Although many might be unfamiliar with the term dark night of the soul, it’s safe to say that most have either experienced it first hand without even knowing it or at the very least have seen it portrayed in popular films. It’s the part when the hero or protagonist goes on a journey to overcome his or her greatest fear. In the end, the hero saves the day; think of Luke Skywalker defeating Darth Vader.
The fascinating thing is that we all are heros. That is, of our own life journey. And just like the protagonist, we must overcome obstacle after obstacle in order to overcome our fears. Fortunately, practices like meditation can help by offering us a tool so as not to get caught up in any one aspect of the self as we venture into our underworld.
Lissa Rankin pens this recent Care 2 post on her own challenges with the dark night of the soul. Recounting her dark night experiences and the difficulty in maintaining self care and staying awake to her life, Rankin acknowledges how a combination of yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy, among other things, afforded her the opportunity to begin to embrace her journey rather than running from it.
Embracing the shadow
So now it’s 7:00am, and I’ve just awoken from one of those dark nights of the soul with new resolution. What if, instead of wallowing on these mornings, I can honor myself with radical self-care? What if I can sip my green juice, do some yoga poses, take a hot bath, rub myself with aromatherapy-scented coconut oil, and remind myself that I am enough, just as I am? What if I can sit in meditation next to my shadow and hold her hand, welcome her in, and integrate with her, rather than fragmenting myself?
So that is what I will try to do this morning. I will go to the darkness, rather than running from it in frantic search of light. I will be my shadow. I will live in that. I will see how that feels.
When we make it wrong to have a dark night of the soul, we give it power. If we can remove the judgment and allow it to be just another learning experience, we can neutralize it so that darkness and light can coexist more peacefully.
Read more from Rankin on her use of meditation to survive the dark night of the soul here.