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14 Signs of Spiritual Maturity that Indicate Your Spiritual Growth

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Spiritual maturity is not a religious concept. It has humanitarian objectives through balanced behaviors of spiritual understanding. Spiritual maturity is a gradual process of discovering your inner-self (or God Self) that goes along with self-discipline. It is important to understand that I am talking about a sufficiently “mobile” model of a Mature personality, allowing a different set of characterological features. However, in this article, I want to consider certain factors that can form the Central frame of such a personal model. And these factors I will describe through different signs of spiritual maturity.

Signs Of Spiritual Maturity

Authenticity

The famous American psychotherapist James Bugental calls authenticity the most important existential value of a human being. He identifies three main features of authentic existence:

  • full awareness of the present moment of life;
  • independent choice of the way of life at that moment;
  • taking personal responsibility for this choice.

The authenticity to some extent generalizes many properties of the individual. First of all, it is an expression of sincerity towards another. An authentic person wants to be himself in his immediate reactions and in his holistic behavior. He allows himself not to know all the answers to life’s questions.

He doesn’t act like he’s in love if he feels hostile at the moment. The difficulties of most people are that they spend a lot of vital energy on playing roles, or creating an external facade, instead of using it to solve their real problems.

If the person most of the time hides his true self behind the mask of any selected role, it is not surprising that in response he will receive the same insincere attitude of others. Authenticity is the most complete example of flexible behavior.

Openness to Own Experience and Acceptance of Feelings

Sad woman crying image

Here, by openness, I mean sincerity in the perception of one’s own feelings. Social experience teaches to deny, to reject the feelings, in particular, negative ones. The pressure of others forces to displace or suppress sadness, irritability, and anger. Society tells us: “don’t cry, don’t be nervous”, etc.

A spiritually mature person will not drive away any feelings, including negative ones. He accepts and experiences any feelings he has. Only, in this case, can you successfully control your behavior. It is because our displaced feelings are irrational, that is, they become a source of uncontrolled behavior.

When we realize our emotional reactions, we can choose our behavior in each situation, and not allow unconscious feelings to violate the regulation of our behavior. Therefore, we call ourselves “spiritually mature” only if we are capable of showing our tolerance for the whole range of ours and other emotional reactions.

Development of Self-Knowledge

Limited self-knowledge implies a restriction of freedom, and deep self-knowledge increases the possibility of choice in one’s life. The more a person knows about himself, the better he will understand other people, and Vice versa – the more a person understands others, the deeper he understands himself. Not being able to hear what’s going on inside us increases our exposure to stress and limits our effectiveness in life. It is very important to treat yourself realistically and consciously.

The Strength of Personality and Identity

Osho Quotes On Ego Photo

A mature person knows who he is, who he can become, what he wants from life, what is important for him in essence and what does not matter. He turns to life with questions, answers the questions posed to him by life, and constantly tests his values.

A spiritually mature person can’t be a reflection of the hopes of other people, he acts on his own internal position. This allows him to feel strong in interpersonal relationships.

Tolerance to Uncertainty (the Ability to Withstand Uncertainty)

Many people feel uncomfortable in situations where there is a lack of structure, clarity, and certainty. But spiritual development requires letting the comfort zone go and opening oneself up to a new experience. When we dive into our spiritual journey we have no guarantees or clarity of what to expect. A spiritual journey is very individual and even very experienced spiritual gurus can’t give us all the answers to what to expect.

A spiritually mature person understands this. He knows that life is an adventurous journey. That’s why we never know what the coming day is preparing for us, what kind of challenges we will face, and what decisions we will have to make. All we can have is strong confidence in our own intuition and the adequacy of feelings, confidence in constructive decisions, and the ability to take risks – all these qualities help us to endure the tension created by the uncertainty of the entire series of life situations.

Personal Responsibility

Mantras Cosmic codes image

Since most life situations arise under our control, we should be responsible for our actions in these situations. Understanding your responsibility allows you to freely and consciously make a choice at any time of communication – to agree with the arguments of the interlocutor or to enter into a productive confrontation.

