Honoring the Dark Night of the Soul

 

“Darkness and light are both part of our journey. Darkness is the depth of spiritual potential hidden in the void of infinite possibility. Light is the manifestation of that potential in the external dimension of time and space” (Beckwith, Spiritual Liberation 240).

Winter has already brought us the hard freezes that obliterate whatever may have been left of last year’s growth and February is bringing us even deeper into the shivering days of winter. For many of us, it seems like it has been ages since we have had a true season of flowers blossoming, of plant life growing again. Our human nature is to wish away the dim light of winter and long for the first signs of spring.

However, to do so is to throw away a precious prize that cannot be won without journeying through the Dark Night of the Soul, the dark wintry landscape of deep soul work.

You have to explore the issues, the thoughts, the ideas, that are deep within us in order to come to fruition with anything meaningful. In the beginning, there is just darkness, like an empty night, starless. But with all that stagnant potential energy, you can make something truly moving. You can come to a realization, figure out an innovation, or more.

What happens to a plant during the fall and winter is as important as the spring rains and summer sun. Likewise, as we find ourselves in the midst of troubled times, it is an invitation to open our hearts and minds to the nourishing opportunities being provided by the journey downward and inward. Though such times feel like trial and punishment, Michael Bernard Beckwith says “It is a gift to the soul that provides the teaching which becomes the cosmic doorway through which we take a closer step to spiritual awakening” (Spiritual Liberation 241)