The Dark Night of the Soul

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When you start hearing and reading this phrase EVERYWHERE, out of the blue, you sit up like a meerkat and take notice.

(And yes, you aren’t imagining things; I did write another post about the word forgive that showed up on my radar. Now it’s the phrase, dark night of the soul. I’ve been trying to finish writing this post for about three weeks.)

During my own personal Bataan death march of this involuntary tortuous journey of soul discovery, I dipped my toe into the maelstrom of an agonizing Weltschmerz.

Since I’m an introspective and insightful sort of person, a swirling thought began to form in my gray matter: why am I seeing these words? (I don’t have an answer yet.)

From blog posts to Deepak Chopra to random articles on the internet, there seems to be a plethora of attention fixed on the “dark night of the soul”, just exactly like I saw wetiko at every turn for a while.

What does it all mean? Wetiko…forgive…dark night of the soul… Is there a connection?

What IS the dark night of the soul?

It’s a chicken and egg sort of conundrum: Which comes first, depression or darkness?

Have YOU experienced it?

What I’ve learned is that this is so true: “Wherever you go, there you are.” You can’t run from yourself, you can’t distract the pain with anything; you’ve got to face it head on and hopefully make it through to the other side.

Are we experiencing it collectively as humankind? Or should I better refer to it humanUNkind…

“If you aren’t in the moment, 
you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret.
“—Jim Carrey

So I did a little research.

Eckhardt Tolle describes it this way:

The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time.  Yes, I have also experienced it.  It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness.  The inner state in some cases is very close to what is conventionally called depression.  Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.  Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level.  The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies.  Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.

It can happen if something happens that you can’t explain away anymore, some disaster which seems to invalidate the meaning that your life had before.  Really what has collapsed then is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it.  So that results in a dark place.  But people have gone into that, and then there is the possibility that you emerge out of that into a transformed state of consciousness.  Life has meaning again, but it’s no longer a conceptual meaning that you can necessarily explain.  Quite often it’s from there that people awaken out of their conceptual sense of reality, which has collapsed.

They awaken into something deeper, which is no longer based on concepts in your mind.  A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life that is not dependent on explanations or anything conceptual any longer.  It’s a kind of re-birth.  The dark night of the soul is a kind of death that you die.  What dies is the egoic sense of self.  Of course, death is always painful, but nothing real has actually died there – only an illusory identity.  Now it is probably the case that some people who’ve gone through this transformation realized that they had to go through that, in order to bring about a spiritual awakening.  Often it is part of the awakening process, the death of the old self and the birth of the true self.

The dark night of the soul occurs when you confront your innermost fears and feel them completely and deeply. These are fears that you’ve had, but which you previously kept from conscious awareness by staying busy, using intoxicants, or willing yourself not to think about them.

In a cycle of irony, when we hide our fears from conscious awareness, it’s because we are afraid of our own fears. Yet, when we face the fears, we can see how illogical and powerless they are. That’s when we are no longer ruled or controlled by unconscious fears. It’s true freedom!

For most people, this process involves confronting issues of life and death, the meaning of your life, and whether life is worth living. The dark night of the soul is similar to the initiations that ancient Egyptian candidates for high priest- and priestesshood would endure.

In that culture, you’d be enclosed in a sarcophagus, which is like a coffin, for several days. In that enclosed environment, with no light and just enough air not to suffocate, your mind would terrify you as your fears came alive as very realistic hallucinations.

At the end of two or three days, when the sarcophagus was opened up, if you were still alive, you passed the initiation. Some people actually died from fear, even though it was just in their minds. This shows how terrifying our thoughts can be if we were to really confront them head-on.

In a dark night of the soul, you feel totally alone in the world, completely misunderstood, as if you don’t fit in anywhere. You feel like your life doesn’t matter, so what’s the use of carrying on? It’s painful!

Like the ancient Egyptian initiation, the dark night of the soul puts you in a position of life or death. Some people don’t survive, because they decide life isn’t worth living, and unfortunately, they tragically take their own lives. For some, this suicide takes a slower pace, with the person using toxic addictions to gradually kill themselves.

But if you can stay with the emotions, including the very painful ones, the dark night of the soul can actually lift your whole life to a higher and clearer level.

Nobody wishes for a dark night of the soul, and it’s not something that you can create artificially. Basically, it just happens when you least expect it, usually because something has triggered a deep and dark emotional place inside of you.

