January 25th, 2018
By Hilde Larsen
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
“Please God, take me. End this suffering. I am done. No more of this. No more of anything. I am done.”
Like it was yesterday, I remember the first day I wanted to die, and meant it.
The despair, the feeling of being so utterly lost and frustrated that the only way out was to let this moment be the ending. The definite end of my life. It was the first of many days like this, a string of minutes, hours and days where my whole being cried for relief.
I was too sick to miss much of my regular life. I was disconnected from the world. I didn’t miss any of it, it seemed too distant. The family barely came to see me, and when they did, they would sit downstairs in the living room. Friends stopped inviting us to events, and none of them came knocking at our door.
From living a life filled with traveling, running my own business, being the center of the party, being the happy, energetic mother, sister, daughter, friend and wife, I became nothing. From being an athletic high heal bad ass do-it-all for everybody, I became nothing. Not for them, not for me. That was my truth. The Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lyme, ulcers and anxiety had me choking on my own life.
It was like the outside disappeared. Everything became silent. My phone stopped ringing, and I resided in a bubble of pain and loneliness. Reading on the Internet, praying, crying and raging. I became my emotions, the anger. I felt hopeless and helpless. I questioned everything. I no longer believed in the medical doctors and their training. I no longer had any hope of recovery. According to the ones that I had put my faith in, there was nothing that could be done to regain my health. Only a life where medication and pain, deformities and disabilities would reign. I was on my own.
“Dear God, please help me. Show me the way to health, please show me the way. I am ready for complete healing. I am ready.”
I experienced what I perceived as a depression. Being naturally cheerful, I was not expecting this. Physical pain I could deal with. It was what I knew. This devastating despair was new to me, and it was tearing me apart. It was like all the lights went out, and all meaning disappeared. It was not apathy, more like a deep soul cry, and a release of everything that was connected to my ego, myself, and my dreams for the future.
I wanted to die, I wanted to be released from my earthly expectations and life. I wanted to move on, to set myself free. I felt trapped, and I wanted to fly. I cried for days on end. Cried for my pain, but also for the whole world. I was crying for all of us that were suffering.
What can I do?
Why am I here?
What kind of life will this be in the future?
How can I save my life?
Why am I alive?
At night, before going to sleep, I used to ask God to take me home. The thought of another day in this body was too much. All I wanted was out, I wanted to go home, and to feel free.
Life became very dark, and my soul cried as I was getting ready to let this all go.
Then I died…
My life became the darkness. I was no longer alive, only present. I experienced the Dark Night, the death of the ego. The death of my life as I knew it. (A well-known term in the spiritual and Christian literature.) In the midst of my void, I discovered this “normality”. This surge of freedom and clarity. I could sense a meaning to all of my sufferings. I wasn’t going to die, physically, I was going to surrender to death.
It is common to believe something is very wrong when the symptoms of the Dark Night appear. It is normal to feel you are losing your mind even. Feeling stuck in the dark, that there will never be light again.
We feel completely alone, looking for the light, as we are used to running away from the dark. This time we cannot run, it is not possible. It totally swallows us.
The pain we feel is the pain we have tried to suppress for years, decades, and previous lifetimes even. It is now finally coming to the surface to be healed. I had been praying for complete healing, and little did I know that this experience was going to be a big part of it.
The term “Dark Night of the Soul” goes back a very long time, and is always used to describe the collapse of the perceived meaning of life, followed by the feeling of complete meaninglessness and loss of self. In the modern world, we might confuse this experience with what is called depression, but it is not. There is no meaning to anything. Absolutely everything feels meaningless.
The dark night can be triggered by an event in your life. You might lose your job, someone close to you, or have in some way a life-altering experience. Any severe trauma can trigger your reason to embark on such a journey. It will feel like your whole being is collapsing. Like you are shaken out of what you perceive as your reality. The experience will not only change your outer reality but how you look at life in general. There is an awakening happening. A celebration of freedom. A blessing in disguise, and for most so hidden, it can feel unbearable.
