The Darkness Cultivates Strength Of Character
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the way out is through.” — David Allen
To discover the light at the end of the tunnel, we must inhabit the darkness with complete faith that respite is ahead. The tunnel is our life’s journey, which can be filled with darkness. In such moments, it’s natural to look for a way out, yet we ought to trust that a turning point awaits us around the corner. The darkness can terrify us when we’re unable to navigate our way ahead. It represents an inner struggle and in those moments we feel helpless. However, this is inaccurate and only pulls us deeper into this darkened state. Trapped in a shadow of darkness can be unrelenting, given that suffering offers no respite. Have you experienced this in your life where you were consumed by darkness? How did you find a way through it?
However unwelcoming our circumstances, we needn’t suffer alone. To have others accompany us reaffirms our faith there is always someone to lean on. This simple act of renewal strengthens our inner resolve because two souls walking into together are like soldiers in arms. It is why I am drawn to the passage in the song Let It Be by the Beatles which says: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine on until tomorrow, let it be.” The light that shines on us is the contrast of light and dark, merged in the sea of duality. For example, the darkness in the evening gives rise to the light at dawn. Within this system, life assures us nothing is permanent, since every experience endures its rebirth. We are never stranded, however inhospitable the circumstances. How we internalise what unfolds, shapes our destiny.
When ensnared in darkness we have two choices: draw our attention to the fear or direct our focus towards the light. By doing so we renew our faith knowing relief is at hand. Occasionally, there’s little we can do to usher a change in conditions. At other times, we are forced to wrestle with the ruins of despair. Yet in those moments, we appreciate how the darkness cannot extinguish the light of our eternal being. The darkness cultivates strength of character, just as light illuminates the murkiness of night. We can experience frailty in those dark moments, unable to make sense of our situation. Yet through the darkness, we surrender to the forces of life knowing we have little control after all. It was Winston Churchill who once said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” We must advance through obscurity if we wish to realise the lessons contained within our experience. To retreat is to lose sight of the personal growth life seeks to instil in us. Otherwise, we will revisit the lessons in different forms until we experience them fully. Have you seen this in your own life where the same lessons keep reappearing in a different form?
What Is The Experience Trying To Teach You?
“Persistent people are able to visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when others can’t see it.” — Seth Godin
Many people suffer from depressive states and lose hope of a way out. In uncertainty, we must take each day as it comes. This practice alone draws our attention to the present moment since that is all we have. We gain wisdom in our darkest hour, knowing our eternal soul cannot be overshadowed. We ought to focus on the smallest progress in moments of despair, instead of looking to a tomorrow which may not arrive as we hope for. Nothing is certain, apart from this moment. Instead of rushing towards the exit, the smallest act forward renews our faith that light is at the end of the tunnel. Contained within these marginal gains lies our yesterday’s which give rise to a new tomorrow. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung put it eloquently when he said: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” So, how does one stay composed when ensnared in darkness? Have faith–nothing lasts forever. Even time is an illusion when immersed in the darkness of a harsh reality. In the midst of a tornado, sixty seconds can seem like an eternity, and so it is with moments of despair. Consider what the experience is trying to teach you? If looking down on your life’s journey from above, what adjustments would you make going forward?
When trapped in your circumstances, try to look for the slightest respite in those untenable moments. The darkness invites us to practice self-compassion and nurture equanimity. We are called to exercise our noblest truths that lie at the heart of our being. Equally, to lean on others during times of suffering summons our capacity to trust we needn’t go through hardship alone. There is always someone by our side to help us reclaim our strength. Knowing this, consider an experience in your life that seems helpless. What is the smallest action you can take each day to deal with it? It might involve talking to someone, writing in your journal or crying to experience the intensity of your emotions. Don’t discount the power of small actions because they have the potential to heal your wounds and help you overcome pain and suffering. To find the light at the end of the tunnel, advance through the darkness knowing your compassioned hope for change lies around the corner. I invite you not to frown upon your misery, but embrace it as a doorway to inner transformation.