Healing from my ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ was not easy, but one very simple mantra helped me get through:
“Forgive, Love, Heal”
This mantra can help one heal from a dramatic ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ as mine was, or even what I call a ‘Mini Dark Night’ – which can happen all the time to in busy modern life. These dark nights may be simple things like being given the finger in an unloving exchange, or simply being cut off on the road in traffic!
In my own ‘Dark Night of the Soul,’ I had to deal with prostrate cancer, surgical complications, life threatening sepsis, depression, chronic pain and dependency on pain medications. I had to sell my house, quit my job, all the while feeling how my marriage tethered and my health suffered.
I was very angry at myself, at God, the people, at the world – at the universe.
My healing happened in three steps.
Step 1: Forgive
I had to forgive my self for any thing I had done, or contributed to the dark night. Forgive the circumstances. ‘Forgive’ God and accept God’s will. I had to surrender to the possibility that the Spirit alone has the infinite wisdom. There were the lessons I had to learn in this life time, so that I could evolve.
The forgiveness is defined as:
the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.
To aid in the forgiveness process, I re-discovered the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
This prayer transformed me. I started to live in present in the ‘Now’ and not be stuck in what my circumstances once were or what I wanted them to be.
Step 2: Love
The second step was to start to love myself, my life, my circumstances.
The beauty is that when I started to love ‘myself’, my health improved in leaps and bounds. I started eating healthy, going to the gym regularly, meditating and praying regularly.
The self love I’m referring to does not mean being narcissistic or prioritizing oneself at the cost of others. I truly believe one can only love others when one becomes ‘love’ itself. As I continued to work step 2, I started to have gratitude and re-kindle my love for the Spirit, people, the world, the environment. I even changed my car from Hummer to a Hybrid.
Love is defined as:
A virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection; and “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another” and one self’
As famous Mother Teresa quote comes to mind:
“We all can not do great things but we all can
do great things with great love”
We all can each become a sun of of love – radiating love all around.
So, my friends, start the ‘ripple effect’ from the heart, from inside your heart, from your Source.
Step 3: Heal
The first two steps of change happen from our mind and heart, but the third addresses change at the level of the soul, the spirit.
I have observed in others, and personally experienced myself, that to really heal there has to be a ‘shift’ at a deeper level of consciousness. Effectively, the consciousness has to not just heal but evolve as well.
Healing is defined as:
to make healthy, whole, restore to health; to rejuvenate ,to free from evil; cleanse; purify
Looking back, I am thankful to Spirit for the circumstances I had to go through. It has brought love, compassion, ‘Seva’ (service with gratitude), sharing, and creativity as my guiding principles – where as before I lived for cancerous materialism, expensive toys, the satisfaction of myself above all others: it really was all about me: my status.
My ‘Dark Night’ helped me to find my true Divine purpose and my Dharma — which I now understand is to be a Healer at the Soul level. I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t gone through the heat of that Dark Night. It helped me learn to embrace my shadow. My Dark Night made me whole.
A Gandhi Quote comes to mind…
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
Yesterday, I received a short email from a friend who had seen me last a few years back. It said:
“Hi Raj – It was so nice to have you with us last weekend! You have changed a lot since I saw you last in India.”
Another friend said that after five years of knowing me, he can see how even the way I drive has changed. That is so true. I used always be in a rushand in the fast lane. But now I have what I will call ‘Buddha Driving’!
If someone cuts me off, so be it! They must be in rush.
So, my friends – my experience is that this approach works. Through the practice of my own prescription for Wellness in the Soul of Wellness and the adoption of this mantra – “Forgive, Love and Heal” – I have managed to reduce my doctor’s orders to take 36 pills every morning. Now I manage my health with only 5 pills a day.
The truth is I have gotten myself out of intense pain, depression, addiction, and being overweight through this mantra. The quality of my relationships with my beloved wife, my beautiful children, my dear friends and working associates – is, I can tell you – genuinely infused with joy, understanding, love and laughter.
My advice is to not just say the mantra, but to practice it – to live it: to BE the change it beckons from us.