Ever had one of those nights when you couldn’t get to sleep…
Or…even worse, one of those night when you wake at three o’clock in the morning and no matter how hard you try, you cannot get back to sleep.
It is on nights such as this that often our imagination begins to take over and we start to think about all the stuff we haven’t done, all the stuff we should be doing, all the things we regret, not to mention all that stuff we wish we had never done.
Even the tiniest shortcomings, mistakes and misdemeanours magnify in the middle of the night. That’s the time experts tell us to sit up and write down what is worrying us, or get up, make a cup of tea, read a book, do the ironing…whatever. Whichever you choose, be assured this night will pass, morning and a new day will follow.
This dark night of the soul is enough to give anybody the jitters, which is why we all suffer from them when things go wrong in our lives – death, divorce, job loss, illness, depression. Even those who don’t believe in the concept of soul have endured a few darks nights of it.
The original dark night of the soul was the title of a poem by the sixteenth century Spanish mystic, John of the Cross and he coined it to describe his own spiritual dislocation. And while for some it is a long and serious period of depression and transition, for most of us it is simply an apt description for some setback that has occurred. . But it is one of those phrases that has become part of our own vocabulary.
But is is worth remembering that for most of us while the night time and soul, may be dark…but they can also be quite magical and other-worldly. For instance a crystal clear sky dotted with stars or a shower of unexpected meteors falling from the heavens as if angels had been setting off fireworks.
And then of course there is the almost hallucinatory vision of the Northern Lights. People travel far and wide to witness this extraordinary exhibition of greens, and purples and blues and oranges drifting across the sky like God’s own larva lamp.
If you get the opportunity to witness them grab it…I did in Iceland some years ago…and next time you endure one of those long dark night’s of the soul think of them.