Personal responsibility helps to take criticism more constructively. In such cases, criticism does not trigger the mechanisms of psychological protection but serves as useful feedback that improves the efficiency of activities and even life itself.

The Depth of Relationships With Others

When a spiritually mature person evaluates other people (their feelings, views, peculiar traits) he does it without condemnation and the use of labels.

Some people feel that expressing positive feelings obliges and thereby restricts freedom and makes them vulnerable. Others are afraid of rejection, so they feel that the safest position is the rejection of close relations. And they are satisfied with the communication with the partner in the distance.

But if you have enough spiritual maturity you don’t have such fears. You are able to freely express your feelings, both positive and negative, when communicating with other people.

Refusal of Perfectionism

Spiritual maturity involves a refusal of the desire to be perfect. Instead of blaming ourselves for our mistakes, we need to take them as our lessons. If we accept that we are not perfect, we will avoid unnecessary tension and feelings of guilt. In this case, relations with others become deeper and at the same time more real.

Empathy

Spiritual maturity implies the ability of a person to feel empathy. Empaths understand the feelings of the people they communicate with, as well as mandatory consideration of them in the process of communication. The range of empathy manifestation varies widely: from a light emotional response to a full immersion in the world of feelings of your interlocutor. Empaths realize that the feelings they experience are a reflection of the feelings of their interlocutors.

Kindness and Compassion

karmic relationship healing image

Kindness is based on the fundamental concept of self-recognition. We are required to treat all aspects of ourselves with compassion. Not just our positive aspects but also those ones that we previously denied. Spiritual maturity is a reflection of our deep gratitude, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Only once we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion can we treat others the same way. Our attitude towards others is always a reflection of our attitude towards ourselves. That’s why I always say: “Love yourself first!”.

Patience

Spiritual maturity implies an understanding of the fact that the process of awakening goes through many periods and cycles. It requires our deepest commitment.

True patience does not aspire to any achievement. It allows us to open up for the timeless. When Einstein explained the nature of time by example, he said, “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

Awakening is not a matter of weeks, years, or lives, but a matter of loving and patient disclosure to the mystery at this moment.

A Sense of the Sacred

Spiritually mature people treat every action they do as a sacred practice. Spiritual maturity means an understanding of the fact that if we need to bring light and compassion into the world, we have to start with our own lives. Our personal lives become more genuine spiritual practices than any series of experiences we have or any philosophy we share. This personal approach to practice means respect for the individual and the universal in our lives. Moreover, we also honor our individual body, our individual family, and our community, as well as our personal history of joy and sorrow. Spiritually mature people have a deep understanding that their personal spiritual awakening affects all other creatures.

Independent Discovery

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Instead of accepting some philosophy or blindly following some great teacher, going on an insurmountable path, we must recognize that we need to see for ourselves. In spiritual maturity, we find a great sense of autonomy – not as a reaction to authority, but as a basis for sincere recognition of the fact that we, like Buddha, are capable of spiritual awakening. Spiritual maturity has a deeply democratic quality. It means that all individuals have the opportunity to discover what is sacred and to free themselves.

This sense of exploration combines the openness of the mind with “discerning wisdom,” the ability to separate the useful from the harmful, which keeps the eyes open. With an open mind, we always learn.

Our sense of discovery gives us the opportunity to use the great wisdom traditions to learn from teachers and be part of the community. While at the same time in contact with ourselves, to see the truth and speak the truth with great respect to our own integrity and to our own awakening. This kind of research allows us to be more honest with ourselves.

Flexibility

Flexibility implies that spiritual life is not about accepting a particular philosophy or set of beliefs or teachings, nor is it about confronting or opposing anyone. It is the lightness of the heart that implies that all spiritual means are rafts to come to freedom.

The flexibility of the mindset contributes lightness and humor to spiritual practice. It allows us to see that there are thousands of ways to reach spiritual awakening. And if we choose one way and other people choose another way there is nothing wrong with this. We may follow different paths to reach the same destination.

