While giving a dark night its due, you can also cultivate a love of life and joy in living that doesn’t contradict the darkness. You can be dedicated to your work and your vision for humanity and also feel overwhelmed by the suffering in the world. To do this it helps to have a philosophy of life that understands the creative coming together of conflicting moods. The rule is simple: Human beings can do more than one thing at a time. You can acknowledge your darkness and still find some joy.

The first step is to embrace the darkness, take it to heart, winnow out any subtle innuendos of resistance. Then find any images that are trapped in the thick dark mood or situation. Those images may hold the clue to your release and future service. Angelou lost her voice, a fascinating symptom and a strong image, and then became known worldwide for her voice. The cure lies in the illness, the hint at future activity within the symptom. If you tone down the dark elements because they are painful and discouraging, you may also hide the gifts that are there for you.

Another important strategy is to avoid making the dark night too personal, too focused on yourself. Yes, you feel it intimately and alone. But it could still have more to do with the suffering of the world than with yourself. Maybe dark nights are generally less personal than they feel. At any one time, beings on the planet are suffering. The planet itself is suffering; it is going through a dark night constantly. If you live in a place where children are hungry and dying in wars and in domestic violence, you are within the realm of the world’s dark night. Listen to political leaders deny climate change and you worry about the future, not of the planet on which you live but the planetary being of which you are a living part. If you can stretch your moral imagination to perceive this suffering, then you will have the energy and focus to work toward a transformation.

Read the full article by Thomas Moore, here.