Hi.. I’m looking to get out of this madness and darkness consuming me. What advice can you give as someone who’s been there and survived? I try the ‘letting-go’ but it just feels like I’m burying it and as predicted—it comes back. Is this something each person has to do for themselves? I feel real desolate, angry and alone. I have no one to talk to about it because my peers lack the wisdom I see in you. I feel divided and out of touch with my soul, like walking comatose.
When I initially received this question I knew what I had to say, but I didn’t quite now how to say it. I had to let this live with me for a while, and turn over in my subconscious and waking reality. I apologize if it seems like this one got away from my attention, it did not.
These bouts of darkness are what the Christian mystic Saint John of the Cross called the ”Dark Night of the Soul” — and has since been considered by many luminaries as an initiation into greater depth and spirituality, but not without much hardship first. This can be a painful process because it shakes up one’s worldly equilibrium and belief in themselves, leaving the feeling that there is indeed no one to turn to. The shape of each individual’s dark night takes on it own symptoms, but it is common to see the divide between oneself and their peers. There is a sense of no going back, and as you realized, you can not simply ignore it, because this is not the sort of thing that will fade with time. You must confront it, and you may very well have to confront it on your own. This characterizes the shaman’s journey in many respects, as initiation begins with an upheaval of the former life, a period of personal crises that awakens one from the unconscious stability of contemporary living before they make their way into the wilderness.
Many of us share these experiences without knowing it, feeling isolated from others, often because those who are around us cannot understand the nature of the struggle or simply do not care, the latter of whom we eventually learn to recognize and shed from our lives. You must move on from the places, people and activities that are holding you back. It may not be practical to quit your job or move at the moment, but start thinking about where you spend most of your time socially and at length. If you have already left behind these interactions, the last major roadblock before real progress is making peace with yourself. In my own experience, I found this much easier once I genuinely accepted the path I was on and stopped lamenting what felt like a loss of everything I knew. Throwing myself into creative pursuits helped a great deal. I focused on my photography, and devoted time to learning new crafts and knowledge. Read, go out into nature if possible, and find the quiet places. Go where you can listen, witness, and breathe. Be kind to yourself. Take in everything you encounter with an open mind and patient heart; it is all a part of the process. When you are ready, the clouds will lift and light will return.
For your consideration, these books provide valuable insight:
Monika Wikman, Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness