Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore.
“During the dark night there is no choice but to surrender control, give in to unknowing, and stop and listen to whatever signals of wisdom might come along. It’s a time of enforced retreat and perhaps unwilling withdrawal. The dark night is more than a learning experience; it’s a profound initiation into a realm that nothing in the culture, so preoccupied with external concerns and material success, prepares you for.”
As soon as I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down and read it all in less than a day. I then went back to the start to read it all over again. The book is about experiencing the ‘dark night of the soul’, the time where people go through an existential crisis or struggle to find meaning in their every day lives, or are challenged in some way e.g by love, heartbreak, grief, loss, betrayal etc.
The book uses examples from the authors own life, from history and literature and also from the clients he has mentored in therapy. The stories were told with compassion and kindness and I felt a sense of connection with the author in his struggle to explain his feelings regarding his own life and his place in the world and that of his clients. The book suggests that a ‘dark night of the soul’ can be a part of life, tending to be brought about by pain, that can give us time to reflect and grow just in the way we needed to.
The author puts forward the idea that out of the toughest times great beauty can grow and to accept the wholeness of the human condition you need to accept the light with the dark. I liked the fact the author had a non-judgemental approach to humanity and openly accepted the fragility of the human condition. It ties into my belief that we are all doing the very best we can with what we know and I felt the book acknowledged that well.
After reading the book I also reached out directly to Thomas Moore through his website and very surprisingly, he replied! I have got in touch with various authors over the years to thank them for their books and Thomas was the second person in my history that actually took the time to write a heartfelt message back- all kudos to him.
"Just as the beauty of nature includes storms, droughts, and geological eruptions, so the beauty of a person includes emotional storminess, dry periods, and occasional explosions. To care for the soul in earnest, you have to learn to appreciate the dark elements as well as the light ones."-Thomas Moore