The Dark night of the soul

Depression is a psychological sickness, a dark night is a spiritual trial
Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals

Sometimes our faith is seriously challenged. It happens when something earth shattering
happens to us. It can be rape, abuse, torture, depression, natural disasters, sick loved ones, chronic pain, a debilitated child, death of a child. It can happen in a second and change everything. It can happen over a long, long time.

Our faith is tested, and we may not come out the other side victorious. This momentous change has broken something in us. The “idea” of justice, the idea that our body is our own, the idea that we have the right to live a life in private, that our lives matter and is valued.

We may experience that this is not the case. We may experience that basic human needs are a privilege not afforded to us. In its wake, we become broken. It’s such a huge paradigm shift that we begin to classify our lives before and after the event.

After The Event, we are somebody else. We are different. In its wake we are shattered, in
pieces and we don’t know how to put ourselves back together again. We realize that it’s not possible to be the person we were before this happened.

We have to become something else because we are different. We may begin to think that we have to become something else – but this something else is something lesser. Something worse and because of it we become an even worse person – happiness becomes denied to us.

Or we can choose the other side and decide the event will have melted us down and in its wake we will become molded into something much stronger.

It’s a decision. If it’s already in your life spark, it will come forward in time.

But in the mean time one may have to take a leave of absence when it comes to faith.
It may even be healthy for us to do so.

There’s so much pain that needs to be released after such an event. The pain has filled us up and leave little or no room for faith to work on us.
The belief that we can change, that the belief changes us.

Belief is a feeling that resides in us, and that feeling have gone. We stopped feeling it and we feel lost.

Where do we go from here?

We will know within us what steps to take. If we need a break, we will know it and should listen to it.
But it’s equally important to listen when the whisper within us tells us to try to move back.
We have to learn to listen to the whisper, heed its call, even when it seems counter to everything we have learned.
If we keep on pushing because our minds tells us a different story from the whisper of our hearts, we become harder. Less tolerant, more fragile.

I haven’t reached the end of my Dark night of the soul, so I can’t tell you what is there at the end. I do believe I have moved towards rehabilitation, but I still live under a constant threat.

A true dark night of the soul is not a surface challenge but a development that takes you away from the joy of your ordinary life.

Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals

This experience has changed me. I used to believe that man was inherently good. This belief is gone in me. Now I believe that man is selfish and I instead look at people and wonder how much will they try to take and damage in me. I’m a very open person, but this is slowly changing. I don’t believe in the goodness in people anymore.

I’m alone and there is so little goodness afforded me from other people. People will happily accept good from others and give so little in return. Forgetting what they themselves have received.

There are people that want to harm you and that derive great satisfaction from the damage they are doing to you. They can be relentless, never stopping where days turn into weeks, months and suddenly a year has gone by. They never stop hurting you because it satisfies the empty whole in their being. They have no conscience.

Now I will be able to recognize this defect in people. I have learned how to maneuver such bad people. How? By not reacting to their insanity at all, but instead continue like normal as if nothing has happened. To never utter a bad word, instead such people can only be met with nice words even when they hurl evil towards you.
You have to go against your every instinct. Distanced niceness is the only way to deal with them. Never let them get the impression that they are hurting you as they will enjoy it and use that information to do worse.

I have learned a lot. I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I have been denied basic human needs. I have learned that I can be broken. Despite having tolerated not sleeping for about a year, I now know that I can be broken even more. What happens when I will be denied food?

I have tried to find things in the scriptures about evil, but there is none to be found. Instead it talks about the sins. Pride, anger etc, but it becomes shallow compared to what you you go through.

Lower than a blade of grass is what you can become. A grass will always bend when trampled and rise again when untrampled.
Lower than a blade of grass means your life is insignificant. It has not any worth for anybody. It will not be protected.

The police will not be there to help you, not family, not friends. People will instead “disappear” when they realize that something is seriously wrong. Most will not understand what you go through. They will see your strange behavior and think that there is something wrong with you – not understanding that what you really are having is a healthy reaction to a torturous experience.

Because they are unable to comprehend torture. They are unable to comprehend evil they have not experienced themselves.
Even their imaginations fail to imagine something so bad.

You are alone.

What do you do when the scriptures comes up short?

To believe in something is something you do for yourself.

We experience something that is beyond our comprehension. Some take refuge in their belief.I did, then I didn’t when it failed to help me.

