Some call it an inspiration for amazing art; others calling it a spiritual crisis? How we define it is very subjective, but from a personal experience, it can be very painful. It is the kind of pain, that one endures, when one feels the floor that they are standing collapses on them, though it is also where one can find peace and a renewed sense of self.
How do you describe The Dark Knight of the Soul? Like a darker version of Batman, it’s the shadow part of ourselves, a part that sometimes we may wish to reject, a part of ourselves that we may discard because it’s ‘not good enough’, yet ironically, it is truly part of us. Like two sides of the same coin, rejecting the heads means denying the tail, but actually it is physically impossible to separate the two. A coin is not complete without both heads and tails.
When I speak to people about their experiences, the larger central question is, ‘Who am I?’ Some describe it as a void, a no-man’s land; the title, status, unconscious source of identity that does not mean anything anymore.
A low point, before a high point, there is a silver lining in this experience. Some feel a kind of awakening to their purpose because this struggle is like the self wanting to align itself to who one really is. In other words there may be a mismatch between who one is and who one really is.
I’ve read some texts which describes who and what happens when we are in our Element. When we are in our element and aligned with who we are there is no struggle. If we love what we do, if we are passionate about the things we care, whatever problem we are facing, or need to solve is not really an obstacle in it’s truest sense; the ‘problem’ becomes an opportunity to grow, to manifest our magic and to really show case our talent.
In Ken Robinson’s book, The Element, a book which I highly recommend and refer back to, describes of peoples’ fears and insecurities, but actually are the very elements of talent in the individual. For instance, in his book he describes how a mother was anxious of her daughter’s inability to stay still, only to find after sessions of therapy that her daughter is really a gifted dancer. Her name is Gillian Lynne, one of the greatest choreographers of our time.
Also another example, there was a guy called Paul, he loved music but never really enjoyed music lessons at school. Nobody seemed to notice his musical talent at school, and he was even turned town by the choir of Liverpool Cathedral when he tried to join. Yes, this is Paul McCartney.
If we were to reframe The Dark Knight of the Soul and see it as an opportunity to slow down, if not stop for a moment, to actually reflect on where is this lost passion, who you really are? You might surprise yourself and find the answer within.
I read somewhere once, that when we are being our authentic selves, we are living in flow and at peace with ourselves. There is no struggle, there is no procrastination, spite or terror of doing what we don’t want to do. This actually makes sense. When we’re not honest with where we want to be, who we want to be, it can be one huge uphill struggle to keep up the act.
But if we are comfortable in our skin, and know despite our flaws, we are who we are and regardless of what slack others give us, we are truly, deeply happy. That’s all that really matters.
Dark Night of the Soul: The Mystical Poem of Saint John of the Cross
Source: Ted Nottingham
You might also like: