Posted by: Monkey | May 18, 2014

Dark Night of the Soul

There are a lot of new subscribers to my blog and I feel honoured to have you here. That somehow something in my writings has touched you enough that you wish to continue to read my musings is inspiring to me.

I have been wanting to write something for a while, to add to this space of thoughts that I created and to contribute something that may have meaning.

And then… my reality has been a crushing sink into an existential angst. What started as joyful journey of growth and exploration has tested and pushed me deeper into the ways my own mind creates suffering, and I have suffered. 

It is funny as the world has been incredibly kind to me, it has shown me abundance, has introduced me to amazing and inspiring individuals, has given me shelter… and yet I still suffered.

What has been playing through mind as I wander in an exhausted fugue of traveling and couchsurfing is to question the point of any of it. I have been sinking into what has been a challenging inquiry, an inquiry that has been asking repeatedly “what’s the point?”. What is the point… of any of it. Oh I may offer or be offered a number of platitudes that may ease my soul and paint a smile on my face, yet do I really believe such sayings, believe them deep in my core?

To let go of all my constructed ideas about the meaning of life and to continuously and painfully bury myself into the question of what is the point?

It would be easier to not confront this question and in some ways I’m sure that I could divert my attention and yet my disposition has been to dwell into the realm of feelings. To dive deep, like a cave diver, without much certainty of what I might find. All I have is an insatiable compulsion to feel fully whatever it is my experience, often past the point of what I might call healthy. Sometimes there are nuggets of gold in the depths, insights that bubble up when I truly embrace not-knowing and often found in the darkest of places. 

I am fascinated by the potential of growth and evolution that we human beings seem to have. That somehow by opening myself, by allowing the very stuff of who I think I am to be malleable, that there is a real and genuine capacity to change. This is truly amazing.

Change and growth, what wonderful and strange possibilities we have… a feature of our lives we have changed as we grew from infants to children to teenagers to adults and then for many of us we stop. We become fixed in our ideas and beliefs about the world. We think we know the answers and they root us in place. What was once a fluid and dynamic ability to shift and expand becomes rigid and closed.

What is the nature of change? What is it that allows us to change and grow? To become more elegant, more efficient beings?

These past months for me, as I hinted above, have been some of the most challenging I have yet experienced… and I have grown. The very nature of my experience in this world seems somehow fundamentally different to what it once was. At times I am astonished as I feel what it is like to be me and it feels… different, new, matured (at least slightly). 

I have been to workshops and retreats, more than I think was necessary and the ideas presented have swirled within me some sticking and becoming new inquiry while others spat out in rejection. Not all ideas are good ones, yet many are worth trying out at least for a little while.

This has been a dark night of the soul for me. As what once held me close in an embrace of comfort in an idea of what God is for me, has been released. The absence of this reassuring presence of belief is deafening and frightening. It feels alone, as if I have been deserted. And yet… in the moments I relax the devastation that I may have no reason for existing, a sense of peace fills me. A rightness that something is happening, I just don’t know what. A dark night may birth a new day.

All I have to offer here, as I continue my investigation into what is actually meaningful for me, is that change does not come from thinking about it.

As I look at the nature of my thoughts, there is a particular sense of fixation that thoughts have. They go round and round and perpetuate some sense of being that I have taken on as being important to me to uphold. If I ignore the thoughts, allowing them to swirl in their cacophony of sometimes madness there is a texture of feeling behind. There is something pre-thought from which this experience upwells. Allowing this to be there, without fixation, without attachment… with only an open curiosity gives it space to expand and stretch. To consider something beyond what it is I have come to believe. There is new possibility for what are my beliefs other than information presented to me and adopted within my identity. None of it has any validity beyond the way in which it gives me some sense of continuity as an identity. 

Change is possible and in many ways a natural function of being, it seems to be only impeded by ourselves and our ability to solidify around a sense of self and the importance of such being recognised as us.

What if we were to let that go?




  1. Dear Monkey,
    I don’t know you except through your writings – which I love and have shared widely – and yet I feel I DO know you. Perhaps it is because you write about experiences that I have been through/am going through in a very similar form. Perhaps all humans go through them eventually, in one lifetime or another. Or maybe it’s because I was born in the year of the monkey, and that’s where the connection is 😉 Anyhow I have this to offer: The point of all this change, angst, doubt is to arrive at more *compassion*. True compassion, not in the sense that many people seem to see it, as a more evolved form of “pity” – but true compassion in the sense of “I’ve been there, I can totally empathize with you.” That obviously goes for the joyful experiences as well as the crap ones, like what you’re going through. And when we get to “we’ve all been there” then we will know true Buddha nature. As to the more practical matter of how to get unstuck from this dark night of the soul…it sounds like you’ve been traveling around a lot, with no real haven or center to “ground yourself” again. Perhaps your soul is tired of all this physical traveling and just wants to be in one place to collect itself again. As I said, I don’t know you, but I *do* know I’ve been there, it’s not a pretty place, but the way out lies in becoming still and allow yourself some rest rather than tormenting yourself with questions that have arisen out of this very restlessness 🙂 Love and peace to you, Lara

  2. PS This:!OHteD

  3. Hey Lara, thanks for writing and for that link… I like it!

    While I agree with you, there is a sort of deliberateness to my experience that I think goes beyond my current minds ability to fully see in the moment. By suspending beliefs about how I should be, about what is meaningful in this life I feel myself opening to the direct experience of some of these things that I may have only believed before yet never truly gotten at some kind of a core level.

    I’m ok, and I’m an expert on suffering 😉

  4. For me after going through my existential crisis I came to the feeling that the meaning of life, our reason for being is… To be. To Live. To experience.
    You’re doing it. xxx

  5. Thought you might enjoy this picture of “monkey orchids” 🙂

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