All too often I have heard the “Dark Night” mistakenly described as a sort of terrifying and lonely doubt about the very existence of God. But the
Dark Night really has nothing to do with doubt or despair. The concept of a Dark Night derives from a short poem written by the great mystic Saint
John of the Cross, when he was confined in a tiny, dark cell in prison for about nine months. In later years, he elaborated on the meaning of his poem
in his mystical treatise called the Dark Night of the Soul.
Saint John spoke of the Dark Night as an experience of spiritual purgation in which all physical and psychological satisfactions are stripped away to
leave the soul in the presence of nothing but the physically invisible (and therefore, to human experience, dark) and silent workings of divine grace.
As unnerving as it is, it still is a profound experience of spiritual healing, not a questioning of—or loss of—faith.
Now, in so far as we may focus just on its ultimate psychological, rather than religious, effects, the Dark Night has some remarkable parallels to
It often happens that persons entering into psychotherapy truly want to engage in the process of self-exploration, but they also attempt to avoid
certain embarrassing aspects of their private, inner lives. They want the psychotherapist to like them, not be disgusted by the ugliness lurking in
the shadows of their personalities. And, above all, they will do almost anything to hide their raw feelings of anger and betrayal resulting from past
emotional wounds. “I still feel as if I am being selfish or should be ashamed for having such intense negative feelings towards people who don’t
know how to love me. Doesn’t that solidify the fact that I am not worthy of true love?” they ask.
And the answer, in full irony, is that unless they recognize and verbalize those “intense negative feelings” (that is, feelings of victimization,
hatred, and anger) they will never get to the place of experiencing true love.
Just as the religious experience of the Dark Night strips away all human illusion and pretension, so psychotherapy must strip away everything
(especially our psychological defensiveness) that hides the deepest ugliness in our hearts. For only by recognizing the “intense negative
feelings” in his or her own heart can the individual then recognize the narcissistic selfishness that stains all of humanity. And in the community
of sorrowful understanding will grow the seed of compassion and true love.
Interestingly enough, this theme of descending into inner darkness has shown up in myth and art through the ages. Whether in the myths of the
hero’s journey into the underworld described psychologically by Jung and his followers, or in Dante’s poetic journey through hell as the route to
heaven in his Divine Comedy, or in Tolkien’s story of the journey through the mines of Moria in his Lord of the Rings, the journey begins with an
obstruction too difficult to climb over, encounters the necessity to surrender control and certainty in the passage through an abhorrent darkness, and
culminates in a final triumph over evil.
And so, if psychotherapy is to achieve any ultimate success, it must lead you into your own psychological “dark night.” And then, if you so will,
you can pass into the real Dark Night of spiritual healing.
I found this while looking up dark night/knight i liked what i read and thought i would share it with you not sure if it is relevent or not.