Conclusion

With spiritual maturity, our ability to forgive and free ourselves grows and deepens. This shows the natural resolution of our conflicts and the ability to return to joy and peace. When we reach spiritual maturity we see spirituality as a question of who we are rather than of what ideal, philosophy, religion, or guru we follow. A spirituality of this kind is full of joy and integrity; it is both ordinary and awakened. Such spiritual maturity allows the light of the divine to shine through us.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Ishvara Pranidhana: The Art Of Living For a Higher Purpose

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Are you one of those who sincerely turn to the path of knowledge of spiritual truths, the search for the meaning of life, the comprehension of the essence of being? Do you seek to understand the nature of your Soul and your true purpose? Then you are one of those spiritual wonderers who is able to see the world beyond the material limitations of the physical world and strive to live your life for a higher purpose. In this article, I want to introduce you to Ishvara Pranidhana which means attunement to the supreme consciousness. The practice of this Divine principle will help you to plant in your heart the highest degree of piety through which the mind comes to Samadhi.

Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a collection of 196 Sanskrit sutras on the theory and practice of yoga. It describes the goals of yoga and the principles of techniques needed to achieve them.

The two first stages that the Sutras describe are the principles of Yama and Niyama.

Yama is a set of ethical norms that teach us to communicate with others in the right way.

There are five Yamas:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity, or sexual restraint.
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.

Niyama is the step of forming self-discipline and uplifting spirituality.

Five Niyamas are:

  1. Saucha (शौच): purity, clearness of mind, speech, and body.
  2. Santosha (सन्तोष): contentment, acceptance of others, and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self.
  3. Tapas (तपस): austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance.
  4. Svadhyaya (स्वाध्याय): the study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches, and actions.
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness.

All these principles are interdependent. If you break one of the Yamas or Niyamas, you are bound to break the others. And if you improve in the practice of one principle, then the practice of other yamas and niyamas will also be improved.

For example, if you violate Satya by allowing yourself to lie, you will not be able to practice Ahimsa. Or, if you do not observe the principle of Saucha and pollute your body and mind, it will be difficult for you to practice Brahmacharya.

What Is Ishvara Pranidhana?

What Is Ishvara Pranidhana Image

Ishvara Pranidhana is the fifth niyama described Patanjali which means the contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), or attunement to the supreme consciousness.

Ishvara is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “supreme, God, the Absolute Brahman, True Self, or Unchanging Reality”. Pranidhana means “dedication, devotion, or surrender”.

In the Upanishads, the word Isvara means “a state of collective consciousness”. In this sense, there isn’t a Godlike figure we are supposed to worship or devote our actions to, rather ‘God’ represents a state of collective consciousness, and therefore represents all of us too.

Thus, the fifth niyama teaches us to surrender to God or Higher self, meaning, cultivating a deep and trusting relationship with the universe and making each action an offering to something bigger than us.

A person who practices Ishvara Pranidhana, dedicates the merits of his actions to the Supreme, and coordinates every step he takes (all actions, thoughts, words) with the expediency for the benefit of spiritual development. He is not looking for personal gain, his actions are pure and sincere.

Thus, when we are talking about the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana, we mean our complete surrender to God (our own higher self). If we can dedicate our lives to serving the God that dwells within everything and everyone, we will move beyond all feelings of separateness and free ourselves from the dualistic mindset. If we can say without reservation, “I give You myself: my body, my mind, and my heart, to serve the Highest Good of all,” then we will be freed from the stress, anxiety, self-doubt, as well as from negative karma.

The Idea Of Surrendering

Dopamine happiness hormone image

In our modern society, the feelings of separateness and disconnection prevail. Ego and pride are people’s main motivators, and being strong and domineering over others are the main qualities of successful people. Most of us silently accepted that this is how life goes and there is nothing we can do about it. Our egos made us believe that we, human beings, are somehow in control of the universe. Therefore, the very idea of surrendering seems like something negative, as it implies a sort of weakness or defeat.

