Help through the dark night of the soul

I am currently experiencing the dark night of the soul, and have been for more than 2 years now.

The first thing I need to say is this is hell, suffering has become second nature, and happiness from my old way of life is something I want to forget existed.

The second thing I want to point out is this dark night was brought on by meeting, and running, from my twin flame (a belief I’m not sure is held by catholics).

Now to give a little background on myself:
I never believed in God, it was just a word that held no significance, as was heaven, hell, the devil, faith, soul, spirit… They were just words.
I spent my life blind… While not particularly harmful to others, I was not particularly sensitive to others either. I liken my old way of existence to that of a caterpillar which has now transitioned to a cocoon state. Upon entering the dark night I quickly lost everything, all possessions, my apartment, my job, even my clothing, as I had given up and let everything fall apart when the dark night began.
I then spent much of my time homeless and wandering aimless and lost, wishing for death much of the time.

Will this end? Will I ever be happy again? I did some research and found that the dark night doesn’t end for some in this life or the next and I fear I may be one of those unfortunate ones…

This is an exhaustive read with 25 chapters. This should help you determine if you really are experiencing a dark night of the soul.

catholictreasury.info/books/dark_night/index.php

:idea: Chapter 10 describes the conduct one must follow when experiencing a dark night of the soul.

SNIPPETS

3. Those who are in this situation should feel comforted; they ought to persevere patiently and not be afflicted. Let them trust in God who does not fail those who seek him with a simple and righteous heart; nor will he fail to impart what is needful for the way until getting them to the clear and pure light of love. God will give them this light by means of that other night, the night of spirit, if they merit that he place them in it.

4. The attitude necessary in the night of sense is to pay no attention to discursive meditation since this is not the time for it. They should allow the soul to remain in rest and quietude even though it may seem obvious to them that they are doing nothing and wasting time, and even though they think this disinclination to think about anything is due to their laxity. Through patience and perseverance in prayer, they will be doing a great deal without activity on their part. All that is required of them here is freedom of soul, that they liberate themselves from the impediment and fatigue of ideas and thoughts, and care not about thinking and meditating. They must be content simply with a loving and peaceful attentiveness to God, and live without the concern, without the effort, and without the desire to taste or feel him. All these desires disquiet the soul and distract it from the peaceful, quiet, and sweet idleness of the contemplation that is being communicated to it.

Pray honestly and openly to Our Lord. Be courageous in faith, and in love. I can assure you the misery passes.

Don’t worry yourself your not going through the dark night of the soul. This is reserved for the holiest of his children on earth. Potential saints. You’re probably going through lack of prayers and confused times in your life.
Having said all that, read scriptures and console your soul with them.

I discovered this fact after reading St. John of the Cross, and the Dark Night, dozens of times: it is commonly recommended that St. John’s mystical writings are not to be read by layman with a Spiritual Director. He is very difficult to parse.

I will leave you with this: the Dark Nights treated by St. John occur after a very long and intricate walk with the Lord is well underway, and the person has advanced (In and through Grace–Detachment, Abandonment, then Infusion etc) to a very advanced degree of holiness.

I found it very difficult to determine where I might fall in this process, whether or not certain experiences/symptoms indicate placement in the different stages. I came away with the conclusion that, for me personally, it was more probable (and indeed, more Spiritually sane) to presume my own state as a sinner sufficiently placed me in the beginning levels of Spiritual progress–and to not interpret different experiences as a Dark Night. I’m not holy enough (though, I pray, the Lord may allow the word “yet” to be properly appended to this last sentence). Indeed, a deep serious of internal judgements and scrupulous thinking would either be prideful as to my own spiritual development (and so unhelpful for the ultimate goal of holiness) or indicative of an attachment to psycho-analysis (carrying the same problem).

I recommend the book: Searching for and Maintaining Peace of Heart by Father Phillipe. Please listen to this Sermon (FSSP Priest) for an overview:
youtube.com/watch?v=DtsltYwz5qY

Always abandon to Him–letting Him keep your whole, at all time, wrapped in the Providence of His Sacred Heart.

Pax

I’m quite sure it’s a dark night, I have lost family, had friends commit suicide, lost jobs, lost pets, lost girlfriends, but nothing I have experienced has come close to something like this, I will try to describe it.

