What exactly is the “Dark Night of the Soul”? Is it something you should be scared of? Perhaps it’s already happened to you. Or… it might be happening right now!
If you’re like a lot of my clients, you may have had or are having this kind of experience right now. Where you feel like nothing has meaning, nothing makes sense, and you have no purpose. This experience can bring up a tremendous amount of fear, is easily mistaken for depression, and can even make you feel like you’re losing your mind.
It’s all, however, part of the awakening, so there really is nothing to fear. Watch today’s video to find out what’s REALLY happening, and more importantly, how to get out of it.
What exactly is “The Dark Night of the Soul”? Oooh!! Have you gone through it? Probably! Let me explain it to you. So, we’re going to get into this scary topic today, but of course, still in a happy shiny puppy way.
We are going to talk all about the dark night of the soul. Scary-scary-scary!! It is a rather dark topic, but it is something that many, many people go through, and have gone through. And chances are you probably have too, if you’re listening to this kind of information. Or you may be going through it right now and desperately searching for a way to get out of it. So, let’s talk about that. What is the dark night of the soul?
The dark night of the soul
The dark night of the soul, otherwise also known as ego death, is essentially a total disintegration and collapse of your identity. Who you think you are, how you fit into the world, or how you think you fit into the world; how the world actually works. So, basically, everything’s that has made sense to you, up until that point, stops making sense. And, that can be horrifying. Absolutely terrifying! It can bring up a tremendous amount of fear, because you enter into this state of chaos. You enter into this state where everything that you thought you knew, you realize you don’t know, and you feel really, really lost, and you feel really, really confused.
Your ego starts to disintegrate
And so, essentially, all that is happening is that your identity, otherwise also known as your ego, starts to disintegrate. The way that you see yourself in the world no longer works. Now, this can often be triggered by a traumatic event – somebody dying, somebody that you care about dying on you; somebody really close to you and it just shakes your entire world up. It can come from a big loss, maybe a job loss or a career change. Some big change can hit your life, or sometimes it just happens all on its own.
You are waking up
This is a part of awakening. Nothing is going wrong here, but essentially what you’re doing is: You’re starting to see how the 3D reality that you’re in, the world that you thought was real and this is how it worked, just becomes something that you understand to be a facade. It’s not really all that real; it doesn’t make sense to you.
You’re not going crazy
And, who you think you are, changes. It’s not like you suddenly know who you are instead – and that’s why it feels so terrible. You just know that who you thought you were, is not who you are, and now you don’t know. You don’t know who you are; you don’t know how the world works. You don’t know anything anymore! And this can be incredibly difficult to accept. A lot of people even feel like they’re maybe going a little bit crazy when this happens. They may feel it’s a little bit like a psychotic break. This can be very, very volatile, and it can absolutely be mistaken for depression; it can feel very close to depression. Everything becomes meaningless; everything that you thought had meaning goes away. You feel like you have no purpose; you don’t know what your purpose is.
It is incredibly stressful; I will totally admit that. And yes, I have gone through this; in fact, I’ve gone through it more than once. Every time you grow in a really significant way, you do a really significant level up, there can be this ego death that happens where you have to let go of everything that you thought you knew. One of my favorite sayings is that: “The only thing that we know for sure is that we don’t know shit!”
Entering a chaotic state
What do I mean by that? We don’t really know anything. All we ever have are best guesses based on the data that we have gathered so far. And, if we gather data that is contradictory to that, it can blow everything we thought we knew out of the water. That makes us enter into a chaotic state. And, this is true whether we’re talking about it on this grand scale, where we go into the dark night of the soul. Or it could just be a really stressful time when you get a new piece of data that sort of blows some things out of the water. And you realize that you’re reaching for something that you have absolutely no idea how to get, or you enter into the state of not knowing. And, the more you can make peace with the idea that you don’t know, the faster and easier this will be.
Your identity starts to disintegrate
So, basically, the rules of your life, the rules of your identity, the definitions of your identity start to just disintegrate completely. Leaving you in this kind of void where you don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know who you are; you have no clarity on anything. Again, it brings up a huge amount of fear; even can bring up the fear of going insane, losing your mind. That can be a really big one that holds you back in that state. So, how do you get out of it? That’s the most important part. How do you get out of it?
Steer your way into the chaos
Well, this is going to seem really counter-intuitive, but you have to steer into it. By the way, this is essentially the same way you get out of depression, you have to steer into it. You have to allow yourself to be in that chaos. We have to embrace the chaos. Because chaos is simply the state where the reality that we’re in is disintegrating. And we have to allow that to happen before we’re able to step into the new reality, where we do then have clarity, where we do then see what’s going on, where, essentially, a new identity, an expanded identity, is built.