Dark nights of the soul, like every part of life, serve a healing and useful function. The dark night of the soul is a mirror that you hold up to yourself so that you can see the contents of your ego’s fears. A lot of the painful emotions you’re experiencing are connected to situations that happened in your childhood. Present-day situations are triggering painful memories.

Don’t numb your pain or run away from your emotions. They’re your teachers! Just keep asking your painful feelings, “What are you here to teach me?”

Ultimately, it will boil down to this: forgiving yourself and everyone who has ever hurt you is the only way to escape the pain. You don’t need to forgive their actions. You definitely should still stand up for yourself and be truthful about your feelings. And you don’t want to stand for any form of abuse. But forgiveness is essential as the ultimate detox. Let go of the past in all directions of time and finally be free.

From Kosmos Journal for Global Transformation:

Anyone may go through a period of sadness or challenge that is so deep-seated and tenacious that it qualifies as a dark night of the soul. Not long ago I was giving a talk at a university when a man shouted at me from back in the crowd: “I’m terribly depressed. It’s been years. Help me.” I shouted back my email address. In his voice and body language I could see that this man was not caught in some passing depression. His life was broken by some loss, failure, or long-forgotten emotional wound that left him in a desperately dark place.

I reserve the expression ‘dark night of the soul’ for a dark mood that is truly life-shaking and touches the foundations of experience, the soul itself. But sometimes a seemingly insignificant event can give rise to a dark night: You may miss a train and not attend a reunion that meant much to you. Often a dark night has a strong symbolic quality in that it points to a deeper level of emotion and perhaps a deeper memory that gives it extra meaning. With dark nights you always have to be alert for the invisible memories, narratives, and concerns that may not be apparent on the surface.

Faced with a dark night, many people treat it like an illness, like depression. They may take medication or go into counseling looking for a cause. It can be useful to search for the roots of a dark night, but in my experience the best way to deal with it is to find the concrete action or decision that it is asking for.

And from Dr. Deepak Chopra:

 

Have you experienced this? Do you think it’s severe depression, mental illness, or is a dark night of the soul  a rite of passage to happiness, peace, and harmony?

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WTF is Wetiko

I had never heard the word —wetiko— until a couple weeks ago and now it’s cropping up everywhere since it’s on my radar.

From my Google search:

The term wetiko is a Cree term (windigo in Ojibway, wintiko in Powhatan) which, to quote Forbes, refers to “an evil person or spirit who terrorizes other creatures by means of terrible evil acts.”[ii] Wetikos are the human instruments for the transpersonal ‘spirit of evil’ to terrorize the world.

There seems to be a collective query rising up from the huddled masses of humanity who search for answers to everything from Trump to climate change, deadly natural disasters to senseless murders, and a pervasive lack of empathy and compassion.

Is there an epidemic of broken, undeveloped frontal lobes, of dysfunctional, maladjusted, deteriorating, and infected amygdalas?

Narcissism and Cluster B psychopathy run rampant in our culture, feeding on those who still have that innate ability to feel empathy and compassion, who possess a real soul and a kind spirit.

Those dark and toxic parasitic wetiko entities are cannibalistic, predatory, soul-LESS, selfish, and hostile: a cancer of the soul; a shapeshifter.

How sad.

“Just as viruses or malware infect a computer and program it to self-destruct, wetiko programs the human biocomputer to think and behave in self-destructive ways. Covertly operating through the unconscious blind spots in the human psyche, wetiko renders people oblivious to their own madness, compelling them to act against their own best interests. People under its thrall can, like someone in the throes of an addiction or in a state of trauma, unwittingly create the very problem they are trying to resolve, clinging desperately to the thing that is torturing and destroying them.

People taken over by wetiko are suffering from an autoimmune disease of the psyche. In autoimmune deficiency syndrome, the immune system of the organism perversely attacks the very life it is trying to protect. In trying to live, it destroys life, ultimately destroying even itself. In the same way, once wetiko has insinuated itself into a living entity, it acts like a perverted antibody, treating the wholesome parts of the system as cancerous tumors to be exterminated.