It took some time, but in the end I found something that put what I was going through into perspective. I had tried to understand the evil I experienced, but there was nothing on that. It didn’t occur to me to look into suffering. May be because I was in such pain that I didn’t want to read about it as well. I didn’t want to hear about how we have to tolerate suffering when I was barely functioning and didn’t understand what I was dealing with.

It can seem like whatever happened is not spiritually conducive. For example when devotees die too early in tragic accidents. It appears meaningless.

The dark night of the soul is a transformation. We’re unable to see what that transformation is because we are not there. I used to think that if God could just tell me what He wanted from me, I would give it to Him. But instead He used the situation to soften me enough to be ready for what He wanted me to do. I was hammered into submission.

I used to think that because we are devotees and trying to use our lives to grow spiritually we were somehow protected. I don’t think like this anymore. I think we experience suffering to grow, but I don’t think we are protected.

Or.. well, that is not entirely correct. I don’t think we should be protected anymore. Suffering is just there, whether we are devotees or not. Suffering is there to be transcended. If we are unable to transcend it, it means we still have something to learn from it. If it is untolerable and it seems like there is no spiritual lesson there, then we might just be in the process of being hammered into something soft enough.

It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary inconvenience because of the suffering of people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshiping the Supreme Soul, who is present in everyone’s heart.
Bhagavat Purana 8.7.44

When I became the victim of a malignant narcissist I didn’t understand why I had to go through this. I had already learned the lesson of tolerance (though of course there’s always more tolerance to learn). But why? Why tolerate so much, 24/7 until days became a year?

Sometimes a dark night makes sense because of what it contributes to others, not what it does for you.
Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals

Because increased tolerance was only a bi-product of other, more important lessons. I’m able to chant mentally now all the time. I would quickly be able to recognize a person without a conscience if I meet them again. I know how to deal with those kinds of beings.  But learning to inconvenience myself… that’s a lesson that I still need to develop.

But a step on the way is gratefulness. I had a year of being angry at God, then disappointed, then I needed a break. Then I stopped praying for material things. Slowly, I began just thanking whenever I had a moment of lessening (or not). It’s easy to find something to be grateful about – however small and it didn’t need to be related to my hell at all.

I had reached a stage of understanding. It took forever to understand that I was dealing with a malignant narcissist. It took a longer time to understand what that entails. Then it took forever to get to a place to really learn and practice how to deal with these creatures. I don’t call them human – because they aren’t. They are human like in their shape – but that’s all.  The resemblance ends there.

A Dark night of the soul event transforms us. We are not the same person as before it happened. We have to find joy again, but where we find it might be different. We have to put ourselves together in another way.

I’ve only just begun the process of putting myself together, except this time it will not be with cafe’s, moccas and fixing unhealthy thought patterns reading and digesting personal development books because my thought patterns are okey.

Now I have to put myself together in another way. A deeper way that goes even further. I hear the whisper that tells me what to do. Or actually, the whisper tells me to do something I resist doing. Mostly, I just stay in bed. I have been doing this for months now. I usually have a lot of projects and do so much, and I still do. Only to end up even more exhausted than before. But whenever I wake up and finish with the mechanics of the mornings, I get to the point where I ask myself: What do you want to do today?
The answer is always the same: Stay in bed. So I stay in bed until I have to get up because there’s so much I need to do, except I’m always behind on my chores because I need to stay in bed.

Why do I need to stay in bed? Why am I exhausted beyond physical exhaustion? That’s where the whisper comes in. It tells me to meditate. Do japa. Read books. I need to let go of the thoughts telling me that I need to get a job, to be social, to push through and be a productive member of society.

The whisper tells me I need to do the opposite of what comes natural to me. I have changed, so I need to change into something else because I’m different. The meditation will begin to take me there. The whisper tells me that maybe, just maybe after this dark night I’m supposed to become a tool for God and do whatever He wants me to and that’s why I haven’t been able to get a job. That whisper wants to become a bigger part of me and will begin to show me the way if I just open up for Him. The uncertainty of what will become of me is difficult and part of that dark night. Maybe I’m wrong about everything? What is the meaning of this? What will become of me?

All I know is that there is a big need for me to hibernate, to remove myself from people and the world. To go within – whatever that means.

