There are many examples of men and women who endured unimaginable ordeals and yet contributed in a striking way to humanity’s progress. Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years under harsh conditions, yet he never lost his vision and sense of destiny. One of his younger fellow prisoners said of him: “The point about Nelson, of course, is that he has a tremendous presence, apart from his bearing, his deportment and so on. He’s a person who’s got real control over his behavior. He is also quite conscious of the kind of seriousness he radiates.”
This is dark night talk—presence and seriousness, the key gifts of Saturn—as a long tradition holds. Mandela’s dark night was an actual imprisonment, not a mood. Still, he teaches how to deal with a dark night. Don’t waste time in illusions and wishes. Take it on. Keep your sense of worth and power. Keep your vision intact. Let your darkness speak and give its tone to your bearing and expression.
As strange as it may sound, there is a temptation in a dark night to slip into enjoyment of the pain and to identify with your emotions and moods. “I’m a lonely person. I’m depressed. Help me.” One striking quality we see in men and women who are dealing with their dark nights effectively is a lack of masochistic surrender to the mood, which can be forceful and dominating.
Mandela had “control over his behavior.” He didn’t succumb. It’s important to live through the dark night, acknowledge it, notice its qualities, and be affected by it. At the same time, it is not useful to be too attached to it or to let it dominate. You don’t want to be the hero who slays dragons and tries to obliterate the darkness, but you do need all the strength of heart you can muster.
Full article by Thomas Moore:http://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/a-dark-night-of-the-soul-and-the-discovery-of-meaning/