The passing of Robin Williams has stirred the emotions of many. For someone who brought such joy to others, it is difficult to understand how he could have become so buried beneath his own human condition that he saw no other way out other than to take his own life.
The phrase “dark night of the soul” has been used for years, referring to the times in our lives when our inner light is so dim that we are challenged to find anything positive, inspiring, or even worth living for. As Eckhart Tolle says, it is a “collapse of perceived meaning in our life—an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness”. This is a time when our soul is so buried by the layers of the human condition that we are no longer in touch with our inner ally. We’ve all had those times—many more than statistics indicate. I’ve been there myself and remember all too clearly how futile any attempt to feel happiness or joy was, until the layers started peeling away and I could, once again, see the light—both my own and that of the world around me. It might come as a surprise, but it has been estimated that nearly 100% of individuals have at some point in their lives thought it might be better to not be alive.
So, why acknowledge that we all have a dark side? Because it is often a very real part of us and most of us want to grow and evolve beyond it. To deny that this darkness exists does us no good. As mentioned in Soul Health, emotions are often the indication that something is misaligned or askew in our lives. Our sadness is often a barometer for our soul’s health and indicates when we need to “clean out” or fix the aspects of our human condition that aren’t working and “fill up” or feed our soul with what will get us back on track.
As you know, this year’s emphasis has been about the “year of you”. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge and explore your own dark side a bit more as you loosen and release the layers of the human condition that wear you down. Darkness is a part of life; however, it is when we allow it to tighten it’s grip that our souls become dim. We can attempt to hide our pain through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, television, video games, or many other forms of self—or soul—denial. But none of these honor the true needs of our soul—and none will make us truly happy.
Spend some time today acknowledging your dark side as part of “you” and commit to evolving beyond the layers that keep your soul from shining brightly. There are elements of wisdom embedded within each experience we have, and when we extract how our dark or down times can actually help us, we can evolve beyond these times to experience a much more radiant life.