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The Way to Wholeness Goes Through a Dark Night

We are living in this moment for a reason.

This historic, archetypal moment calls for thoughtful reflection on where we are right now – as well as for the collective action we’re seeing globally. What does it all mean, and where we are ultimately headed?

Photo by Robert Atkinson
Source: Photo by Robert Atkinson

We are living in this moment for a reason. Though we may wonder why all this is still happening, or feel a deep sadness, we are also sensing that the way to a consciousness of wholeness must go through a mystic ‘dark night of the soul,’ like a chrysalis transforming into something new.

We are in the midst of a great shift in the way we relate to each other in the world we share. From an evolution of consciousness perspective, signs of a collective leap in consciousness are becoming clearer. This is the moment all others in past ages have longed for. We are all here now to help build the future we envision.

As we grasp the very nature of the evolution of consciousness, we gain an abiding hope for the future. Humanity is coming of age. We’re working through the turmoil of a time of transition, from a phase of self-consciousness to a time of collective consciousness. We are approaching our collective age of maturity, a time long ago promised by all sacred traditions, when we will live with a common purpose, to help bring about a just, prosperous, and peaceful future.

On a collective level, one transformative archetype after another is playing out before our eyes. First, a pandemic shut everything down around us, pulling us into the mythical ‘belly of the whale,’ the mystical unknown, the psychological living alone or entering therapy, while giving us unexpected time for retreat and withdrawal from whatever we were doing, while keeping us all at a distance. This forced us to leave behind the familiar, turn inward, use the opportunity to reassess and reevaluate everything we thought we knew, and search for truth, taking us further into a transformational undertaking.

We had already begun to feel more empathy toward others, have more gratitude for the things we have and feel more connected than we thought. And then, all of a sudden, not yet out of the collective ‘belly of the whale,’ as if to give us a chance to test what we’ve just begun to feel, we found ourselves in the midst of a collective ‘dark night of the soul’ – itself a key archetype in the process of transformation – needing to confront again our country’s shadow side.

As Carl Jung put it, “The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings. It is a snake-like path that unites the opposites…whose twists and turns are not lacking in terrors…they demand the very thing we fear most, namely the “wholeness” which we talk about so glibly…though give it the widest possible berth.” (CW 12, 6)

All the demonstrations we’re seeing are catalyzing a movement for justice. Yet rooting out longstanding deeply systemic racial injustice is both an inner and outer matter. Systems need to change. And, as the Parliament of the World’s Religions notes in their 1993 Declaration, A Global Ethic, “to make a just and peaceful world, we must first change the consciousness of individuals.”

This is the only thing that has ever enabled the periodic collective growth spurts in social evolution that have been experienced many times over in history. This is what is happening right now. It always takes a ‘dark night’ of some kind – this time more extensive and inclusive than ever before – to bring about a change in individual consciousness that leads to a collective shift in consciousness.

We are being taken through the conscious confrontation of opposing forces. We’re seeing that we are built to overcome difficulties and challenges, that trials have a purpose, that opposition and adversity are catalysts for transformation, and that transformation is necessary for growth, progress, and evolution.

Knowing that anything dividing us is ultimately a catalyst to unite us, we’re sensing on a deeper level now that we can complete this symbolic death and rebirth, that it will lead to our collective renewal, and that we will return to a place we’ve longed for but haven’t yet seen.

This is where we are, and where we’re going. Our challenge now is to continue to live consciously, always striving to become, by being in balance and harmony, finding common ground, living into our vision, giving back when we can, and building communities where all can prosper, as we move ever closer toward interconnectedness, unity, and wholeness.

The global extent and sustained level of the demonstrations for justice in all realms should be a sign of renewed hope for us all. It is more evident now how science and faith converge in the recognition that our biological DNA makes us not only one human species but one family. The voice of our collective soul – and the voice of reason, too – call out to us, ‘wake up, stand up, speak up, so the story of who we really are can be heard.’

And we see this story unfolding now, being told every day through every good person, in every act of kindness and compassion. This new story is telling us where we came from and what our common destiny is.

In this video preview of a week coming right up is just one example of where the tension and conflict all around us right now are leading, and how it is causing something greater to emerge. There is great hope on the horizon.

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