The one living the experience will most often not be aware of what he or she is going through. For me, it was profound. It was shredding me to pieces. I was being stripped of everything.
I became completely naked.
I was nothing.
I was NO thing!
I had given up all reasons to hang on to my pain, and I had released my need to fix anything.
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus spoke of traveling the narrow way. This might be seen as the dark night of the soul. The term has been spoken of in many scriptures and connects us to the endless experience of being close to Creation/God, and all that is. It is through the loss of self that one can find the inner truth and the feeling of eternal existence. The type of mental, emotional, or spiritual anguish that is present in the complete darkness, leaves the traveler feeling completely lost and alone.
The death of the ego as we know it.
This is the awakening to something deeper, a sense of real purpose, to true and real passion. It is like a death and a rebirth, where everything that was has now left, and new meanings, new concepts, and a new sense of existence arise. There is a death of the ego, yet nothing really dies except the ego’s own sense of self. A very painful death, and the experience is that of death itself, even though nothing real died, and never will.
It will feel like endless despair and darkness.
This is a part of an awakening process that will leave us stronger and truer to ourselves. More authentic. Once we have gone through the dark night of the soul, and have been “reborn”, we realize that what was let go of was the false sense of self. What died was never real, but we were clinging to it as a part of the illusion of the ego. I remember the time as being completely heart-breaking and mind scattering, yet it has been my most important learning experience as I see it.
Walking through the “dark night of the soul” is a time of spiritual purging and awakening, and a time of inner self-contemplation and total aloneness.
The experience will typically show itself through these patterns:
- The ego dies, and the sense of self is shattered. It will feel like someone died, as they did, in a sense. The end of one’s identification feels like losing oneself, and that feeling takes one to the deepest darkness. The old self has to die, for the true self to be born.
- The experience will teach complete aloneness. Through this complete aloneness, one is shown that there is no such thing as being alone. We are all alone, yet we never are. True freedom emerges from losing the need to cling to others, or to feel one has to belong. The realization is that, from feeling content in one’s own company, the love for others becomes stronger. Being alone becomes a beautiful thing, where much clarity is shown. The dependency on others disappears, and the value of meditation and solitude is realized. Being alone becomes a great part of growing and learning, and loneliness will get a whole new meaning. The realization that everything is within us, is true freedom.
- A new love for life is born. Everything seems brighter, and every life lived seems to be something to celebrate and to learn from. We are all mortal humans, yet we are immortal beings. The humbleness towards life itself becomes greater, and the love for living becomes even more precious.
- The way we see ourselves in the world changes. We become aware that we are all creators, and that we are not here to impress or to be what we think the world needs. We realize that the world needs people who are in love with themselves and life, and that will live in true passion and compassion. We realize that it is completely up to us, to take responsibility, and to live as the sovereign beings that we are. There is no one to blame, and there never was.
- The view of the world has changed, so one might feel there are different perceptions on the inside that are conflicting. Living in a world, when one sees the truth and its underlying agendas, can be a struggle. Through working on one’s own values, passions and authenticity, the inner balance will come.
- The strength from the experience will never leave you, and the newly found inner confidence will affect every aspect of your life. This strength is like no other, as it comes from having “walked through the fire”. You have been tested, and you passed the test. Now, all you have to do is to live the life you know that you deserve. You, we, everyone who has gone through the dark night of the soul, are stronger and more alive.
Like a Phoenix, we will rise from the ashes.
“Dear God, please help me. Show me the way to health, please show me the way. I am ready for complete healing. I am ready.”
I am standing in front of the biggest change I could ever imagine. I am going from being a sufferer to a creator. I am laying down my sword to plant seeds instead, seeds of life. I am changing at the core, yet not changing at all. My true self want to shine through, to come to the surface, and for that to happen, all of which is not serving me has to go. Who I really am wants to come forth. Finally, I am shredding what is not the true me. I am ready to throw away the masks. They are too heavy to wear. They are also too many to keep track of. It has been exhausting, and all I want is to be me. Authentically me.