Finally, and this may be the most difficult task of all, give yourself what you need at the deepest level. Care rather than cure. Organize your life to support the process. You are incubating your soul, not living a heroic adventure. Arrange life accordingly. Tone it down. Get what comforts you can, but don’t move against the process. Concentrate, reflect, think, and talk about your situation seriously with trusted friends.
Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals

What I believed to be a big obstacle (the need to rest) is actually a gift. That need has been there for months, and now I understand that it will not disappear until I have done exactly that and extracted the gifts in this need. Because behind this need is an even deeper calling I need to heed.


Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Carl Jung


What problem?

After being denied control over my sleep, denied the ability to control sounds around me, denied privacy. I get away from it from some days, and I think: How small my problems was before. How I wasted my time, always attached to some problems.

I have my health, I’m not in physical pain, may be my punishment is not so bad. I go crazy with no sleep over a long time, but still… I am healthy. When dealing with a narcissist, you are not powerful in the doing. You are powerful in ignoring whatever adverse situation there is. You can only accept (and buy custom made earplugs made for sleep).

Even if he kills living beings, he who is free from the ego of being the doer and whose intelligence is not attached to the results of his activities does not truly kill, nor is he bound by the result of his action.

Bhagavad-gita 18.17

How I have wasted my life with this incessant worry over insignificant problems. Creating problems of my own.

I, who have been expert at solving whatever problems I have. I’m expert at learning skills and employing them – going so far as learning to service my own car, do home renovations, sound proofing. What is it that I can’t figure out and deal with?

But this need to control sleep, sound, the thoughts of the mind and privacy is dictating my inner environment. But I am not powerful in the doing. I am powerful in the being, accepting, to continue living a life that is really extraordinary for me. I have been given a gift disguised as poison. It’s just been a lot of work trying to unwrap this gift. Understanding it. To blossom (/not dying) under extreme adverse conditions.

Krishna is really making me work hard for him. The funny thing is: How easy it is for Him to maneuver me into evolving. How He must enjoy this and laugh of me, knowing I have no choice than to evolve. That my childish rage and disobeyment is of no consequence.

I used to think that Krishna would have a hard time to evolve my subtle understanding when I came to such a mentally healthy place, really enjoying life. How naive I was, how wonderfully, blissfully ignorant I was.

Instead I’m amazed at Krishna’s ingenuity. What a genius move! How assured He must be in knowing I will not leave.

I am not powerful in the doing.

What a powerful lesson I’m learning.


Why do bad things happen to good devotees?

18422_496260270410358_1689781222_n1When hardships befall us, it’s easy to blame Krishna. I do. Krishna takes control of our lives, so that means that whatever hardships that happen is because of Krishnas will. That’s a hard opinion to have, but I do. I did. I also say Krishna takes control of our lives – not Guru. It’s easier to blame Krishna, than Guru. Guru becomes too personal, I don’t want to weaken the bond.

In the beginning I thought that when we got initiated that Guru took away our karma. Now I know that he doesn’t. Guru engages us instead in devotional service that destroys karma. It is said that chanting one Nama removes sins from countless lives. So why do bad things still happen to good devotees?

Karma in the life of a devotee is a very complex subject. Insastra it is said that chanting a mere reflection of the holy name of Krishna (namabhasa) has the power to destroy one’s manifest (prarabdha) karma.

Karma and Sri Guru

Wouldn’t our chanting lessen the burden to the degree that bad things became obsolete in  devotees?

Now I understand that karma in aspiring devotees are instead lessened, not removed. It means bad things will still happen, but the effect of it will be lessened. Last for a shorter time.

Hearing and chanting about Krishna under the guidance of sri guru combined with the guru’s grace destroys one’s karma. Of the two, effort in sadhana and the grace of the guru, the latter is more important, linga bhuyastvat tad hi baliyah tad api(Vs. 3.3.45).

So as long as we keep on serving our own interests, karma will be on our tail. Karma still can’t be proved in any way. It’s still a theoretical knowledge to me, but I guess all of this philosophy is. Knowledge without realizations.

So how can this help us in our understanding of hardships? For me it soothes a little bit knowing that my karma has been lessened. By understanding this I take away a little of the blame I’m placing at Krishnas feet.

This relation I have to krishna now – the anger, the blame, the disappointment. There isn’t much aishvarya there. This is personal. This is my heart. He has to take the good with the bad, just as I am right now and in the future.

I can’t see how these hardships will strengthen our bond, how this will make me closer to Him.

But of course, you can’t see that when you are in the middle of it. Only long after the dust has settled.