re not alone in this mysterious journey.
The following themes emerged from the interviews with direct quotes expressed by the way-showers.
The dark night of the soul truths:
The DNOS wakes us up to the ways we’re not living in alignment with our soul’s unique expression.
“I was a sensitive person working in a left-brain environment. It just wasn’t a fit. I didn’t know what that meant. I came to the edge, and I knew that I was cracking and that I needed to change and to do something different.”
“I always believed in something greater than myself, but the way I ran my life and pursued things was very success and ambition driven. I wanted to be a scientist; I was logical and in my head, and success mattered to me.
“When I had the accident and was in the hospital bed, my mom called everyone I knew, and they all came to see me. I was moved and had the realization that what matters is people. That was a significant shift in how I saw the world. I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a counsellor and, more specifically, guide people to the light- out of the darkness and into the light.”
The DNOS shifts how we make decisions and navigate our lives.
“I see everything in my life as guided by spirit. My ego gets in the way, but when I listen to the profound place within and live in alignment, I’m guided to exactly where I need to be. Even when I know, there have been times I’ve gotten off track and slipped back into the need for external validation and recognition. It hasn’t turned out very well, but I needed to experience that to learn something. Even though it’s agonizing, there’s been a lesson I was meant to learn.”
“I’m not planning anymore about how I see my life unfolding. I’m just going to respond at the moment on a day-by-day basis with what feels right. I profoundly understand that I must always be aligned and listen.”
“I have a sense of a new beginning. Of leaping into the unknown repeatedly – allowing and having faith that the right circumstances will present themselves with some effort. I can’t just sit on the sofa, but I also know it’s not for me to do anymore. That I’m co-creating with a force that’s in all of us.”
There’s a wise way to be with the suffering that arises during the DNOS.
“The more present you can be to the experience and the suffering, the more you will get out of it as it deepens you. It feels like it just continues to free you, is the best way to put it.”
“It was so painful that I didn’t know how to get through the day. There was something in me that trusted that I would get through it and be better on the other side, and that’s exactly what happened. Looking back now, I can see it was a purification process. Like going through the fire and making me more dynamic, interesting, and authentic. Nothing else could have brought that kind of change or transformation in me. The DNOS is the ultimate gift – but they’re hard!”
“My experiences with suffering have deepened my relationship with myself. A new self is born. The old self has to die. It just has to.”
When we’ve come through the DNOS, we feel more integrated and have a sense of lightness, courage, and inner peace.
“I’ve felt like it’s coming home to the truth of who I am and what life is about. It’s not bells and whistles, bright light type, but rather gentle. I’ve said ‘hello’ to me that hadn’t existed – it’s a powerful and profound feeling.”
“It feels like I’m at the start of another phase-experiencing myself standing up tall and courageous, saying this is how I want to live. Realizing there’s more to life than the 9-5 and security. In some ways, it’s exciting, and in some ways, it frightens me to death as I glimpse my bigger potential.”
“I’m a different person. It was the shedding of my skin, and so much has changed. I always had a lot of anxiety, perfectionism, and people-pleasing, and now I don’t have the old patterns. I don’t have the inner anxious feeling. I have a feeling of inner peace and calmness. It’s a lightness of being.”
“It’s going to sound cheesy, but the DNOS shows us the true meaning of life – to know yourself and become the best version of yourself that could exist. There is only one of each of us, and it’s a lifetime of work to uncover who that is.”
The DNOS is an inner journey with an outer impact.
“The big change was in my relationships. When this happens, you’ll get people looking at you as if you’re wearing two heads. They don’t recognize you anymore. They worry about you. They want you to change back so they’ll feel comfortable. I started to feel awkward in certain relationships, and I learned those weren’t the ones I wanted to focus on. They naturally began to fall away. You’ll have lifelong friends that may listen to you but will say, ‘good luck with all that.’
“After the DNOS, so many things changed. My marriage ended, and I left my traditional healthcare job because it wasn’t fulfilling my soul.”
“I had people questioning how I could be leaving a 6-figure job. What about your family? I spent my whole life getting to this point, and now I’m leaving. I knew it was going to create a lot of change.”
The DNOS involves navigating the energies of the old and the new simultaneously.
“If people can embrace not recreating the old, that’s the key. That’s the whole point of all of this. A life force is trying to renew. Trying to birth something new and truly life-sustaining for all of us in every way. The power of the old is so strong that people get sucked back into spinning out what they spun out before.”
“I felt very lost. A loss of identity replaced the happy me I’d known. Up until then, I was academically capable. I worked hard and performed in the oil industry, drank lots of beer, and had a good time, and that was it. I had two conflicting views. One saying is to do what society expects of you; the other is to follow your soul, which Joseph Campbell says about following your bliss. There was also a constant inner tension which gripped and filled me.”
Some tools and practices are helpful for the DNOS journey.
“I started meditating every day, and that’s when the powerful changes started. That’s when the healing began, and my spirit could work through me because there was an opening. I had 30 years of reading books and knowing the next steps, but now things began to change.”
“Meditation was the gift of the dark night of the soul.”
“Learning, whether it’s books, podcasts, movies, mentors, coaches, counsellors. Always learning because somewhere in there you’re going to recognize yourself, get normalization, validation, and tools.”
“We must go through experiences that allow us to surrender and learn to let go. The suffering is more a choice of how we interpret what is happening – we don’t always know that we’re evolving.”
One final message that sums up the dark night of the soul truths: “You need to trust that there’s a greater plan for you. You don’t have the foresight or knowledge to anticipate and need to trust. That you are always held. You’re not going to be okay; you’re going to be better than okay.”
In the following interview, I speak with one of the way-showers, Sharon Stopforth, about her experience with the dark night of the soul. Sharon has been a counsellor for 23 years, and I love how she shares so vulnerably about her journey. She’s a wise soul, and I was grateful to interview her!
Even in the midst of psychological and physical turmoil, it gives me immense hope after reading the stories. I can relate every bit of it to my own experience and knowing that the suffering is worth it.
Thank you for sharing.
Yes, I’m so grateful to hear that reading this has given you hope! Thanks for sharing with us here. Love, Bev