This morning I was thinking about a friend I love who is facing a crisis of soul. Having been there myself, I was decided to look up my old references about The Dark Night of the Soul. When one pursues enlightenment it can be a devilish journey that beckons you to an existential choice that must be made at some point. One must, then, be still and listen to the voice that comes to guide us through a dark period of questions and hopelessness. What’s happening? Our old ego strategies are no longer working. Our typical strivings have become pointless and fruitless. Hope disappears. Instead of feeling special, significant, accepted and in control…we realize that as fragile human beings - we begin to see our plight in being real with ourselves. We look in the mirror and see that we are simply ordinary, relatively insignificant, pretty much alone and definitely vulnerable. This paradoxical event is the fire we must walk straight into in order to become the hero of our own journey. To become free and live our own passion and choices instead of our old unexamined scripts — passed down from others or imposed by others. It is only then that we truly choose our own path and begin to live every single moment doing what we are meant to do.
For those who end up in this dark night of the soul, fear not, for this is a joyful sojourn that we face and if we choose to live through it, move into utter freedom and inner peace.
One of my favorite poets, David Wagoner, said it best:
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.