The “dark night of the soul” is a term that goes back a long time.
It’s used to describe a time/s in life when things suddenly feel meaningless and one’s inner state feels deeply depressed. Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything. Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level. The death of someone close to you could trigger it. The meaning that you had given your life, your identity, relationship, career, habit or belief system that determined your activities, your achievements, your purpose and what you considered to be important, collapses. The whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it, crumbles and inevitably leaves you in a dark place.
I’ve experienced two DNOTS’s before and whilst they were profoundly painful – each one allowed me to grow and transform and evolve far more than anything else I’ve experienced ever has. As the age-old wisdom goes – after darkness comes light. And when you emerge out of the darkness and into the light your state of consciousness is transformed. Life has meaning again, and you’ve awakened to something deeper. A deeper sense of purpose and connectedness with yourself and others. A kind of re-birth.
The DNOTS is a kind of death that you die. What dies is the former egoic sense of self and what’s born is a spiritual awakening and a higher, more awakened self.
Things lose the meaning you’d previously given them, which was all conditioned and cultural and so on. Then you can look upon the world with a deep sense of aliveness and “beginner’s mind”. You sense the aliveness through your own sense of aliveness, but you are not trying to fit your experience into a conceptual framework anymore.