Edge Life by Cathy Combs

The Dark Night Of The Soul: Our Ultimate Spiritual

The dark night of the soul is easily one of the most captivating spiritual challenges I can ever imagine. For me, it is the point at which I don't see the truth of the statement "It's darkest before the dawn." I just see an endlessly hopeless, agonizing, fruitless effort. I have exhausted every effort and seemingly have nothing to show for it. I have no more energy to "fight," to try! I don't even have the energy for suicide. If this description leads you to believe I've been there, you would be accurate. I've been there many times. I've also made my way back many times.

I have to say I find this journey to be an interesting paradox. I find this journey to be the ultimate spiritual challenge ø the ultimate test of faith ø the vitalizing turning point to my way back to a brand new level of functioning, faith and vision. It seems to be the end of a current level of understanding and the entry way to a new level all at the same time. In part, I find it to be a very painful journey where it seems like there are no clues that I'm even vaguely going in the "right" direction, whatever that might be!

On the other hand, the intrinsic value of the journey is I have always discovered a new depth of strength that I never knew was possible. The very first time I consciously experienced what I would define as the dark night of the soul, I knew emphatically that even though I felt completely frustrated and defeated, I didn't want to die. What I wanted was to feel powerful, like I had some kind of control over my life, like my efforts would make a difference.

Since that first "dark night," I have unfailingly learned that my efforts do make a difference. My efforts make a profound difference in the quality of my life and in the quality of every life I touch. I do temporarily forget that truth, rather often at times, but I come back to it fairly quickly. What the "dark nights" teach me is that every effort is valuable, every effort counts and every effort strengthens me for the long haul. I have come to treasure the challenges, because I truly believe there is a benevolent purpose in this journey we call life. Even though tragic things happen every moment of every day, there is an opportunity to bless the moment and to put my mark on the moment. There is no greater blessing than that: to put our mark on the moment as our gift of love for the life we've been given.

I feel like the tools we have for the journey are given to us as we journey. I feel like the tools are always there! We have to use them to make their existence known to us! That's another interesting part of the paradox. Every step we take in our journey shows us more and more of the power we have, the presence we have and the purpose we are to fulfill. As we journey, we flex our spiritual muscles and grow into the essence of love that resides within us as our motivating principle. That's what I have come to understand as I continue this journey day to day, moment to moment.

As I live from the center of my being the clouds lift, the dark night gives way to the dawn of a clear, bright, strong, "faith-full" understanding of who I am and what I am to do while I'm here. It doesn't mean there's clear sailing with no trouble in sight. It means I do always have within me everything I need for the journey. It means keep doing my work in a spirit of love and peace and faith. It means know my true identity. Don't take my gifts for granted. Don't be daunted by the challenges along the way. Don't begrudge the difficulties. Do be courageous! Do be loving! Do be myself! Have an abiding faith that it is more than enough to be my best self! I believe the very same is true for you too! Blessed Be the dark night that unfailingly holds the essence of all life, all love, for us all!

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