Our minds were programmed since ancient times that surrender means losing. This belief comes from military terminology where surrender means the opposition to the victory. And it makes sense since the very nature of any war or competition is built on duality. For us, human beings, it’s normal to see surrender as something bad because our minds are stuck in the duality and it’s hard to see something beyond these limited paradigms.

In spirituality, however, we don’t limit our beliefs with “right or wrong” labels. Instead, we are learning to see the hidden meanings of everything by overcoming the dualistic mindset. Thus, victory is attained as we willingly surrender our limited idea of who we are (i.e. our name, our jobs, our problems, etc.) and create the space needed to feel our true Self, our Divine Spark which is limitless.

Surrender requires self-discipline, trust, and faith. Ultimately it will take far more effort to cling to the smallness of the ego than it will surrender the Higher self.

Applying the Practice of Isvara Pranidhana to Life

#1: Examine your path

Isvara Pranidhana Definition Image

Start with introspection. Ask yourself what you are guided by in your life when you choose the path that you follow throughout your earthly incarnation. After all, intentions are the main criterion that reflects the sincerity of your actions, words, and thoughts.

Examine your path, the purpose you live for. Are your intentions dictated by ego, prestige, greed, or pride?

Think about your strongest motivation in life. Are you motivated by selfish motives? Or, is every action you do aim at improving this world, creating good, bringing light and love, joy and warmth to this world? Answer these questions honestly. What do you live for? A sincere answer to this question will clarify for you the meaning of your existence and direct you to the true path of life.

#2: Practice letting go and non-attachment

Letting go of the fruits of our actions and non-attachment are a focal point of the Bhagavad Gita

If we’ve put a lot of effort into something, we often get attached to a result of our actions. Questions like: “Will they like me?”, “What if I’m not good enough?”, “Will my project be successful?” are perfect examples of attachments to a result. All this worrying about things we have no control over is the main cause of our suffering.

Instead of worrying and focusing on the result, concentrate on the process and the idea of service – meaning, dedication of the process of doing to God. In this case, you’ll be fully engaged in the action without thinking about what might or might not happen.

The practice of surrendering requires us to acknowledge that we can do our very best in each situation, but we can’t really do any more than that. Realizing this simple truth essentially allows us to fully engage and be present in what we’re doing, bringing all our energy to the present moment and experiencing it fully just for what it is.

Such attitude to the process helps us to develop trust and faith that are essential for our spiritual development.

You can do the same action with or without God. However, when you’re doing it without God (guided by ego) you’re facing all kinds of challenges, obstacles, worries, and suffering. But when you’re acting with God (focusing on offering your action to the Divine), you know that any outcome is beneficial because this is what God wants. This approach gives you satisfaction with any result – because you have your trust and faith that whatever happens as a result of your actions is for the highest good for all.

#3: Stay open

Awakening during Brahma Muhurta hour image

In our daily life, Isvara Pranishana can be also seen as an opening up to what isThat is, instead of fighting against life’s twists and turns, you are remaining open to experiencing life as it unfolds.  

When we are remaining fixed and rigid in our conditioned patterns, habits, and limitations, we are doomed to a limited life. Whereas surrendering has an expansive nature that boosts your development. Surrendering is hugely challenging because it means transcending the ego, and the ego will do everything it can to stay in control over your mind.

Worries, conditioning, judgments, and perceptions are the “hooks” that the ego pulls us by. Without those “hooks” the ego would not exist. Therefore, it tries desperately to cling on when we work on quietening it.

Surrendering requires trust in the Universe and the courage to express ourselves for who we are, as we are. Each time we choose to surrender, we move closer to freedom. 

Conclusion

When we see ourselves as a part of one whole, we are no longer in the illusion of separation (duality). This leads to the emergence of healthy altruism towards all living beings and a sincere desire to share the divine light of our hearts, which becomes possible due to the disclosure of this light in our souls. When we observe the principle of Ishvara Pranidhana we become free from egoistic motivations in our behavior and in our activities.

