Quiz: What Is Your Dark Night of the Soul Teaching You?

Quiz: What Is Your Dark Night of the Soul Teaching You?


When the Dark Night of the Soul arrives, it benefits us to learn its lessons. Take this insightful quiz to learn what your Dark Night might be teaching you.

For those who’ve experienced a Dark Night of the Soul, it comes with no explanation needed. The term was originally coined by the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross in the 16th century as he underwent a transformational time of life and experienced the deep, dark suffering that goes with it.

A Dark Night of the Soul can be triggered by something external, such as the loss of a job, status, or relationship. It can also be, and traditionally is, brought on by a spiritual crisis, a sudden loss of meaning, or a breakdown of the beliefs and mindsets that once propped you up in life.

While there is no knowing how long a Dark Night might last for any one person (and there’s no limit on how many one may have in their lifetime), it is certain that it is an experience that comes with lessons. Instead of trying to push your way to the light (which usually just results in a more prolonged Dark Night), you can spend this time awakening your other senses and extracting profound, life-changing lessons. Harvesting these lessons, however, requires stepping out of the normal day-to-day of our duties, responsibilities, relationships, and identities. It asks us to relinquish outward focus and instead go inward. And it asks us to follow our intuition as the habits and routines fall away.

Which lessons are you here to learn? While there’s no way to know for sure (the Dark Night is not famous for certainty!), this quiz can help you narrow down to some of the main themes of your Dark Night of the Soul.

Dark Night of the Soul Quiz

  1. What is your greatest fear about being in this Dark Night?
    1. Losing control
    2. People realizing they don’t need me or can do things without me
    3. Lost income, momentum in my career
    4. People forgetting about me
    5. That God will forsake me
  2. What has been your pride and joy over the last decade?
    1. My organization and ability to stay on top of multiple projects or manage many people
    2. My independence and abilities as a self-starter
    3. My material gains, i.e. house, car, clothing, vacations
    4. My stunning LinkedIn profile
    5. My robust spiritual life
  3. For you, a strong spiritual connection (connection to God/Spirit/Nature/Universe) would result in:
    1. A life that feels manageable and enjoyable
    2. Personal power, a sense of invincibility
    3. Financial success and sudden windfalls
    4. A boost in my visibility and reputation
    5. A feeling of being surrounded by God/Spirit at all times
  4. You find most satisfaction in:
    1. Crossing things off a daily to-do list
    2. Learning new things on my own, taking care of myself
    3. Promotions or taking on well-paying jobs
    4. Adding items to your resume
    5. Time in nature or with a spiritual community
  5. What do you believe about your emotions and the role they play in your life?
    1. I hold my emotions close to the chest; this is a source of pride for me
    2. I worry what would happen if people knew how I really felt
    3. I can manipulate people’s emotions for personal gain (I could sell water to a fish)
    4. They are often a burden and threaten to get in the way of my goals
    5. I use positive thinking and prayer to manage them
  6. What do you believe should happen when/if you “find your purpose”?
    1. It will come with a sense of accomplishment
    2. It will come with a feeling of personal control and uniqueness; no one else could do what I do
    3. It will come with a steady stream of money
    4. It will come with personal awards and accolades
    5. It will come with a feeling of bliss
  7. What do you believe about the afterlife?
    1. My afterlife experience will be a direct consequence of my accomplishments on earth
    2. I’m personally planning out my afterlife experience (and haunting my ex!)
    3. I believe there will be rewards and punishments doled out
    4. I look forward to reuniting with my family and friends
    5. I feel certain about my place in the heavens and it brings me joy every day; it helps me manage earthly stresses.
  8. What purushatha (human life aim) or yogic path do you most identify with?
    1. Karma yoga: What goes around, comes around; this is the rule of life, death, and everything else
    2. Jnana yoga: There’s an intellectual path to enlightenment, and I’m on it
    3. Artha yoga: I’m collecting earthly gains and rewards for as long as I’m here
    4. Dharma yoga: Determining and being recognized for my personal contributions and efforts
    5. Bhakti yoga: I’m here to devote myself to spiritual liberation

Count your answers and then use the guide below to read more about the teachings of your Dark Night of the Soul.

The Results of Your Dark Night of the Soul Quiz

If You Got Mostly A’s

Your Lesson Is in Surrender and Letting Go

Thus far, your way of living has been through accomplishment and control. Your Dark Night has come to teach you the opposite: surrender. No calendars, task management journal, or task list will push you through the other side. Your lesson is to simply be, listen, receive, and take in experiences as they come without trying to control them. Rather than mantras like “I’ve got this,” try “I am okay, just as I am.”

If You Got Mostly B’s

Your Lesson Is in Trust

You’ve proven yourself highly capable of doing almost anything. You’re independent and strong, and you believe that anything can be overcome with a bit of knowledge and personal power. Your Dark Night of the Soul is now a journey of learning how to stop the incessant search and learn to trust others or the Universe. Therefore, as you spend some time away from the norm, practice reaching out if you need anything, and accept help that is given. You will find a beautiful lesson inside interdependency that you could never learn on your own.

If You Got Mostly C’s

Your Lesson Is in Detachment from Material Goods

Your Dark Night of the Soul is likely designed to help you detach from the material life that has, to this point, been one of your main sources of pleasure and meaning. Yet, there are many other ways to feel successful in life. Use this time in the Dark Night to examine the “things and stuff” in your world and see what you can do to declutter your surroundings. You’ll be amazed at how doing so will help you bring more vibrancy to your inner life.

If You Got Mostly D’s

Your Lesson Is in Separation From Identity

Your Dark Night of the Soul seems like an identity crisis, asking you to consider the many labels you’ve wrapped around yourself over the years. How many of these are actually serving you? Which ones might be holding you back from a deeper, richer life? Writing down all of your identities and beginning to work with what they mean to you or what they represent might be a good exercise to begin to accept the lessons of your time in the Dark Night.

If You Got Mostly E’s

Your Lesson Is in Reestablishing a Relationship With God

So far in life, your relationship with God has been simple and mostly rewarding. You have felt comfortable. Now, you might be called to reassess. Who or what is God? What is the nature of good and evil? Is there a heaven and hell? Is reincarnation real? Consider that if your answers to these questions have always come easily for you, perhaps now your Dark Night is primarily a spiritual crisis, asking you to spend some time reflecting on God. Consider that the lesson is to find a new, evolved way to live in relationship with the Divine.

Learn how to differentiate depression from the Dark Night of the Soul, and how to manage the Dark Night with grace.

What Is Your Dark Night of the Soul Teaching You

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