Everybody will experience the Dark Night in a different way, but there are archetypal patterns which seem to arise in everyone. The process of awakening is basically the same in all people, but how the ego breaks down will vary. Our cultural conditioning is similar because we grow up listening to same illusory narratives, but we each have our own particular quirks and hang-ups.
Where I get stuck will not be the same as where you get stuck.
With that in mind, here are some of the symptoms that may be experienced during a Dark Night of the Soul. You may not encounter them all, or indeed any of them.
So, in no particular order:
• Regret over having started a spiritual practice but you know you can’t stop
• Your spiritual practice no longer works like it used to
• Inability to meditate or pray
• Despair over your lack of spiritual progress
• Find yourself cursing God
• Feelings of Purgatory
• Depression due to increased awareness of impermanence
• Find things passing away: relationships, jobs, possessions
• Loss of dreams, hopes and desires
• Loss of purpose and sense of meaning
• Inability to let go of the past or what you have lost
• Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
• Normal life now seems boring and pointless compared to your vision of Oneness and you see how much of your life is false
• Feel cut off from others and alienated from ‘normal’ life making it hard to join in
• Values change making it hard to relate to others at times
• Priorities are challenged and new goals may need to be found
• Profound aloneness and the awareness that no-one else is experiencing this
• Need for silence and find it hard to talk
• Want to be alone
• Feel like you’re falling into madness
• Fear of what is coming into your awareness as you confront the shadow
• Can’t stop crying or find it hard to cry even if you want to
• Exhaustion / unable to sleep / can’t stop sleeping
• Feel helpless and unable to assert your will
• Difficulty eating or wanting to undertake a fast
• Physical pain with no obvious cause / hypersensitivity
• Feel like you’re dying / strong death wish
• Intense fear
Read the full article by Jessica Davidson, here.