  

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Spirituality

Divine Union: Achieving the Ultimate Freedom From Enmeshed Reality

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If I had to choose one neurosis that we all hold as a collective, it would be the understanding of ourselves as separate from source. Throughout history and until the current moment humanity is known for enduring strife and challenges that have led to profound cognitive distortions. The idea that we are separate from the ever-unfolding creative energy that exists in all the universe has become an embodied reality.

How Did This Neurosis Unfold?

Whether it is due to an orchestrated amnesia or the seeds of ignorance, we have all been vulnerable to a false power that is the influence of the mind; the very thing that breeds separation, illusion, and fear.

Throughout history – religious, scientific, industrial, and social movements have all moved beyond the natural and organic. This has been coined as evolution, however, without the heart leading the way it has undoubtedly altered our ability to perceive ourselves as part of the whole.

What we understand instead is a system that keeps our minds in shackles and tension under the illusion of security and control. The neurosis that something is unquestionably wrong with us, society, our world as we know it plagues us in a way that we seldom recognize. The need to fix, improve, calculate, and just push towards a better something has kept us in perpetual unease. Our need to avoid discomfort and suffering has irrevocably separated us from the grace of divine order.

“The fear of experiencing that which we judge wrong keeps us from experiencing the love that truly does protect us from all things.”

We do not feel safe, held, or supported, and as the Samsara wheel churns, many fall further and further away from the tree of life. Instead of experiencing the self as part of a vast and organic whole, the tendency is to reside in a deep unconscious state where the appeal for a false sense of control has become prominent. The fear of experiencing that which we judge wrong keeps us from experiencing the love that truly does protect us from all things.

There is fixed enmeshment with this man-made reality that profoundly disconnects all from the truth and from the vibration that is unconditional love, which indeed emanates from in every sparkle of an eye, every speck of sand, every Tsunami and every other materialized construct within the infinite universes that exist.

What Happened to Faith?

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Faith is a word that has lost its true context – it is now loosely understood as believing in or trusting that an outside force may or may not meet one’s intended desire. This notion of faith is a diluted interpretation of the vitality in which the word truly resides.

Faith, as it has revealed itself to me, is the actual embodiment of union and it is not limited to the concepts of the mind nor is it something to be manipulated by demand. Faith speaks of an enlightened expression of the union with the source of all that is.

“There is truly an emancipation held for all by the mathematical perfection that are the universes. Suffering breeds from not feeling worthy of this and being attached to that which we believe is our identity and yet is not our true nature.”

The term, enlightenment in this prose refers to a conscious awareness of the small self as well as the Self that is attuned to the love that is the whole. The paradox itself is hard to grasp- it defies all things defined in the polarity in which we believe ourselves to exist, and it challenges the fixed status quo. However, this conundrum is the very place where we can find peace from the endless chatter that speaks of unrest in the mind, in the body, and most importantly in the self.

There is truly an emancipation held for all by the mathematical perfection that are the universes. Suffering breeds from not feeling worthy of this and being attached to that which we believe is our identity and yet is not our true nature. We were born beyond the endless constraints of logic and calculated manipulation and still we walk in those very shackles forgetting ourselves as boundless and infinite creative expression- this of course superseding even death.

We stopped trusting our intuitive nature and instead allowed our minds to become masters. Still, the field beyond right and wrong as our beloved lover and poet, Rumi would say; truly does exist.

Divine Union Is Not In the External

Divine Union Experience Image

Divine union is not a choice but an absolute truth that can only be experienced through the liberation of the small self. It is not about attracting the ideal quantum partner nor is it in the glory of a manifested desire. It means transcending the alleged separation and surrendering to the simplicity of being.

Freedom comes from allowing ourselves to embody our union with the divine as paint on a canvas would trust the strokes of its artist. There is a masterpiece that we are all part of and yet because of universal free will, we continue to lose sight of it.