This is why I’ve gone through this more than once. Now, that doesn’t mean that I have to go through this every time that my identity shifts. But when it shifts in a really significant way I’ve gone through this, probably two or three times. And now, I’ve kind of learned how to do it by trusting it, and going with the flow of it, and stepping into that chaos where I don’t have to go through that much volatility anymore.
But, essentially, what you want to do (when you find yourself in this state of chaos, in this state of no clarity, in this state of not knowing) is make peace with the fact that that’s where you are. You’re in the chaos, which just means that you’re in the in-between space between realities. You have to let go of the old before you can grab onto the new. And, letting go of the old is scary when you don’t yet have the new. The way I think about it: It’s like being a trapeze artist and you’re swinging on that trapeze, and now you’ve got to let go, fly through the air and trust that that partner will be there to catch you. Or that next bar’s coming that you can catch. And that in-between state can be very, very scary, especially if you don’t yet trust that that next step, that swinging bar, that trapeze, the next one, will be there.
The more trust we have – this is why it’s gotten easier for me because I’ve built my trust over time, built my believe over time. So I trust that next trapeze will be there, because it always is. So now, when I’m flying through the air, I don’t get so scared anymore; it’s not so volatile for me anymore. And, I’ve seen that progression at lot in my clients as well, as we all learn to embrace this chaos a little bit more. The dark night of the soul is an extreme version of that, and like I said, you may very well have already gone through this at some point, and this is sort of explaining what is happening.
Why do we even have to go through this?
Having an identity makes life easier
Well, because, when we build an identity for ourselves, which is what our ego is – it’s an identity, it’s who we think we are – it makes our life easier. For example, if you have a certain identity, you know how to react in certain situations based on that identity. “I am this person. I am a good person.” (For example.) “And so, if somebody yells at me, I’m going to do my best as a good person to continue to be kind.” That’s not a bad thing necessarily, and it can, like I said, it can make life easier because you don’t have to make every decision from scratch every single time. You can simply run it through this filter of your identity and know, by the rules of that identity, how to act and react in situations that may be a little bit unknown to you.
Identities can become limiting
The problem with that is that all identities become limiting. So, suddenly, for example, you see yourself as a good person and somebody is being, absolutely, just an asshole to you. But you’re a good person, so you can’t stand up for yourself. You’re a good person, so you can’t talk back. And you’re a good person, so you can’t set a boundary. Now, your identity of what you think it means to be a good person – that definition – has become a limitation. Because now you’re sacrificing yourself, instead of going: “Wait a minute! What do I actually want to do in this moment? What will serve me in this moment? Am I being kind to myself in this moment? Am I being a good person to myself, or am I just following these rules of what it means to be a good person?”
An expanded identity
So, that identity becomes limiting, and so then, you might go through a process of expanding that identity, expanding your definition. Then you might realize: “You know what? I can be a good person and set boundaries. I don’t have to let people treat me like shit in order to be a good person.” So, that would be an expanded identity.
You can set your own rules
So, every identity becomes limiting at some point. And when you bust through a big identity; when you bust through all of your rules, that leads to a dark night of the soul. But this is all part of awakening. It’s all part of the awakening process where you understand that you don’t have to live by anybody else’s rules; you get to make your rules. You get to decide your own definitions; you get to decide who you are. And, ultimately, all of these processes, all of these identity expanding events that happen – experiences that are happening in our lives – which don’t always require the dark night of the soul. Like I said, you can also do this in a less volatile way, it all comes down to how much you trust and how big of a jump you’re making.
Who do you want to be in this moment?
But, if you’re able to ride through the chaos, what happens is – you expand your identity. You expand your identity and, ultimately, you get to a place where you have no identity, where you are able to make every decision, in every moment, fresh, from scratch. “Who do I want to be in this moment? How do I want to show up?” Not: “How do I show up in accordance to the rules of my identity, but how do I show up in accordance to my integrity, and what that means to me in this moment?”
Letting go of those ingrained rules
So, it’s always a process of discovery. But, getting into that state, it takes a little while. We do this incrementally because we’re letting go of some really, really ingrained rules that say: if you don’t follow these identity rules, you’re not going to be safe. If you don’t follow these identity rules, you’re going to be ostracized; you’re going to be punished. Or you’re even going to be killed for it. There can be some real survival mechanisms kicking in there. So, that’s why it’s so scary.
