Dark Night Of The Soul: Spiritual Crisis By Nicholas Schmidt You cannot find the Light unless you enter the darkness. Dark night of the soul, spiritual crisis, spiritual madness, spiritual emergency, divine madness, holy madness... these are various phrases that have been used to describe a unique experience - a profound test of faith and spiritual endurance - that seems to be a necessary part of walking the path home to God. Today, many people on this planet are searching for a deeper meaning and purpose to life. Struggling for survival and happiness in the material world just doesn't seem to satisfy the human potential anymore. More and more we're becoming bored and frustrated with the routines of everyday life, whether it's with our careers, our personal lives or our relationships with other people. Deep inside, we're beginning to realize that our hunger for the material comforts and pleasures of life eventually leaves us feeling empty and incomplete. We then begin to suspect that lasting peace and happiness is an "inner" thing. As a result, many of us are looking into the spiritual or mystical realms for a greater sense of purpose, direction and meaning. In the process we find ourselves asking "Who am I, what am I doing here, or what's my real purpose on this planet?" If we are ready, these kinds of questions will awaken a yearning deep within that inspires us to look for answers. Other times a serious life crisis can have the same effect. In the end, we find that we're really searching for God. Our search for the truth helps us to awaken spiritually and, more importantly, to remember who we really are. This new insight can be the most profound experience of one's lifetime, an ecstatic rush of joy and enlightenment that is difficult to describe to those who have yet to reach this point. After this awakening experience or shift in awareness occurs, we begin to look at the old ways and false beliefs of life with less interest, while our re-connection with the divine becomes clearer and feels more natural. The old way simply doesn't interest us anymore, while the new way is all that matters. Somewhere along the journey of remembering who we really are, we may find ourselves in a very uncomfortable space, a void in which we realize that we haven't totally let go of our old beliefs, and on the other hand we have yet to fully plug into the new truths we have discovered. This awkward "place of mind" can bring on an internal crisis of uncertainty, instability, confusion, frustration, and a most unspeakable despair as the "dark night" sets in and makes its presence felt. It is ironic that along with the rapture of remembering our divine connection, there can be intense feelings of depression, madness, detachment, hopelessness and an extraordinary loneliness that is not only relentless but may last for months or years on end. Then comes the waiting, and the wondering if and when the dark night will ever end. Ultimately, it feels as though we have lost control over our lives and, most importantly, that God has truly abandoned us. St. John of the Cross went through it, Edgar Cayce spoke of it, several recent books and tapes have described it, and throughout history various cultures provided special care and loving support for their tribal members in spiritual crisis. If this kind of intense and prolonged crisis has entered your life, please don't give up! When the madness is over, when one finally "lets go" in an act of surrender, acceptance and trust in what God is accomplishing with you - without resignation and with gratitude for the experience - the dark night will end. At that point, ego will no longer dictate the path of your life, and a Light will shine through bringing with it a new spiritual adventure and purpose in life. Your path will then be guided by a series of divinely influenced synchronous events, and your real mission for this lifetime will unfold and fall into place as if by magic. An example "dark night" sequence of events: Things in life seem to be going along quite smoothly. Then, unexpectedly, we have a serious life crisis such as career failure, divorce, a health problem, a serious addiction, financial collapse, a near death experience, etc. or any combination of such events. At some point the crisis/anguish becomes so intense that we drop to the floor and, in a climactic act of desperation, cry out "God, help me!" God begins to help immediately, most often in ways that are contrary to what we expect. (Put your seat belt on at this time!) The crisis usually jump-starts the search for spiritual truth. Each new "insight" we discover brings on the death of an old "false belief" we've been programmed to accept throughout our lives. This starts to seriously threaten our egos, and a severe test of faith begins that can last for months or years. The most important question you can ask yourself during a spiritual crisis is, "Can you believe in God when the night is the darkest?"