I am alone in darkness, nobody understands. Working or getting a job seems mundane, something I used to do but has no meaning now. My old life seems a dream, something that never actually happened. Seeing the morning sun makes me recall being happy, when I had hopes and dreams, now seeing the sun makes me feel wretched, as if it is there to taunt me. God is gone, I never knew what he was before but now that I know what he is he is gone. When I sleep and dream I have visions of hell(s), or dreams of my old life, I have had dreams of various hells as well as the lake of fire, which I will describe if asked to. I did my research and everything I read concerning the dark night hits home and I start to feel some hope, but what I read states it can be triggered by loss of job, spouse, death of a close friend or loved one, and I feel hopeless again, as deaths or loss of a relationship or job simply would roll off my back as I was an emotional rock with these things, as an example when I heard one of my closest friends died I said “really? What happened?”, I was informed of what happened and I then continued my life unfazed by his death, I lost no sleep over it…

I am thoroughly convinced this is a dark night.

It would seem you mean the New Age spiritual concept of “Twin Flame”. Is that correct?

It could be.

This was also something I didn’t believe in before, but experience changed it.

MY short definition of twin flame:

Your true soulmate or other half, you only have one and rarely meet them, if you do its usually for spiritual work for the world and rarely a romantic union, they can be the same gender but this is rare. When you experience it you become a believer as it turns your world upside down.

Some of the more famous twin flames:

Jesus/Mary
Plato/Socrates
Marie/Pierre Curie

I know this probably isn’t conventional catholic belief, I am not catholic, I don’t label myself or affiliate myself with a particular religion. I believe nobody, or any particular religion has it 100% correct, what is important is the message conveyed.
You could call God the crocodile king, but if you believe the crocodile king will help you then he will.

God is love.
God is faith.
God is believing.
God exists within us.

Okay, I got it. It is complex. Let me reflect a bit, and I will get back. I promise. In the meantime, perhaps others can help now that we have more information.

I’m sorry to hear the difficulties your going through. My prayers will go out to you.

I’ve been there for a long time. Suicides from family members, lost jobs, lost pets, a lost marriage… I find very little interest in anything that I used to enjoy. Like you, I dislike sunrise because it seems to signal another day of meaningless bull and failure. Sometimes it feels that God does not exist unless I invent him in my childish imagination. Usually I am hoping for hope itself; trying to muster the will to dream, to live, and to cherish these days on Earth. I would like to call my situation something else, but for me I’m pretty sure it’s major depression.

I get a lot of solace from a book assembled by Thomas Merton called “The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers”. You might like it. Also, the beatitudes give me cause to smile each day. (“Blessed are the poor in spirit” :))

I am praying for you, johnvee84.

Well, the technical term is “dryness” (as in being stuck out in the spiritual desert, feeling all alone and dried out), but for the OP’s purposes, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. It’s not fun, either way.

Depression, bad stuff happening, and dryness often go hand in hand, which makes it even less fun. But it’s also very common to have dryness when things are going good in your daily life.

Dryness is basically when the Lord temporarily stops giving us good feelings and strong response of the will to His presence, etc. He does not actually leave us; He just lets us try to do it alone. So of course it feels horrible.

It’s like if we had Jesus helping us lift weights, taking most of the weight but teaching us how it felt to do it right. We might even get to the point we think that we’re pretty good weightlifters. And then it’s like He stepped back and said, “Next weight, you do it by yourself for a bit.” So there we are, tugging and groaning and not getting the weight very far off the floor. It’s great for our spiritual muscles, but it’s not much fun for our self-esteem. Dryness is like feeling our own weakness, and it doesn’t feel good at all.

The traditional advice is that if you’ve already got good habits (going to church, praying, doing good deeds, etc.), you want to keep on with them, even if they feel hollow and useless. It’s much like depression; even if you feel eating and sleep are useless, you still have to eat and sleep.

The second piece of advice is not to try to overcome dryness by piling on more. You can’t make yourself not be spiritually dry. However, if you have a priest or someone helping you with your spiritual life, let them know what’s happening.

The third piece of advice is to sit tight and wait for the dryness to blow over. It’s not anything bad or a punishment; it’s part of your spiritual life that “trains” you to be stronger. Even if you don’t feel God’s presence, He is very close to you during times of dryness. Think of Christ on the Cross saying, “I thirst.”

Actually, St. John of the Cross wrote a book before The Dark Night of the Soul, and it is called The Ascent of Mount Carmel. (Dark Night is its direct sequel.) It talks a bit about spiritual dryness. Most spiritual writers talk about it quite a lot, because almost everybody goes through it periodically. Everybody agrees that it stinks.