I wasn’t sure of who that me was, but I was willing to find out.
From my experience, I really believe life begins after death, and that we are able to live to the fullest when we no longer fear it. I had been so ready to go, so ready to leave this life, that I felt free from the death trap. I no longer felt the fear of dying. I knew that I was more than a sick body and that I would truly never die. I became more and more fearless, and it was setting my soul free. I started to see death as a part of LIFE and dying as a part of LIVING.
The Dark Night lead to the brightest light I have ever seen, my life-enthusiasm. My purpose and mission. Moving forward I was going to spend every minute of every day walking towards what I knew could be done. I was going to get healthy, no matter what I had to do. I had nothing to lose. I was not afraid to die. My life had stopped as I knew it, and I now chose to find a new path. I had my husband, my children, my friend and I had me. I was blessed and I would do anything to be the best that I could be.
Being a mother is an honor, and I was going to literally do anything to be the mother that my children deserved. I was going to get healthy, no matter what. Period.
I was going to get healthy or die trying.
I realized that at one point, we have to wake up and say: This is it, enough of this crap we see as limitations. I am going for it because I deserve it.
By awakening to who we really are, we are able to let go of everything that has been holding us back. By truly connecting with our inner source, God, and Creation, we are able to effortlessly flow through life with a renewed passion and enthusiasm. This natural passion for living and creating is a part of every breath that we take.
My love for life itself has led me to explore the amazing abundance and love that we are all a part of. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. Love is the ultimate language of the Universe, and anything not thereof is an obstruction of the flow of life.
Who you really are, and the power you hold within is stronger than any agony or despair. You are worthy of a life in abundance and joy, as you choose to awaken to your true essence. You are amazing, and through letting go of your clutter and old programming you will set yourself free.
My message is – Do not fear the journey towards freedom and the emotional and spiritual upheavals that come with walking your truth. Let it all arise, and let your real authentic self, be born. A freer life awaits, and the day I died is the day that I started living.
“Our lives will represent the rising of the phoenix if we allow it. Out of the fire and ashes of our crash-and-burn lives, we are offered a new beginning… It arises with great power and beauty, undamaged and strengthened by the flames of its self-created fire.” ~ Taking Off The Mask
If you want to know more about my experiences from HELL to Inspired, you can download a free chapter here.
Resources to explore the topic of the Dark Night of the Soul:
Recommended articles by Hilde Larsen:
- How to Write Your Life Manifesto, and Why It Will Change Your Life
- Listen to All, Learn from a Few, Follow No One
- 10 Ways to Foster an Attitude of Gratitude
- Spread Your Wings! 8 Benefits of Living Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Who Do You Think You Are?
- 4 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Own Healing
About the author:
Norwegian born, Hilde Larsen is the founder of InspiredByHilde.com. She is a certified Health and Success Coach, a raw food teacher, an author, and a certified Detox Specialist.
Her glowing enthusiasm for health and vitality has the leading role in her work. She is an inspirational media speaker, a blogger, and has her own YouTube channel. She creates online video programs, and is publishing a series of books on health and natural living. Hilde’s interest in healing and spiritual growth also led her to become a Reiki Healer. She is highly intuitive, and has a strong connection to Mother Earth and the spiritual world.
As author of the book ‘From HELL to Inspired’, Hilde shares her full story, a heartfelt gripping journey about her struggles from bedridden to living her dreams. Her second book ‘Know the Truth and Get Healthy’, is a step-by-step guide to true health and vitality, while her latest work, No More Bullshit, digs deeper into life and its meaning, to help others take charge of their own lives and experiences.
Hilde and her husband of 29 years spend their time between Norway and Florida.