I’m in a spiritual blackout right now, and it’s not pretty. Typically, I feel like I have an open line of conversation with spiritual guidance. It’s as though there’s a phone line extending from my right temple, just above the eye, to some unnamed place in the ether. It feels like my guides are with and around me, close by, always available, and we can chat throughout the day, whenever I need help and remember to ask for it.
And then the spiritual blackout comes along. Wham! Someone shuts a trapdoor overhead, cutting the phone line, and everything goes dark. It’s the dark night of the soul, the wandering in the wilderness. It’s not just a bad mood, irritability, or frustration. This is a full-fledged, fear-driven fury of silence and sadness.
Even while I’m in it, I know a lot of things. I know my guides are still right here and communicating with me, but my fear has created such a barrier that I can’t hear them, or I choose not to because my ego has taken me hostage.
I know that I’m miserable and that I don’t have to feel this way, but I’m choosing on some level to wallow in it.
I know that the trapdoor will open and the lights will go on again.
I know that something—an aha moment, an insight, or a sense of greater strength—will come out of this.
I know that the spiritual blackouts are fewer and farther between, and I also know that this one won’t be the last.
What Creates Spiritual Blackouts?
Blackouts are tricky because they can be initiated by all sorts of things, leading us to believe that the problem is the trigger, not what’s inside us. But it’s essential to know that the blackout is always caused by your own fear, not by whatever triggered the fear. Your ego will want to blame it on someone, but that’s just a distraction.
For instance, the first-class blackout I’m in right now began after I vacationed with six other people for more than a week. As a classic introvert, I need alone time to recharge my batteries, and I didn’t have any for almost ten days. It was as though my spiritual immune system was compromised, and fear came in and took over. The people I vacationed with didn’t cause it. I just ignored my own needs.
And now, my ego is unrelenting. I know that all of this will be much better in a few days. But, man, is it an awful place to be while I’m there.
This is how I feel during a spiritual blackout: Everything is broken, and nothing will ever be right again. I blame everyone else for my problems, or I blame myself. I feel like I don’t deserve happiness, abundance, or love. I’ve messed up everything, made stupid mistakes, and I deserve to be punished with the misery I’m feeling.
There is no one who can help me. Words of encouragement or comfort simply bounce off me because I don’t feel I deserve them. Happy people are annoying or, worse, a threat. I’m hypersensitive and can start to cry easily. There is nothing good in the world, and it’s only going to get worse. I have feelings of “What’s the use?” and wonder if I shouldn't walk away from everything. I feel like all the energy has drained out of me, and I’m susceptible to getting sick.
It’s like being a trapped animal desperately seeking an escape and believing there isn’t any. In extreme cases, I understand why this can lead to suicide or violence. It is a profound forgetting of who we are, a suppression of light so complete that no resolution seems possible. It is fear, through and through.
In my mind, grief and depression are forms of spiritual blackout. I remember reading a letter my grandfather wrote to my dad after one of my dad’s brothers passed away at the age of twelve. “Will attempt to scribble a few lines to you,” my grandfather wrote. “In so doing will have my mind occupied with something pleasant for a short while, at least. Everything is dark and gloomy to me and I suppose always will be the rest of my short stay here.”
That’s the feeling—that life will never be good again. With grief, there’s often an accompanying guilt that If I had only done something, I could have prevented the loss. I could have saved them. This can lead to a great, deep darkness that may persist, as my grandfather believed it would.
But remember this: It’s possible to be discouraged, feeling a lack of courage in facing another day. It’s possible to be disheartened, as though your heart is closed to giving or receiving love.
But it’s not possible to be truly dispirited, because no matter how black the darkness may seem, your spirit and the light of your guides shine on through it all.
Be gentle with yourself. Know that help is available to you always.
And remember that whenever you have a spiritual blackout, there will be a reward of inner growth and greater peace once you can feel the sun on your face again.
What Spirit Says About Blackouts In Guidance
Ella, what do you have to say about spiritual blackouts?
Thank you for asking. This is what I want your readers to know: spiritual blackouts are necessary and helpful. Just as plants need dormancy and darkness, so do the soul and the mind. A blackout is a rest period, even though it can feel unrestful. The only reason it feels that way is because you resist and fight it and there is so much fear around it. Stop judging it and you will not be so miserable. It is a time to rest and rejuvenate and nourish yourself, as you know, but this is on a different level.