Ultimately, however, we’re not going to get crushed anymore, we’re not going to get beaten down anymore. We are actually not going to be supported if we don’t find the identity that really works for us, and, ultimately, no identity. But, that’s a big jump to make. So it’s ok to use identities. As long as we know that’s what we’re doing; we can still do that in a very, very empowered way.
So, all identities are temporary. All identities become limiting at some point. And, when your big identity starts to disintegrate it can lead – not necessarily – but can lead to the dark night of the soul. So, you steer into it; you steer into the chaos, you accept the chaos, and you say, “Ok! Right now, I don’t know. I don’t know the answer. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know how to react to this. I don’t know how to solve this. I don’t know! And, that’s ok because I will know. I’m just in that in-between space. I’m just flying through the air right now, and I’m going to breathe, and I’m going to close my eyes, and I’m going to trust that it will be there.” If you can do that, these transitions become much, much, much easier.
So hopefully, this has given you some good explanation; perhaps some validation, and a little bit of instruction on how to go forward. Hopefully, this has been helpful to you!
Until next week, I’m Melody Fletcher. I’m sending you huge, smooshy, happy shiny puppy hugs. And, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing your light to this world.
This was awesome
Thank you Nupur!
Melody, I love your butterfly blue nail varnish. You look wonderful!
I know you know where I am at, but I still feel like trapeze artists never actually jump until they know where the next handhold is and they time it carefully. Jumping into the dark without a net is not the same, it is more like a trust exercise without lights on. I am not sure why this would be considered to be a useful way to learn anything. Our brains build new pathways incrementally and usually don’t learn well when terrorised. Just wondering.
Melody! How do you know exactly what to discuss?? 🙂 Synchronicity! I am going through this right now. It started to get better once I decided not to get mad at myself for not having the answers. And once I decided to feel the emotions instead of running away from them. Hopefully it will be over soon!
Thank you so much for this video! It helps A LOT!
Big, shiny, smooshy, puppy hugs!
You’re so welcome Lorena. Isn’t it amazing what happens when we let ourselves be inspired? It’s almost like we’re all connected, eh? 😛
I’ve certainly noticed this happening both on a personal and on a societal level. It seems many people here believe this society is crumbling at the moment and that there’s no meaning to this existence anymore. Everything seems so chaotic, messy, uncertain and even a bit apocalyptic. I haven’t been entirely immune to all of this but on the other hand, I kinda enjoy experiencing this sort of catharsis every now and then. I’m not saying this would be necessary but right now I feel experiencing somewhat rough contrast helps me in releasing resistance and making new choices the best.
Hey Lady R,
Great insight! Yes, the world is going through it’s own identity crisis, that’s for sure. But it’s a really good thing. The process is the same on the micro (individual) and macro (global) level. So all this chaos and confusion is going to lead to something awesome. <3
Super helpful video–thank you for making it! I’ve heard this term thrown around but never had much clarity on what it really meant and you described it in your usual Melody way which is exactly what works for me. Thank you!
You’re so welcome Katie!
I have been through this a few times not knowing what it was or what did I do to deserve this. I see it is always a version of how I was raised by first-generation immigrant family. “Don’t talk back, always smile, always be nice, don’t draw attention to yourself.” Sadly, people might think from that I am a person of color but, no. My family had english as a second language and were taunted and bullied because they were ‘dumb Finns.’ Yes, white and from Finland. We were not taught Finnish (I picked up some of it from relatives I visited who spoke it at home) because we didn’t look different we must not be different or have an accent. To late, I was taught english by family with an accent so I still a some of it in my speach pattern. I have realized the ‘don’t be different and don’t talk back’ is allowing. I can and am learning to not take verbal abuse even to the point of starting with, “I BEG your pardon?” Amazing the shock on the face of the person dishing out the abuse. I don’t just smile and take it. I know what bullying is; I have had employers bully me and I just stood and made no comment. That may have been frustrating to the employer but I believed I needed the job. Now, I know another job/income is just waiting for me to wake-up. This video has been the instrument to my constant question that pretty much covers it all, “What I am suppose to do?”
I’m glad this was helpful NanaSam!
Melody, could you please upgrade your camera? I think you mentioned before that you use your iphone or something to record these videos, but I am sure you can afford a decent camera. (I am even sure that you can afford a *fabulous* camera and awesome microphone too!) Your videos would be so much more enjoyable with crisp clear video and audio quality. This current quality makes the watching experience much less enjoyable, and less aesthetic. Also why would you handicap your business with something like this, that’s so easy to *fix*?
