THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL; the madness of change

When profound changes occur in life, there is a crisis which creates inner madness. Most people who come to me are in the process of change and to most of them it is as if the rug was pulled out from under their feet. We all go about our lives believing that we know what tomorrow will bring, thinking we know ourselves and we form habits and patterns to ensure us of this safety. For some people the change comes in the disguise of illness, loosing a job, death or birth. For others it is something that creeps up over time; a sense of discontent or un-fulfillment. Whatever the reason, madness occurs. Not the kind where we lose control and run screaming through the streets, though we might like to, but a silent, inner confusion where we feel that we are traveling in unknown territory without a map.

A lot of people get scared and think they are “loosing it”; they’re not. Change is profound and for this to occur all our old habits and patterns are shattered to make place for the new Self. This is the dark night of the soul (The great mystics called the dark night of the soul a gift of grace), a moment of inner death. Once you pass through this madness you can reconstruct yourself on personal and spiritual values, finding clarity within. Life-changes may be dramatic but they are necessary for personal evolution, to find the true calling in life.

The same thing happens to anybody who trains for a therapeutic profession; every student I ever trained went through this process and they had to change their lives in some manner to fit with the truths they found within. When I did my own training my whole Self was ripped to pieces and I felt confused, scared and lost (the dark night of my soul). Over time, with guidance, I found my path in life and little by little I reconstructed myself from within – as opposed to being a product of my environment.

This process will happen as sure as night follows day. Every person who works with the development of others; therapists, coaches or teachers, need to be aware of this and have some kind of plan how to help people through it. If you don’t have the knowledge yourself, make sure that you have back-up from other professionals to whom you can refer.

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