There is light at the end of the tunnel, but first we must inhabit the darkness with complete faith knowing respite awaits ahead. The tunnel represents our life’s journey, filled with darkness. In such moments it’s natural to look for a way out, yet we should trust that a turning point awaits us further down the road. The darkness can be terrifying when we’re stuck, unable to navigate our way ahead. It signifies the inner struggle where in moments of despair we feel helpless. However, these are inaccurate thoughts that can pull us deeper into this darkened state. Trapped in a grim shadow of darkness can be unrelenting, given the cycle of suffering offers no respite. Yet, this is an illusion since we lose our place to the upheaval that surrounds us. Is this something you experienced? How did you deal with it and what did you learn from it, if anything?
However unwelcoming our circumstances, we needn’t suffer alone. To have others accompany us reaffirms our faith in someone to lean on when it matters. This simple act of renewal strengthens our resolve because two souls walking into battle are soldiers in arms. There’s a passage in the song “Let It Be” by the Beatles that reaffirms why we must allow circumstances to be as they are: “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 instance, the cycle of darkness in the evening gives rise to the light at dawn. Within this order, life reassures us nothing is permanent; every experience endures its own rebirth.
We are never stranded, however inhospitable the circumstances. How we internalize 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 and trust that relief will soon follow. Occasionally, there’s little we can do to change our conditions. At other times, we wrestle with the ruins of despair, knowing the darkness cannot extinguish the light of our eternal being. The darkness cultivates strength of character, just as the light illuminates the murkiness of night. We may experience frailty in those dark moments, unable to make sense of our situation. Yet through the darkness, we surrender to life – all the while knowing we have little control after all. It was Winston Churchill who said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
We must advance through the shadow of darkness if we wish to realize the lessons contained within our experience. To retreat is to lose sight of the personal growth life seeks to instill in us. Otherwise, we will revisit the lessons in a different form until we experience them fully. Author and Buddhist nun Pema Chodron explains how misery works together with joy and we mustn’t try to exclude it but embrace it: “We always want to get rid of misery rather than see how it works together with joy. The point isn’t to cultivate one thing as opposed to another, but to relate properly to where we are.” Many succumb to feelings of depression because they lose sight of a way out. During uncertain times, we must take each day as it comes. This practice draws our attention to the present moment since that is all we have. We gain great wisdom in our darkest hour, knowing our eternal soul cannot be obscured. Therefore, focus on the smallest progress during your moments of despair, instead of looking to a tomorrow which may not arrive as you hope for.
Nothing is certain, apart from this moment. Instead of surging towards the light, the smallest act forward renews our faith that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Contained within these small wins lie our yesterdays which give rise to new tomorrows. It was Carl Jung who once 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.
It reminds me of an old Hungarian proverb that reads: “Life is like licking honey — licking honey off a thorn.” Even time is an illusion when immersed in the menacing darkness of a harsh reality. While in the midst of a tornado, sixty seconds seems like an eternity, and so it is with 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, look for the slightest respite in those untenable moments. The darkness invites us to practice self-compassion and nurture equanimity within ourselves. 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 us to know we needn’t go through hardship alone. There is always someone by our side to help us reclaim our strength. To find the light at the end of the tunnel, we must advance through the darkness knowing our 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.