I’m sorry that you’ve lost somebody important to you. But God still loves you and is with you.

The concept of a “Twin Flame” is a term from New Age spirituality. From what little I know about New Age spirituality it is primarily in the tradition of Eastern religions. The concept of “Twin Flame”, however, also includes Western philosophical concepts derived from Plato. It also involves reincarnation. The twin flame relationship is not necessarily ideal. That is the limit of what I know about it. The twin flame concept and reincarnation are not Catholic beliefs.

You mentioned you fled from it and are now experiencing ‘a dark night of the soul.’ In my limited knowledge of New Age spirituality, it has no particular theology or system of belief, and it does not seem it is a formal religion or even a religion at all. It seems more akin to a spiritual movement. While there is nothing necessarily wrong here, it is elusive and difficult to address.

The ‘dark night of the soul’, however, does appear in the Catholic tradition. There is a long tradition of contemplation and mysticism in Catholicism, and it is central in the monastic tradition. As has been mentioned, the ‘dark night of the soul’ occurs among those who are spiritually very advanced in this tradition. But here there is the sense that one is presenty spiritually tangled up, and perhaps in a way involving the twin flame. In my own experience, when it concerns spirituality there are things and events that are not mere coincidence. In this way, there is perhaps a reason why you are here in this particular place seeking help. Listen to it. It is a beginning. There is solid ground in Catholicism, and there are those who could offer far more help than I could provide.

I think the issue is beyond a forum discussion and would suggest you talk to a knowledge person.

I do agree with those who point out the the Dark Night of the Soul is a misunderstood experience. Very few people actually are spiritually mature enough in this life to experience it.

What you are experiencing is very very real. But it’s not a Dark Night.

I have just come out of a 2+ years experience very similar to yours. It’s more like a Job-esque experience. And it’s very very real.

What I did was just keep praying even though all the pain, confusion, anxiety, whatever it is you are experiencing. It’s not something you can “get yourself out of” It has to run it’s course.

Keep praying. Keep yourself involved with the Sacraments of the Church

And this included Confession of the New Age “twin flame” interest. This is an avenue for Satan to exercise greater influence in your life at a very vulnerable time. And you are very vulnerable right now.

“twin flame” and anything new age is NOT of God. Stick with Church approved practices to help you thru this time. You need to shore up your spiritual defense at this time of Job-esque experiences. New Age is not the way.

Praying for you. You are not in an easy time. I know it. I felt so beaten up to a spiritual pulp when I was going thru mine.

**
I have found that if you leave yourself behind (own desires, wants, and needs) you may be able to conquer depression and possibly other illness’s. Why, because leaving your needs behind alleviates you from creating sin by seeking your own needs. If you know the Father and Christ then seek their Wills and you’ll see less pressure in your life. The burden is light He promises. The fact that you live your live according to Scriptures the easier you’ll defeat mental illness because the focus is off yourself and onto God…His Will be done.**

Something that has been puzzling me… Is the dark night for those destined for hellfire as well? Or is it solely for those destined for heaven? I am thoroughly convinced I am doomed and I doubt if this is a dark night I will ever come out of it.

Im puzzled why you think you are doomed?

Do you have faith in Christ? Do you have faith in His Sacrifice?

Those who experience dark nights of the soul don’t deny the Lord’s Mercy.

are you involved with drugs or alcohol? praying for you! God bless.

No. ‘A dark night of the soul’ has a specific spiritual meaning. It occurs when a very spiritually advanced person loses his or her sense of a spiritual presence. It is called a ‘dry’ period. It definitely doers not mean they are doomed or are clinically depressed. Those are both differnt issues.

Feeling one is convinced they are doomed Is nevertheless a dark period, just not what a ‘dark night of the soul’ means. Why do you believe you are doomed? It is not a Catholic belief that one is destined to eternal condemnation.

Because I rewrote my soul contract and agreed to go to the lake of fire, my boss was even named Michael as was predicted about ten years ago, the one who told me what my bosses name would be told me that I was the devil because I rewrote my soul contract and agreed to go to the lake of fire and he knew he was going to meet me and apparently nobody has rewrote their soul contract before.

I have tried to tell people my story but they tell me they have no idea what I’m talking about or that something is wrong with me, so I stopped trying to tell the story.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.