I did upgrade my camera, actually, but it made no difference. It’s only slightly fuzzy at a large resolution (like a TV), but I am working on it. The next upgrade hasn’t happened, because at that level, I don’t know enough about photography to use those cameras (and I’m not at all inspired to learn). So it’ll have to be good enough until I’m ready to hire a full time videographer. Right now, I’m focusing on the content and sharing as much as I can, so I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with my inferior videography skills for just a while longer. But… why does this bother you so much? <3
It looks fine on my laptop – could it be improved on your system?
Hmmm … Can we be born straight into the ‘dark night of the Soul’ ? LOL
Oh dear, A., no… lol. But I know you’ve had your fair share, haven’t you? Just know that the only way out is through. Keep facing those fears! You’ve got this!!! <3
Last night before going to bed when I was thinking about my career path and my past exam failures and as I was explaining my grand mom about why I could f get the score in this exam too although I was so near to passing those papers, I realised my mind was continuously jumping to an event that occurred almost a decade back where I had left my classes in the middle as I couldn’t handle my schedule of college and classes together and I could still feel the powerless feeling today when I was recollecting those days . I inadvertently jump to those events and the powerless feeling when I’m talking about my exam failures to myself or for that matter anyone . The funniest part is I am experiencing a bit of this transition since the past 4-5 months. I realise there are many things I would have normally felt like doing but I don’t now . And a major thing coming past 1 month is Sharing . I always had this in me to share my stuff , to share my love with my nephew , to spend time with him , to treat him out . I really don’t feel like doing that anymore . It’s not that I’m angry or sad , I just don’t feel like Sharing and I’m actually feeeling good about it . I’m actually feeling good , and that also makes my mind go weird as I was never like that before ever . This might be a part of this transition . But yes , with my studies , I was in for a blow this result . I was just a short 10 marks on cleari v and this is the first time ever since last 8 attempts that I’m so close . And the subjects where I expected I wouldn’t score I scored more and where I expected a particular score , I was just short of 1 mark . So I was sad but amused too as this was I would say good , but beyond my expectations. I realise that I’m in this transition , but honestly the fear of failing or vasicslly not doing it right lurks high . What exercises can we do to bring in the trust and to increase and build up on the trust In this transition?
I would recommend that you face this fear. Let yourself actually feel it, and see if it sparks any anger. If it does, go straight into that anger (check out all my posts and videos on how to do an anger release, or if you have my book, read the chapter on anger). This fear coming up is a good thing. It’s time to release it! <3
Did you make this video for me?!
Yeah so… literally everything in my life that was in my life is now not in my life. Everything that made me happy I don’t have access to anymore. I felt sad for the past few days, but just before you posted this I realized it was OK to be happy.
I feel like I’ve flown through the air and now I’m on the new trapeze, but it’s different and I’m flying through a jungle and there are branches and leaves everywhere, and I’m like, “Aaahhhhhh!!!!”
It’s difficult when I don’t have access to certain things… like foods or exercise or things I used to care for my body, because I end up being in a lot of physical pain without them. Why would that happen?
Like I always say, waking up is a bitch… It really can be. It feels like you’re just being broken down so that you’ll finally embrace something (can’t tell you what it is, that’s not my place, sorry). Something amazing, though (but probably super scary right now). If it helps at all, I feel that you’re really, really, really close. Keep flying, sweetie. That next trapeze will show up. It always does. <3
Thanks Melody! That’s a good vibe. I have to rely on other skills and grow the parts of me I was maybe ignoring. It’s been really different. Everyday I learn a lot and I’m super engaged so I’m going to try to embrace it even more.
Melody. I want to thank you so much because the dark night of the soul isn’t talked about or at least I never heard about it. When I went through it it was horrible and scary. Had no idea how this horrible depression was happening to me. I had always been a fairly emotionally strong person. Then I was loosing everything. Yes, my identity, who I thought other people were, my terrible job, a big dream I thought was good for me. It was terrible. During that time is where I found out about you. I saw a blog you wrote which explained a lot. I was so grateful. I’ve always wanted to tell you that. I wish other teachers of LOA would warn us about the dark night of the soul. (By the way, what added to my confusion during that time was that I started practicing LOA and couldn’t figure out why this was happening to me. I understand now). Thank you so much.
Hey Becky, you’re so welcome! This is actually partly why I started my company – I was so frustrated that not enough teachers were talking about the “dark” and painful stuff. One of my favorite sayings is “waking up is a bitch”. Because it is. And I think we need to acknowledge that. But… if there hadn’t been this void, we wouldn’t be here now, having this little chat, would we? 😀