None of us want to experience tough times: to drop into the chasms of depression, worry and despair. However, when we find ourselves in this place, we can flip our perceptions of the dark, increasing our capacity to love and experience joy.

It’s so easy to be scared of the dark. Afterall, it’s human nature to allow fear to grab hold of us and take us to the worst possible scenario. The problem is that the darkness feeds off our fears, increasing its power over us.

Through sitting in the darkness without fear, we will grow more completely into who we are meant to be. By rooting ourselves in love and faith, we’ll know that all will be well. Of course, we’ll still be uncomfortable, but that is okay. With time, we’ll discover our strengths and know that we can endure anything. We can see how our worries and fears are not reality and that they will not define us if we don’t succumb to them.

Through practicing this exercise, we learn the darkness can be our ally. We can sit in the bottom of that abyss and, then later, rise as brighter energies. This helps us elevate our own spirit, but also helps illuminate the world for those who are struggling.

Rushing through difficult times don’t serve our wellbeing.
We can feel so unnerved by the darkness, that we may rush our time spent in it. The problem is we end up pushing an unresolved issue deep into our being. Instead of facing it and healing, we resolve nothing. We stagnate. We won’t heal. Depression, fear, shame and anger festers and grows. We may have pushed our devastations and traumas so far inward, that we aren’t aware we are making our struggles worse.

We make it so we’ll have to descend into those dizzying depths more frequently. That is, until we finally resolve why we are there and how to make peace with it.

I’m facing my personal demons.
Recently, I fell headlong into an emotionally and spiritually deep abyss. Unsure what to do so I could break this cycle (which got worse with each subsequent downturn), I prayed and meditated about my rage and shame. I was given the message to stay with the dark and not to fear it.

I didn’t want to face the dark. Every bit of my mind and body screamed at me to flee. Dredging up the past—a trauma I was sure I had resolved—seemed pointless. Yet I sat there. I cried. I stared into the darkness, acknowledging my dark side, but also recognizing the power of my fearlessness.

Eventually the discomfort eased. I could see how the suppressed trauma had limited my mind, body and spirit. I realized how the past shaped me into the person I am today. I recognized how much I’d endured and how my body suffered through my repeated attempts to ignore what I’d gone through.

Importantly, I found that this unresolved issue was at the root of my low self-esteem. After facing my past, a new respect and appreciation for my body bloomed. The result: a striking lightness came into my being.

Recognize the role darkness plays in our lives.
Life provides cyclical opportunities to be with the darkness: we don’t need to seek it out. Darkness will never have power over us as long as we respect it.

Eventually, our duration in the dark will lessen as we learn to find our way through the void and shine our own unique light. When we find ourselves in the depths, ask the dark what it can teach us, wait for the answer, sit with it and then move on. Only then can we allow the light to pierce it and recognize the awe-inspiring grace of Divine Light.