Divine union is within every breath we take, we need only provide the space for it to bloom the way a flower unfolds in the Spring; petal by petal, not worried about the contours of its shape. She simply becomes its full radiance with focused intention allotted to her by her very existence, and the most subtle of expressions that derive from her simply being. Its vibrancy trusts; it does not fear decay, nor does it try to manipulate the direction or the speed at which it will flourish. Without knowing she embraces the pure fluid state that by default is all of existence; mankind included.

“Freedom comes from allowing ourselves to embody our union with the divine as paint on a canvas would trust the strokes of its artist.”

Re-union Is Definite

gates of heaven image

The labyrinth that our egos journey through paves the way for remembrance. All paths lead home as the slogan goes. There is no bypassing the organic process from our forgetting to the collective unraveling of our true essence. The enigma brings forth a rise in consciousness where we can feel into that which lies beyond the veils of our manifested reality. With the shift of the ages, we now have additional support through the more expansive access to higher dimensional frequencies that supersede the matrix consciousness.

There is a light pouring in from the cosmos that is summoning us from our sleep state. It is bringing great awareness to the depths of the collective complex of perceived abandonment. The gates of heaven are now truly accessible to all – the journey there is within. In the stillness of the mind and emptiness of the small self, the subtle whispers of conscious awareness ripple through and beloved to ourselves we become.

“The gates of heaven are now truly accessible to all – the journey there is within.”

The Bottom Line

I like to remind my clients of how fortunate they are to have incarnated at this time. Although they may perceive me with questioning eyes at such a statement while they are still deeply enmeshed with their severance; there is something that stirs in them. It is then that the invitation to remembrance becomes alive.

If they choose to answer they are ignited to explore the alchemy that is life from a higher perspective; one that doesn’t undermine the organic process that is life but instead highlights the beauty in the complexity of its nature and the absolute safety of its colorful landscape.

The heart is the gateway – we need only seek in that direction and recall that it is not a pragmatic excursion. Remembrance transcends the confines of the logical mind and calls forth the frequency that has and will always permeate above all – love.

About Ishtar

Ishtar is a psychotherapist (LCSW) who earned her masters’ degree from New York University in 2006. She is also a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga instructor; licensed in 2013 at Goldenbridge, New York City. Prior to this training, in 2008 she experienced what she coins as divine remembrance and has spent the last 13 years in service to others as a wayshower in the ascension process. As a Christed pillar of light embodying the solar crystalline frequencies; she carries the codes of gnosis and sacred transformation. Ishtar is a Rose priestess of cosmic lineage and holds a multidimensional awareness that guides clients from all walks of life into divine union. Currently, she resides with her daughter Ixchel Inanna in the city New York and remains committed to activating divine remembrance through a myriad of sacred tools.  ​

About Luminous Magik

Luminous Magik practice focuses on traditional integrative psychotherapy infused with an array of healing modalities intuitively tailored to your specific needs. The sessions can include Kundalini yoga and Meditation, Energetic Alignments, Light Language, Shadow Work, Ancestral Clearing, Womb Activations & Cosmic Coding. For more information, visit Ishtar’s website luminousmagik.com.

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Spirituality

Dark Night of the Soul: The Signs and Counter Measures

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Picture this: You have the dream job that you always wanted. Your mortgage payments on your dream home are up to date. And, you just proposed to the partner of your dreams. It is such a time that you should feel content, if not excited for your accomplishments, right? But, why are you losing interest in pursuing more goals? Why the unexplained sadness, confusion, or a sudden loss of focus? Chances are you going through the Dark Night of the Soul.

What Is It?

The Dark Night of the Soul refers to a transitional stage when we undergo a ‘spiritual depression’ before getting an intense perception of life. It involves letting go of our past perceptions of our careers, relationships, and belief systems and replacing them with a life appreciation that leads to spiritual growth. This letting-go process can be painful, therefore, triggering sadness or feelings of getting lost. Hence, despite doing well in your career or social circles, a state of despair or suffering in humanity can leave you feeling sad when you should be happy.

The Origin

The term “Dark Night of the Soul” was first used in the poem of St. John of the Cross, depicting trials or purgation that the Roman Catholic followers go through before attaining a Divine union or illumination. In this poem, only one light lights the soul as it goes through the night. This light is what leads the soul towards Divine union.

The Symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul

Symptoms of the Dark Night of the Soul Image

Everyone on a spiritual journey undergoes the Dark Night of the Soul before achieving spiritual enlightenment. However, we all experience it differently. And, unless you know what is happening, this transitional period can be confusing and scary. Here are 5 key signs that you could be going through the Dark Night of the Soul:

#1: Bouts of Sadness

The Dark Night of the Soul is a crisis in faith that can trigger a spiritual depression characterized by sadness. Think of persons with immense Christian faith like Elijah, Jeremiah, and David. History documents show how these spiritual leaders struggled with anxiety, depression, and failure (Psalm 51, 1 Kings 19, Jeremiah 20). Likewise, Mother Teresa is said to have dark night experiences that lasted for close to 50 years. 

#2: Feeling Powerless or Hopeless About Your Current Situation

Anyone undergoing the dark night experiences becomes overly aware of their incompleteness and imperfection to God.  You feel an overwhelming confusion. It is a discomfort that comes with a lot of hopelessness.

For example, the death of a loved one may remind you of how fragile life is, triggering a sense of powerlessness and sadness. Yet, unlike depression that brings about suicidal thoughts, or resentment towards God, the pain in dark night experiences is for a purpose. Hence, the loss of pleasure towards things of God is only temporary.

#3: You Desire to Connect with People

Are you active on social media, or lead a public life where you enjoy impressing the masses? A dark night experience may evoke a desire to connect with your followers or audience. For, this spiritual transformation process causes you to question everything that you once thought was true. Hence, your mind tries to derive meaning in all your interactions with others, letting go of interest that is no longer serving your audience.

#4: Lack of Interest in Your Passion

Often, a spiritual crisis leaves us listless and with no motivation to do the things we once enjoyed. In turn, we isolate ourselves with our friends and loved ones, sinking deeper into depression.

#5: Longing for “Home”

If you feel frustrated and conflict to the extent of getting homesickness for an imaginary place you want to call home, it is a clear sign of a dark night experience. See, the spiritual trials make us long for normalcy that we associate with our loved ones of the home environment. It is a natural response to any life transition that comes with a feeling of loss and a need to adjust to the new norm.

Overcoming the Dark Night of the Soul

Overcoming Spiritual Depression Image

If you are going through spiritual depression, here are some tips to make this experience bearable: –

  • Maintain a journal of your dark night experiences.  This approach helps you see what triggers the sadness, emptiness, and anxiety. More so, it will give you the insight necessary to assist another person going through a similar experience.
  • Understand how your subconscious mind works. Knowing your thought process helps you anticipate and avoid an emotional breakdown. Plus, it will give you a chance to identify any areas in your life that bring about cognitive dissonance.
  • Let go of your fears, feelings, and old beliefs. Instead, be open to the present moment.
  • Embrace the dark night experiences with a positive attitude. The experience is only temporary, and the result is a profound perception of self.
  • Enrich your soul. Here, taking part in yoga sessions, forest baths, reading motivational books, or listening to sleep meditation provides an outlet for the anguish you feel inside.
  • Practice living in the present. Remember, sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety comes about when we have regrets or conflicts about our past thoughts.
  • Stay active. A regular brisk walk can help wade off thoughts of depression and loss of interest in our passion. Likewise, if you know you enjoy camping or traveling, start by making a campfire in your backyard.
  • Find support. Spending time with friends and family can uplift your mood.

Conclusion

Meister Eckhart the great philosopher, once said, “We rarely find people who achieve great things without first going astray.” Indeed, this is the essence of the Dark Night of the Soul. It is a spiritual disconnection that leads us to a deeper understanding of our soul and who we are. Only, these dark night experiences may trigger an overwhelming sadness, insatiable cravings, or lack of interest in what you once enjoyed. Learn to identify the symptoms of dark night experiences to embrace them positively. More so, differentiate them from symptoms of clinical depression or chemical imbalances so that you may seek appropriate help.

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