Your electrical system is expanding, and often the blackout is caused by an overloaded circuit. A blackout is the perfect name for it, because it’s as though the fuses have been blown, and there needs to be a period of rest before the lights go back on.
This is why your pleas for help seem to go unbidden, because it’s simply not time yet. You need to be quiet and under the radar, if you will.
Because you expect to feel good all the time, though, you judge the experience and think something is wrong with you. Instead, embrace the times of darkness and get lots of sleep and be quiet, and you will grow more quickly once the light shines again. There is nothing wrong with spiritual blackouts because they can lead to great growth. But the misery in them can be minimized if you work with them rather than against them. Growth is inevitable. Misery is optional.
It is important to make the point that our availability to you does not change during this time. In fact, we hover close and are protective because we understand how awful you feel while you’re in the darkness. We are here with you always, whether you are aware or can hear us or not.
When You Feel Like Giving Up
So what do you do when praying doesn’t seem to help, when you are committed to the misery? How can you be sure that the dark night will end, or that you want it to? When you don’t know anything else is available to you, what do you do?
There can be a feeling of desperation in spiritual blackout, a giving up. It’s important to know that there are two ways to give up. One is giving up control, which is an act of the higher Self—a statement of trust in a higher power. It is giving up trying so hard. Giving up the fight. The other is giving up hope, which is an act of the ego—a statement of fear that you’re not good enough to deserve happiness.
This is when you use prayer not as a request, but as a lifeline. You use it even when you don’t believe it’s being heard. You recognize the fear, and that the prison you seem to be in is only of your own mind.
We can help you, but only if you ask. “Please heal my fear-based thoughts even though I don’t feel like I deserve it.” “Please heal my fear-based thoughts even though I don’t think it will help.” “Please heal my commitment to fear in this moment so I can remember the light that I am.”
Then take a nap. Go for a walk. Sit and cry. Beat on a pillow. Reach out to someone. Write out your misery. Do whatever productive thing you can to expel the fear from your body, which will help accelerate the healing.
Most of all, remember that this darkness is not you. It is a belief system that has taken hold temporarily but will loosen its grip so you can remember the light that you are. And remember, we are here with you always. Ask us for help.
The blackout may seem like a long road for some people, other times it will be short—a matter of hours or days. So the most important thing, no matter what the duration, is to remember that the light within you is still shining through it all. You may not see or feel it. It may feel like the pilot light has been snuffed out. But that is not possible.
Hold on to that light, no matter how dim it may seem, because it is not shining any less than usual. It’s just that you’ve heaped more fear on it and have made it seem less powerful.
What you might say to say to your guides when you’re in a blackout.
I have fallen asleep. I know this is temporary, but it makes me feel cut off from you and alone.
I know this is just my ego talking, but it feels very real. I know this is not who I am. It is just a spiritual blackout that makes me feel like I can’t talk to you and receive your guidance like I usually do.
My ego wants me to believe I’ve messed up and made mistakes that can’t be fixed. But I know these are just errors in my thinking and that you can correct them.
I ask for your help as I go through this time. Please help me wake up with new insights. This will yield something wonderful if I pay attention and look for the gift.
Thank you for your constant presence and comfort, even when I’m not able to fully and consciously receive.
©2016 by Debra Landwehr Engle. All Rights Reserved.
This excerpt was reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hampton Roads Publishing. www.redwheelweiser.com.
Subtitles by InnerSelf
About the Author
Debra Landwehr Engle has been a freelance writer for many years and her initial publishing credits appeared in such magazines as "Country Home," "Country Gardens" and "Better Homes and Gardens." Her first book, "Grace from the Garden: Changing the World One Garden at a Time," was published in 2003. Since then, she has contributed to several international collections of essays. Deb teaches classes in "A Course in Miracles" and is co-founder of Tending Your Inner Garden®, an international program of creativity and personal growth for women. She also teaches workshops that use journaling and writing as tools for self-discovery, as well as one-on-one and small-group sessions on creativity, writing, manuscript development and life skills. Through her company, GoldenTree Communications, she provides mentoring and publishing services to fellow writers.
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