This problem is being collectively acted out on the world stage. Humans are destroying the biosphere of the planet upon which we all depend for our survival. Wetiko is at the bottom of the seemingly never-ending destruction we are wreaking on this biosphere. One example is the destruction of the Amazonian rain­forest, the lungs of the planet. Another example is the terminator seeds that are genetically engineered not to reproduce a second generation, forcing farmers to buy new seeds and making life impossible for many poor farmers. If the planet were seen as an organism, and people seen as cells in this organism, it would be as if these cells had become cancerous or parasitic and had turned on the healthy cells, destroying the very organism of which they themselves were a part. Our species appears to be enacting a mass ritual suicide on a global scale. “Paul Levy “Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil” Quest 102.4 (Fall 2014): pg. 146-151.

Also from Paul Levy…

“Wetiko disease is an expression of the convincing illusion of the separate self gone wild. Bewitched by the intrinsic projective tendencies of their own mind, full-blown wetikos are unconsciously doing the very thing they are reacting to while simultaneously accusing other people of doing it.

Projecting the shadow onto others, they will accuse others of projecting the shadow onto them. To use an extreme, but prototypical example, it is like someone screaming that you’re killing them as they kill you.

If their insanity is reflected back to them, they think it is the mirror that is insane. Suffering from a form of psychic blindness that believes itself to be sightedness, full-blown wetikos project out their own unconscious blindness and imagine that others, instead of themselves, are the ones who are not seeing.

Governed by the insane, self-perpetuating logic of fear and paranoia, those taken over by the disease fear that if they don’t attack and rule over others, they are in danger of being attacked and ruled over themselves.

In their convoluted, upside-down, flawless illogic, wetikos’ act to their own projections in the world as if they objectively exist and are other than themselves, thinking that they themselves have nothing to do with creating that to which they are reacting.

In wetiko disease, the psyche takes the ‘terror’ that haunts it from within, and in its attempt to master it, unwittingly becomes taken over by it, thus becoming an instrument of terror in the world. We have then become the thing we most feared, ‘creatures of the European nightmare world,’ as we psychologically terrorize ourselves, as well as terrorizing the world at large.

Because full-blown wetikos are soul murderers who continually recreate the ongoing process of killing their own soul, they are reflexively compelled to do this to others; for what the soul does to itself, it can’t help but do to others.

In a perverse inversion of the golden rule, instead of treating others how they would like to be treated, wetikos do unto others what was done unto them. The wetiko is simply a living link in a timeless, vampiric lineage of abuse.

Full-blown wetikos induce and dream up others to experience what it is like to be the part of themselves which they have split off from and denied, and are thus not able to consciously experience – the part of themselves that has been abused and vampirized. In playing this out, wetikos are transmitting and transferring their own depraved state of inner deadness to others in a perverse form of trying to deal with their own suffering.

Paradoxically, wetikos both try to destroy others’ light, as it reminds them of what they’ve killed in themselves, while simultaneously trying to appropriate the light for themselves.

The disease itself is now demanding that we pay attention to it, or it will kill us.”

“An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” ~ Ghandi

Native American philosopher Jack Forbes further adds:

“This disease, this wetiko (cannibal) psychosis, is the greatest epidemic sickness known to man.” We, as a species, are in the midst of a massive psychic epidemic, a virulent collective psychosis that has been brewing in the cauldron of humanity’s psyche from the beginning of time.

Like a fractal, wetiko operates on multiple dimensions simultaneously — intra-personally (within individuals), inter-personally (between ourselves), as well as collectively (as a species). “Cannibalism,” in Forbes’s words, “is the consuming of another’s life for one’s own private purpose or profit.”

Those afflicted with wetiko, like a cannibal, consume the life-force of others — human and nonhuman — for private purpose or profit, and do so without giving back something from their own lives.”


I don’t read much science fiction…I’m a chicklit girl, but my research about wetiko led me to this article about the (deceased) sci-fi author, Phillip K. Dick (you might know him from the Bladerunner.)

Wetiko and The Black Iron Prison: The Enlightened Madness of Sci-Fi Author Philip K. Dick

https://wakeup-world.com/2016/10/01/the-enlightened-madness-of-sci-fi-author-philip-k-dick-wetiko-and-the-black-iron-prison/

Apparently, I’ve only scratched the surface about wetiko, but it scared the living hell out of me. Is this the world my grandson will inherit?

How very, very frightening.

 

 

Featured image credit: https://thetwodoctors.wordpress.com/